Bisexual women more likely to report experiencing nonconsensual sex: CDC study

Bisexual women more likely to report experiencing nonconsensual sex: CDC study
© Getty Images

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study released Thursday found bisexual women to be more likely to report experiencing male-perpetrated, "nonvoluntary or forced" vaginal intercourse in their lifetime than heterosexual women.

The analysis determined that 36.1 percent of bisexual women reported instances of nonvoluntary or forced sex, compared to 17.5 percent of heterosexual women and 18.2 percent of women who identified as lesbian or gay.

In total, 18.7 percent of an aggregated sample of 14,309 women said they experienced nonvoluntary or forced sex. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Researchers used the National Survey of Family Growth, which involved interviews with women between the ages 18 and 44 years old from 2011 to 2017, to define "nonvoluntary sex" as when a woman reported not choosing to have vaginal intercourse “of your own free will.” Sex was considered "forced" when a woman was “forced by a male to have vaginal intercourse against your will.” 

Women who reported attraction to both the opposite and same sex were also more likely to report instances of nonvoluntary or forced sex, or 30.3 percent. In comparison, 15.8 percent of those who were sexually attracted to the opposite sex reported nonvoluntary or forced sex situations.

More than 35 percent of women who experienced sexual behavior with both the opposite and same sex said they endured nonvoluntary or forced sex, while 15.9 percent of women who had only had sex with the opposite sex said the same.

Women unsure of their sexual attraction were 3.7 times more likely than those only attracted to the opposite sex to report nonvoluntary first vaginal intercourse. 

The CDC’s report also found that women who identified as lesbian or bisexual and women who reported attraction to the same sex only were more likely to have endured nonvoluntary first vaginal intercourse.

Nonheterosexual women, on average were also more likely to have experienced nonvoluntary or forced sex at an earlier age. Lesbian and bisexual women reported their earliest instance of nonvoluntary or forced sex at 12.7 years old and 15.7 years old, respectively. The average earliest age for heterosexual women was 17 years old. 

ADVERTISEMENT

“These findings underscore the need for comprehensive prevention approaches tailored for sexual minority women and prevention of child sexual abuse, given the average ages at earliest nonvoluntary or forced sex experience among sexual minority women,” the report said.

Previous studies have combined subgroups of LGBT women, making it difficult to distinguish any differences.

“Understanding harmful attitudes toward bisexual women in relation to sexual victimization and perpetration might help explain this higher prevalence ratio for bisexual women,” the study said. 

The study did not account for female-perpetrated nonvoluntary or forced sex, other types of penetration, or nonpenetration forms of sexual violence.