The Kinsey Scale

The Kinsey Scale, developed by sexologist Alfred Kinsey, is a multidimensional measurement tool used to determine an individual’s sexual orientation. It categorizes sexual orientation on a continuum, recognizing that human sexuality is fluid and does not fit into strict binary categories, such as exclusively heterosexual or exclusively homosexual. The scale takes into account both sexual attraction and sexual behavior to provide a more nuanced understanding of an individual’s sexual orientation.

The Continuum

At the core of the Kinsey Scale is the concept of a sexual orientation continuum, which ranges from exclusively heterosexual to exclusively homosexual. The scale consists of seven gradations, numbered from zero to six, with zero indicating exclusively heterosexual tendencies and six indicating exclusively homosexual tendencies. The intervening numbers represent varying degrees of bisexuality.

Scoring and Interpretation

Individuals determine their position on the Kinsey Scale by reflecting on their sexual attractions and behaviors across their lifetime. A person might identify as a one if they are primarily heterosexual but occasionally experience some same-sex attractions. On the other hand, a person identifying as a five may primarily experience homosexual attractions but occasionally engage in heterosexual behaviors.


While the Kinsey Scale offers a broader understanding of sexual orientation, it does not capture the complexity and diversity of individual experiences fully. It measures sexual orientation on a limited continuum and does not account for aspects such as emotional attractions, romantic relationships, and gender identity, which are essential elements of human sexuality. Additionally, the scale is primarily based on self-reporting, which can be subjective and influenced by societal and cultural factors.


The Kinsey Scale has been influential in challenging traditional binary views of sexual orientation and promoting the understanding that human sexuality is diverse and fluid. It has encouraged society to recognize and accept a wider range of sexual orientations, contributing to increased inclusivity and understanding within various social, cultural, and legal contexts.