'A Shot at Love' Explores (and Exploits) Bisexuality

But bisexual relationships encompass more than just sex, and some psychologists see some positive aspects to addressing sexual orientation on television.

Bisexuality is part of the culture, according to Roberta Sklar, director of communications for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "These young women see sexuality as a fluid thing," she said. "It's not just between your legs."

"These relationships are physical, emotional and intellectual, and the boundaries are not hard set," she said. Although there are no hard data on the numbers, a growing number of young women have a "more flexible view" of their sexual partners, and their early choices of sexual preference may not be a "fixed path."

In a 10-year study of female bisexuality from adolescence to adulthood, psychologist Lisa Diamond at the University of Utah found that bisexuality is often misunderstood. Her research showed that bisexuality is "a matter of degree rather than kind."

"What is true for one may be different for another," said Diamond, a professor of gender studies. "Some women say 'gender is not relevant to me — I am attracted to a person's mind and spirit.' Others say 'gender is very important — I am attracted to both masculinity and femininity.' The diversity of experiences is incredibly broad and long."

Though Diamond admits that shows like "A Shot at Love" exploit the stereotypes and try to titillate, she also believes they can be positive for a public discussion.

"Television is selling air time, and it is the responsibility of researchers to try to counter inaccurate information," she said. "If you look at the broad swath of history, more and better information tends to win out. The fact that people are even discussing it — whether it's accurate or not — starts the conversation."

"It's better than having no images of same sexuality out there," she said.

Meanwhile, the very stars of the reality show are proving that love and sex are indeed fickle. In last season's finale, Tequila chose male Bobby Banhart over lesbian Dani Campbell, the favored contestant. And one month later, the Tequila-Banhart match broke up.

Ever feeding the frenzy of fans, these reality stars have given MTV more fodder for 2008. A spinoff — "That's Amore," a heterosexual dating show set in Italy — is in the works.

And in February on MTV's Logo channel, which caters to the gay community, a show centering on the love life of transsexual activist and actress Calpernia Addams premieres.

Like they say, sex sells.

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