A new YouGov survey found that 49 percent of 18-24 year-olds in Britain see themselves as something other than completely heterosexual. The poll used the Kinsey scale which was invented in the 1940s to measure sexual preferences and places people exclusively heterosexual at zero with those exclusively homosexual at six.
Individuals in the study were asked to put themselves on the Kinsey scale.
72 percent of the British public scored themselves a zero, indicating they are completely heterosexual while four percent were at the completely homosexual end. 19 percent stated they were somewhere in between, making them bisexual according to Kinsey.
But the most striking finding of the study is that with each generation, people rated their sexuality as less static and more fluid.
An example of this is the cohort of 18-24 year-olds. 43 per cent placed themselves between 1 and 5, more than double the overall average. Only 52 percent placed themselves at one extreme or the other. Yet despite placing themselves in the zones of exclusivity only 46 percent said in follow-up questions they are completely heterosexual and only 6 percent as completely homosexual.
Public opinion seems to have shifted to embrace the concept that sexual orientation is a continuum as opposed to being a binary choice between being straight and gay. The study confirmed this fact, with 60 percent of heterosexuals supporting this concept, as did 73 percent of homosexuals.
Kinsey, in his original research, estimated that approximately 10 percent of the population was gay, although this figure was criticized by the American Statistical Association. A 2011 Gallup poll on the issue surveyed over 1,000 people in the U.S. asking “what percentage of Americans today would you say are gay or lesbian?”
Respondents estimated that 25 percent Americans were gay.
While the study did not find statistically significant differences between the proportion of bisexual men and bisexual females, research by Biscuit, a website catering to bisexual women, found that 38 percent of women have at one point engaged in some form of sexual activity with another female and most often as part of a group.
Charlotte Dingle, chief editor of Biscuit, said that “women are increasingly viewing their own sexuality as fluid. I believe that the old definitions of ‘gay’, ‘straight’ and ‘bi’ are increasingly irrelevant in a society in which an individual’s sexual and gender identity is becoming more and more complex and diverse.”
This fits with the study data and paints an interesting picture of modern sexuality and attitudes toward sexual orientation.