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Alfred Kinsey, Wardell B. Pomeroy, Clyde E. Martin.

Sexual Behavior in the Human Male.
Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders, 1948.

Chapter 21


In the total male population, single and married, between adolescence and old age, 24 per cent of the total outlet is derived from solitary sources (masturbation and nocturnal emissions), 69.4 per cent is derived from heterosexual sources (petting and coitus), and 6.3 per cent of the total number of orgasms is derived from homosexual contacts. It is not more than 0.3 per cent of the outlet which is derived from relations with animals of other species.

Homosexual contacts account, therefore, for a rather small but still significant portion of the total outlet of the human male. The significance of the homosexual is, furthermore, much greater than the frequencies of outlet may indicate, because a considerable portion of the population, perhaps the major portion of the male population, has at least some homosexual experience between adolescence and old age. In addition, about 60 per cent of the pre-adolescent boys engage in homosexual activities (Chapter 5), and there is an additional group of adult males who avoid overt contacts but who are quite aware of their potentialities for reacting to other males.

The social significance of the homosexual is considerably emphasized by the fact that both Jewish and Christian churches have considered this aspect of human sexuality to be abnormal and immoral (Chapter 13). Social custom and our Anglo-American law are sometimes very severe in penalizing one who is discovered to have had homosexual relations. In consequence, many persons who have had such experience are psychically disturbed, and not a few of them have been in open conflict with the social organization.

It is, therefore, peculiarly difficult to secure factual data concerning the nature and the extent of the homosexual in Western European or American cultures, and even more difficult to find strictly objective presentations of such data as are available. Most of the literature on the homosexual represents either a polemic against the heinous abnormality of such activity or a biased argument in defense of an individual's right to choose his patterns of sexual behavior.

Until the extent of any type of human behavior is adequately known, it is difficult to assess its significance, either to the individuals who are involved or to society as a whole; and until the extent of the homosexual is known, it is practically impossible to understand its biologic or social origins. It is one thing if we are dealing with a type of activity that is unusual, without precedent among other animals, and restricted to peculiar types of individuals within the human population. It is another thing if the phenomenon proves to be a fundamental part, not only of human sexuality, but of mammalian patterns as a whole. The present chapter is, therefore, wholly confined to an analysis of the data which we now have on the incidence and the frequencies of homosexual activity in the white male population in this country. Analyses of the factors which affect the development of both heterosexual and homosexual patterns of behavior will be presented in a subsequent volume in this series.


Specific data on the incidences and frequencies of overt homosexual contacts in various segments of the male population have already been detailed in this volume in tables and charts, and in discussions in the text, as follows

PAGE                     TABLE                     FIGURE                     NATURE OF DATA
68-70                                                                                           Homosexual items covered in the interview
84-48                            2                          4,155-162                   Size of sample necessary to establish homosexual data
94-102                        3, 6                           13                            Comparisons of data obtained from hundred percent and partial samples
121-125, 129, 130       13                                                            Comparisons of data on original histories and retakes
133-143                   16, 20                           21                           Comparisons of data obtained by three interviewers
143-147                     21, 23                         24                           Comparisons of data obtained in successive periods
162, 167-168               24                             25                           Ages involved in pre-adolescent homosexual play
166-167                       25                                                           Number of years involved in pre-adolescent homosexual play
168                              26                                                            Sex of companions of pre-adolescent boys
169-171                       27                                                           Techniques in pre-adolescent sex play
168, 171-172                28                            26                          Age of first pre-adolescent sex play
171, 174                       29                                                           Continuity of pre-adolescent sex play with adolescent activity
175-181                    30-34                                                         Pre-adolescent eroticism and orgasm
190-191                       38                             30                          Sources of first ejaculation
196                                                               31                           Examples of combinations of sources of outlet
211-213                       42                                                           Sexual outlet in a restrained group of males
232-233                       48                                                           Capacity for multiple orgasm in sexual contacts
234-235                       49                                                           Range of variation in homosexual contacts
285-293                     58, 66                       83-88                       Homosexual contacts in relation to marital Status and age
300, 312, 315, 317,       68, 77-78               91, 94                       Homosexual contacts in relation to age at onset of adolescence
357-362, 382-384     90, 94, 96-97,           105-106                    Homosexual contacts and social level
                               114-115, 141-146
369-373                         94                                                         Oral techniques in sexual contacts
402-403, 410-413     100, 104-105             112                          Comparisons of incidences and frequencies of the homosexual in two successive generations
455-460                         123                                                       Homosexual contacts and rural-urban backgrounds
482-484                         131                                                       Homosexual outlets and religious backgrounds
378, 382, 488-493        96, 97                 126, 128-133               Portion of total outlet derived from homosexual contacts
512                                                                                             Relation of masturbation and the homosexual
523-527                                                                                      Significance of dream content
617-629                     139-140                 3, 6, 156-158              Accumulative incidence of homosexual contacts
631-636                                                     159-160                    Individual variation in frequencies of homosexual contacts
636-650                                                         161                       Heterosexual-homosexual rating scale
640-656                     141-150                    162-169                  Distribution of heterosexual-homosexual ratings in the male population
658                                                                 170                      Development of heterosexuality and homosexuality, by age periods


For nearly a century the term homosexual in connection with human behavior has been applied to sexual relations, either overt or psychic, between individuals of the same sex. Derived from the Greek root homo rather than from the Latin word for man, the term emphasizes the sameness of the two individuals who are involved in a sexual relation. The word is, of course, patterned after and intended to represent the antithesis of the word heterosexual, which applies to a relation between individuals of different sexes.

The term homosexual has had an endless list of synonyms in the technical vocabularies and a still greater list in the vernaculars. The terms homogenic love., contrasexuality, homo-erotism, similisexualism, uranism and others have been used in English (Legman in Henry 1941). The terms sexual inversion, intersexuality, transsexuality, the third sex, psychosexual hermaphroditism, and others have been applied not merely to designate the nature of the partner involved in the sexual relation, but to emphasize the general opinion that individuals engaging in homosexual activity are neither male nor female, but persons of mixed sex. These latter terms are, however, most unfortunate, for they provide an interpretation in anticipation of any sufficient demonstration of the fact; and consequently they prejudice investigations of the nature and origin of homosexual activity.

The term Lesbian, referring to such female homosexual relations as were immortalized in the poetry of Sappho of the Greek isle of Lesbos, has gained considerable usage within recent years, particularly in some of the larger Eastern cities where the existence of female homosexuality is more generally recognized by the public at large. Although there can be no objection to designating relations between females by a special term, it should be recognized that such activities are quite the equivalent of sexual relations between males.

It is unfortunate that the students of animal behavior have applied the term homosexual to a totally different sort of phenomenon among the lower mammals. In most of the literature on animal behavior it is applied on the basis of the general conspectus of the behavior pattern of the animal, its aggressiveness in seeking the sexual contact, its postures during coitus, its position relative to the other animal in the sex relation, and the conformance or disconformance of that behavior to the usual positions and activities of the animal during heterosexual coitus (Ball, var. titles; Beach, var. titles, espec. 1947).

In most mammals the behavior of the female in a heterosexual performance usually involves the acceptance of the male which is trying to make intromission. The female at such a moment is less aggressive than the male, even passive in her acceptance of the male's approaches, and subordinate in position to him during actual coitus. This means that the female usually lies beneath the male or in front of him during copulation, either submitting from the very beginning of the sexual relation or (as in the cats, ferret, mink, and some other animals) being forced into submission by the assault of the male. In the case of the mink, the female is far from being passive during the initial stages of the contact, and the courting performances involve as strenuous fighting as the most extreme non-sexual circumstances could produce. There is no sexual relation, however, until the female has been sufficiently subdued to allow the male to effect coitus. In the case of the rat, the female which is in heat as the result of the hormones which her ovaries secrete near the time of ovulation, is more readily induced to crouch on the floor, arch her back (in lordosis) so her body is raised posteriorly, and pass into a nervous state which is characterized by a general rigidity of most of the body, but by a constant and rapid trembling of the ears and by peculiar hopping movements. This is the behavior which is characteristic of the female in a heterosexual contact, and this is what the students of animals describe as typically feminine behavior.

Throughout the mammals it is the male which more often (but not always) pursues the female for a sexual contact. In species where there is a struggle before the female submits to coitus, the male must be physically dominant and capable of controlling the female. In the ultimate act it is the male which more often mounts in back of the female and makes the active pelvic thrusts which effect intromission. This is the behavior that students of the lower mammals commonly refer to as typically masculine behavior.

But among many species of mammals and, indeed, probably among all of them, it not infrequently happens that males and females assume other than their usual positions in a sexual contact. This may be dependent upon individual differences in the physiology or anatomy of certain individuals, on differences in hormones, on environmental circumstances, or on some previous experience which has conditioned the animal in its behavior.

In a certain number of cases the assumption of the attitudes and positions of the opposite sex, among these lower mammals, seems to depend upon nothing more than the accident of the position in which the individual finds itself. The same male rat that has mounted a female in typical heterosexual coitus only a few moments before, may crouch on the floor, arch its back, and rear its posterior when it is approached by another rat from the rear. The same female which rises from the floor where she has been crouching in front of a copulating male may bump into another rat as she runs around the cage, rear on her haunches in front of the decumbent. partner, and go through all of the motions that a male ordinarily goes through in heterosexual copulation. She may move her pelvis in thrusts which are quite like those of the male. She may strike her genital area against the genital area of the rat in front, quite as she would if she had a penis to effect entrance. And, what is most astounding, she may double up her body as she pulls back from the genital thrusts and manipulate her own genitalia with her mouth (Beach 1947), exactly as the male rat ordinarily manipulates his penis between the thrusts that he makes when he is engaged in the masculine role in the usual type of heterosexual relation.

