A New Study Just Revealed How Many Young People Identify as Straight

August 18th 2015

Almost half of the young population in the U.K. does not identify as straight, according to new research released this week. 

YouGov surveyed 1,632 British adults and asked them to rate themselves on the Kinsey scale, which was developed in 1948 by Alfred Kinsey and researchers to show how people do not necessarily identify as exclusively straight or gay, Huffington Post reports.

Related: Here's Why Straight Men Have Sex With Each Other and How They Justify It

When asked to see where they land on the "sexuality scale," 23 percent of the British people surveyed determined they were something other than 100 percent heterosexual—this figure rises to 49 percent with people between the ages 18 to 24, YouGov reports. The Kinsey scale plots people based on exclusively heterosexual (at zero) through exclusively homosexual (at six). 

  • 0 - Exclusively heterosexual with no homosexual

  • 1 - Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual

  • 2 - Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual

  • 3 - Equally heterosexual and homosexual

  • 4 - Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual

  • 5 - Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual

  • 6 - Exclusively homosexual

YouGov Varying responses to Kinsey scaleYouGov - co.uk

Sexuality statistics

  • 72 percent of the British public identify as completely heterosexual at the end of the Kinsey scale
  • 4 percent of the British public identify as completely homosexual
  • 19 percent say they are somewhere in between—some were considered bisexual according to the Kinsey scale


With half of young people identifying as straight, it is clear that attitudes on sexuality and sexual orientation are changing. By examining terms of gay men and women, 1.5 percent of the men in the U.K. identify as gay and only 0.7 percent of women also identify as gay. In terms of bisexuality, 0.3 percent of men identified as bisexual, compared to 0.5 percent of the women surveyed. The research also discovered that slightly more women say they "don't know" or declined to answer the question, compared to 3.5 percent of the men surveyed. 

According to the study, future research could point more clearly to how people identify as bisexual. 

"Clearly, these figures are not measures of active bisexuality - overall, 89% of the population describes themselves as heterosexual - but putting yourself at level 1 allows for the possibility of homosexual feelings and experiences. More than anything, it indicates an increasingly open minded approach to sexuality. In a further set of questions asking if respondents could conceivably be attracted to, have sex with or have a relationship with someone of the same sex (if the right person came along at the right time), level 1s were at least 35% more likely to say they could than level 0s.

YouGov Shades of Bisexuality by ageYouGov - co.uk

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