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Dev Psychol. 2000 Mar;36(2):241-50.

Sexual identity, attractions, and behavior among young sexual-minority women over a 2-year period.

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Department of Psychology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City 84112-025, USA.


Previous research suggests that the sexual identities, attractions, and behaviors of sexual-minority (i.e., nonheterosexual) women change over time, yet there have been few longitudinal studies addressing this question, and no longitudinal studies of sexual-minority youths. The results of 2-year follow-up interviews with 80 lesbian, bisexual, and "unlabeled" women who were first interviewed at 16-23 years of age are reported. Half of the participants changed sexual-minority identities more than once, and one third changed identities since the first interview. Changes in sexual attractions were generally small but were larger among bisexuals and unlabeled women. Most women pursued sexual behavior consistent with their attractions, but one fourth of lesbians had sexual contact with men between the two interviews. These findings suggest that there is more fluidity in women's sexual identities and behaviors than in their attractions. This fluidity may stem from the prevalence of nonexclusive attractions among sexual-minority women.

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