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Who hasn’t heard the proverb  that the “eyes are the window to the soul”? Well, according to researchers at Cornell University, your eyes can actually reveal a surprising detail: your sexual orientation.

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The study subjects involved 325 men and women, ranging from the ages of 20 to 35.  A special infrared lens was used to examine pupillary changes while the study participants viewed erotic videos to determine which sex they found titillating.

For many of the participants, their pupil dilations were in sync with arousal, which was tied to their sexual orientation.

“The idea was to find an unconscious measure,” said lead researcher and research fellow Gerulf Rieger.  “We tried to find measures that were not so invasive, but reliable. The eye tracker infrared camera focuses on the eye while the person watches videos or pictures and measures the changes in pupil size.” The invasive procedures that Rieger was referring to involved instruments that researchers used to measure genital arousal in the past.

Interestingly, hetero males demonstrated more pupil dilation when viewing sexual videos of women, while hetero women showed an interest in both sexes. This observation, though, doesn’t mean that the feminine sex tends to swing both ways.  “They [women] respond to anything that is in some way sexual,” said Rieger. “That doesn’t mean they are bisexual. Their body is not connected to their mind, which is very different from guys.”

Surprisingly, bisexual men responded to sexual videos of both men and women.  “We can now finally argue that a flexible sexual desire is not simply restricted to women. Some men have it too, and it is reflected in their pupils,” said co-researcher Ritch C. Savin-Williams, who is a professor of human development at Cornell.

The clinicians are now sure that their latest measure will assist in understanding these groups better and zeroing in on a range of sexualities that have been ignored in previous research.


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