Meet the flexisexuals - girls who kiss girls, but like boys
It all started when Madonna kissed Britney Spears on stage, followed by Katy Perry who sang a song about a girl she kissed – and now it seems the 'flexisexuality' trend is fast catching up.sex and relationships Updated: Feb 24, 2011 16:20 IST
It all started when Madonna kissed Britney Spears on stage, followed by Katy Perry who sang a song about a girl she kissed – and now it seems the 'flexisexuality' trend is fast catching up.
The new word has been coined for the growing number of straight women who flirt with bisexuality. It refers to people who have a sexual preference but refuse to be bound by it.
Pop culture, itself, seems to celebrate that flexibility in songs like Katie Perry's I Kissed a Girl [and I Liked It], a song that 19-year-old Alisha Garrison said "made girls be more free to do whatever they want,” reports ABC News.
Flexisexual is also known as heteroflexible, pansexual or queer, all subtle variations that mean they are not closing any doors.
Other examples from the entertainment industry include Lindsay Lohan who was dating DJ Samantha Ronson, insisting she wasn’t a lesbian but bisexual, Drew Barrymore, who said, "Being with a woman is like exploring your own body, but through someone else."
A recent ABC report from San Antonio, Texas, said flexisexuality is also part of the high school culture.
A 2003 study from Northwestern University found that compared with men, women's sexual arousal patterns may be less tightly connected to their sexual orientation and more "flexible."
Some like to do it to attract boys’ attention and simply like to live up to the manage-a-trois fantasy of the men they seek to please.
And some think it even "indirectly mocks" the gay community, according to Caleb Fox, a 20-year-old from the University of Texas.
"Straight men really like the idea of two 'hot' girls making out," he said.
"And because I don't think these 'flexisexuals' are really lesbians, it doesn't seem that they're actually seeking a romantic relationship with another woman -- it's more about a show. And from a feminist standpoint it continues the objectification of women."
Lisa Diamond, associate professor of gender studies at University of Utah, has been studying the topic for years, and confirms women are, indeed, more flexible in their sexuality and for a variety of cultural, and perhaps biological, reasons.
"I think there is a growing awareness of the fact that you don't have to be 100 percent gay to have the capacity to enjoy same-sex contact," said Diamond, who is author of the 2008 book, ‘Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women's Love and Desire.’
"In the old days, any instance of same-sex attraction was automatically put in the category of bisexual or lesbian and now we realize women are more complicated than that," she said.
"There are more examples floating around in popular culture, and the term reflects that."
She added that women's capacity for fluidity has always existed, but only now has society had a cultural understanding after collecting data from around the world.
Men appear to be more "rigid" in their sexuality but that may be because society is more judgmental, according to Diamond.
"Although we find it titillating when girls kiss girls and see images of same-sex sexuality being marketed to a heterosexual male audience, it's not viewed as threatening and alarming," she said. "We don't see the same cultural permission for men."