According a survey by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over the past decades, more and more Americans are reporting sexually fluid behavior. That means more people are identifying as bisexual, and more are saying they've had same-sex sexual encounters.
The CDC released a report detailing the results of its 2011–2013 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) Thursday. The findings include responses from nearly 10,000 Americans aged 15–44.
According to the CDC, that shift is especially remarkable when it comes to women's same-sex experiences, and bisexuality:
Significantly higher percentages of women in the 2011–2013 NSFG reported ever having had same-sex sexual contact (17.4%) compared with women in the 2006–2010 NSFG (14.2%), and higher percentages of women (5.5%) and men (2.0%) in the 2011–2013 NSFG said they were bisexual compared with women (3.9%) and men (1.2%) in the 2006–2010 NSFG.
Sexuality expert Ritch Savin-Williams told NJ Advance Media that the changes likely don't signify that more people are bisexual now than in the early aughts, just that people are more comfortable discussing their sexuality today. "I never take this as a change in actual sexuality," he explained, adding, "I always think of it as reflecting permission—that women now have greater permission to say they have some sexual attraction to other women."
Most Americans continue to identify as straight: 75.9% of women aged 18-24 said they are only attracted to men, and 88.6 percent of men in that age range said they are only attracted to women. This last statistic is, however, a departure. "I’ve never seen that figure below 90 percent,” said Savin-Williams.
If this is our great sexual revolution, it's a very slow one.
Danielle Wiener-Bronner is a news reporter.