Homosexuality is no longer the taboo it once was. But figures suggest that young people are even more open to experimentation than previously thought.
Only two thirds of Generation Z identify as solely heterosexual, in stark contrast to previous generations, a study has found.
Research by Ipsos Mori found that 66 per cent of young people, aged between 16 and 22, are “exclusively heterosexual” – the lowest figure of any generation.
Among millennials, 71 per cent say they are exclusively heterosexual, as do 85 per cent of those in “Gen X”, and 88 per cent of baby boomers.
The research group suggested that social media was playing a part, with young people more likely to be aware of different sexualities because of the availability of such information on the internet.
Researchers said the statistic showed that the youngest generation were “being affected by more open and fluid attitudes”.
Hannah Shrimpton, one of the authors of the report, said there was a “hugely greater exposure to communications on the variety of lifestyles available to young people today through social technology.
“In particular, this generation of young has grown up at a time when gender as a simple binary and fixed identity has been questioned much more widely – this is new, and will affect wider views of gender, sexuality and much broader aspects of identity,” she told the Daily Telegraph.
The figures suggest a much higher level of openness to non-heterosexuality than previous polls had suggested, with the most recent ONS figures showing that in 2016 just two per cent of people aged 16 or over identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual, with the number rising to four per cent among 16-24 year-olds. The overall number had risen from 1.7 per cent the year before.
The report suggested that an increasingly “liberal context” in which gay relationships are seen as acceptable has led young people to have a “less binary view of sexuality”, in which there is no need to identify as exclusively gay or straight.
Its research also shows that three in five of British 15 to 16 year olds think sexuality is a scale and that it is possible to be somewhere in the middle.
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