Friday, December 28, 2007

Let's Talk About X

You've probably heard of the Kinsey scale. Seven categories, from 0 to 6, describe sexual orientation from exclusively straight to exclusively gay and everything in between. However, you may not know (and neither did I until yesterday) that Mr. Kinsey included an eighth category-- "X"-- for asexual people. You don't hear as much about "X", as say, "3". It wasn't in the movie starring Liam Neeson, and it never got much page time in the Kinsey Reports, but it was there nonetheless. When I discovered "X", quite by chance, I was filled with a strange swell of Sally Field-esque gratitude: "He knew about us! He really knew about us!" And not only that, but Kinsey noticed our existence as early as 1948. Which is a very respectable rebuttal to anyone accusing us of randomly, you know, making all this up.


Lia said...

That is fascinating finding that certainly was not in the movie. After reading your post I googled Kinsey report and X and found the group "X" or asexuals mentioned in the Wikipedia article on Kinsey, but there were no details there. A more interesting description is given on the following blog:
Thomas Kraemer, who authors this blog describes himself as doing
"ethnographic research concerning people with a minority sexual orientation or gender identity".
The interesting thing about his post on this topic is that he shows a graph from Kinsey's book with the asexual group there as X and it does look like Kinsey found asexuals to be about 1% of the population, just like in more recent studies. This was from the report on male sexuality. It would be interesting to look at these books to find out exactly what Kinsey said about "X". I really don't know how his observations about the number of homosexual and bisexual individuals would compare with more recent studies, but yes, asexuality was recognized in 1948, and was reported as being a pretty consistent 1% of the population.
I guess that could be a useful fact to point out to anyone who thinks you or anyone else made all this up.

Ily said...

Thanks Lia! I actually found Thomas K's blog when I was doing research for this post. I also Googled "Kinsey and X", which is hard to do because apparently he had a famous (bisexual?) subject named Mr. X! But I will definitely go back and look at that graph, which I missed the first time around.

maymay said...

That. Is. Just. Awesome! Thanks for the pointer! I've never heard about this before just now, and I've done a decent amount of reading on Kinsey (compared to most people).

It's quite astonishing how much sexual sensationalism will drown out important facets of research over time, isn't it?

Ily said...

Yay! I'm glad you found the information useful :-)