Ambidextrous More Likely To Be Bisexual; Why Do We Care, Anyway?
A new study coming from the University
of Guelph. Dr.
Michael Peters, a neuropsychologist, analyzed a survey of
about 255,000 people, and come up with some interesting findings about
human sexuality. Among them, is the observation that
bisexuality was significantly more common in ambidextrous
Study refutes scientific belief that left-handedness is
linked to dyslexia, homosexuality, asthma
BY RACHELLE COOPER
Contrary to popular scientific belief,
left-handedness is not linked to dyslexia, poorer spatial ability,
homosexuality, asthma or hyperactivity, Prof. Michael Peters,
Psychology, has found.
“We’ve shown on a number of tasks that there’s no difference
between right- and left-handedness,” says Peters, whose study of more
than a quarter million people is published in the current issue of
Brain and Cognition, co-authored by psychology professors Stian Reimers
of University College London and John Manning of the University of
The study did show, however, that individuals who didn’t favour either
hand for writing had significantly poorer spatial performance in a
mental rotation task and significantly higher prevalence of
homosexuality, bisexuality, hyperactivity, dyslexia and asthma than did
individuals with clear left- or right-hand preferences…
The survey also asked participants to self-identify their sexual
orientation as heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual. There was no
significant difference in sexual orientation between the left- and
right-handed respondents, but both males and females who said they used
“either hand” to write were overrepresented in the
non-heterosexual categories, especially the bisexual category…
What is interesting to me about this study, is that it is based upon an
Internet survey on the BBC Science and Nature
website. It was not advertised as study about
handedness, because such advertisements tend to draw a disproportionate
number of left-handed persons.
Of course it is impossible to avoid sample bias. In this
particular case, it is obvious that readers of the BBC Science
and Nature website are going to differ in some systematic
ways from the general population. But at least they did some
checking to see how well the results correlated with findings in
controlled conditions, and felt that there was a reasonable
The story goes on to say:
“Our study shows that much greater
attention has to be paid to the definition of handedness,” he says.
Peters stresses that just because someone can write with either hand
doesn’t mean the person is homosexual, bisexual or dyslexic.
I would add this: just as the definition of handedness is not as
straightforward as one might think, so too is the definition of sexual
preference. Some would argue that bisexuality is quite
common. It depends on how you define it. From Wikipedia:
Probably the most widely cited part of the Kinsey Reports
regard the prevalence of different sexual orientations
— especially to support a claim that 10% of the population
are gay. In
fact, the findings are not so straightforward, and Kinsey himself
avoided and disapproved of using terms like homosexual or heterosexual
to describe individuals, asserting that sexuality is prone to change
over time, and that sexual behaviour can be understood both as physical
contact as well as purely psychic phenomena (desire, sexual attraction,
Instead of three categories (heterosexual, bisexual and homosexual), an
eight-category system was used. The Kinsey scale
ranked sexual behaviour from 0 to 6, with 0 being completely
heterosexual and 6 completely homosexual. A 1 was considered
predominantly heterosexual and only incidentally homosexual, a 2 mostly
heterosexual and more than incidentally homosexual, a 3 equally
homosexual and heterosexual, and so on. An additional category, X, was
created for those who experienced no sexual desire.
The reports also state that nearly 46% of the male subjects
“reacted” sexually to persons of both sexes in the course of their
adult lives, and 37% had at least one homosexual experience.
11.6% of white males (ages 20-35) were given a rating of 3 (about equal
heterosexual and homosexual experience/response) throughout their adult
The study also reported that 10% of American males surveyed were “more
or less exclusively homosexual for at least three years between the
ages of 16 and 55” (in the 5 to 6 range).
7% of single females (ages 20-35) and 4% of previously
females (ages 20-35) were given a rating of 3 (about equal heterosexual
and homosexual experience/response) on the 8-point Kinsey
Heterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale for this period of their lives. 2 to 6% of females, aged
20-35, were more or less exclusively homosexual in experience/response, and 1 to 3% of unmarried
females aged 20-35 were exclusively homosexual in experience/response.
As a matter of fact, when it comes to humans, there are few things that
can be defined incontrovertably. Gender is one of them.
Some people, you cannot tell if they are male or female.
That’s one of my concerns about the notion of defining
marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Sometimes
you can’t tell. So does that mean that persons with
ambiguous genitalia are not allowed to get married?
Or let’s say that a woman with androgen insensitivity syndrome
gets married, is infertile, and gets an infertility workup.
She learns that she has one X and one Y chromosome, meaning
she is genotypically male, despite all outward appearances being
female. Is her marriage invalid? Has she committed
The study about ambidexterity and bisexuality is likely to ignite
another round of nature-vs.-nurture arguments, pertaining to whether
sexual preference is a choice or a function of biology. Why
can’t we accept the fact that some things in nature are going to defy
our efforts at categorization? Trying to put people into
strictly defined dichotomies is often misleading, not to mention
foolish. Then if you make value judgments based on those
false dichotomies, you’ve cast judgment on people even though you
cannot really tell what category they belong in.