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Arch Sex Behav. 1987 Dec;16(6):523-9.

Sexual orientation as a continuous variable: a comparison between the sexes.

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State University of North Dakota at Minot.


Sexual orientation was measured as a continuous variable based upon reported percentage of sexual fantasies and percentage of sexual experiences involving members of the same sex. In the present sample (which probably somewhat overrepresented the homosexual end of the continuum) about one-third of both males and females reported at least occasionally fantasizing about sexually interacting with members of the same sex. The survey indicated about one-third of males also reported having had at least one intimate sexual experience with the same sex, whereas only 10% of females did so. Also, virtually all females who sexually fantasized about the same sex only did so occasionally, whereas most of the males who fantasized about the same sex did so much more exclusively. Although these results cannot be considered representative of the distribution of sexual orientation in any natural population, they suggest that there are advantages in measuring sexual orientation as a continuous variable instead of as one with only a few discrete categories. The results also support other studies that have concluded that when deviations from exclusive heterosexuality are present, they are likely to be much more extreme among males than among females.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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