Straight people are having a lot of same-sex experiences.
This is the official finding of a recently-published study, which analysed survey data from more than 24,000 undergraduate students. Research homed in on 383 men and 312 women, all of whom said that their last hook-up was with a same-sex partner. Of these respondents 12 per cent of men and 25 per cent of women identified as heterosexual.
According to the published abstract, there were a number of factors which differentiated these straight-identifying respondents from their gay, bisexual or ‘uncertain’ counterparts:
Differences… included more conservative attitudes, less prior homosexual and more prior heterosexual sexual experience, features of the hook-ups, and sentiments about the encounter after the fact.
Researchers then expanded by saying that some students claimed they hadn’t enjoyed their same-sex encounter, whereas others were just indulging in sexual experimentation in order to test their limits.
Others admitted to being guilty of Katy Perry-style ‘performative bisexuality’ – in other words, necking off with a same-sex partner to arouse or provoke – whereas a higher percentage said their religious practices and beliefs "preclude[d] a non-heterosexual identity".
It’s important to remember that sexuality labels are just that – labels. Some choose to identify with them, others don’t; on the other hand, the number of identifiers at our disposal is rapidly expanding alongside our increasing knowledge of gender and sexuality.
What these results do suggest is that identity is inherently political. The fact that conservative attitudes were cited as a popular reason for identifying as straight highlights that there is still some societal stigma attached to terms like ‘gay’, as the recent rise of alt-right androphiles highlighted.
On the other hand, studies have described millennials as the queerest generation ever, statistics which indicate that today’s students are simply more open to experimentation.