Lesbian behavior and attraction is the creation of a male sexual fantasy. This is the theory of one researcher who has come under criticism for what some may regard as blatant sexism.
The thesis that lesbianism evolved merely out of the desire of women to titillate men by making out with each other comes from a study conducted by Menelaos Apostolou, who has published books on sociology and is also an associate professor at the University of Nicosia, located on the island nation of Cyprus. The study was produced from an online survey that involved some 1,500 participants, all apparently heterosexual. Apostolou concluded that 15 percent of the men involved in long-term relationships and 30 percent involved in short-term relationships would like to see the women in their lives have a lesbian encounter.
Apostolou further theorized that it was this male desire that created women who are attracted to their own sex, a sort of evolutionary perversion that allowed for the continuation of male-female relationships. This counters other theories that homosexual behavior is either biological in origin or a matter of free will.
The conclusion by Apostolou did not sit well with Diana Fleischman, a psychologist at the University of Portsmouth, in England. According to Fleischman, the Apostolou study is not supported by existing evidence and ignores other theories. She also noted that his study does not take into account the influence on society of modern pornography. Fleischman further criticized Apostolou’s “conceited” notion that men created lesbianism, instead expressing the belief that such desires are more associated with the relaxed attitude that many men have when it comes to female sexuality and sexual experiences.
Fleischman sees no cultural factors in the desire by some men to watch or imagine two women engage in sexual behavior, considering such thoughts to be more “instinctive” and instead related to the general issue of male attraction to females. She believes that such desires have been fueled by pornographic images, which men often use to explore their fantasies about women but which in fact have nothing to do with actual lesbian relationships.
It was noted by another observer that in their theories, neither Apostolou nor Fleischman interviewed women who are romantically involved with other women, which is the only way to truly understand lesbian or bisexual attraction.