You know how we usually say “it’s just what I feel inside” when it comes to describing what or who we find attractive? Well, according to a study out of Notre Dame University, it seems external factors (i.e. our physical attractiveness) may have something to do with it after all.
The study, titled “Romantic opportunities appear to influence women’s sexual identities, but not men’s,” was presented to the American Sociological Association by Dr. Elizabeth Aura McClintock. She tracked 5,018 women and 4,191 men as they progressed from early adolescence to young adulthood. This translates to 16 years old (wave I), 22 (wave III) and 28 (wave IV).
In following these men and women, McClintock uncovered that women “initially successful in partnering with men” were way more likely to self-identify as 100 per cent heterosexual. And those same women who are beautiful and have heaps of male suitors were also reported to not ever feel the urge to explore a different sexual identity.
What was also compelling about this study was that women were more open to sexual fluidity based on their circumstances. Which is to say, McClintock found that women with less romantic opportunities fresh out the gate were more likely to entertain other sexualities. But she’s not claiming homosexuality is a choice:
“I do not think that women are strategically selecting an advantageous sexual identity or that they can ‘choose’ whether they find men, women, or both sexually attractive. Rather, social context and romantic experience might influence how they perceive and label their sexual identity.”
In summation, this study believes conventional attractiveness leads to a wealth of male companionship (I get sooooo many phone numbers at the club), while deviations from conventional beauty create barriers (I don’t have men cat calling me on the street so maybe I like women?). It is those barriers, this study reveals, that lead to more fluid sexuality. Huh.