How prevalent are homosexuality, heterosexuality, and bisexuality in society? Kinsey and his colleagues (1948) found that 37% of men and 13% of women reported that they had had at least one adult sexual experience with a member of the same sex that resulted in orgasm and that about 4% of men and 3% of women were lifelong homosexuals. He also reported that 10% of white men had been mostly homosexual for at least 3 years be­tween the ages of 16 and 55, and this statistic became the one most people cited when estimating the prevalence of homosexuality in the United States. However, due to the problems with Kinsey’s sampling (see Chapter 2), these figures may be unreliable.

There continues to be controversy about how many gays, lesbians, or bisexuals there are today. Estimates for homosexuality range from 2% to 4% to greater than 10% in males and 1% to 3% in females (Seidman & Rieder, 1994; Whitam et al., 1999), whereas estimates for bisexuality are approximately 3% (M. Diamond, 1993). Laumann and col-

Measuring Sexual Orientation: How Many Are We?Question: Isn’t it easy to tell a gay, lesbian, or bisexual from a het­erosexual just by the way they talk and act?

No. Berger and colleagues (1987) showed videotapes of gay and straight men and women to participants (other gay and straight men and women) to see whether they could determine people’s sexual ori­entation. No group did better than chance at determining who was gay, although the women (lesbian and straight) and gay men did a bit better than the straight men.

Although some gays enjoy dressing or acting like members of the other sex (as do many heterosexuals) and some adopt a style of speech or gait to identify themselves as gay, most are indistinguishable from heterosexuals. The idea that you can tell gays from straights was the premise for the Fox television show "Playing It Straight," in which a woman had to pick a straight man out of a group of gay and straight men. If a straight man was the last man standing, the couple split the money. However, if a gay man con­vinced the woman he was straight, he would win 1 million dollars.

Подпись: sexbytПодпись: The 2000 U.S. Census found that at least a quarter of a million children live in same-sex couple households in the United States, and that San Francisco, Washington DC, and New York City have the highest concentration of gays and lesbians (Doyle, 2005).Подпись:Подпись:Подпись:Measuring Sexual Orientation: How Many Are We?leagues (1994) found that although 5.5% of women said they found the thought of hav­ing sex with another woman appealing, only about 4% said they had had sex with an­other woman after the age of 18, and fewer than 2% had had sex with another woman in the past year. Similarly, although 9% of men said they had had sex with another male since puberty, a little over 5% had had sex with a man since turning 18, and only 2% had had sex with a man in the past year. National studies in France, Britain, Norway, Denmark, and Canada all found same-sex behavior in 1% to 3% of men and a slightly lower percentage of women (Muir, 1993). Overall, when taken together, surveys indi­cate that the frequency of same-sex behavior in the United States has remained constant over the years in spite of the changes in the social status of homosexuality (Pillard & Bailey, 1998).

Although there are problems with each of the studies just cited—for example, they concentrate on homosexual sexual behavior, not fantasies or desires—scholars generally agree that between 3% and 4% of males are predominantly gay, 1.5% to 2% of women are predominantly lesbian, and about 2% to 5% are bisexual (Laumann et al., 1994; Mackay, 2000).