CDC: More Young Americans Are Open With Their Sexuality

A new CDC report reveals a shift in the way Americans think about sexual orientation.

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If you know any 18-year-olds that returned from their first semester at college this year, announcing their pansexuality, you’re probably not alone.

According to new national survey data from the CDC, same-sex attraction is a growing trend among young Americans.

The report on data collected between 2011 and 2013, released today, suggests that men and women aged 18 to 44 in the United States no longer think in terms of absolutes when discussing sexuality.

Men, for example, are now more likely to say they are mostly attracted — rather than only attracted, as in previous years — to the opposite sex. In particular, younger Americans aged 18-24 were more likely to do so than those aged 25-44.

In general, the survey’s findings on sexual behavior, attraction, and orientation are similar to the results from the report on data from 2006-2010, but the findings on orientation represent a major shift in the way Americans think about sexuality. The trend follows a recent wave of high-profile celebrities publicly discussing bisexuality and pansexuality.

This time around, more women reported having had same-sex sexual contact (17.4 percent) than in the previous survey (14.2 percent). Bisexuality is becoming increasingly common, with 5.5 percent of women and 2 percent of men identifying as such compared to 3.9 percent and 1.2 percent of women in the previous survey.

Interest in "pansexuality" has increased substantially in recent years, according to Google Trends data.

Google Trends

The results could suggest that the new generation of American adults are more accepting of, or at least more comfortable with, the idea of same-sex relationships as well as the concept of gender fluidity.

While more data is needed to confirm this, the findings are in line with the uptick in interest in pansexuality — a term that describes a broader type of attraction that isn’t particularly gendered — especially among American youth.

Read the full report here: “Sexual Behavior, Sexual Attraction, and Sexual Orientation Among Adults Aged 18–44 in the United States: Data From the 2011–2013 National Survey of Family Growth.”

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