A new genetic study has suggested bisexual men tend to be more open to risk-taking behaviour in life and also father more children than men in committed same-sex relationships.
A new University of Michigan study published in Science Advances delves into the genetic factors associated with male bisexuality. Analyzing data from 450,000 U.K. Biobank participants, the researchers identified genes linked to bisexuality that appear distinct from those related to exclusive homosexual attraction. Interestingly, these genes also showed connections to risk-taking behaviour.
The study suggests that the “bi-related” genes, intertwined with a propensity for taking risks, might explain why bisexual men tend to father more children than men in committed same-sex relationships, though still fewer than heterosexual men. This, the researchers propose, could explain the persistence of genes associated with bisexual behaviour through the generations.
While the findings offer insight into the biological underpinnings of sexual orientation, they have ignited controversy. Concerns abound that linking bisexuality with risk-taking could perpetuate harmful stereotypes and fuel discrimination against bisexual individuals.
Lead author Jianzhi Zhang emphasizes the lack of judgment behind the research: “We believe [risk-taking] has pros and cons (depending on the situation), as almost any trait.” The study itself underscores the aim to diversify our understanding of human sexuality, not to justify discrimination.
However, critiques point to limitations in the research. Catherine Saunders of the University of Cambridge argues that the focus on sexual history, rather than self-identified bisexuality, might misrepresent lived experiences. Additionally, the predominantly older data participants, who grew up in a more stigmatized environment, could skew responses.
Acknowledging these limitations, Zhang maintains the importance of exploring this complex topic. He highlights the ongoing debate about the discreteness or continuity of sexual orientation, questioning whether homosexuality and bisexuality share the same or distinct genetic bases.
Ultimately, the study adds a thought-provoking layer to the tapestry of research on sexual orientation. While cautious interpretation and further investigation are vital, understanding the biological factors influencing sexuality can ultimately contribute to greater acceptance and inclusivity for diverse individuals within the LGBTQ+ community.
Last Updated on Jan 11, 2024