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Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women's Love and Desire
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Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women's Love and Desire

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  433 ratings  ·  73 reviews
Is love "blind" when it comes to gender? For women, it just might be. This unsettling and original book offers a radical new understanding of the context-dependent nature of female sexuality. Lisa Diamond argues that for some women, love and desire are not rigidly heterosexual or homosexual but fluid, changing as women move through the stages of life, various social groups ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 28th 2008 by Harvard University Press
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Fun fact about the author: Lisa is a faculty member in my department, and in addition to being a ridiculously prolific researcher, she is an outstanding baker. (At high altitudes, no less!). This includes everything from whatever her grad students request as their special birthday treat to transgender ginger people before winter break.

Back to the book: fantastic. The moral of the story is that for decades, researchers treated a large segment of women as "noise" in their sexuality work: the women
Ms. Online
EBB, FLOW - Review By Hanne Blank

WHAT TO MAKE OF COLLEGE women who are “lesbian until graduation”? Or straight married women who suddenly fall in love with other women? For that matter, what about queeridentified women— Anne Heche, anyone?— who wind up with men? Perhaps they’re really bisexual or “confused” or maybe they were simply repressed or closeted. Alarmists might imagine them victims of predatory dykes and Stockholm syndrome. Or, as University of Utah psychologist Lisa Diamond suggests
Diamond asks a number of questions: why do women seem to experience more fluidity in their sexual attractions and involvements over their lives than males do--- and what does such fluidity say about the categories (gay, straight, bi) that society seems to insist on? She also raises a number of very intriguing issues: why do we insist that anything that changes or shifts, that can be described as a 'phase', is somehow 'inauthentic' or false? Diamond looks at a ten year (1995-2005) sample of women ...more
So many methodological problems with this book I don't even know what to say. If you know anything about setting up a good study, you know this is not a good study and then you feel bad because this woman devoted 10 years to creating a pretty worthless study.

Outcomes synthesis: many white, affluent, educated, gay/bi women who fantasized/slept with/were attracted to both sexes in college were still somewhat ambivalent about their sexual preferences/fantasies/partner genders later in life.

Hats off to Lisa Diamond for this book. Even though there's a bit of sampling bias and limitation in her longitudinal study (which could easily be remedied by better grants and more research assistants; no doubt after this book she'll be in a better position to get that), the findings she uncovers are doubtless invaluable to the field of sex research, and will hopefully be taken seriously by the scientific community and laypersons alike. For common readers, the book is very accessible, easy to r ...more
I've been reading quite a few books about polyamory and sexuality, but nothing has seemed more true to my experiences as Lisa Diamond's book, Sexual Fluidity. I've had questions concerning my own sexual orientation my entire life and have never felt normal. Well, which this book didn't result in feeling any normalcy, it does an amazing job of explaining the complex interaction of genetic, environment, situation, chemistry and human connection plays in female sexuality. Now I finally understand t ...more
Janet Ferguson
This groundbreaking book and Lisa Diamond's research should be mandatory reading for anyone studying human sexuality or anyone interested in women's sexual orientation and identity.
Diamond theory is definitely moving in the right direction. Unfortunately, her presentation of that theory sucks.

When presenting a lesser known theory that's just beginning to gain traction, presentation is key. This is not a new theory, despite what the author implies; I've encountered the fluid sexuality idea several times in other reading, although never in such detail. Diamond is moving it forward, not nearly as much as she seems to think she is in the book, but she's got a fairly solid star
Mar 04, 2010 Sara rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: own-it
Even if you're completely, 100% heterosexual (in other words, a staunch "O" on Kinsey's scale), you've probably at least pondered the fluidity of female sexuality. As far as Kinsey's 0 to 6 scale on a continuum from "completely heterosexual" at zero and "completely homosexual" at six, as the word continuum might suggest, most people fall somewhere in between. However, one topic that is rife with debate, tends to have very passionate opinions, and that is most certainly a hot button issue within ...more
Loren Olson
Jan 15, 2011 Loren Olson is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I am about 1/3 of the way through this book. I chose to read it because I have questioned whether women can more easily move from relationships with women to men and back again. This book's theme is sexual fluidity for women, and it seems to support the idea that women fall in love with a person, regardless of their sex and they are less inclined to fall into fixed categories of gay/straight/other.

