Sexuality is not always black and white, and a new poll shows that the gray area might be larger than some expect.
YouGov conducted an online poll of 1,632 British adults between the ages of 18 and 60+ last week. Participants were asked to rank themselves on the Kinsey Scale, developed by Alfred Kinsey and researchers in 1948 to show that people do not necessarily identify themselves using rigid categories like exclusively straight (a zero on the scale) or exclusively gay (a six on the scale).
Twenty-three percent of the respondents YouGov surveyed classified themselves as something other than exclusively heterosexual. Breaking the responses down by age, the poll revealed that 43 percent of respondents between 18 and 24 years old identified themselves as falling somewhere between a one and a five on the Kinsey Scale -- neither completely gay nor completely straight. An additional 6 percent identified as exclusively gay.
While the different between a one and a two on the scale may seem small, it could signify that the respondent has had a sexual encounter with a member of the same sex.
According to the research:
But what does it mean to be at 1 on the scale, and what is the difference being here or at 2? According to the research, progressing further away from 'completely heterosexual' (0) towards the midpoint (3, or 'completely bisexual') increases the chance that you have had a sexual experience with a member of the opposite sex. 23% of those at level 1 have had a sexual encounter with a member of the opposite sex, while 52% of people at level 2 have had such an experience.
YouGov researcher Will Dahlgreen further explained the implications of the results to The Huffington Post on Monday.
"I am surprised about the results, yes," he said in an email. "While I don't think they show there will be a drastic rise in the number of gay, lesbian and bisexual people, they do show that young people are less quick to rule out the idea as inconceivable. They may be more prone to experiment, even if they know they're more suited to heterosexuality, or at least the idea of it doesn't shock them or strike them as out of bounds."
"Part of this also might be that people become more sure of their sexuality as they grow older, rather than a shift in the mentality of this generation compared to the last," Dahlgreen added. "But I suspect it's a bit of both."
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