"Why are women so turned on by watching other women?" asks a doctor in a story on women and bisexuality in the New York Times. The story, pegged to the screening of a new documentary called "Bi the Way," explores the idea that women's sexuality is more fluid than men's -- something that most of us understand anecdotally, whether from pop-culture reports of dalliances between Lindsay Lohan and Samantha Ronson or from simply logging a little time in college dorms.
The story relates research into what turns on heterosexual women -- it's not watching naked athletic men doing yoga, for one thing, though I could have told you that and saved some of those hard-earned research dollars. What's key to cranking hetero females' dials is sensuality -- images of masturbation, of couples having sex, regardless of their gender. And yet, when one researcher asked subjects to rate their arousal to watching certain videos, both gay and straight women rated videos of other women highest. One doctor suggests that there "may greater potential for bisexuality in women than in men."
Women's sexuality is certainly fascinating, and complicated. In Mary Roach's recent "Bonk," about science and sex, she talks about the fact that women were turned on by bonobo porn. "Women are really indiscriminate in what they respond to, which is totally counterintuitive," she said in a Salon interview. "It doesn't matter who is having sex in the video, women have a physiological response."