The Diversity and Prevalence of Sexual Orientation Self-Labels in a New Zealand National Sample
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In this study, we asked participants to “describe their sexual orientation” in an open-ended measure of self-generated sexual orientation. The question was included as part of the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (N = 18,261) 2013/2014 wave, a national probability survey conducted shortly after the first legal same-sex marriages in New Zealand. We present a two-level classification scheme to address questions about the prevalence of, and demographic differences between, sexual orientations. At the most detailed level of the coding scheme, 49 unique categories were generated by participant responses. Of those who responded with the following, significantly more were women: bisexual (2.1 % of women, compared to 1.5 % of men), bicurious (0.7 % of women, 0.4 % of men), and asexual (0.4 % of women and less than 0.1 % of men). However, significantly fewer women than men reported being lesbian or gay (1.8 % of women, compared to 3.5 % of men). Those openly identifying as bicurious, bisexual, or lesbian/gay were significantly younger than those with a heterosexual orientation. This study shows diversity in the terms used in self-generated sexual orientations, and provides up-to-date gender, age, and prevalence estimates for the New Zealand population. Finally, results reveal that a substantial minority of participants may not have understood the question about sexual orientation.
KeywordsSexual orientation Sexual identity Heteronormativity Heterosexuality Asexuality Pansexuality
Lara Greaves was supported by a University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship during the preparation of this article.
This research was supported by a Templeton World Charity Foundation Grant (ID: 0077). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the article.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
As per the NZAVS data access statement, a copy of the anonymous data reported in each NZAVS publication is available from CS upon request from appropriately qualified researchers. Such data will be provided with the explicit understanding that it is used solely for the purposes of replicating or otherwise checking the validity of analyses reported in scientific papers analyzing NZAVS data.
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