The assumption by a male animal of a female position in a sexual relation, or the assumption by a female of a position which is more typical of the male in a heterosexual relation, is what the students of animal behavior have referred to as homosexuality. This, of course, has nothing whatsoever to do with the use of the term among the students of human behavior, and one must be exceedingly careful how one transfers the conclusions based on these animal studies.

In studies of human behavior, the term inversion is applied to sexual situations in which males play female roles and females play male roles in sex relations. Most of the data on "homosexuality" in the animal studies actually refer to inversion. Inversion, of course, may occur in either heterosexual or homosexual relations, although there has been a widespread opinion, even among students of human psychology, and among some persons whose experience has been largely homosexual, that inversion is an invariable accompaniment of homosexuality. However, this generalization is not warranted. A more elaborate presentation of our data would show that there are a great many males who remain as masculine, and a great many females who remain as feminine, in their attitudes and their approaches in homosexual relations, as the males or females who have nothing but heterosexual relations. Inversion and homosexuality are two distinct and not always correlated types of behavior.

More recently some of the students of animal behavior (e.g., Beach in later papers) have used the term bisexual to apply to individuals which assume sometimes male and sometimes female roles during sexual activities. This, however, is not a happy correction of the terminology, because the term bisexual has a long-standing meaning in biology which is totally different from the meaning intended here. Moreover, in regard to human behavior, the term bisexual has already been misapplied to persons who include both heterosexual and homosexual activities in their current histories. (See the discussion on "Bisexuality" in a later section in this chapter.) The student of animal behavior is observing an inversion of behavior patterns, and this is a phenomenon apart from either homosexuality or bisexuality, as those terms have ordinarily been used.

The inappropriate use of the term homosexual in the literature on animal behavior has led to unfortunate misinterpretations of the data. Thus, for instance, several investigators (eg., Ball, Beach, Stone, Young, et al.) have shown that the injection of gonadal hormones may modify the frequency with which an animal shows an inversion of behavior of the sort described above. Among many clinicians this work has been taken to mean that the sex. hormones control the heterosexuality or homosexuality of an individual's behavior. This, of course, is a totally unwarranted interpretation. The animal work merely shows that there may be an inversion of female and male roles as a result of hormonal injections. It points to a relationship between the amount of hormone and the aggressiveness of an individual in approaching other animals for sexual relations. The injection of male hormones quite generally increases the frequency and intensity of an animal's reactions, but there is no evidence that it affects its choice of a partner in a sexual relation (Kinsey 1941). Beach (1947) makes the significant observation that the males who most often assume the female type of behavior are the ones who "invariably prove to be the most vigorous copulators," when they assume the more usual masculine role in coitus. There is clinical experience with the human male which similarly shows that the intensity of his sexual activity is increased when male hormones are administered, while his choice of a partner (i.e., his heterosexuality or his homosexuality) is not modified.

If the term homosexual is restricted as it should be, the homosexuality or heterosexuality of any activity becomes apparent by determining the sexes of the two individuals involved in the relationship. For instance, mouth-genital contacts between males and females are certainly heterosexual, even though some persons may think of them as homosexual. And although one may hear of a male "who has sex relations with his wife in a homosexual way," there is no logic in such a use of the term, and analyses of the behavior and of the motivations of the behavior in such cases do not show them necessarily related to any homosexual experience.

On the other hand, the homosexuality of certain relationships between individuals of the same sex may be denied by some persons, because the situation does not fulfill other criteria that they think should be attached to the definition. Mutual masturbation between two males may be dismissed, even by certain clinicians, as not homosexual, because oral or anal relations or particular levels of psychic response are required, according to their concept of homosexuality. There are persons who insist that the active male in an anal relation is essentially heterosexual in his behavior, and that the passive male in the same relation is the only one who is homosexual. These, however, are misapplications of terms, which are often unfortunate because they obscure the interpretation of the situation which the clinician is supposed to help by his analysis.

These misinterpretations are often encouraged by the very persons who are having homosexual experience. Some males who are being regularly fellated by other males without, however, ever performing fellation themselves, may insist that they are exclusively heterosexual and that they have never been involved in a truly homosexual relation. Their consciences are cleared and they may avoid trouble with society and with the police by perpetrating the additional fiction that they are incapable of responding to a relation with a male unless they fantasy themselves in contact with a female. Even clinicians have allowed themselves to be diverted by such pretensions. The actual histories, however, show few if any cases of sexual relations between males which could be considered anything but homosexual.

Many individuals who have had considerable homosexual experience, construct a hierarchy on the basis of which they insist that anyone who has not had as much homosexual experience as they have had, or who is less exclusively aroused by homosexual stimuli, is "not really homosexual." It. is amazing to observe how many psychologists and psychiatrists have accepted this sort of propaganda, and have come to believe that homosexual males and females are discretely different from persons who merely have homosexual experience, or who react sometimes to homosexual stimuli. Sometimes such an interpretation allows for only two kinds of males and two kinds of females, namely those who are heterosexual and those who are homosexual. But as subsequent data in this chapter will show, there is only about half of the male population whose sexual behavior is exclusively heterosexual, and there are only a few percent who are exclusively homosexual. Any restriction of the term homosexuality to individuals who are exclusively so demands, logically, that the term heterosexual be applied only to those individuals who are exclusively heterosexual; and this makes no allowance for the nearly half of the population which has had sexual contacts with, or reacted psychically to, individuals of their own as well as of the opposite sex. Actually, of course, one must learn to recognize every combination of heterosexuality and homosexuality in the histories of various individuals.

It would encourage clearer thinking on these matters if persons were not characterized as heterosexual or homosexual, but as individuals who have had certain amounts of heterosexual experience and certain amounts of homosexual experience. Instead of using these terms as substantives which stand for persons, or even as adjectives to describe persons, they may better be used to describe the nature of the overt sexual relations, or of the stimuli to which an individual erotically responds.


Many persons have recognized the importance of securing specific information on the incidence of the homosexual. The clinician needs to know how far the experience of his patient departs from norms for the remainder of the population. Counselors, teachers, clergymen, personnel officers, the administrators of institutions, social workers, law enforcement officers, and still others who are concerned with the direction of human behavior, may completely misinterpret the meaning of the homosexual experience in an individual's history, unless they understand the incidence and frequency of such activity in the population as a whole.

Administrators in prisons, mental institutions, public and private schools, colleges and universities, the Army and the Navy, Y.M.C.A. and scouting activities, and of all other sorts of groups, must understand the part which the homosexual plays in the life of the total male population, before they can understand the significance of the behavior of the particular individuals with whom they are called upon to deal. Scientific explanations of the origin and development of the homosexual, and, for that matter, of the heterosexual, will not be on any sound basis until we know the number of persons who are involved in each type of activity, the ages at which they first become involved, and the ages at which they are most frequently involved. There is no other aspect of human sexual activity about which it has been more important to have some precise knowledge of the incidences and frequencies.

There are many persons who believe the homosexual to be a rare phenomenon, a clinical curiosity, and something which one may never meet among the sorts of persons with whom he would associate. On the other hand, there are some clinicians and some persons who have had first-hand contacts in the homosexual, who have estimated that something between 50 and 100 per cent of the population has such experience.

There is undoubtedly a tendency on the part of some males who have had frequent homosexual contacts to exaggerate in their estimates. Some of these more promiscuous males have actually tested the responses of hundreds and sometimes of thousands of males whom they have invited to have homosexual relations. Many of them insist that a very high proportion of all the males whom they have approached have accepted such relations, and it is upon this fact that they base their opinion that most males are "homosexual" or that they are "partly homosexual," or that they "are really homosexual even though they may not be aware of it and may not have had actual experience." But they overlook the fact that the experienced male does not actually invite anyone to have sexual relations until he has had such social contact as may indicate the final success of his sexual approach. His contacts are, therefore, really confined to a very select portion of the males whom he meets.

Satisfactory incidence figures on the homosexual cannot be obtained by any technique short of a carefully planned population survey. The data should cover every segment of the total population. There is no other aspect of human sexual behavior where it is more fundamental that the sample be secured without any selection of cases which would bias the results. Many persons with homosexual experience very naturally hesitate to expose their histories. On the other hand, there are some who are so upset by personal conflicts or social difficulties that have developed out of their homosexual activities that they are anxious to discuss their problems with an investigator whom they have come to trust. In consequence, if one depends only upon volunteers in a survey, it is impossible to know whether homosexual histories are represented in an undue proportion, or less often, than their actual incidence would demand. In order to secure data that have any relation to the reality, it is imperative that the cases be derived from as careful a distribution and stratification of the sample as the public opinion polls employ, or as we have employed in the present study.

Unfortunately, no previous attempts to assess the incidence of the homosexual have begun to satisfy these demands for statistical adequacy. The incidence figures which are most often quoted are derived from the 2 to 5 per cent estimate which Havelock Ellis made for England (Ellis 1936), and from the more elaborate calculations made by Hirschfeld, chiefly for Germany (as finally summarized in Hirschfeld 1920). The professional literature, if it does not cite these studies, rarely quotes any other sources except "the best informed students of the subject" (eg., Haire 1937, Rosanoff 1938, Squier in Folsom 1938, Painter 1941, Moore 1945, et al.); and through devious channels these data have become general property among people who have no idea of their origin. Terman and Miles (1936) do credit a 4 per cent estimate to "the university medical staff in one of the largest of American universities." And there is a bare statement in McPartland (1947) which reports a current "guess" that "the number of potential homosexuals in the United States is in the neighborhood of 8,000,000 or higher" a figure that represents about 6 per cent of the total male and female population.

