A groundbreaking 2015 study at Cornell University, USA, summarily established genderfluidity, and amongst others, strongly suggested the non-existence of totally straight (heterosexual) people. It also shed light on other crucial physiological phenomena, long raised pertaining to homosexuals and was rigorous, ambitious and integral in its grand scheme. Despite this, it received little to no mainstream media attention and even the alternative media coverage was sporadic.

In the study, when sample men and women were shown provocative and potentially sexually arousing images of either gender, almost all of them exhibited an appreciable degree of arousal (evidenced and mensurated by eye pupil enlargement, an indicator of stimulation) with both of them. That is, near-everyone, even those who identified (claimed) as 100% straight, sexually reacted in at least a finite iota, to pornographic material which contained images of both male and female nudity and sexual acts, separately.

“We’ve always recognised mostly straight women, that is, women who mostly are straight but if the right woman comes along, well maybe she’ll try it out.”

Particularly women, were proven to possess a complex sexuality, not strictly within, let alone on, the monopoles of ‘hetero’ and ‘homo’ labels.

The opening lines to the Abstract of the research report says, “Studies with volunteers in sexual arousal experiments suggest that women are, on average, physiologically sexually aroused to both male and female sexual stimuli. Lesbians are the exception because they tend to be more aroused to their preferred sex than the other sex, a pattern typically seen in men.”

Ritch C. Savin-Williams is the director of Developmental Psychology and the director of the Sex and Gender Lab in the Department of Human Development at Cornell University.

In an interview with the media platform Vice, he was quoted as stating, “It’s basically a study that assesses sexual orientation by looking at the eyes and whether they dilate or not. You can’t control your eye dilation. Essentially, that’s what the whole project attempts to get at, another way of assessing sexuality without relying on self report. Another way of course is genital arousal, but that gets a little invasive.”

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“I’m certainly not surprised,” added Savin-Williams. “We’re trying to get at the way people really are. Sometimes, it seems people are one way but believe they have to report themselves in another way, and that’s not good.”

Well-documented instances of homosexuality (besides others) litter the pages of history, the earliest dating back to Ancient Greece.

The spontaneous, and in the general sense, an involuntary phenomenon, of eye dilation upon encountering an arousing stimulus, was used in this study, itself a part of an elaborate project, which seeks to uncover the full fabric and true nature of human sexuality, and give the deepest insight and broadest outlook possible. Orthodoxy and so-called conventional wisdom have long established the gender dichotomy, that is there are only two genders. This is not the mean the historic non-occurrence of queer behaviour in recorded history. Well-documented instances of (most prominently) homosexuality (besides others) litter the pages of history, the earliest dating back to Ancient Greece.

Also read: The Horror Of Sex Verification In Sports

He attributes people’s impetus to inaccurately self-report sexuality, mainly to overwhelmingly abundant social factors, and all-pervasive conventional pressure.

“We’ve always recognised mostly straight women, that is, women who mostly are straight but if the right woman comes along, well maybe she’ll try it out. We used to think that was only a female phenomenon. We show straight men a picture of a woman masturbating and they respond just like a straight guy, but then you also show them a guy masturbating and their eyes dilate a little bit. So we’re actually able to show physiologically that all guys are not either gay, straight, or bi. There are aspects [of male sexuality] along a continuum, just as we have always recognized with women. Men have gotten so much cultural crap put on them that even if a man does have some sexual attraction to guys, they would never say it.”, he says.

In spite of the copious social influence, Savin-Williams is hopeful of contemporary constructive changes and onset of reform.

Also read: Could Androgyny In Fashion Help Build A Genderfluid Society?

“I do see this loosening of the boundaries, I think that’s happening for both sexes. It’s probably a good thing, because it gives kids growing up more diversity, more options, so they don’t feel like they have to fit in [at all costs]. Straight women and straight men feel much more comfortable than ever before in going into the realm of the other sex in terms of gender role and how they act.”


2. Vice

Featured Image Source: Medium

About the author(s)

Pitamber Kaushik is a columnist, journalist, writer and aspiring knowledge curator. He is a fervent environmentalist and identifies as Utopian Socialist.

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