You’re totally straight (or totally gay). But, would you fuck someone of the same (or opposite) gender if you were stranded alone on a desert island for the rest of your lives with no hope of escape? Do you really want to die without ever fucking, or falling in love, ever again?
You’ve asked this question a few times to your friends while you’re drunk, possibly followed by a game of make-out chicken (how close can our faces get before we don’t make-out?).
This silly, schoolyard bit raises a legitimate question about sexuality, though. Is it inherently fluid? Despite our self-perceptions, aren’t we all a little gay?
Alfred Kinsey seemed to think so. In 1948, he created his famous Kinsey scale which, instead of describing people as either homosexual, heterosexual or bisexual, used a scale to figure out where people sat between hetereosexualiy and homosexuality.
Think of it like a political spectrum. Who do you want fucking you more? How strongly do you feel about it? Of course you identify with one party more than the other but, that doesn’t mean you don’t have some differing opinions … especially when it comes to how you express them.
Who you fuck may be different from who you fall in love with, which may even be different than who you fantasize about.
For clarity, we asked author, university professor and sexuality researcher, Dr. Ruth Neustifter on what the specific deal is.
Okay, let’s try to unpack this. Is everybody a little bit gay?
Hmm. That’s big question. But one of the popular ways to look at gender nowadays is a spectrum or a series on a spectrum. Even going so deep as spectrums within spectrums.
Wow. Holy shit. What does that mean?
Well, the research shows that people in general have attraction to both masculine and feminine traits. You might be more attracted to one or the other, but traits can be separate from gender. A lot of these traits are very culturally determined. So, because there’s a little bit of space in there — a level of subjectivity, that would suggest there’s room for people to be attracted to whoever.
We do tend to think of gender and sexuality as very binary. You’re gay or straight. That’s it. But people who are only attracted to the gender which they are, are actually the rarest. I would say people who are either 100 percent gay or 100 percent straight are the most rare, but they do exist.
Really? So why is it that we see those options as the most common?
Mostly society. To some extent, you’ll be attracted to whatever you feel like you’re allowed to let yourself be attracted to. There’s still a lot of social stigma around homosexuality, let alone bisexuality or pansexuality. Any relationship that still has more social support is going to be more apparent and accepted.
Are women more likely to exhibit homosexual behavior than men?
The research supports that women are more fluid with their sexuality. Their hormones shift more regularly. Women are just generally more progressive amongst gender lines. I personally indentify as pansexul, so whatever is in people's pants is fine with me. It’s always a fun surprise.
I will say, there’s a lot of misconception that men are fairly binary, though. There are plenty of bisexual and pansexual men out there.
But girl-on-girl is certainly more socially acceptable?
One of the theories I tend to put a little more belief in is that women being sexual with other women doesn’t threaten masculinity.
Because it doesn’t threaten a power structure of masculinity, girl-on-girl is something we all enjoy. Where as men having sex with other men, that threatens masculinity, because it can be seen as feminine or dominant.
But again, there’s lots of women who really enjoy watching gay sex. And straight men too. What you watch can be every different than what you’re actually into or would act on. We’ve done a lot of research on this and found that people just like watching sex in general.
Back to the idea of a spectrum. How accurate of a representation is that? Do humans naturally have a genetic line in the sand? Or is it more about social conditioning?
Right, the old nature vs. nurture question.
There is a nature element. How we’re born has to do with our sexual identity and orientation, but we won’t know what that identity fully is unless there’s a nurture element.
Say if you’re someone who is naturally attracted to all genders, but all you’ve learned is a social script to flirt with only one gender, or if you’re worried about how society would react to you being sexual with another gender — all of these things start add up, and you’re less likely to let yourself explore that.
It should be more of a free choice, until we have that kind of modeling, then people will go towards what is more socially accepted.
There are so many things which are still undercover, in order to make the mainstream more comfortable. Things are kept more secretive, people who are expected to keep seeing straightness, will keep seeing straightness.
So, is everybody indeed a little gay?
We think what we got from Dr. Ruth is some confirmation to Kinsey’s assertion. That indeed, sexuality is as unique and varied as people themselves.
Most of us have the capacity to be more flexible than society has allowed us to be or dictated that we are.
Would you, a person who considers themselves straight totally fuck your buddy (or buddies) on a desert island? Or even, if you just got drunk enough and decided to experiment a little? That all depends on where you fall on the Kinsey scale.
If you’re a woman, Dr. Ruth says odds are you’d eating out your friends in no time. But if you’re a dude? You might have to do some honest soul searching and research. That’s just the society we live in.
There isn’t an official Kinsey scale test out there. But give Buzzfeed’s basic Kinsey-style test a whirl, and maybe you’ll just find the answer for yourself.