As for Ellis' estimate of a 2 to 5 per cent incidence figure for males, and double that figure for females, it is to be noted that this follows a review of the Hirschfeld data, and is made without any support other than the statement that "considering those individuals with whom I have been brought in contact by the ordinary circumstances of life I am still led to the conclusions that ... there must be a distinct percentage which may sometimes be . . . slightly over 2 per cent." As a matter of fact, Ellis never made any sort of systematic survey of any aspect of sex in any segment of the population. He had a minimum of face to face contact with his subjects, and depended largely upon information which was supplied him by correspondents. It is, of course, only a very select portion of the population that will send sex histories through the mails, and such histories are rarely more than partial accounts, usually of specific episodes that have been high lights in the life of the individual.

More elaborate attempts to obtain estimates of the extent of homosexual activity have been made by some of the Central European students. At the turn of the century, Rsmer in Holland got 595 of his fellow students to give written answers to questions concerning their erotic reactions to females and to males. In 1903 and 1904, Magnus Hirschfeld conducted a much more extensive investigation (finally summarized in Hirschfeld 1920).

Through the mails, Hirschfeld distributed forms to 3000 students at the Charlottenburg Institute of Technology, and to 5721 metal workers in Berlin, asking each recipient to indicate whether his "libido had always been directed only to females . . . only to males . . . or to both males and females." Of the 7481 persons who apparently received the letters, about 49 per cent answered. On the basis of these replies, Hirschfeld concluded that 94.3 per cent of the males were exclusively heterosexual, 2.3 per cent homosexual, and the remainder bisexual. The survey is open to the very severe criticism that it involved only a highly selected sample of the total population. What is more serious, one is left guessing as to the histories of the 51 per cent that failed to answer the questionnaire.

In a more elaborate attempt to secure estimates of the incidence of the homosexual, Hirschfeld contacted persons who, because they had homosexual histories, could supply some information concerning the extent of such activity in the business or professional groups in which they moved. Persons in the Army and Navy were asked to estimate how many in their whole company or among the officers in their group were known as homosexual. College students were asked to estimate how many of the men in their fraternities were known to have homosexual histories. Similar reports were obtained from groups of Protestant clergymen and from Catholic priests, from Postal employees, railroad employees, a group of court judges, bakers, bank employees, draftsmen, butchers, actors, hotel employees, the recorded histories of English kings, etc. - from a total of 34 different groups. Hirschfeld concluded that 525 out of the 23,771 persons in these groups were "homosexual." Calculations give an incidence figure of approximately 2.2 per cent, and this is the figure on which Hirschfeld subsequently depended.

Obviously this method of sampling falls far short of the demands of a scientific population analysis. It depends upon the ability of an informant to know the sexual histories of all the persons in a group, without collecting actual histories from any of them. It depends upon the informant's ability to recognize homosexual males (other than those with whom he has had actual contact) on the basis of their physical characters and mannerisms, or of their public reputations. Very often such reputations are nothing more than mere gossip. Moreover, there are many persons in any group whose homosexual histories are never known publicly. In brief, such sources of information are little better than the gossip and general impressions on which many persons depended before public opinion polls showed what can be accomplished in a statistically well-organized survey.

Hirschfeld deserves considerable credit for having tried on a larger scale than anyone had before to ascertain the facts on a matter that has always been difficult to survey. Down to the beginning of the present study, no more serious attempt has been made. Nevertheless, the uncritical acceptance of these inadequate calculations has delayed the recognition of the magnitude of the medical, psychiatric, social, and legal problems involved in homosexuality, and delayed scientific interpretations of the bases of such behavior.

In later years, Hirschfeld had the opportunity to obtain the histories of persons who visited his Sex Institute at Berlin, some of them as patients, some of them merely as visitors who filled out the questionnaire supplied by the Institute. Some 10,000 of these were accumulated in the course of the years; but the data were uninterpretable because they were derived from such a select portion of the total population. Moreover, all of the Hirschfeld conclusions were biased by his opinion that a person is really homosexual only when his psychic or overt contacts are more or less exclusively so, and consequently his estimates may come nearer representing the incidence of certain degrees of homosexuality, rather than the totality of homosexual activity.

There have been other European studies that have been modelled on the Hirschfeld techniques, but all of them were based on smaller populations, and none of them has had as great influence on the thinking of clinicians.

In this country, three investigators have obtained data on the incidence of the homosexual in our American male population. It is notable that all three of them have secured figures which are remarkably higher than the European studies have given - not because there is any likelihood that the American picture is particularly different from that in Europe, but because all of these studies have come nearer satisfying the demands of a population survey. All of them involved a more thorough coverage of particular groups, and all of them were based on direct interviews with persons with whom the interviewer had had enough contact to have developed some rapport. Hamilton (1929) found that 17 per cent of the hundred men in his study had had homosexual experience after they were eighteen years old. Ramsey (1943), in a study of 291 younger boys, one-half of whom constituted a hundred percent sample of a seventh and eighth grade group in a junior high school, found that 30 per cent had had adolescent homosexual experience to the point of orgasm. More recently (1947), Finger has reported 27 per cent of a college class of 111 males admitting "at least one overt homosexual episode involving orgasm." These figures come remarkably close to those which we have obtained in the present study.

One other source of data on the extent of "homosexuality" among American males has recently become available through statistics gathered by Selective Service Boards and at induction centers during the last war. Theoretically, this should have been a splendid opportunity to gain information that would have been of considerable scientific use and of considerable practical use to the armed forces. From these sources, the over-all figures show that about one-hundredth of 1 per cent of an the men were rejected by draft boards (Selective Service Bull. 1-4), about 0.4 per cent were turned down at induction centers (eg., Hohman and Schaffner 1947), and about as many more were subsequently discharged for homosexual activity while they were in active service. The total gives less than 1 per cent officially identified as "homosexual." These figures are so much lower than any which case history studies have obtained that they need critical examination.

The most obvious explanation of these very low figures lies in the fact that both the Army and Navy had precluded the possibility of getting accurate data on these matters by announcing at the beginning of the war that they intended to exclude all persons with homosexual histories. The American Army and Navy have always been traditionally opposed to homosexual activity, and in the last war, for the first time, they turned to psychiatrists for help in eliminating individuals with such histories.

Physicians on draft boards and psychiatrists at induction centers were charged with the responsibility of detecting and eliminating men with such records, and many of the psychiatrists at induction centers paid especial attention to identifying these men. While the reasons for elimination of any man were supposed to be kept confidential, they were in actuality not infrequently known to the whole community in which he lived. The mere fact that he was rejected under a particular classification, or discharged from the Army or Navy on a particular discharge form, often made him a subject for suspicion, and in a large number of instances practically precluded the possibility of his securing employment as a civilian. Consequently, few men with any common sense would admit their homosexual experience to draft boards or to psychiatrists at induction centers or in the services.

It is amazing that some of the psychiatrists (e.g., Hohman and Schaffner 1947) apparently believed that they were getting a true record under these circumstances. Only a naive individual, one who was badly neurotic and upset over his experience, or an effeminate type of male who freely exhibited his homosexual interests, was ordinarily detected through the official channels. Many of the psychiatrists were less experienced in identifying the obviously homosexual male than several million untrained persons who had had actual contact with homosexual activities. Many psychiatrists realized this, and some of them recognized the fact that the incidence of homosexual activity in the armed forces must have been high - even involving as many as 10 per cent or more of the men.

It is also to be noted that at induction centers the average interview was limited to less than three minutes. Considering that the psychoanalysts and many of the other psychiatrists have heretofore insisted that one could not expect to obtain data on socially taboo items of sexual behavior in anything less that a hundred hours of analysis, it is the more surprising that the results of these short interviews at induction centers should have been taken seriously.

Discharges from the Army and Navy similarly have not provided any adequate source of information on the actual incidence of homosexual activity. Many psychiatrists in the armed forces were aware of the great social damage done to an individual who was discharged for such reasons, and they considered it desirable to help him by showing flat feet, stomach ulcers, shock, or some other non-sexual item as the immediate cause of the discharge. Consequently, no one anywhere in official circles in the Army and the Navy will ever be able to obtain any adequate estimate of the number of men with homosexual activity who were identified and discharged from the services during the war.

The estimates on the incidence of the homosexual, range, then, from these Selective Service figures of one-hundredth of 1 per cent to the 100 per cent estimates of some of the psychoanalysts and of some promiscuous homosexual males. It has, therefore, been especially important in our present study to apply all of the techniques of a statistically sound population survey to obtaining data on this particular matter.


The statistics given throughout this volume on the incidence of homosexual activity, and the statistics to be given in the present section of this chapter, are based on those persons who have had physical contacts with other males, and who were brought to orgasm as a result of such contacts. By any strict definition such contacts are homosexual, irrespective of the extent of the psychic stimulation involved, of the techniques employed, or of the relative importance of the homosexual and the heterosexual the history of such an individual. Thes are not data on the number of persons who are "homosexual," but on the number of persons who have had at least some homosexual experience - even though sometimes not more than one experience - up to the ages shown in the tables and curves. The incidences of persons who have had various amounts of homosexual experience are presented in a later section of this chapter.

An individual who engages in a sexual relation with another male without, however, coming to climax, or an individual who is erotically aroused by a homosexual stimulus without ever having overt relations, has certainly had a homosexual experience. Such relations and reactions are, however, not included in the incidence data given here nor in most other places in this volume, because the volume as a whole has been concerned with the number and sources of male orgasms. On the other hand, the data on the heterosexual-homosexual ratings which are presented later in the present chapter, do take into account these homosexual contacts in which the subject fails to reach climax. Accumulative incidence curves based upon heterosexual-homosexual ratings may, therefore, be somewhat higher than the accumulative incidence curves based upon overt contacts carried through to the point of actual orgasm.

Data on the homosexual activity of the pre-adolescent boy have been presented in another chapter (Chapter 5) and no male is included in any of the calculations shown in the present chapter unless he has had homosexual experience beyond the onset of adolescence.

