Research published in Journal of Sex Research It was intended to determine if listeners could tell if a man was bisexual based on his voice alone. The findings show that people cannot tell if a man is bisexual based on his voice alone. Additionally, when people heard gay, heterosexual, and bisexual male voices, bisexual males were perceived as being the most masculine of all the speakers they heard.
Bisexuality is often ignored in discourse on sexual orientation, leading to “bisexual erasure”, where bisexuality is often perceived as a temporary phase or an illicit sexual identity. This erasure has led to a lack of bisexual-focused research and increased invisibility and isolation among bisexual individuals, with further implications for discrimination and social cohesion.
Previous studies have identified certain vocal characteristics that are common in gay men. These features include higher pitches, wider pitch ranges, longer vowels, expanded vowel spacing, and more accurate pronunciation.
However, these vocal cues may be influenced by social and biological factors related to sexual orientation, but their application to bisexuality has not been extensively studied. Previous research suggests that bisexual men often fall somewhere between gay and heterosexual men in terms of self-reported and observer-reported masculinity and femininity, leading the researchers to hypothesize that bisexual men sound more feminine than heterosexual men, but less feminine than gay men.
Being able to identify bisexuality from a male voice has important social implications. It may increase vulnerability to discrimination, but may also help reduce feelings of exclusion and marginalization.
James Morandini of the University of Sydney and colleagues recruited 160 participants (80 men and 80 women) for their study, listening to audio samples of 60 men (20 identifying as gay, 20 identifying as bisexual, and 20 identifying as heterosexual) and asked them to rate their perceived sexual orientation on a scale of 0 (predominantly heterosexual) to 10 (predominantly heterosexual). Listeners also rated the perceived level of femininity or masculinity in the speech on a visual analogue scale.
A male speaker was asked to recite the first two lines of the Australian national anthem and record his own voice using a smartphone. Speech samples were then prepared by removing background noise and normalizing volume levels to ensure consistency.
The results showed that listeners could distinguish between gay and heterosexual male voices with 62% accuracy, which was consistent with previous research. However, listeners could not distinguish between bisexual male voices and heterosexual male voices with any degree of accuracy. The study also found that female listeners could identify gay male voices more accurately than male listeners.
The researchers found that bisexual male voices were perceived to be exclusively female-attractive compared to homosexual and heterosexual male voices. Bisexual male voices were also rated as more masculine than gay male voices and heterosexual male voices.
The authors of this study discussed the implications of their findings for understanding the relationship between voice and sexual orientation. They pointed out that the results of this study suggest that the perceptual and vocal features that enable listeners to identify homosexual male voices may not be present in bisexual male voices. The authors also noted that the results of this study question the assumption that bisexual male voices are a mixture of gay and heterosexual male voices.
This study had several limitations, which the authors acknowledged. One limitation is that this study only included Australian participants, which may limit the generalizability of the study results to other cultures. Another limitation is that this study did not control the recording environment or microphone-to-mouth distance, which could affect the quality of the speech samples. The authors also noted that the use of smartphone recordings in this study limited the frequency range of the audio samples, which may have excluded important spectral features of the speaker’s voice.
Overall, this study contributes to our understanding of the relationship between voice and sexual orientation, and highlights the need for further research to investigate the perceptual speech and vocal features that enable listeners to identify homosexual and bisexual male voices. Bisexual men are less likely to be identified by verbal conversation and are less susceptible to discrimination. However, they may have misidentified their sexuality.
the study, “Can listeners tell if a man is bisexual just by his voice?was written by James S. Morandini, Damian Beckman-Scott, Catherine Madir, and Ilan Dar Nimrod.