Apr 20 2008
For the uninitiated, bisexuality is a sexual orientation. A bisexual person will find themselves romantically and/or sexually attracted to both men and women. However, they may not be equally attracted to men and women and contrary to popular belief an equal attraction to both sexes is not a prerequisite to being bisexual.
Some 1.8% of men and 2.8% of women identify as bisexual, that’s according to a survey done in the United States by National Center for Health Statistics. Though other surveys have recorded higher instances, for example, Alfred Kinsey’s 1948 study Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, reported that 46% of the male population had engaged in both homosexual and heterosexual relations at some point in their lives. Though the sampling methods of the Kinsey reports were heavily criticised as 25% were or had been prison inmates, and 5% were male prostitutes.
No-one believes that Kinsey’s figure is accurate, however his was the first survey of its kind and it gave us an important scale for measuring sexuality, known as the Kinsey Scale. It uses a scale of 0-6 with 0 being exclusively heterosexual and 6 been exclusively homosexual. 1-5 on the scale describe varying degrees of bisexuality.
|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|
The Kinsey Scale
Often one of the first things newly self-acknowledged bisexuals do is determine where they feel they fit on this scale. Often people don’t fit neatly onto one of the numbers, but remember this is a continuous scale, so its perfect OK to identify between the labelled points. Personally I find I fit somewhere between 1 and 2, so I say “I’m Kinsey 1.5″.
Another important point to acknowledge about sexuality is that our sexual orientation can vary. Bisexuality in particular is fluid, at some times in our lives we find ourself increasing attracted to the same sex and at other increasingly attracted to the opposite sex. So whilst at present I might identify as Kinsey 1.5, next year I may re-evaluate and declare myself 2.5, who knows – what matters is how you feel today.
Realising your bisexuality and ‘coming out’ can be a very rewarding. For many people, myself included, ‘coming out’ is very self-affirming and positive experience. Though its worth pointing out that I live in liberal secular Europe, where religious conservatism is thankfully rather muted.
Still being honest with yourself is the first step, and contrary to what the religious purists would have us believe, bisexuality is perfectly natural. It has been observed across the animal kingdom and we have documented historical evidence of its prevalence in Ancient Greece and Rome as well as in the Far East. Its nothing new, it wasn’t invented yesterday. The important thing is accepting yourself for who you are, working up to coming out to friends and family is something you can do when you feel the time is right.
Finding out more about bisexuality:
- Read this blog, there are a number of stories and articles covering a range of bisexual issues.
- Check out the links in our blogroll – they take you to a number of interesting web sites.
- Join your local LGBT group.
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