The WNBA, Contraception, & Sexuality

WNBA2K21 has the most sexuality diversity of any videogame ever made

Lesbians’ Testosterone > Straight Women’s Testosterone

Imagine if we could do a study comparing the athletic performance of lesbians who aren’t on OCs to straight women who are on OCs…

see Swift-Gallant et al., 2020 — Swift-Gallant, A., Johnson, B. A., Di Rita, V., & Breedlove, S. M. (2020). Through a glass, darkly: Human digit ratios reflect prenatal androgens, imperfectly. Hormones and behavior, 120, 104686.

WNBA Study

There has been a non-heterosexual Big 3 that lead a dynasty in the WNBA (Diana Taurasi [The GOAT], Penny Taylor [bisexual; Taurasi’s wife], & Cappie Pondexter [non-heterosexual]), but there has never been a gay or non-heterosexual Big 3 that lead a dynasty in the NBA.

Stated differently,

there is a difference in sexual orientation diversity between women’s & men’s professional sports.

To be clear, Diana Taurasi is the GOAT and everyone knows this.

Even in college, the greatest women’s teams are more likely to recruit star athletes who happen to be lesbian, bisexual, or non-heterosexual.

For example:

- Diana Taurasi (UCONN) 🐐
- Sue Bird (UCONN)
- Breanna Taylor (UCONN)
- Stefanie Dolson (UCONN)
- Tiffany Hayes (UCONN)
- Renee Montgomery (UCONN)
- Gabby Williams (UCONN)
- etc (UCONN)

Non-straight & non-lesbian are the official codings we used given that (1) it’s easier to rule out one of the monosexual orientations and (2) we don’t allow bisexual erasure in my lab.

WNBA Sexuality & Race

To reiterate → We coded 15 of 28 White WNBA players as lesbian. That means that most White women in the @WNBA are non-heterosexual, even if all 13 unknowns were all straight.

Using WNBA2K 🎮 Rosters

There are many, many gay male couples to stan…” remains impossible to say with the NBA (Cretaz, 2020 — Autostraddle).

The sexuality diversity of the WNBA & absence in the NBA is one of the largest sex differences in sports.

A key challenge in my lab’s WNBA research was determining the sexualities of athletes. Hints such as someone’s marital status and/or kids aren’t given as openly by WNBA players, whereas it pops up in basic Google searches for NBA players (see image below).

It’s like the males want to show it off… which could be considered a sex difference in itself. We had a reality tv show called @BasketballWives but there has never been a “WNBA Husbands” on VH1 or The Bold Type Freeform's (s5e02) - The Crossover ஜ ۩۞۩ ஜ

Moreover, most White men in the NBA aren’t gay. That’s a difference in sexuality diversity & inclusion. It’s a difference in inclusion (something the WNBA has succeeded at in terms of race AND sexuality; NBA has done so with race) because there ARE many gay & bisexual men who play in the NBA & other pro sports but they refrain from coming out due to toxic masculinity.

I’m sure they’d love to open the closet but the hegemonic man-box of toxic masculinity is blocking the door.

Note: there is no significant height difference between lesbians and straight women (Bogaert & Liu, 2013; Coome, 2020)

Some may suggest that the height difference between gay & straight men partially explains the lack of sexuality diversity in the NBA relative to the WNBA.

Even though straight men are generally taller than gay men (Bogaert & Liu, 2013; Skorska & Bogaert, 2017; Coome, 2020), players like Chris Paul — whose team just defeated the defending champion Lakers in the first round — remind us that there is more to success in the NBA than height.

The eye color of lesbians’ lovers tends to resemble their mothers just as the eye color of gay men’s lovers tends to resemble their fathers (Lisa DeBruine et al., 2017). The eye color of heterosexuals’ lovers tends to resemble their opposite-sex parent (Little et al., 2003).

Bisexual Mate Preferences & Egalitarian Courtship

LG allow for the isolation of biological sex.

Bisexuals allow attraction to be treated as a constant.

This is hardly the case, as bisexuals continue to have their friendships. Moreover, LG who are dating/married maintain their friendships with their sex-of-attraction → same-sex friends.

Thus, it is only heterosexuals who seem to have issues maintaining their sex-of-attraction friendships while dating/married.

Sidenotes (The “Assume Direct Quotes” Section)

Conley, 2011: Women and men agreed that female proposers were more intelligent, successful, and sexually skilled than men who made the same proposals.

(Conley et al., 2014)

It is only proposals from men that are disproportionately rejected by bisexual women. Data based on actual encounters suggests that they are turning down offers from men more than they turn down offers from women.

Both bisexual women and bisexual men perceived female proposers as more sexually capable than male proposers. Sexual capabilities are the reason that males are turned down for casual sex more often than females. Thus, the pursuit of sexual pleasure is the dominant force in sexual decision-making among bisexual individuals, just as it is in heterosexual, lesbian, and gay samples (Conley, 2011, Conley, Ziegler, Matsick and Moors, 2014).

Gender differences did not emerge in acceptance rates of actual remembered casual sex offers from women — differences only emerged with regard to actual offers from men.

This is consistent with other research indicating that even gay males don’t want to have penetrative sex with their lovers as much as straight males do with their lovers (de Visser et al., 2003; Grulich et al., 2003; Laumann et al., 1994). Thus, it’s not surprising that bisexual males would also turn down males.

From a mechanistic standpoint, the anatomic features associated with Xy gay and bisexual males may predispose their propensity to desire a form of intercourse that their would-be bisexual male partners may not always desire — as mad evident in this study.