In my research with men who have been in relationships with women, it is very unusual for men to mo
Gayle Pitman
I wanted to like this book more. I have a profound respect for Lisa Diamond's research, and I think it took incredible courage for her to propose a new theory of sexual identity development - especially since it contradicts the firmly-entrenched "stage theories" of development. The writing style, however, was not particularly engaging, and I found the book to be tedious. Diamond's work has been groundbreaking, but I think the general public could easily lose interest. I also think that, while sh ...more
This one book may well be the most important work on sexuality in general and female psychology in particular I have come across in decades! Newer research will make us all rethink everything we ever assumed we knew about the subject. Diamond is incredibly balanced and compassionate as much as dispassionate about what the data tells. She is a superb researcher and finally accomplishes what I have begging researchers to do: combine the previously warring and normally antithetical theories of esse ...more
Mary Gottschalk
It is my experience and my belief that there are many women who, after a failed relationship with a man, have found themselves passionately involved with a woman.

What was so remarkable about Lisa Diamond's research was her ability to validate this experience -- a search for and an attraction to a familiar personality profile -- without the necessity of gender labels. A woman to whom this happens once is not "bi-sexual" or "lesbian" ... but based on societal values, she has been "outside the nor
I thought this book was a good overview of women's sexuality and how it tends more toward the fluid in orientation. As a bisexual, it gave me some understanding of why I feel like my orientation often shifts along the Kinsey scale. I am a fan of the continuum concept.

I would have liked more stories from the women surveyed. I felt like Diamond got caught up in theory, statistics and jargon. I wanted more personal experiences. However, I felt like this was good, for what it was. It felt like a PhD
I enjoyed this book when I first read it, but in retrospect, coming from a place in my life where I'm far more aware and critical of compulsory heterosexuality, I find the lack of discussion of social pressures on women to be be "fluid" — i.e, involved with men — to be highly suspect. Diamond's analysis positions itself as rejecting traditional models of sexual orientation and desire, but, ultimately, it reinforces heterosexuality, which falls far from the challenge of social expectations about ...more
I hardly know what to say about this book that won't involve me just completely gushing. Okay, I'll gush: OH MY GOD, THIS BOOK. I felt profoundly validated and reassured by both the responses of the research participants as well as Diamond's analysis of the results. My own experience of sexuality has been ...confusing, to put it mildly, so it was really nice to feel "normally abnormal"! And on a purely "just did a Masters in Linguistics" nerd level, I about peed myself when she brought dynamic s ...more
The star thing is going to be a little different with these research books I'm reading because according to the previous requirement of affecting my ideas, I have certainly integrated a lot of these ideas about gender into my understanding of gender and sexuality. However, it isn't a creative writing book, so I was uncertain about a 4 star rating, because I could have even gone five but. You know, this really boils down to me exposing myself to a non-creative book. So, in the sense that books ar ...more
Even though sexual orientation is fairly stable, women in particular possess a certain amount of sexual fluidity. A very important contribution to research on sexualitiy, even though the author is ever so slightly too essentialistfor me.
Morgan Dhu
Lisa Diamond is an Associate Professor at the University of Utah and a self-identified feminist scientist. Her primary field of research lies in the realm of the psychological and biobehavioral processes underlying intimate relationships and their influence on emotional experience and functioning over the life course. Her book Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women's Love and Desire discusses her results of some of her research in this area.

Diamond begins with an overview of current prevailing as
Based on the case studies of 100 different womens romantic journeys spanning across 10 years is a solid effort and deserves a few stars for that dedication alone.