In these terms (of physical contact to the point of orgasm), the data in the present study indicate that at least 37 per cent of the male population has some homosexual experience between the beginning of adolescence and old age (U. S. Corrections, See Table 139, Figure 156). This is more than one male in three of the persons that one may meet as he passes along a city street. Among the males who remain unmarried until the age of 35, almost exactly 50 per cent have homosexual experience between the beginning of adolescence and that age. Some of these persons have but a single experience, and some of them have much more or even a lifetime of experience; but all of them have at least some experience to the point of orgasm.

These figures are, of course, considerably higher than any which have previously been estimated; but as already shown (Chapter 4) they must be understatements, if they are anything other than the fact.

We ourselves were totally unprepared to find such incidence data when this research was originally undertaken. Over a period of several years we were repeatedly assailed with doubts as to whether we were getting a fair cross section of the total population or whether a selection of cases was biasing the results. It has been our experience, however, that each new group into which we have go gone has provided substantially the same data.

Whether the histories were taken in one large city or another, whether they were taken in large cities, in small towns, or in rural areas, whether they came from one college or from another, a church school or a state university or some private institution, whether they came from one part of the country or from another, the incidence data on the homosexual have been more or less the same.

While the validity of the data on all of the sexual outlets has been tested and retested throughout the study (Chapters 3 and 4), especial attention has been given to testing the material on the homosexual. This means, specifically, that we have checked these homosexual data in the following ways:

1. By comparing samples of various size, taken by a strict randomization out of the whole of the accumulation of histories (Tables 2, 155-162, Figure 4).

2. By carefully providing cross-checks and other techniques in the interviewing which would check memory and the accuracy of the data (Chapters 2, 4).

3. By comparing data obtained from hundred percent and partial samples (Tables 3, 6, Figure 13).

4. By comparing data on originals and re-takes of histories (Table 13).

5. By comparing data obtained by three different interviewers (Tables 16, 20, Figure 21).

6. By comparing data obtained by the same interviewer in two successive four-year periods (Tables 21, 23, Figure 24).

7. By measuring the trends shown by data calculated for successive age periods (Tables 58, 66, Figures 83-88).

8. By comparing data on groups of males who became adolescent at different age periods (Tables 68, 77-78, Figures 91, 94).

9. By comparing data obtained from males of different educational levels and occupational classes (Tables 90, 94, 96-97, 114-115, 141-146, Figures 105-106).

10. By comparing homosexual incidences in two generations for which the median age difference was 22 years (Table 100, Figure 114).

11. By comparing the incidences in rural and in urban groups (Table 123).

12. By comparing the data on various religious groups (Table 131).

If we had arrived at the present incidence figures by a single calculation based on a single population, one might well question their validity. But the determination of the extent of the homosexual in the population is too important a matter to be settled on anything but an elaborately devised system of samples. When twelve ways of obtaining data give results that are as consistent as those that are to be found in the tables and charts listed above, there can be no question that the actual incidence of the homosexual is at least 37 and 50 per cent as given above. The tests show that the actual figures may be as much as 5 per cent higher, or still higher.

Those who have been best acquainted with the extent of homosexual activity in the population, whether through clinical contacts with homosexual patients, through homosexual acquaintances, or through their own firsthand homosexual experience, will not find it too difficult to accept the accumulative incidence figures which are arrived at here. There are many who have been aware of the fact that persons with homosexual histories are to be found in every age group, in every social level, in every conceivable occupation, in cities and on farms, and in the most remote areas in the country. They have known the homosexual in young adolescents and in persons of every other age. They have known it in single persons and in the histories of males who were married. In large city communities they know that an experienced observer may identify hundreds of persons in a day whose homosexual interests are certain. They have known the homosexuality of many persons whose histories were utterly unknown to most of their friends and acquaintances. They have repeatedly had the experience of discovering homosexual histories among persons whom they had known for years before they realized that they had had. anything except heterosexual experience.

On the other hand, the incidence of the homosexual is not 100 per cent, as some persons would have it. There is no doubt that there are males who have never been involved in any sexual contact with any other male, and who have never been conscious of any erotic arousal by another male. For while some of the psychoanalysts will contend to the contrary, it is to be pointed out that there are several dozen psychoanalysts who have contributed histories to this study who have insisted that they have never identified homosexual experience or reactions in their own histories.

The number of males who have any homosexual experience after the onset of adolescence (the accumulative incidence) is highest in the group that enters high school but never goes beyond in its educational career. In that group 55 per cent of the males who are still single by 30 years of age have had the experience of being brought to climax through a physical contact with another male (Table 90). Among the boys who never go beyond grade school the corresponding figure is 45 per cent, and for the males who belong to the college level, 40 per cent. The accumulative incidence figures for the whole of the life span (Table 140, Figure 157) are a bit higher for all of these groups, inasmuch as there are some males who do not have their first homosexual experience until after they are 30 years of age.

Among single males in the population, the highest active incidence figures occur in the older age groups. Between adolescence and 15 years of age about 1 male in 4 (27%) has some homosexual experience (Table 58).

The figures rise to nearly 1 male in 3 in the later teens and appear to drop a bit in the early twenties. Among those who are not married by the latter part of their twenties, the incidence is about 1 male in 3, and the figures increase slightly among older unmarried males (39%). There are some minor differences in the trends in the different social levels.

The drop in the active incidence figures between 21 and 25 appears so consistently through all of the calculations, that there is reason for believing that it represents an actual fact in the behavior of the population. During their late teens, many males experience considerable personal conflict over their homosexual activities, because they have become more conscious of social reactions to such contacts. Particularly in that period, many individuals attempt to stop their homosexual relations, and try to make the heterosexual adjustments which society demands. Some of these individuals are, of course, successful, but in a certain number of cases they finally reach the point, somewhere in their middle twenties, where they conclude that it is too costly to attempt to avoid the homosexual, and consciously, deliberately and sometimes publicly decide to renew such activities. Another factor which certainly contributes to the decrease in active incidence in the early twenties is the fact that heterosexually oriented males are then marrying in great numbers, and this leaves an increasingly select group at older ages in the single population.

The active incidence figures are highest among single males of the high school level (Table 90). In the late teens nearly every other male of this level (41%) is having some homosexual contact, and between the ages of 26 and 30 it is had by 46 per cent of the group. Among the males of the grade school level about 1 in 4 (22 to 27%) has any homosexual experience in any age period of the pre-marital years. Among the males who belong to the college level only about 1 in 5 has homosexual experience between adolescence and 15 (22%), 1 in 6 (16%) has such relations in the later teens, and less than 1 in 10 (10%) has homosexual relations between the ages of 21 and 25. Among males who never go beyond grade school, about the same number of individuals is involved while they are actually in grade school, during their late teens when they are out of school, and in all the subsequent years until they marry. Among the males who stop their schooling at high school levels a larger number is involved after they have left school. For the males who belong to the college level, the largest number is involved while they are in high school, but the number steadily decreases in later years.

Homosexual activities occur in a much higher percentage of the males who became adolescent at an early age; and in a definitely smaller percentage of those who became adolescent at later ages (Tables 77, 78, Figure 94). For instance, at the college level, during early adolescence about 28 per cent of the early-adolescent boys are involved, and only 14 per cent of the boys who were late in becoming adolescent. This difference is narrowed in successive age periods, but the boys who became adolescent first are more often involved even ten and fifteen years later. It is to be recalled (Chapter 9) that these early-adolescent boys are the same ones who have the highest incidences and frequencies in masturbation and in heterosexual contacts. It is the group which possesses on the whole the greatest sex drive, both in early adolescence and throughout most of the. subsequent periods of their lives.

Homosexual activities occur less frequently among rural groups and more frequently among those who live in towns or cities (Table 123). On the other hand, it has already been pointed out (Chapter 12) that this is a product not only of the greater opportunity which the city may provide for certain types of homosexual contacts, but also of the generally lower rate of total outlet among males raised on the farm. It has also been pointed out that in certain of the most remote rural areas there is considerable homosexual activity among lumbermen, cattlemen, prospectors, miners, hunters, and others engaged in out-of-door occupations. The homosexual activity rarely conflicts with their heterosexual relations, and is quite without the argot, physical manifestations, and other affectations so often found in urban groups. There is a minimum of personal disturbance or social conflict over such activity. It is the type of homosexual experience which the explorer and pioneer may have had in their histories.

On the whole, homosexual contacts occur most frequently among the males who are not particularly active in their church connections. They occur less frequently among devout Catholics, Orthodox Jewish groups, and Protestants who are active in the church. The differences are not always great, but lie constantly in the same direction.

Among married males the highest incidences of homosexual activity appear to occur between the ages of 16 and 25, when nearly 10 per cent of the total population of married males (U.S. Correction) is involved (Table 66, Figure 85). The available data seem to indicate that the percentage steadily drops with advancing age, but we have already suggested that these figures are probably unreliable. Younger, unmarried males have regularly given us some record of sexual contacts with older, married males.

Many married males with homosexual experience currently in their histories have, undoubtedly, avoided us, and it has usually been impossible to secure hundred percent groups of older married- males, especially from males of assured social position, primarily because of the extra-marital intercourse which they often have, and sometimes because some of them have active homosexual histories. About 10 per cent of the lower level married males have admitted homosexual experience between the ages of 16 and 20. About 13 per cent of the high school level has admitted such experience after marriage and between the ages of 21 and 25. Only 3 per cent of the married males of college level have admitted homosexual experience after marriage - mostly between the ages of 31 and 35. It has been impossible to calculate accumulative incidence figures for these several groups, but they must lie well above the active incidence figures just cited.

Finally, it should be noted that there is no evidence that the homosexual involves more males or, for that matter, fewer males today than it did among older generations, at least as far back as the specific record in the present study goes (Chapter 11, Tables 100, 104, Figure 112).


