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Can a sexuality quiz really answer the question “Am I gay?”

Am I gay? Can a sexuality quiz really answer the question

If you don’t feel comfortable discussing your sexuality with others, you may try an online sexuality quiz to help answer the question, “Am I gay?” But can a sexuality quiz really tell if you’re gay? What if you’re bisexual, asexual, confused, or just curious?

Of the several types of sexuality quizzes, none are great at determining a person’s sexuality. But while they can’t definitively answer the question you may be asking, they can shed light on different aspects of your sexuality. Let’s see how.

Am I gay?: The science behind “the sexuality quiz”

Before the sexuality quiz, there was the Kinsey Scale. Sex researcher Alfred Kinsey created the scale in the 1940s after interviewing 8,000 people about their sexual attraction and activities. Kinsey placed interviewees on a scale ranging from zero (exclusively heterosexual) to six (exclusively homosexual).

Related: Naughty Kinsey Scale Graphically Bares All

Kinsey believed a person’s psychosexual responses and/or overt experiences were the best “test” for determining someone’s sexuality. Like other animal behaviorists, he also believed one’s sexuality could change somewhat over a lifetime and was dependent on one’s social circumstances — an exclusively homosexual man, for instance, might exhibit bisexual behaviors in an anti-gay society.

The Kinsey Scale can help answer the question
The Kinsey Scale can help answer the question “Am I gay?” but it isn’t exactly a sexuality quiz

In 1980, sex researcher Michael Storms developed The Erotic Response and Orientation Scale (EROS). EROS divides sexuality into four quadrants and tells people what percentage gay, straight, bisexual, asexual they are.

While EROS is more fluid than the Kinsey Scale, like many other types of sexuality quizzes, both require respondents to identify as either male or female, making them poorly equipped for handling non-binary and gender-neutral individuals. They’re also not great at determining whether people might be pansexual, polysexual, or other sexualities.

Related: Ten Sexual Orientations Besides Gay, Straight Or Bi To Round Out Your Sexicon

What questions can help me answer “Am I gay?”

The EROS and Kinsey Scale both ask questions similar to those you’d find in an online sexuality quiz. Here are a few typical questions:

– Do you find the opposite sex attractive?

– Do you find the same sex attractive?

– Which sex do you find more physically attractive?

– Which sex are you emotionally attracted to? Who do you develop feelings for and get crushes on?

– Which sex makes you sexually excited? Who do you fantasize about and feel desire for?

– Have you ever dated someone the same sex as you?

– Do you watch gay/lesbian adult videos?

A sexuality quiz cannot tell if you’re gay based purely on your appearance, feelings towards LGBTQ politics or the gay community, pop-culture, emotions or activities, and traits often associated with women. For example, a man with long hair and earrings who supports marriage equality, enjoys gay bars, loves female singers, expresses his emotions openly, and likes pink fashions could be exclusively heterosexual.

While a quiz can’t definitively determine your sexual orientation, patiently asking “Am I gay?” and exploring other questions can help you better understand your own sexual attractions over time — don’t worry too much! You’ll figure it out.

Am I gay? A sexuality quiz can have a dark side

One type of “gay test” uses a penile plethysmograph, a device that detects changes in penis girth, to determine whether men are aroused by gay or straight erotic images. But other types of sexuality quizzes are quite pseudoscientific or even dangerous.

One bad online sexuality quiz claims to determine your sexuality based on whether you notice women or men first in images — it can’t. Also, some anti-gay countries use forced anal exams to “prove” whether a man has had anal sex with another man. Such exams prove nothing and are just a form of state-sanctioned sexual assault meant to humiliate and strike fear in suspected queers.