At first i wasn't sure if Lisa and I were going to see eye to eye. After all, one of the main ideas of this book is that women are naturally more fluid than men.
"Nonsense! Men have equal potential too! It's just that homophobia and patriarchal blah, blah runs deep!" i'd throw the book aside.
Though I think i was left a little more open m
Jeanine P
There are many scientifically written books about lgbt and related issues, and most of the great ones I came across have humans as their main subject study. There are many reasons for that, which aren't pertinent to discuss here. This book, however, presented people's sexuality with exhaustive research and scientific studies over a long period of time, on a large and various sample population; which makes the publication more trustworthy and free from bias. I can't help emphasizing that this is ...more
It's wonderful to read a book that authoritatively legitimizes feelings and experiences that, until that point, had not been recognized by most researchers. Like most of the women in this book, my "sexual orientation" was never something I could jam into a neat box. Every few pages I had an "ah ha" moment or was struck by the novelty of Diamond's views on sexuality: the idea that there are multiple pathways to being gay, that women experience same-sex attractions in largely different ways than m ...more
Apr 05, 2008 Liza rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: women, psych geeks
Lisa Diamond is a psychologist at the University of Utah (yes, Utah) whose research reinforces the need for a paradigm shift in our understanding of sexuality. Diamond launched a longitudinal study in which 100 females (some of whom are trans) were interviewed about their sexual attractions and experiences every few years for 10 years. The result is the book Sexual Fluidity.
In this book Diamond profiles some of the women she interviewed and also provides excellent descriptions of the biopsycholo
Nov 08, 2014 Elizabeth rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone willing to think
Recommended to Elizabeth by: a book
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carol Peters
Diamond notices that most studies about sexuality, sexual drive, sexual preference are based on studies of men. She turns it around.

Her very interesting book discusses how sexuality actually works for women, based on Diamond's 10-yr study & many other studies, data everyone should take a look at.

Concrete evidence that data about women does not match data about men. Rather, women are far less simplistically hetero/bi/lesbian & more open to experience of many kinds depending on context.

Very interesting exploration of how women's sexual orientations are often fluid and changing. I really enjoyed the attention she gave to her participants' experiences. Her theories about why women's sexual orientation is fluid (and why it is more fluid than men's) are very interesting and I am taking away a lot of ideas from this book. I also really liked how she made the distinction between "Sexual orientation can change" and "Sexual orientation can BE changed." That is to say, sexual orientati ...more
Jennifer Miera
Let me just summarize the book by saying that it appears women's sexuality is more complex than we thought and possibly more complex than male sexuality. Guys, whether straight or gay, tend to be pretty static in their preferences and attractions. Women, on the other hand, may have a phase of life where they identify as lesbian and another phase where they identify as straight. Some may identify as straight, but find themselves attracted to a particular woman at a particular time. It seems women ...more
Jun 17, 2014 Abby rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Abby by: chatting with Shae
I actually give this 3.5 stars. I LOVE the ideas behind the research, and the findings are intriguing. However, maybe I've been doing too much grad work, but I wished for more stories and less research over the course of the book.
Harper Jean
Based on a 10-year study of nearly 100 young women's sexual attractions, experiences and identities, this is a highly readable book that proposes that fluidity in our attractions is a fundamental aspect of our sexuality, and especially women's sexuality, and that our concepts of sexuality and our research approaches must change to account for it. Raises without answering some intriguing questions about what it means to be attracted "to a gender." The author discusses somewhat the small subset of ...more
Fascinating topic, however, the presentation of the first half of the book was very dry. Hence 4 stars. Not sure if I just got used to Diamond's style, but the second half seems to flow much better.

She makes a compelling point about how little we really know about women's sexuality, as it's models, like in many other areas, have been based on men since the beginning of time, and only now does science realize that there are some fundamental differences.

Sexual fluidity and Diamond's application of
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