Lesbians’ Lover Sexuality Preferences (Continued))

See also → Matsick, J. L., Kruk, M., Conley, T. D., Moors, A. C., & Ziegler, A. (2021). Gender similarities and differences in casual sex acceptance among lesbian women and gay men. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 50(3), 1151–1166.

Androcentrism/ Masculinity Preference

(Thekla Morgenroth et al., 2021)

Preferences for masculinity also influence how people see bisexuals (Morgenroth et al., 2021). People with androcentric views tend to assume bisexual men secretly prefer men & that bisexual women secretly prefer men… because everyone must apparently prefer men 🤦‍♀️

In addition, bisexual men & women face significant pay discrimination (Mize, 2016), bearing more semblance to the experiences of gay men than lesbians.

Morgenroth, T., & Kirby, T., Maisie J. Cuthbert1 , Jacob Evje1 , and Arielle E. Anderson (2021). Bisexual erasure: Perceived attraction patterns of bisexual women and men. European Journal of Social Psychology.

Two Spaces After A Period for Social Distancing

Performativity & Erasure

Emoji Erasure Chronicles

I recorded an email I sent to the Triton here at UC San Diego & my emoji identity changed upon pressing SEND

Full transcript of the emails from my birthday (May 25th) in the image below:

E1. Also, here is an image of the emoji I’ve added prior to sending this email. Let’s see if identity erasure happens 💁🏻‍♀️

E2. So this time the coding glitch didn’t change my sex but it changed my race, skin tone, hair color, hairstyle (was more symmetrical before), and shirt (the white linen on top of my emoji’s shirt is missing in this erasure version with a solid purple shirt). I mean, this isn’t as bad as facial scanners mistaking Michelle Obama for a man, but it’s a coding glitch that should be corrected as it relates to ppl’s digital identities.

When I list my pronouns in MMORPG as a female avatar, I expect my guildmates to address me with those pronouns, whether it’s a casual chat or we’re fighting a dragon.

Someone’s pronouns, identity, etc should also be reflected in their emoji selection without it glitching 🙇🏻‍♀️

E3. And now I became a male lols

I never use male emojis

Diversity Training Will Be Booming This Autumn

Many of our auto-pilot sensibilities/ courtesies in intergroup relations may have to be relearned given that many monoracial people in racially diverse societies just lived through the least racially diverse year of their lives.

West (2019)

West, K. (2019). Interethnic bias in willingness to engage in casual sex versus committed relationships. The Journal of Sex Research.

Interminority Marriage

Pelody: Interminority marriage was always legal for minorities. Minorities could always legally interracially marry minorities of other races.

Interracial marriage was NEVER 100% banned. Only interracial marriage that included someone White was banned.

White people weren’t legally allowed to marry anyone who wasn’t the same race & minorities weren’t allowed to marry anyone White.

Though in some places this meant a part-White Multiracial person couldn’t legally marry *anyone* because a White person wasn’t allowed to marry anyone who wasn’t White.

Carolyn: That explains why most multiracials prior to the 1960s were interminority whereas today they are mostly half-White 💁🏻‍♀️

Pelody: Correct — White singles are highest on the racial hierarchy of mating preferences & thus are the most desired monoracial group for interracial courtship among non-White monoracials = most multiracial individuals are half-White.

Lauren Davenport, 2018

Of the 2.3 million people who identified with more than one minority group in 2015, 62% chose exactly two races; just 8.7% of all multiple-race identifiers selected three or more racial groups. With the exception of Black-American Indian/Alaska Natives, no other multiple-minority category comprised more than roughly 3% of the overall U.S. multiple-race population.

Black is the category most frequently selected by multiple-minority identifiers, with 56% marking it as one of their races; Asian is the second most commonly chosen category, at 48%. Among those identifying with exactly two minority races, the fastest-growing label is Black-Asian, which rose 85% since 2000.

Lauren Davenport, 2016

Intergenerational Transfer of Religion (moreso than Atheism)

Nones tend to generate additional nones less efficiently than Protestants, Catholics, and Jews do their own kind (Warner 1993, 1077).”

Minna Bromberg (2005) When Are the Two One? Interfaith Couples and Identity Construction

Towards Inclusive Catholicism

I know that my path involves Jesus Christ but that’s not the only path. Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Atheism, Bahai, & other paths are equally valid.

There’s more than one lane on this highway.

Transracial Adoption Patterns (Kreider & Raleigh, 2011)

Contraception Decreases Testosterone

Straight women on oral contraceptives (OC) tend to have worst performance outcomes in collegiate soccer (Bozzini et al., 2020), consistent with research finding that elite female hockey players on OCs also had decreased testosterone levels (Crewther et al., 2015), and may have a greater recovery need after training.”

Conley, T. D. (2011). Perceived proposer personality characteristics and gender differences in acceptance of casual sex offers. Journal of personality and social psychology, 100(2), 309.

Schumm, W. R. (2010). Children of homosexuals more apt to be homosexuals? A reply to Morrison and to Cameron based on an examination of multiple sources of data. Journal of biosocial science, 42(6), 721.

On the Utility of Sports Data (Ertug & Moaret, 2020)

…we believe that our analyses are a good example of the value of open exchange in terms of facilitating scientific progress, especially on important topics such as racial bias.

The Institute of Diversity & Ethics in Sports

WNBA 2020 Report Card (PDF)



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Dr. Jarryd Willis PhD

I'm passionate about making a tangible difference in the lives of others, & that's something I have the opportunity to do a professor & researcher.