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Study Shows How Inner Biases Affect Sexual Well-Being in Lesbian and Bisexual Women

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A recent study published in the journal Healthcare has revealed significant insights into the sexual quality of life (SQoL) and internalised homonegativity among Italian lesbian and bisexual cisgender women. The research draws upon the minority stress model to analyse how these factors interrelate.

The study used a quantitative methodology, gathering data through an online questionnaire from 686 women, including 217 lesbians and 469 bisexuals. The Lesbian Internalized Homophobia Scale and the Female-Sexual Quality of Life Questionnaire were used for assessments. T-tests and linear regression analyses explored group differences and predictors of SQoL.

The study found that bisexual women experience higher levels of internalised homonegativity compared to lesbian women. Additionally, disparities in SQoL were observed, with lesbian women reporting better outcomes. A significant negative association between internalised homonegativity and SQoL was confirmed, highlighting a crucial area for further research and intervention.

Internalised homonegativity, a form of internalised homophobia, plays a substantial role in influencing the SQoL among sexual minority women. This factor, as part of the minority stress model, denotes the internalisation of societal biases and prejudices against homosexuality. The study’s results indicated that this internalisation is more pronounced among bisexual women, which could be attributed to their unique position in facing discrimination from both heterosexual and homosexual communities.

The research revealed that lesbian women, on average, have a better SQoL compared to bisexual women. This finding suggests that different sexual orientations within the LGBTQIA+ community have varying impacts on individuals’ sexual wellbeing, underscoring the importance of recognising and addressing these differences in clinical and research practices.

The findings of this study have significant implications for clinical practice, particularly in the context of sexual minority women in Italy. Addressing internalised homo-bi-negativity is vital for the well-being of both lesbian and bisexual women, as it may act as a barrier to self-compassion and sexual satisfaction. Clinicians should adopt affirmative approaches that contextualise these issues while promoting resilience and self-compassion. Moreover, the study advocates for a shift towards more holistic assessments of sexual well-being, moving beyond the traditional function-dysfunction dichotomy.

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