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The Kinsey scale attempts to measure sexual orientation, from 0 (exclusively heterosexual) to 6 (exclusively homosexual). It was first published in Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) by Alfred Kinsey, Wardell Pomeroy and others, and was also prominent in the complementary work Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953).

Introducing the scale, Kinsey wrote:

"Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories... The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects.
While emphasizing the continuity of the gradations between exclusively heterosexual and exclusively homosexual histories, it has seemed desirable to develop some sort of classification which could be based on the relative amounts of heterosexual and homosexual experience or response in each history... An individual may be assigned a position on this scale, for each period in his life.... A seven-point scale comes nearer to showing the many gradations that actually exist." (Kinsey, et al. (1948). pp. 639, 656)

The scale is as follows:

Rating Description
0 Exclusively heterosexual
1 Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual
2 Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual
3 Equally heterosexual and homosexual
4 Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual
5 Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual
6 Exclusively homosexual

Findings

Kinsey reports

Main article: Kinsey Reports
  • Men: 11.6% of white males aged 20-35 were given a rating of 3 for this period of their lives.[1]
  • Women: 7% of single females aged 20-35 and 4% of previously married females aged 20-35 were given a rating of 3 for this period of their lives.[2] 2 to 6% of females, aged 20-35, were given a rating of 5[3] and 1 to 3% of unmarried females aged 20-35 were rated as 6.[4]

References

  1. Kinsey, et al. 1948. Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, Table 147, p. 651
  2. Kinsey, et al. 1953. Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, Table 142, p. 499
  3. Ibid, p. 488
  4. Ibid, Table 142, p. 499, and p. 474

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