Since the incidence of the homosexual is high, and since it accounts for only 8 to 16 per cent of the total orgasms of the unmarried males (Tables 66, 96, 97, Figures 84, 126, 128-130) and for a rather insignificant portion of the outlet of the married males (Figures 131-133), it is obvious that the mean frequencies must be low in the population as a whole. Even when the calculations are confined to those males who are having actual experience, the average frequencies are never high.

These low rates are in striking discord with the fact that homosexual contacts could in actuality be had more abundantly than heterosexual contacts, if there were no social restraints or personal conflicts involved. The sexual possibilities of the average male in his teens or twenties are probably more often assayed by males than by females, and younger males who are attractive physically or who have attractive personalities may be approached for homosexual relations more often than they themselves would ever approach females for heterosexual relations. A homosexually experienced male could undoubtedly find a larger number of sexual partners among males than a heterosexually experienced male could find among females. It is, of course, only the experienced male who understands that homosexual contacts are so freely available. The considerable taboo which society places upon these activities and upon their open discussion leaves most people in ignorance of the channels through which homosexual contacts are made; and even among males who desire homosexual relations, there are only a relatively few who have any knowledge of how to find them in abundance. Consequently, many homosexual individuals may go for months and even for years at a stretch without a single contact which is carried through to orgasm.

The heterosexual male finds a regular outlet if he locates a single female who is acceptable as a wife in marriage. The homosexual male is more often concerned with finding a succession of partners, no one of whom win provide more than a few contacts, or perhaps not more than a single contact. Some promiscuous males with homosexual histories become so interested in the thrill of conquest, and in the variety of partners and in the variety of genital experiences that may be had, that they deliberately turn down opportunities for repetitions of contacts with any one person. This necessity for finding new partners may result in their going for some days or weeks without sexual relations.

Even the most experienced homosexual males may be inhibited from making all the contacts that are available because of preferences for particular sorts of partners. A male who has highly developed esthetic tastes, one who is emotionally very sensitive, one who over-reacts to situations which do not entirely please him, one who develops a preference for a partner of a particular age or a particular social level, of a particular height or weight, with hair of a particular color, with particular genital qualities, or with other particular physical aspects - a male who refuses to have sexual relations except under particular circumstances, at particular hours of the day, and in particular sorts of environments - may turn down hundreds of opportunities for contacts before he finds the one individual with whom he accepts a relation.

Many of the males who have homosexual histories are acutely aware that they are transgressing social custom and engaging in activity which has a certain amount of peril attached to it if it becomes known to the society in which they live. Consequently, many such males become oversensitive to the precise situations under which they accept relationships. All of these handicaps make for discord between homosexual partners, and this lessens the number of opportunities for successful relations.

Long-time relationships between two males are notably few. Long-time relationships in the heterosexual would probably be less frequent than they are, if there were no social custom or legal restraints to enforce continued relationships in marriage. But without such outside pressures to preserve homosexual relations, and with personal and social conflicts continually disturbing them, relationships between two males rarely survive the first disagreements.

There are some males whose homosexuality is undoubtedly the product of inherent or acquired timidity or other personality traits which make it difficult for them to approach other persons for any sort of social contact. Such males find it easier to make contacts with individuals of their own sex. Their homosexuality may be the direct outcome of their social inadequacies. Even with their own sex, however, these timid individuals may find it very difficult to approach strangers. They may resort to taverns, clubs, and other places where they know that homosexual contacts may be easily obtained, but are likely to go alone, and may go regularly for weeks and months without speaking to anyone in the assemblage. The low rates of outlet of some of these individuals are as extreme as any in the whole male population.

There are some males who are primarily or even exclusively homosexual in their psychic responses, but who may completely abstain from overt relations for moral reasons or for fear of social difficulties. Left without any socio-sexual contacts, some of these persons have essentially no outlet, and some of them are, therefore, very badly upset.

For these several reasons, average frequencies among males with homosexual histories are usually low, and there are very few high frequencies. In any particular age group, in any segment of the population, it is never more than about 5.5 per cent of the males who are having homosexual relations that average more than once every other day (3.5 per week). Calculating only for the males who actually have homosexual experience, there are never more than 5.2 per cent that have frequencies averaging more than 6.0 per week during their most active years. Considering that it is 25 per cent of the entire population which has total sexual outlets which average more than 3.5 per week, and considering that 24 per cent of the married males have outlets that average more than 6.0 per week in their most active period, it is apparent that outlets from the homosexual are definitely low.

Among single males who are having homosexual experience the average frequencies rise from 0.8 per week in early adolescence to about 1.3 per week at age 25 and 1.7 per week by age 35 (Table 58). Since the frequencies of total sexual outlet steadily decrease with advancing age (Chapter 7), it is to be noted that the homosexual supplies an increasing proportion of the orgasms for the single males who are having such contacts: 17.5 per cent of the orgasms in early adolescence, 30.3 per cent in the early twenties, 40.4 per cent by age 40 (Table 58). This increased dependence of this older male upon his homosexual outlet parallels the increased dependence which the heterosexual male places upon coitus as a source of outlet (Chapter 7). The situation is, however, accentuated in the case of the homosexual because the younger male may be restrained by considerable doubts as to the advisability of continuing in a socially taboo activity (Figures 162-167). See the discussion in this chapter on Incidences.

The frequencies of homosexual contacts differ considerably at different social levels (Tables 90, 114, Figure 105). The least frequent activity is to be found in the college level. Comparing active populations of college and high school levels, there is 50 to 100 per cent more frequent activity among the males of the high school group. The grade school level stands intermediate between the other two groups. The differences between the social levels are most marked in the early age periods.

The considerable amount of homosexual experience among males of the high school level is a matter for especial note. See the discussion in Chapter 10 (p. 384).

Between rural and urban groups the frequencies of homosexual contacts differ in the same way that the incidences differ (cf. above). The contacts are less frequent among the farm boys of grade school and high school level (Table 123); but for the college level there are almost no differences between the two groups (Chapter 12).

Homosexual contacts, among those males who are having such relations, occur less frequently (in most groups) among persons who are actively interested in the church (Table 131), more frequently among those who have least to do with religious activities (Chapter 13).


Concerning patterns of sexual behavior, a great deal of the thinking done by scientists and laymen alike stems from the assumption that there are persons who are "heterosexual" and persons who are "homosexual," that these two types represent antitheses in the sexual world, and that there is only an insignificant class of "bisexuals" who occupy an intermediate position between the other groups. It is implied that every individual is innately - inherently - either heterosexual or homosexual. It is further implied that from the time of birth one is fated to be one thing or the other, and that there is little chance for one to change his pattern in the course of a lifetime.

It is quite generally believed that one's preference for a sexual partner of one or the other sex is correlated with various physical and mental qualities, and with the total personality which makes a homosexual male or female physically, psychically, and perhaps spiritually distinct from a heterosexual individual. It is generally thought that these qualities make a homosexual person obvious and recognizable to any one who has a sufficient understanding of such matters. Even psychiatrists discuss "the homosexual personality" and many of them believe that preferences for sexual partners of a particular sex are merely secondary manifestations of something that lies much deeper in the totality of that intangible which they call the personality.

It is commonly believed, for instance, that homosexual males are rarely robust physically, are uncoordinated or delicate in their movements, or perhaps graceful enough but not strong and vigorous in their physical expression. Fine skins, high-pitched voices, obvious hand movements, a feminine carriage of the hips, and peculiarities of walking gaits are supposed accompaniments of a preference for a male as a sexual partner. It is commonly believed that the homosexual male is artistically sensitive, emotionally unbalanced, temperamental to the point of being unpredictable, difficult to get along with, and undependable in meeting specific obligations. In physical characters there have been attempts to show that the homosexual male has a considerable crop of hair and less often becomes bald, has teeth which are more like those of the female, a broader pelvis, larger genitalia, and a tendency toward being fat, and that he lacks a linea alba. The homosexual male is supposed to be less interested in athletics, more often interested in music and the arts, more often engaged in such occupations as bookkeeping, dress design, window display, hairdressing, acting, radio work, nursing, religious service, and social work. The converse to all of these is supposed to represent the typical heterosexual male. Many a clinician attaches considerable weight to these things in diagnosing the basic heterosexuality or homosexuality of his patients. The characterizations are so distinct that they seem to leave little room for doubt that homosexual and heterosexual represent two very distinct types of males.

The Terman-Miles scale for determining the degree of masculinity or femininity of an individual (Terman and Miles 1936) is largely based upon these preconceptions. Some other psychology scales have utilized very much the same principles. While these scales have made it more apparent that there may be gradations between exclusively heterosexual and exclusively homosexual individuals, or between the extremes of masculinity and the extremes of femininity, the implication is always present that an individual's choice of a sexual partner is closely related to the masculinity or femininity of his personality.

It should be pointed out that scientific judgments on this point have been based on little more than the same sorts of impressions which the general public has had concerning homosexual persons. But before any sufficient study can be made of such possible correlations between patterns of sexual behavior and other qualities in the individual, it is necessary to understand the incidences and frequencies of the homosexual in the population as a whole, and the relation of the homosexual activity to the rest of the sexual pattern in each individual's history.

The histories which have been available in the present study make it apparent that the heterosexuality or homosexuality of many individuals is not an all-or-none proposition. It is true that there are persons in the population whose histories are exclusively heterosexual, both in regard to their overt experience and in regard to their psychic reactions. And there are individuals in the population whose histories are exclusively homosexual, both in experience and in psychic reactions. But the record also shows that there is a considerable portion of the population whose members have combined, within their individual histories, both homosexual and heterosexual experience and/or psychic responses. There are some whose heterosexual experiences predominate, there are some whose homosexual experiences predominate, there are some who have had quite equal amounts of both types of experience.

