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That may sound unlikely, but as researchers are discovering, a person's sexual orientation is not carved in stone. In her influential book Sexual Fluidity, psychology professor Lisa M. Diamond chronicled her research on 80 nonheterosexual women over a period of 10 years. During that time, Diamond discovered, a significant number of the women had reported changing their sexual orientation.
The most frequent cause for the U-turn? The "switchers" had fallen in love with a member of the opposite sex. These women were not unhappy being lesbians , but love, it seems, really can conquer all — including a person's lifelong sexual orientation up to the moment when she falls hard for someone of a previously ignored gender. The research on men shows somewhat less flexibility. But Diamond and other researchers have compiled numerous case studies of gay men who spent years feeling and acting fully and comfortably homosexual, only then to fall unexpectedly in love with a heterosexual woman.
What It's Like To Be A Lesbian Couple With A 20-Plus-Year Age Difference
Recently, I interviewed two people who went through this sexual upheaval late in life themselves. Both said they had never even considered falling in love with someone of the same — or opposite — gender until they reached their 50s or 60s.
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Only at that relatively late stage in life did they undergo startling degree turns in their sexual orientation. While the facts of each case are accurate, I've used pseudonyms at the subjects' request.
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Violet — a tall, striking woman of 60 with snow-white hair — had never married, but she had enjoyed major love affairs with men. Intensely dedicated to her career, she became a TV executive at age After her last relationship with a man ended in her 40s, Violet says she "gave up on love. A marketing expert, Susan was in a pleasant but not passionate heterosexual marriage at the time. She valued her extended family — husband, two children and their spouses, and four grandchildren — more than anything else.
Susan had never been unfaithful. She had never been attracted to another woman.
How Large Can the Age Difference Be in a Lesbian, Gay or Straight Relationship?
But from the moment she and Violet began working together on a project, sparks flew, shocking both women. A physical relationship of 12 years ensued. When Violet finally admitted to herself that the two women would never enjoy a fully realized partnership, she ended the relationship. Susan's husband knew about his wife's involvement and tolerated it, but neither he nor Susan was willing to jeopardize their close-knit family relations.
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Violet loved Susan with all her heart, but she did not define herself as gay in the wake of the affair — nor has she become involved in another same-sex relationship since. Her "sexual turnaround" applied to Susan and Susan alone.
Ned had been gay his entire adult life. Though he had a few sexual relationships with women in high school, he never thought of himself as heterosexual or even bisexual: Ned liked women, but he loved men.
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When he was 29, Ned fell deeply in love with Gerry, a man 10 years older. They remained a couple for 23 years, which included getting married in , the year California first permitted same-sex unions. Like most spouses, Ned and Gerry had their ups and downs, but they always considered their marriage rock-solid.
Then, turmoil: Gerry was falsely accused of improprieties at work. Eventually, he was exonerated, but Gerry's legal defense took a toll — both personally and financially — on the couple. To help restock their coffers, Ned entered graduate school, where he started spending a lot of time with fellow students. Before long, he had fallen deeply in love with one of them, a woman named Elsa. Digital dating: Date Author Davis, Eden Morris. Metadata Show full item record.
Abstract Online dating is a common way for older, gay, and lesbian adults to find a romantic partner, yet little is known about their dating motivations and self-presentations. Adults of different ages, genders, and sexual orientations may have different approaches to dating and presenting themselves online. Using a mixed method approach in three studies, this dissertation examines thousands of dating profiles randomly sampled from two popular dating websites and various regions of the US.
Research shows attraction can be fluid when love is involved
The first two studies examine the dating profiles of older and younger gay, lesbian, and heterosexual adults. Study 2 examines the degree to which adults discuss and display their bodies and sexuality. Study 3 utilizes a separate dataset of older gay, lesbian, and heterosexual adults and focuses on common profile content and potential regional differences in profile content. Results revealed that older adults were more focused on close social ties in their profiles, while younger adults were focused on the self and were more likely to post different types of photographs.
Further, older adults were just as likely as younger adults to discuss sexuality in their profiles, but less likely to display their bodies in photographs.