The Kinsey Scale was named after Alfred Kinsey, who is widely considered one of the 20th century’s most significant sex researchers, according to sexologist Carol Queen, Ph.D. It’s no stretch to say that without his work, today’s sexual landscape would look very different and less diverse.
Kinsey, who was an entomologist, was hired at Indiana University to teach sex education, but there wasn’t much to draw from. So, with the help of a team of grad students, he began doing his own research, much of which ultimately changed the world of sexual education and understanding.
The Kinsey Scale was developed in an attempt to show how sexual orientation (specifically, heterosexuality and homosexuality) existed on a continuum, or spectrum. A common misconception today, Queen adds, is that “Kinsey was trying to codify a binary way of looking at sex. This is ahistorical, though.”
“People did think in binary, either/or terms in those days to a significant degree,” she notes but adds, “Among other things, the Kinsey scale illustrates how significant bisexuality is since everything in the middle of the scale could be called bisexual.”