Some of the males who are involved in one type of relation at one period in their lives, may have only the other type of relation at some later period. There may be considerable fluctuation of patterns from time to time. Some males may be involved in both heterosexual and homosexual activities within the same period of time. For instance, there are some who engage in both heterosexual and homosexual activities in the same year, or in the same month or week, or even in the same day. There are not a few individuals who engage in group activities in which they may make simultaneous contact with partners of both sexes.

Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. Not all things are black nor all things white. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories. Only the human mind invents categories and tries to force facts into separated pigeon-holes. The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects. The sooner we learn this concerning human sexual behavior the sooner we shall reach a sound understanding of the realities of sex.

While emphasizing the continuity of the gradations between exclusively heterosexual and exclusively homosexual histories, it has seemed desirable to develop some sort of classification which could be based on the relative amounts of heterosexual and of homosexual experience or response in each history. Such a heterosexual-homosexual rating scale is shown in Figure 16 1. An individual may be assigned a position on this scale, for each age period in his life, in accordance with the following definitions of the various points on the scale:

0. Individuals are rated as 0's if they make no physical contacts which result in erotic arousal or orgasm, and make no psychic responses to individuals of their own sex. Their socio-sexual contacts and responses are exclusively with individuals of the opposite sex.

1. Individuals are rated as 1's if they have only incidental homosexual contacts which have involved physical or psychic response, or incidental psychic responses without physical contact. The great preponderance of their socio-sexual experience and reactions is directed toward individuals of the opposite sex. Such homosexual experiences as these individuals have may occur only a single time or two, or at least infrequently in comparison to the amount of their heterosexual experience. Their homosexual experiences never involve as specific psychic reactions as they make to heterosexual stimuli. Sometimes the homosexual activities in which they engage may be inspired by curiosity, or may be more or less forced upon them by other individuals, perhaps when they are asleep or when they are drunk, or under some other peculiar circumstance.

2. Individuals are rated as 2's if they have more than incidental homosexual experience, and/or if they respond rather definitely to homosexual stimuli. Their heterosexual experiences and/or reactions still surpass their homosexual experiences and/or reactions. These individuals may have only a small amount of homosexual experience or they may have a considerable amount of it, but in every case it is surpassed by the amount of heterosexual experience that they have within the same period of time. They usually recognize their quite specific arousal by homosexual stimuli, but their responses to the opposite sex are still stronger. A few of these individuals may even have all of their overt experience in the homosexual, but their psychic reactions to persons of the opposite sex indicate that they are still predominantly heterosexual. This latter situation is most often found among younger males who have not yet ventured to have actual intercourse with girls, while their orientation is definitely heterosexual. On the other hand, there are some males who should be rated as 2's because of their strong reactions to individuals of their own sex, even though they have never had overt relations with them.

3. Individuals who are rated 3's stand midway on the heterosexual-homosexual scale. They are about equally homosexual and heterosexual in their overt experience and/or their psychic reactions. In general, they accept and equally enjoy both types of contacts, and have no strong preferences for one or the other. Some persons are rated 3's, even though they may have a larger amount of experience of one sort, because they respond psychically to partners of both sexes, and it is only a matter of circumstance that brings them into more frequent contact with one of the sexes. Such a situation is not unusual among single males, for male contacts are often more available to them than female contacts. Married males, on the other hand, find it simpler to secure a sexual outlet through intercourse with their wives, even though some of them may be as interested in males as they are in females.

4. Individuals are rated as 4's if they have more overt activity and/or psychic reactions in the homosexual, while still maintaining a fair amount of heterosexual activity and/or responding rather definitely to heterosexual stimuli.

5. Individuals are rated 5's if they are almost entirely homosexual in their overt activities and/or reactions. They do have incidental experience with the opposite sex and sometimes react psychically to individuals of the opposite sex.

6. Individuals are rated as 6's if they are exclusively homosexual, both in regard to their overt experience and in regard to their psychic reactions.

It will be observed that this is a seven-point scale, with 0 and 6 as the extreme points, and with 3 as the midpoint in the classification. On opposite sides of the midpoint the following relations hold:

0 is the opposite of 6
1 is the opposite of 5
2 is the opposite of 4

It will be observed that the rating which an individual receives has a dual basis. It takes into account his overt sexual experience and/or his psychosexual reactions. In the majority of instances the two aspects of the history parallel, but sometimes they are not in accord. In the latter case, the rating of an individual must be based upon an evaluation of the relative importance of the overt and the psychic in his history.

In each classification there are persons who have had no experience or a minimum of overt sexual experience, but in the same classification there may also be persons who have had hundreds of sexual contacts. In every case, however; all of the individuals in each classification show the same balance between the heterosexual and homosexual elements in their histories. The position of an individual on this scale is always based upon the relation of the heterosexual to the homosexual in his history, rather than upon the actual amount of overt experience or psychic reaction.

Finally, it should be emphasized again that the reality is a continuum, with individuals in the population occupying not only the seven categories which are recognized here, but every gradation between each of the categories, as well. Nevertheless, it does no great injustice to the fact to group the population as indicated above.

From all of this, it should be evident that one is not warranted in recognizing merely two types of individuals, heterosexual and homosexual, and that the characterization of the homosexual as a third sex fails to describe any actuality.

It is imperative that one understand the relative amounts of the heterosexual and homosexual in an individual's history if one is to make any significant analysis of him. Army and Navy officials and administrators in schools, prisons, and other institutions should be more concerned with the degree of heterosexuality or homosexuality in an individual than they are with the question of whether he has ever had an experience of either sort. It is obvious that the clinician must determine the balance that exists between the heterosexual and homosexual experience and reactions of his patient, before he can begin to help him. Even courts of law might well consider the totality of the individual's history, before passing judgment on the particular instance that has brought him into the hands of the law.

Everywhere in our society there is a tendency to consider an individual "homosexual" if he is known to have had a single experience with another individual of his own sex. Under the law an individual may receive the same penalty for a single homosexual experience that he would for a continuous record of experiences. In penal and mental institutions a male is likely to be rated "homosexual" if he is discovered to have had a single contact with another male. In society at large, a male who has worked out a highly successful marital adjustment is likely to be rated "homosexual" if the community learns about a single contact that he has had with another male. All such misjudgments are the product of the tendency to categorize sexual activities under only two heads, and of a failure to recognize the endless gradations that actually exist.

From all of this, it becomes obvious that any question as to the number of persons in the world who are homosexual and the number who are heterosexual is unanswerable. It is only possible to record the number of those who belong to each of the positions on such a heterosexual-homosexual scale as is given above. Summarizing our data on the incidence of overt homosexual experience in the white male population (Tables 139-140, and Figures 156-158) and the distribution of various degrees of heterosexual-homosexual balance in that population (Tables 141-150, Figures 162-170), the following generalizations may be made:

37 per cent of the total male population has at least some overt homosexual experience to the point of orgasm between adolescence and old age (Figure 156). This accounts for nearly 2 males out of every 5 that one may meet.

50 per cent of the males who remain single until age 35 have had overt homosexual experience to the point of orgasm, since the onset of adolescence (Figure 156).

58 per cent of the males who belong to the group that goes into high school but not beyond, 50 per cent of the grade school level, and 47 per cent of the college level have had homosexual experience to the point of orgasm if they remain single to the age of 35 (Figure 158).

63 per cent of all males never have overt homosexual experience to the point of orgasm after the onset of adolescence (Figure 156).

50 per cent of all males (approximately) have neither overt nor psychic experience in the homosexual after the onset of adolescence (Figures 162-167).

13 per cent of the males (approximately) react erotically to other males without having overt homosexual contacts after the onset of adolescence.

30 per cent of all males have at least incidental homosexual experience or reactions (i.e., rate 1 to 6) over at least a three-year period between the ages of 16 and 55. This accounts for one male out of every three in the population who is past the early years of adolescence (Table 150, Figure 168).

25 per cent of the male population has more than incidental homosexual experience or reactions (i.e., rates 2-6) for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55. In terms of averages, one male out of approximately every four has had or will have such distinct and continued homosexual experience.

18 per cent of the males have at least as much of the homosexual as the heterosexual in their histories (i.e., rate 3-6) for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55. This is more than one in six of the white male population.

13 per cent of the population has more of the homosexual than the heterosexual (i.e., rates 4-6) for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55. This is one in eight of the white male population.

10 per cent of the males are more or less exclusively homosexual (i.e., rate 5 or 6) for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55. This is one male in ten in the white male population.

8 per cent of the males are exclusively homosexual (i.e., rate a 6) for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55. This is one male in every 13.

4 per cent of the white males are exclusively homosexual throughout their lives, after the onset of adolescence (Table 150, Figure 168).

None of those who have previously attempted to estimate the incidence of the homosexual have made any clear-cut definition of the degree of homosexuality which they were including in their statistics. As a matter of fact, it seems fairly certain that none of them had any clear-cut conception of what they intended, other than their assurance that they were including only those "who were really homosexual." For that reason it is useless to compare the 2 or 3 per cent figure of Havelock Ellis, or the 2 to 5 per cent figure of Hirschfeld, or the 0. 1 per cent figure of the Army induction centers with any of the data given above. The persons who are identified as "homosexuals" in much of the legal and social practice have rated anything between I and 6 on the above scale. On the other hand, there are some persons who would not rate an individual as "really homosexual" if he were anything less than a 5 or 6. Nevertheless, it should be emphasized again that there are persons who rate 2's or 3's who, in terms of the number of contacts they have made, may have had more homosexual experience than many persons who rate 6, and the clinician, the social worker, court officials, and society in general are not infrequently concerned with persons who rate no more than 2's or 3's. Many who rate only 1 or 2 are much disturbed over their homosexual experience, and they are frequently among those who go to clinicians for help.

