Most of you have probably heard of the Kinsey Scale — a measure from zero (100 percent hetero) to six (100 percent gay) that determines a person’s perceived sexual orientation. A recent review of research on the matter, done by Ritch Savin-Williams at Cornell University, focused attention on the 1′s — those they are labeling “mostly heterosexual.”
What does that mean exactly? I’m picturing the guy in my acting class who admitted to getting a reach-around handjob from another dude once, but preferred girls. Oh, actors. I’m also thinking of a friend of mine who I brought with me to a dinner party. She wound up getting really drunk on Pinot and I found her in the backyard making out with a girl. Her boyfriend never found out. This is my loose understanding of being “mostly heterosexual.”
According to researchers, the “mostly heterosexual” group is so distinct that scientists are considering taking a more nuanced approach to their study of sexual orientation. Duh. But still, yay! Below, check out some things to know about those who fall in the “mostly heterosexual” category:
1. “Mostly heteros” are more attraction than action. The review found that both male and female “mostly heterosexuals” were more into people of the same sex than heteros, but less into them than bisexuals when it came to attraction, fantasy and sexual behavior. No surprise there. But the “mostly heterosexuals” tended more toward attraction than to action. Meaning, they were more likely to ogle someone of the same sex from afar or fantasize about them than to actually take them home and do the deed.
2. There are a lot of 1′s out there in the world. From 21 studies conducted in six countries, the average percentage of women who identify as “mostly heterosexual” is 7.6 – 9.5 percent and for men, it is about 3.6 – 4.1 percent. I’m not a numbers gal, but if Google is correct, that works out to about 150,000,000 million men who would be down to give a bj every once in a while. A little bit gay is great as far as I’m concerned. But my friends often accuse me of “thinking everyone is gay.” Basically, I’m right, they are. But only SOMETIMES. That’s the distinction.
3. They’re more stable over time than those who identify as bisexual. Data collected from three different studies found that about half of those who identified as “mostly heterosexual” in their adolescence still identified the same way as adults. This was a much higher percentage than those who identified as bisexual.
4. Those who identified as “mostly heterosexual” had consistent language to describe their orientation. Even though “mostly heterosexual” wasn’t a box to tick on they survey, those who came out to be 1′s on the Kinsey Scale used similar language when describing how they felt sexually. The men said things like: “Straight until the right guy comes along” or “Straight but not narrow.” The women said things like: “Eighty-five percent straight with only minor attraction to women” or “I’ll do sexual acts with a woman, but I’m not interested in women romantically.”
Do you identify as “mostly heterosexual?” Or some other shade of gay,straight or bi? Should we start petitioning for a bunch of more nuanced sexual orientations?