Sexual Flexibility and the Straight Woman

“59 percent of women […] who identified as exclusively straight reported having had fantasies about sex with women.”

For those of you who are members of Skirt Club, or are interested in becoming one, this may not surprise you. After all, you’re here, aren’t you?

For everyone else, this doesn’t mean that you should look around and suddenly think that 2 out of every 3 women you meet are into women, but it tells us something about the way that women are more sexually flexible than many men.

This statistic comes from a massive two-year study on sexual desires completed by Dr Justin Lehmiller of the Kinsey Institute. Over the course of the study 4,175 adults took the time to answer 369 questions covering everything from desire, to orientation, age, religion, political affiliation, and more.

In it, he found that women are more likely to be open to the idea of bisexuality than men; that their amount of sexual fluidity is just a bit higher. The idea that women are generally more sexually flexible or prone to bisexuality is based on genital tests that measures blood flow in response to heterosexual and homosexual porn. And, Lehmiller explains that women (straight-identifying) “showed substantial genital arousal in response to all kinds of porn, regardless of the gender of the actors”.

One explanation, Lehmiller says, is evolutionary and relates to women needing to pair up with one another when their male partners were killed or had gone off to war. This provided extra support to raise children and run a household. A separate cultural theory posits that women may be more sexually flexible because they have a longer imprinting window than men, and therefore are more open to different experiences with different people. However, neither theory has been conclusively proven.

You may think that sexual orientation is similar to sexual flexibility, but they are distinct. We all know gay, straight, asexual, or somewhere in the middle ground of bisexual, but these are not the same as how flexible we can be when it comes to the gender of our partners.

Lehmiller has a great analogy, where he considers sexual orientation as 2 dials, one for attraction to men and one to women. Depending on our sexual orientation, these dials can be turned up to different levels in each individual, and remains relatively stable throughout our lives.

We have a totally separate dial that covers how flexible we are to gender of our partners and our willingness to deviate from what culture and society tells us is sexually acceptable. This means that we can be a straight-identifying woman, and still be sexually attracted to another woman, fantasise about having sex with her, and even follow through, without altering our sexual orientation. This is where Skirt Club comes in, giving the women who are curious a safe and exclusive space to see how sexually flexible they are.

Lehmiller, J.2018. Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life. London: Robinson.

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