In a previous post, History of Bisexuality, I mentioned and quickly described the Kinsey Scale. Right now, I’d like to go into a little more about its history and what it really means.
The Kinsey Scale, originally called “the Heterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale,” was primarily developed by Dr. Alfred Kinsey (kinseyinstute.org). It was based on the idea that every person did not fit exactly into either a “gay” or “straight” category, which he discovered after interviewing over 18,000 people about their sexual/romantic experiences. Kinsey was really the first to introduce the label “bisexual.”
The Kinsey Scale has 7 “categories” for a person to fall into: (0) exclusively heterosexual, (1) incidental homosexual behavior, (2) more than incidental homosexual behavior, (3) equal amount of heterosexual and homosexual behavior, (4) more than incidental heterosexual behavior, (5) incidental heterosexual behavior, (6) exclusively homosexual behavior. To rate themselves on the scale, a person will evaluate their past romantic experiences and choose which category fits them best. It is important to remember that a person’s rating on the Kinsey Scale is totally subject to change over their lifetime; sexuality is fluid. Below is a picture of the Kinsey Scale from personalitycafe.com.
One important point to make about the Kinsey Scale, however, is that it is not perfect. Many people will argue that the scale implies that you can only be bisexual if you are equally attracted to men and women. Otherwise, any encounters you’ve had with the same sex are “incidental.” In reality, a person can still be bisexual if they are more attracted to one gender than the other. Fortunately, people have come up with new methods of self-identification that better represent the complexity of bisexuality or other sexualities such as asexuality. One example is The Klein Sexual Orientation Grid, which you can click here to learn more about.
Although the Kinsey Scale is really something that a person would use to determine their sexuality on their own, there are online tests that will ask questions to give you an idea of where you might fall. BuzzFeed’s version of the quiz is pretty good – click here to link to it. Overall, there really is no way to be wrong about your sexuality; however you identify is what you are, and don’t be afraid if that changes over time!