A controversial new study claims that lesbianism evolved because it's a turn-on for men. The study, which has drawn a lot of criticism from the gay community and several scientists, says that men's desire of women who are attracted to other women drove the evolution of homosexuality in women.
Researchers at the University of Nicosia surveyed 1,509 heterosexual people and a grand total of zero homosexual people for their study, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.
They found that around 15 percent of heterosexual men in long-term relationships would want their partner to have a sexual encounter with another woman. For men in short-term relationships, this figure is around 30 percent.
Heterosexual women were much less likely to want their partner to have a same-sex encounter.
From this, they hypothesized that men's desire for women attracted to other women may have driven the evolution of homosexuality in women. Lead author Menelaos Apostolou argues that men often chose female partners who experience same-sex attraction. These women, therefore, would more likely have children with the men, which he suggests led to the evolutionary success of the trait.
The theory, which might be better off published in the Journal of Mansplaining, has been widely criticized online by the gay community, after an article on the study appeared in the International Business Times and Pink News.
The research has also received criticism for drawing wild conclusions that are not supported by the data.
"The paper totally ignores a lot of other possible hypotheses and makes claims that are really not supported by the evidence they provide," Diana Fleischman, a psychologist at the University of Portsmouth, told International Business Times.
She believes the paper is in fact showing the influence of pornography on men's preferences.
"Two women having sex with one man is such a common theme in pornography that I think it is very difficult to parse out that particular variable."
"There's a big cultural influence of porn because men are more likely to form associations through classical conditioning and stimulation and sexual arousal," she added. "It only takes a few trials to get a man aroused at a piggy bank or a boot."
Apostolou defended his work, though he acknowledged more studies were needed to understand the complexities of same-sex attraction.
“I can’t really see how cultural factors would make some men be turned on when their partners tell them I want to have sex with another woman,” he told IBTimes. “These kinds of sexual traits are more instinctive. It’s a mechanism that has been selected to serve a purpose – to make you reproduce.”