Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in final edited form as: Int J Sex Health. 2019 ; 31(3): 339–349. doi:10.1080/19317611.2019.1628156.


Author manuscript Int J Sex Health. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2021 May 06.


Objective: To assess differences in sexual wellbeing among men and women with exclusively heterosexual, mostly heterosexual, and bisexual attractions. Method: An anonymous online survey in a convenience sample of 597 young adults (394 women, 203 men; average age = 20.04) assessed patterns of sexual attraction, desire, sexual functioning, and sexual satisfaction using validated questionnaires. Results: Individuals with mostly heterosexual attractions reported significantly higher solitary sexual desire than exclusively heterosexual individuals (women: d = 0.64; men: d = 0.68). Partnered sexual desire did not differ between groups. Women with exclusively heterosexual attractions reported significantly higher sexual functioning and satisfaction than either mostly heterosexual or bisexually attracted women (functioning: d = 0.29; satisfaction: d = 0.47). Men with mostly heterosexual attractions reported significantly lower sexual functioning than either exclusively heterosexual or bisexually attracted men (d = 0.40). Conclusions: There were significant differences between exclusively vs. mostly heterosexual individuals in several aspects of sexual wellbeing, supporting the assertion that mostly heterosexual may constitute a distinct orientation. Taken together with prior research showing higher rates of sexual dysfunction in bisexual women, these findings highlight sexual health disparities among nonmonosexual women. Efforts to support the sexual wellbeing of sexual minority individuals should include consideration of mostly heterosexual individuals, as this population may have unique sexual health needs.

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