From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/sex-amp-relationships/19-percent-americans-dont-consider-themselves-heterosexual
It turns out people often don’t answer honestly even when they’re anonymous. A new study attempts to deliver solid findings about sexual preferences in spite of this.
By Daniel Luzer
October 29, 2013
Since the classification of modern homosexuality in the 19th century (PDF), society’s perception and acceptance of people who have sex with others of their own gender has grown considerably. One continued argument against the widespread acceptance of individuals who belong to that group, though, has to do with its relative size.
At The Atlantic Garance Franke-Ruta wrote that Americans seem to think there are a lot more gay people in the world than there actually are. As she explained last year, “surveys show a shockingly high fraction think a quarter of the country is gay or lesbian, when the reality is that it’s probably less than 2 percent.” Anthropologists, a notably tolerant group, often consider homosexuality, due to its rarity, an aberrant behavior, like alcoholism or drug abuse, promiscuity or violence.
But new research indicates that the real prevalence of homosexuality might be a lot higher than previously thought.
The most-cited guess as to what percentage of individuals are homosexual is around 10. Some LGBTQ college groups have even named their clubs things like The 10% Society, despite the fact that, at some schools (e.g. Bob Jones University), the percentage of past and present homosexual students is likely much lower, and at some others (Sarah Lawrence or Smith) it might be a considerably higher.
That number is based on Alfred Kinsey‘s 1948 study, “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male,” in which the Indiana University researcher concluded that 10 percent of American men “were predominantly homosexual between the ages of 16 and 55.” While Kinsey also said that “males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual,” and, mixing his metaphors here, “the world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. Not all things are black nor all things white,” the 10 percent number has been repeated for more than 60 years now. (Engaging in homosexual sex between the ages of 16 and 55 is not exactly everyone’s idea of “gay”—in contemporary understanding it’s something more like the idea of being attracted to a member of one’s own sex, regardless of regular sexual interaction—but Kinsey’s estimate is the closest we’ve come to a widely-agreed-upon percentage.)
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