Finally, it should be emphasized that the social significance of an individual's history may or may not have any relation to his rating on the above scale. An older male who has never before had homosexual contact, may force a sexual relation with a small boy; and lathough he rates only a 1, he may so outrage the community that the full force of the law may be stirred up against him. On the contrary, most persons 1's have histories which do not disturb anybody. At the other end of the scale, some of the exclusively homosexual males may so confine their overt contacts that no social problems are raised, while others who also rate 6 are active wolves who are in continual trouble because of their open affronts to social conventions.


Since only 50 per cent of the population is exclusively heterosexual throughout its adult life, and since only 4 per cent of the population is exclusively homosexual throughout its life, it appears that nearly half (46%) of the population engages in both heterosexual and homosexual activities, or reacts to persons of both sexes, in the course of their adult lives. The term bisexual has been applied to at least some portion of this group. Unfortunately, the term as it has been used has never been strictly delimited, and consequently it is impossible to know whether it refers to all individuals who rate anything from 1 to 5, or whether it is being limited to some smaller number of categories, perhaps centering around group 3. If the latter is intended, it should be emphasized that the 1's, 2's, 4's, and 5's have not yet been accounted for, and they constitute a considerable portion of the population.

In any event, such a scheme provides only a three-point scale (heterosexual bisexual, and homosexual), and such a limited scale does not adequately describe the continuum which is the reality in nature. A sevenpoint scale comes nearer to showing the many gradations that actually exist.

As previously pointed out, it is rather unfortunate that the word bisexual should have been chosen to describe this intermediate group. The term is used as a substantive, designating individuals - persons; and the root meaning of the word and the way in which it is usually used imply that these persons have both masculine qualities and feminine qualities within their single bodies. We have objected to the use of the terms heterosexual and homosexual when used as nouns which stand for individuals. It is similarly untenable to imply that these "bisexual" persons have an anatomy or an endocrine system or other sorts of physiologic or psychologic capacities which make them partly male and partly female, or of the two sexes simultaneously.

The term bisexual has been used in biology for structures or individuals or aggregates of individuals that include the anatomy or functions of both sexes. There are unisexual species which are exclusively female and reproduce parthenogenetically (from eggs that are not fertilized). In contrast, there are bisexual species which include both males and females and which commonly reproduce through fertilization of the eggs produced by the females. Among plants and animals which have an alternation of generations, there are unisexual or parthenogenetic generations in which there are only females, and bisexual generations in which there are both males and females. In regard to the embryonic structures from which the gonads of some of the vertebrates develop, the term bisexual is applied because these embryonic structures have the potentialities of both sexes and may develop later into either ovaries or testes. Hermaphroditic animals, like earthworms, some snails, and a rare human, may be referred to as bisexual, because they have both ovaries and testes in their single bodies. These are the customary usages for the term bisexual in biology.

On the other hand, applied to human sexual behavior, the term indicates that there are individuals who choose to have sexual relations with both males and females; and until it is demonstrated, as it certainly is not at the present time, that such a catholicity of taste in a sexual relation is dependent upon the individual containing within his anatomy both male and female structures, or male and female physiologic capacities, it is unfortunate to call such individuals bisexual. Because of its wide currency, the term will undoubtedly continue in use among students of human behavior and in the public in general. It should, however, be used with the understanding that it is patterned on the words heterosexual and homosexual and, like them, refers to the sex of the partner, and proves nothing about the constitution of the person who is labelled bisexual.

There has been a very considerable confusion of the concept of bisexuality and the concept of intersexuality by persons who are unacquainted with the exact nature of the work that has been done on intersexual forms among animals. As the term was originally used by Goldschmidt, and subsequently among geneticists and students in other fields of biology, an individual is recognized as an intersex if it shows secondary sexual characters that are intermediate between those of the typical male and the typical female in the population. Where a single individual combines in its one person the primary sex characters of two sexes (namely, the ovaries and the testes), it is recognized as a hermaphrodite. Where the secondary sexual characters of an individual are in part the unmodified characters of one sex, and in part the characters of the other sex, the individual is known as a gynandromorph. A gynandromorphic insect may have the head coloration that is typical of one sex and the thoracic coloration that is typical of the other sex. An intersex, on the contrary, has a portion or the whole of its structures intermediate in character between the structures of the typical male or the female of the species. In the case of Goldschmidt's gypsy moths, the females are typically large, the males typically smaller. The intersexual individuals show gradations in size between the larger female and smaller male. The typical female of the gypsy moth is buff yellow, the male is white. The intersexes show various grades of color between yellow and white. A gynandromorph might have one wing yellow and one wing white, one wing large and one wing small, but the intersexes have wings that are intermediate in size and color.

In spite of the fact that Goldschmidt himself (1916) accepted the idea that the homosexual human male or female was an intersex, there is no adequate basis for reaching any such conclusion. Those who have accepted this interpretation have assumed without asking for specific evidence that an individual's choice of a sexual partner is affected by some basic physiologic capacity. No work that has been done on hormones or on any other physiologic capacities of the human animal justifies such a conclusion (Kinsey 1941). Goldschmidt and others who have thought of the homosexual individual as an intersex have relied upon incidence figures which were pure guesses and which, as the data in the present chapter will show, bear little relation to the fact as it has now been ascertained.

There are a few males in whom the urethra opens on the under surface of the penis. Such a condition is known as a hypospadia. The most extreme confusion of biological ideas has come from the identification of these hypospadiac males as intersexes who are predisposed to be homosexual in their behavior. However, an investigation of the embryonic development of the male penis (Arey 1924, 1946, Patten 1946) will show that a hypospadia is nothing more than a failure in the closure of the urethra at the end of normal embryonic development, and has no relation whatsoever to the genetic maleness or femaleness of the individual, nor to the endocrine constitution of the individual. As our own histories of hypospadiac individuals definitely show, such malformations have nothing to do with their choice of sexual partners unless, as in some extreme cases among ignorant and uneducated persons, the sexual identity of the individual is confused and he is raised in the clothing and the traditions of the opposite sex. In popular parlance such individuals are commonly called "morphodites," but the designation is incorrect, for a true hermaphrodite, as we have already pointed out, has functioning gonads of both sexes within its one body. It is, of course, in the same way that a female with a large clitoris is sometimes called a hermaphrodite. Sometimes the term intersex has been applied to such females (Dickinson 1933); but until more is known about the biological basis of this situation, it is not certain that the term intersex should be applied even in these cases.


In view of the data which we now have on the incidence and frequency of the homosexual, and in particular on its co-existence with the heterosexual in the lives of a considerable portion of the male population, it is difficult to maintain the view that psychosexual reactions between individuals of the same sex are rare and therefore abnormal or unnatural, or that they constitute within themselves evidence of neuroses or even psychoses.

If homosexual activity persists on as large a scale as it does, in the face of the very considerable public sentiment against it and in spite of the severity of the penalties that our Anglo-American culture has placed upon it through the centuries, there seems some reason for believing that such activity would appear in the histories of a much larger portion of the population if there were no social restraints. The very general occurrence of the homosexual in ancient Greece (Licht 1925, 1926, 1928, 1932), and its wide occurrence today in some cultures in which such activity is not as taboo as it is in our own, suggests that the capacity of an individual to respond erotically to any sort of stimulus, whether it is provided by another person of the same or of the opposite sex, is basic in the species. That patterns of heterosexuality and patterns of homosexuality represent learned behavior which depends, to a considerable degree, upon the mores of the particular culture in which the individual is raised, is a possibility that must be thoroughly considered before there can be any acceptance of the idea that homosexuality is inherited, and that the pattern for each individual is so innately fixed that no modification of it may be expected within his lifetime.

The opinion that homosexual activity in itself provides evidence of a psychopathic personality is materially challenged by these incidence and frequency data. Of the 40 or 50 per cent of the male population which has homosexual experience, certainly a high proportion would not be considered psychopathic personalities on the basis of anything else in their histories. It is argued that an individual who is so obtuse to social reactions as to continue his homosexual activity and make it any material portion of his life, therein evidences some social incapacity; but psychiatrists and clinicians in general might very well re-examine their justification for demanding that all persons conform to particular patterns of behavior. As a matter of fact, there is an increasing proportion of the most skilled psychiatrists who make no attempt to re-direct behavior, but who devote their attention to helping an individual accept himself, and to conduct himself in such a manner that he does not come into open conflict with society.

There are, of course, some persons with homosexual histories who are neurotic and in constant difficulty with themselves and not infrequently with society. That is also true of some persons with heterosexual histories. Some homosexual individuals are so upset that they have difficulty in the accomplishment of their business or professional obligations and reach the point where they find it difficult to make the simplest sort of social contact without friction. It is, however, a considerable question whether these persons have homosexual histories because they are neurotic, or whether their neurotic disturbances are the product of their homosexual activities and of society's reaction to them. These are matters that must be investigated in more detail in a later volume; but they are questions that become more significant when one realizes the actual extent of homosexual behavior.

Factors Accounting for the Homosexual. Attempts to identify the biologic bases of homosexual activity, must take into account the large number of males who have demonstrated their capacity to respond to stimuli provided by other persons of the same sex. It must also be taken into account that many males combine in their single histories, and very often in exactly the same period of time, or even simultaneously in the same moment, reactions to both heterosexual and homosexual stimuli. They must take into account that in these combinations of heterosexual and homosexual experience, there is every conceivable gradation between exclusively heterosexual histories and exclusively homosexual histories. It must be shown that the fluctuations in preferences for female or male partners are related to fluctuations in the hormones, the genes, or the other biologic factors which are assumed to be operating (Kinsey 1941). It must be shown that there is a definite correlation between the degree in which the biologic factor operates, and the degree of the heterosexual-homosexual balance in the history of each individual.

