The spectrum of sexuality

I just read a post on Homologous Legs on bisexuality that reminded of a film I watched some months ago about Alfred Kinsey. Kinsey was an entomologist worked with gall wasps (Cynipidae) but, it was his work in human sexuality that he is best known for. In the 1930s, Kinsey became interested in human sexuality and began to pursue research in order to classify human sexual practices. The thing that I, and I am sure many others would find interesting is, "What is normal?"
The Kinsey scale of sexual preference: Image from Wikipedia
The ideas around what is normal is something that I have thought about quite a bit. People think they know what is normal and anything that deviates from their normality is just that, deviant or perverted. Kinsey and his colleagues addressed this by anonymously interviewing subjects about their sexual activity and preferences. The results were quite surprising with 'non-normal' activities proving quite 'normal'. Of particular interest was the apparent prevalence of bisexuality in men. This led to the development of the Kinsey Scale where sexual preference is viewed not as binary (i.e. gay or straight) or possibly three dimensionally, but more spectrally. In other words, zero on the scale is exclusively straight, and six is exclusively gay. What Kinsey and his colleagues found was that the majority of subjects fell outside of the exclusive zero or six, and had at least some bisexual tendency. That is not to say everyone acts on these feelings, but they are at least present.

3 comments:

Paul said...

Yip. And that concept scares the hell out people!

I guess it's worth adding a couple things: people might not stay at a given point for their whole lives; they might respond differently later in life than earlier. And having a small but non-zero bisexual response doesn't necessarily mean actually wanting to have sex with someone of your gender. I'd say a lot of this stuff is heavily shaped by what is considered socially appropriate, rather than how we feel.

Also, not only are around 1 in 10 guys in the region of 5-6 (i.e. virtually exclusively gay) but another 11% are bisexual.

Kinsey also found that women tend to score lower.

Kinsey's scale is no longer thought of as complex enough to cover human sexuality (or gender, of course).

All quite interesting stuff when considering social norms.

Jarrod said...

I think you are right about having a non-zero bisexual response. I may have been been unclear by saying "at least some bisexual tendency.....acts on these feelings". B act I do not mean 'have sex' but merely mean the acknowledgment of attraction on some level to your own gender.

The link that I posted to Homologous Legs discusses the subject of specific traits we find attractive. Thus, it is more than just the persons gender that is attractive but rather a set of traits including non-visible traits such as intelligence and interests.

Paul said...

Righto - lazily, I didn't read the link - but it sounds interesting and fairly well on the subject I was clumsily groping towards...

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