I read recently, in a fantastic book called A Billion Wicked Thoughts, about emerging science on sexual response that showed that most women (about 70%) would show physical signs of arousal when watching both straight porn or girl/girl porn. Men, in contrast, showed little sexual arousal form male/male porn (aside form those participants who where gay). This lead to lots of discussion in the sex community about female sexual fluidity and women being bisexual in greater proportions to men.
This led to two streams of discussion: (i) women are bisexual in high proportions; and/or (ii) women get aroused by images of sex, no matter what those images are.
My wife and I followed this debate with interest because while my wife identifies as bisexual and believes a high proportion of woman are bi, she does not feel arousal at all forms of sexual images. She likes both straight and girl/girl porn, but there are MANY types of porn that she does not enjoy.
So… Dan Savage interviewed Dr Meridith Chivers on his podcast this week. She is a professor at Queen’s University and she has been studying female sexual response. She was intrigued by the fact that so many women exhibited sexual response at both girl/girl and straight porn. She set out to test the theory that women were, in fact, merely turned on by all sexual images. It turns out they are not. In Dr Chivers’ study, she measured sexual arousal to BDSM images and stories. It turns out that, despite the overt sexual themes, only those who are into BDSM enjoy images and stories about it.
So what does this mean? Women are not turned on by all sexual images. They are turned on by what they like. It seems they like girl/girl sex a lot more than their stated sexual orientation would have supposed they would. They like BDSM a lot less — at pretty much the same rate as their professed enjoyment of BDSM.