If psychologic or social forces are considered as agents in the origin of the homosexual, the same sorts of correlations must be shown before any causal relationship is established. An infrequent phenomenon might be accounted for by factors of one sort, but the factors which account for the homosexual must be of such an order as the incidence and frequency data show this phenomenon to be in our culture. Moreover, it should be emphasized that it is one thing to account for an all-or-none proposition, as heterosexuality and homosexuality have ordinarily been taken to be. But it is a totally different matter to recognize factors which will account for the continuum which we find existing between the exclusively heterosexual and the exclusively homosexual history.

Whatever factors are considered, it must not be forgotten that the basic phenomenon to be explained is an individual's preference for a partner of one sex, or for a partner of the other sex, or his acceptance of a partner of either sex. This problem, is after all, part of the broader problem of choices in general: the choice of the road that one takes, of the clothes that one wears, of the food that one eats, of the place in which one sleeps, and of the endless other things that. one is constantly choosing. A choice of a partner in a sexual relation becomes more significant only because society demands that there be a particular choice in this matter, and does not so often dictate one's choice of food or of clothing.

Hereditary Bases of Homosexuality. Through a brilliant series of studies, Goldschmidt showed the hereditary bases of intersexes among insects. It is unfortunate, however, that he identified homosexual males and females in the human species as intersexes, and thereby reached the conclusion that there must be a hereditary basis for homosexuality (Goldschmidt 1916). The argument in his original paper was based on nothing more than an analogy between the intermediate secondary sexual characters which he found in the insects, and what he assumed to be intermediate characters in the psychology of the homosexual human individual. From this analogy he reasoned that there must be an inheritance of the human behavior phenomenon, just as there is inheritance of the morphologic structures which constitute the intersexuality of moths. With this idea of the inheritance of heterosexuality or homosexuality, a number of other workers have agreed. We are not ready at this time to discuss these data in detail, but we may point out that the incidence data and the record of gradations between exclusively heterosexual and exclusively homosexual histories which have been presented in the present chapter, have considerable significance in this question of heredity.

In order to prove that homosexual patterns of behavior are inherited in the human animal, the following conditions would need to be fulfilled:

1. It would be necessary to define strictly what is meant in the study by the term homosexual. The term should be limited to persons of particular position on the heterosexual-homosexual scale; but whatever the restrictions of the original study the conclusions should finally be applicable to all persons who have ever had any homosexual experience.

2. There should be a determination of the incidence of the phenomenon in groups of siblings in which the complete sexual history of every individual in each family is known. It would be very desirable to secure complete histories of all the siblings in each family for at least two successive generations. As far as we are aware, such an accumulation of complete histories has never been available in any study of the inheritance of the homosexual.

3. Especial attention should be paid to the balance between the homosexual and the heterosexual behavior in the histories of each of the siblings in such a study.

4. The recognition of homosexuality in any individual should not be considered sufficient unless a complete sexual history is available. In considering the histories of relatives and ancestors, the published studies have put too much reliance upon suspicion, gossip, or the accidental public disclosure of homosexual activity. In no instance has there been any sufficient regard for the fact that these relatives, who may, indeed, have had homosexual experience, may also have had heterosexual experience and rated anything between I and 6 on the heterosexual-homosexual scale.

5. Similarly, the heterosexuality of any individual who enters into the calculations should be determined through complete sex histories. In nearly all studies to date, heterosexuality has been assumed where there was marriage or other known relations with the opposite sex, and when there was no public knowledge of homosexuality. These are, of course, untrustworthy sources of information on such a socially taboo item of behavior as is involved here.

6. There should be data on enough cases of siblings to be statistically significant. In view of the experience in the present study (Chapter 3), it may be necessary to have histories from several hundred individuals in order to obtain satisfactory results.

7. The incidence of the homosexual, as it is defined in the study, should be shown to be higher among siblings than it is in the histories of the nonsiblings in the study. Inasmuch as our present data indicate that more than a third (37%) of the white males in any population (or probably, for that matter, among anyone's ancestors) have had at least some homosexual experience, and inasmuch as the data indicate that a quarter of the males in the population (and a quarter of the males in anyone's ancestry) may have more than incidental homosexual experience in the course of their lives, it would be necessary to show that the incidence of the homosexual in groups of siblings is higher than that. This, of course, has never been shown in any study on the inheritance of the homosexual.

8. Whatever the hereditary mechanisms which are proposed, they must allow for the fact that some individuals change from exclusively heterosexual to exclusively homosexual patterns in the course of their lives, or vice versa, and they must allow for frequent changes in ratings of individuals on the heterosexual-homosexual scale.

Social Applications. It is obvious that social interpretations of the homosexual behavior of any individual may be materially affected by a consideration of what is now known about the behavior of the population as a whole. Social reactions to the homosexual have obviously been based on the general belief that a deviant individual is unique and as such needs special consideration. When it is recognized that the particular boy who is discovered in homosexual relations in school, the business man who is having such activity, and the institutional inmate with a homosexual record, are involved in behavior that is not fundamentally different from that had by a fourth to a third of all of the rest of the population, the activity of the single individual acquires a somewhat different social significance.

One of the factors that materially contributes to the development of exclusively homosexual histories, is the ostracism which society imposes upon one who is discovered to have had perhaps no more than a lone experience. The high school boy is likely to be expelled from school and, if it is in a small town, he is almost certain to be driven from the community. His chances for making heterosexual contacts are tremendously reduced after the public disclosure, and he is forced into the company of other homosexual individuals among whom he finally develops an exclusively homosexual pattern for himself. Every school teacher and principal who is faced with the problem of the individual boy should realize that something between a quarter and a third of all the other boys in the same high school have had at least some homosexual experience since they turned adolescent.

Community gossip and reactions to rumors of homosexual activity in the history of some member of the community would probably be modified if it were kept in mind that the same individual may have a considerable heterosexual element in his history as well. The social worker who is inclined to label a particular boy or older male in her case load as homosexual, because he is known to have had some such activity, should keep in mind that there is every gradatiom between complete homosexuality and complete heterosexuality. Administrators in institutions, officials in the Army and Navy, and many other persons in charge of groups of males may profitably consider the balance between the heterosexual and homosexual in an individual's history, rather than the homosexual aspects alone.

Administrators of penal and mental institutions are often much disturbed over the problem presented by a male who is committed for a homosexual offense. Such an individual is likely to receive especially severe treatment from the officials in the institution, and he may be segregated as a potential menace to the rest of the inmate body. If it is an institution in which trained psychologists or psychiatrists are employed, they are likely to give especial attention to the half dozen cases who are sent to the institution each year, on such charges. Our surveys in institutions, however, indicate that 25 or 30 per cent of all the inmates have had homosexual experience before admission. It is obvious that the male who happens to be sent in on a homosexual charge may present no more special problem to the institution in this regard than the other quarter or third of the inmate body, who might just as well have been sent in on such a charge. As far as the administration of a custodial institution is concerned, the problem of discipline does not depend upon the control of individuals who have some homosexual experience in their history, as much as it does upon the control of men who are particularly aggressive in forcing other individuals into homosexual relations.

The judge who is considering the case of the male who has been arrested for homosexual activity, should keep in mind that nearly 40 per cent of all the other males in the town could be arrested at some time in their lives for similar activity, and that 20 to 30 per cent of the unmarried males in that town could have been arrested for homosexual activity that had taken place within that same year. The court might also keep in mind that the penal or mental institution to which he may send the male has something between 30 and 85 per cent of its inmates engaging in the sort of homosexual activity which may be involved in the individual case before him.

On the other hand, the judge who dismisses the homosexual case that has come before him, or places the boy or adult on probation, may find himself the subject of attack from the local press which charges him with releasing dangerous "perverts" upon the community. Law enforcement officers can utilize the findings of scientific studies of human behavior only to the extent that the community will back them. Until the whole community understands the realities of human homosexual behavior, there is not likely to be much change in the official handling of individual cases.

The difficulty of the situation becomes still more apparent when it is realized that these generalizations concerning the incidence and frequency of homosexual activity apply in varying degrees to every social level, to persons in every occupation, and of every age in the community. The police force and court officials who attempt to enforce the sex laws, the clergymen and business men and every other group in the city which periodically calls for enforcement of the laws - particularly the laws against sexual "perversion" - have given a record of incidences and frequencies in the homosexual which are as high as those of the rest of the social level to which they belong. It is not a matter of individual hypocrisy which leads officials with homosexual histories to become prosecutors of the homosexual activity in the community. They themselves are the victims of the mores, and the public demand that they protect those mores. As long as there are such gaps between the traditional custom and the actual behavior of the population, such inconsistencies win continue to exist.

There are those who will contend that the immorality of homosexual behavior calls for its suppression no matter what the facts are concerning the incidence and frequency of such activity in the population. Some have demanded that homosexuality be completely eliminated from society by a concentrated attack upon it at every point, and the "treatment" or isolation of all individuals with any homosexual tendencies. Whether such a program is morally desirable is a matter on which a scientist is not qualified to pass judgment; but whether such a program is physically feasible is a matter for scientific determination.

The evidence that we now have on the incidence and frequency of homosexual activity indicates that at least a third of the male population would have to be isolated from the rest of the community, if all those with homosexual capacities were to be so treated. It means that at least 13 per cent of the male population (rating 4 to 6 on the heterosexual-homosexual scale), would have to be institutionalized and isolated, if all persons who were predominantly homosexual were to be handled in that way. Since about 34 per cent of the total population of the United States are adult males, this means that there are about six and a third million males in the country who would need such isolation.

If all persons with any trace of homosexual history, or those who were predominantly homosexual, were eliminated from the population today, there is no reason for believing that the incidence of the homosexual in the next generation would be materially reduced. The homosexual has been a significant part of human sexual activity ever since the dawn of history, primarily because it is an expression of capacities that are basic in the human animal.