“Straight, Gay, or Lying” is dead and buried.

In 2005, the New York Times published an article with a catchy headline that sent waves through the LGBT world.  Titled Straight, Gay, or Lying,” the article reported on a study by researchers at Northwestern University that failed to find 50/50 arousal patterns in a specific sample of men.  Of course there is no requirement for bisexuals to be attracted to men and women in exactly the same way.  Of course showing men pornography and measuring their erections is an imperfect measure of sexuality at best.  Of course one sample of men is not representative of all men. Unfortunately, none of those important details, details that the scientists themselves pointed out, spoke loudly enough to drown out the power of that sound bite.  Such is the nature communication in our media-saturated world.

Biphobic gays and lesbians read the article and smugly felt their stereotypes and prejudices confirmed.  Bi people read the story and felt further victimized by a scientific establishment with a long history of misunderstanding bisexuality.  Bisexuals are by far the largest population with same-sex attraction and yet scientific studies of same-sex attraction typically approached the subject as if bisexuals were a rare anomaly or did not exist.   Fortunately, good science doesn’t stop asking questions and gets things right in the end.   The controversy over the study helped spur new research which found that – surprise! – bisexuality exists.  It even exists in measurable forms.

Click here to see the results discussed in an excerpt from the documentary “By The Way”

In 2014, the New York Times finally published a retraction of sorts with a story titled “The Scientific Quest to Prove Bisexuality Exists” and featured it on the cover of their weekly magazine.



Ian Lawrence
Ian is a Director of the American Institute of Bisexuality and heads amBi, a growing network of socially-focused bi communities.