It’s not just gay or straight
Sexual orientations are more than just gay or straight.
The American Psychological Association (2012) explains that sexual orientations occur along a continuum:
“Categories of sexual orientation typically have included attraction to members of one’s own sex [gay men or lesbians], attraction to members of the other sex [heterosexuals], and attraction to members of both sexes [bisexuals]. While these categories continue to be widely used, research has suggested that sexual orientation does not always appear in such definable categories and instead occurs on a continuum.” (p.11)
There is growing recognition of the diversity in human sexuality. But research on the continuum of sexual orientations goes back many decades. As early as the 1940s, Dr. Alfred Kinsey helped to develop the Kinsey Scale for measuring sexual attraction and behavior along a continuum, with many people falling somewhere in between 100% gay and 100% straight (Kinsey Institute, Indiana University, 2014).
More recently, Dr. Fritz Klein developed the Klein Sexual Orientation Grid, which takes into account the romantic and emotional elements in attraction, as well as the possibility for fluctuation in sexual orientation over the course of a lifetime (American Institute of Bisexuality, 2014).
Visit the Featured Content below to learn more about the Kinsey Scale and Klein Sexual Orientation Grid.
The bottom line: there is tremendous diversity in human sexuality. No two sexual orientations are exactly alike—just as no two fingerprints are alike. Attraction—physical, romantic, and emotional—is basic to the human condition. And so is the infinite variety in our sexual orientations.
Learn more about the Kinsey Scale from the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University.
Learn more about the Klein Grid from the American Institute of Bisexuality.
American Psychological Association. (2012). Guidelines for psychological practice with lesbian, gay, and bisexual clients. American Psychologist, 67(1), 10–42. http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/features/amp-a0024659.pdf
The Kinsey Scale. (2019). Kinsey Institute. https://www.kinseyinstitute.org/research/publications/kinsey-scale.php
The Klein Sexual Orientation Grid. (2014). American Institute of Bisexuality. http://www.americaninstituteofbisexuality.org/thekleingrid