Bisexual courtship adds the nuance of dual-sex courtship, but plural courtship itself is the norm

⁠Lesbians show sensitivity for women’s faces (not men’s) during ovulation (Brinsmead-Stockham et al., 2008) & straight men respond to many ovulatory cues (Haselton, 2018).

⁠Thus, lesbians & straight men may compete for ⁠#bisexual​ women. ⁠

When a #bisexual male was the target of intersexual competition, “both women and their gay male rivals directed their behaviors towards the target man, rather than toward each other” (Semenyna et al., 2020).

Intrasexual Competition

Since women’s faces look more feminine during ovulation (Oberzaucher et al., 2012), ovulating women are less likely to wear sexy items to outcompete ‘average women’ for mates (Kristina Durante et al., 2011).

However, Durante et al. (2011) also found that ovulating women are more likely to wear sexy items if ‘attractive women’ (Maner & McNulty, 2013) are competing for the same high-quality men (Rosvall, 2011).

Durante, K. M., Griskevicius, V., Hill, S. E., Perilloux, C., & Li, N. P. (2011). Ovulation, female competition, and product choice: Hormonal influences on consumer behavior. Journal of Consumer Research, 37(6), 921–934.

Bisexual Friendships

Bisexual-heterosexual friendship pairs also experienced a shift in the friendship dynamic based on the sex of the bisexual friend’s partner (Galupo et al., 2004).

Bisexual women with a male friend

→ the friendship maintained a focus on the similarity between friends. This operated as a default for the friendship dynamic as the friendship would maintain this focus, even if the bisexual woman was not partnered.

Bisexual women with a straight female friend

→ the friendship shifted toward a focus on the difference between friends and bisexuality became acknowledged openly (much like lesbian-heterosexual friendships). This shift mediated the way in which relationships were discussed in the friendship, the perception of similarity between friends, as well as the support the bisexual woman felt in the friendship.

Bisexual women with a lesbian female friend

→ research has documented lesbians’ change in perception toward bisexual women when they are dating men versus women (Esterberg, 1997)

The subtle ways in which bisexuality is negotiated in bisexual-heterosexual friendships illustrates the ways in which sexism, heterosexism, and biphobia uniquely shape the friendship experiences of bisexual women. It is important to note that the shifting of the friendship dynamic in bisexual-heterosexual pairs occurred on the basis of the sex of the bisexual woman’s partner–not on the basis of a shifting identity (Galupo, Sailer, & St. John, 2004).

In reality, the shift may be best understood as being mediated by the bisexual woman’s behavior when it makes evident her same-sex desire.

  • The shift in friendship dynamic between bisexual-heterosexual friends, then, does not become activated with shifts in identity. Rather, it is attached to the “behavior” of the bisexual woman. Further, this behavioral criterion is established within a sexist/heterosexist context. The shift occurs when the bisexual woman violates the heterosexist norm by making behaviorally tangible her same-sex desire.

Straight Women’s Same-Sex Sexual Behavior

Research suggests that heterosexual women sometimes engage in sexual activity with other women when they are in monogamous relationships with men (Lannutti & Denes, 2012; Rupp & Taylor, 2010).

Women do not find men’s same-sex sexual behavior as erotic as men find women’s (Nyberg & Alston, 1977; Weiderman & LaMar, 1998).

Women report engaging in sexual behavior with other women for a multitude of reasons, including to express or experiment with same-sex desire, to fit in with the college party scene, and to gain male attention (Rupp & Taylor, 2010).

Women may also have a greater propensity for sexual fluidity, and thus heterosexual-identified women may find themselves desiring same-sex interactions, especially college-aged women (Lisa Diamond, 2008; Lannutti & Denes, 2012).

Performativity & Erasure

Heterosexual women who engage in performative same-sex kissing for a male audience contribute to the invalidation of those who identify as bisexual (Boyer & Galupo, 2015). “Additionally, women who kissed women are significantly more likely to be perceived as heterosexual than either bisexual or lesbian. Thus, even when same-sex sexual encounters occur they are perceived as heterosexual performance.

Gendered Exchange Pattern

Straight women value income more highly than physical appearance compared to men (Hitsch, Hortaçsu, and Ariely 2010) whereas straight men value attractiveness more than how much money she makes (Fisman et al. 2006; Li et al. 2002; Li and Kenrick 2006).

Note: men’s devaluation of women’s income is associated with hegemonic patriarchal norms of Xy socialization relative to XX

Lesbians deemphasize physical and economic characteristics of their potential dating partners & put less emphasis on race than straight women (Deaux and Hanna 1984).

Heterosexuals operate under strong same-group homophily preferences and behaviors (Feliciano et al., 2011; Hitsch, Hortaçsu, and Ariely 2010).

Straight white women exhibit more rigid race boundaries than straight white men (Fisman et al. 2006; Feliciano, Lee, and Robnett 2011; Lin and Lundquist 2013; Robnett and Feliciano 2011; Tsunokai, Kposowa, and Adams 2009).

Straights operate under strong same-group homophily preferences and behaviors (Feliciano, Lee, and Robnett 2011; Hitsch, Hortaçsu, and Ariely 2010).

Makeup application tends to mimic our biological predilections (Toledano, 2013):
- foundation satisfies the preference for smooth, homogenous skin (Grammar et al., 2003)
- concealer camouflages blueish tones that detract from facial attractiveness (Fink et al., 2001)
- blush increases skin saturation, which is perceived as “attractive and healthy”
- and lipstick creates the desired luminance contrast between skin and lip color (Stephen, 2010)

Biology largely determines physical attraction toward certain physical characteristics (i.e., heterosexual males preferences toward wider hipped females for reproductive reasons), sexual attraction is socially determined (Charles, 2011; Lewis, Russell, Al-Shawaf, & Buss, 2015). Social and cultural factors like educational attainment, socioeconomic status, and age influence the perception of desirability, while geographical and political factors influence the availability and accessibility of partners. According to social exchange theory, mate selection is based on a calculation to maximize rewards and minimize costs (Emerson, 1976). Rewards in mate selection might include things like resources, companionship, and even social status (Posner, 1992). For example, in a society that values wealth and prestige, one might see an individual striving to find a partner with a highly respected occupation.


Amato and Rogers (1997): infidelity makes an independent contribution to the prediction of divorce, regardless of which spouse was perceived as having caused the problem and regardless of whether husbands or wives were the respondents.

People’s responses to the threat of infidelity appear to reflect locally relevant risks and benefits (Scelza et al., 2019)

The younger people are when they begin a relationship, the more likely they are to experience infidelity in that relationship (Amato & Rogers, 1997; Atkins et al., 2001).

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