When asking the British to put themselves on a ‘sexuality scale’ from exclusively straight to exclusively gay, almost a quarter indicates they are not 100% percent straight – and among youth from 18-24, this percentage has even risen to 49%.
These are the results of a survey by YouGov, a British corporation specialised in market research via the Internet. The sexuality scale that was used in this survey was developed by sexologist Alfred Kinsey in the 1940s. He developed the Kinsey scale as an instrument in which respondents can be divided on a sliding scale from 0 to 6, with exclusively straight (0) and homosexual (6) as extremes. The categories 1-5 represent bi-sexuality, with 3 as completely bi-sexual. Kinsey also developed a method to be able to position respondents on the scale on the basis of their answers, but YouGov simply asked respondents to position themselves on the scale. The Kinsey scale also has a category X for asexual, but it was not used by YouGov.
72% of the British place themselves on the straight end, while only 4% see themselves as exclusively homosexual, and 19% see themselves as bi-sexual to some degree on the scale. The large majority, however, does position itself closer to the straight than to the homosexual category.
Striking is that this shifts when the age of the respondents is lower. The picture for the age group 18-24 is drastically different. Here, 43% considers themselves to a higher or lesser degree bisexual, and 52% chooses the extreme categories - 46% calls themselves completely heterosexual, and 6% completely homosexual.
The survey shows that people from all generations assume that sexual orientation is a continuum, and that view is shared by 60% of the heterosexuals, and 73% of the homosexuals. In the group of heterosexuals, 28% think that there is no ‘medium’- thinking you are either heterosexual or homosexual.
The YouGov researchers admit that their survey does not provide evidence for actual bisexual behaviour of the respondents – if only for the fact that 89% of the survey population categorises itself as heterosexual – but they do state that the participants who do not place themselves in the category of exclusively heterosexual or homosexual, are at least open to bisexual feelings and experiences. According to the researchers, this at least indicates a more open attitude towards sexuality, especially in younger generations.
A similar YouGov survey revealed that one third of youth in the US categorises themselves as ‘non-exclusive’ heterosexual.