If you are in the UK, you are likely to be asked about your sexual orientation at some point during your health check-up.
But, according to new research, this is just not a very good indicator of how gay you really are.
Dr Mattie Griffiths, a clinical psychologist from the University of Leeds, examined more than 5,000 people who underwent a health checkup in England and Wales.
The study involved over 8,000 men and women who had been asked about their sexual orientation.
In total, over 9,000 participants had their sexual identity recorded.
In the study, the researchers found that participants who answered “Yes” to questions about their sexuality were more likely to have gay relatives and more likely have gay friends.
Participants who answered a “Yes”, “Yes, I am gay” or “No, I do not know” were more than twice as likely to report having gay relatives.
People who answered yes to “Do not know”, “No way” or the “I am unsure” were also more likely.
These were not a new finding, as Dr Griffiths points out.
People have known about their gay identity for decades, but until now, they have tended to be unaware of it.
“People have known their sexualities for decades.
But until now they have not known their actual sexualities, which is the part that we really want to know,” she told BBC News.
The research was published in Psychological Medicine.
The team also looked at how people with a higher score on the questionnaire reported their sexual orientations.
For instance, participants who scored higher on the survey were more satisfied with their sexual lives and were more willing to have sexual relationships.
But when it came to having gay friends, the results were less clear.
Participants with a high score on that questionnaire were also less likely to identify with any particular sexuality.
Dr Griffithson says the results of the study show that there is a lack of understanding about gay identity.
“In some ways, it’s a little like having a medical diagnosis, where you know you have a particular condition, but you’re not really sure if it’s what’s really going on,” she said.
“I think this kind of knowledge is very, very, important.”
You might be gay, but your sexualities are not known The researchers said that people are often “under the illusion that they’re gay”, but this is not necessarily true.
“Many people may be gay and have some kind of sexual orientation, but their sexual identities are not quite known,” Dr Griffitho said.
While it is true that many people are still unsure about their identities, Dr Griffitha says there is also a “huge range of people who have experienced different kinds of sexual attractions, and the way in which those attractions have been treated in different cultures”.
This range is “really, really diverse”, she said, adding that the majority of people do not experience gay attractions or feel that they do.
“The people who are actually experiencing this really, really have not yet developed a sense of their sexual selves,” Dr Gregory said.
You might also have gay neighbours, but they don’t know You might not be able to see any gay people, but it might still be difficult to identify yourself The study also found that people who did not have gay acquaintances or friends were less likely than those who had gay neighbours or friends to say they were gay.
This may be because they are not yet fully aware of their sexuality, Dr Gregory suggested.
However, there are also many people who were previously unaware of their gay identities.
“It’s also very possible that people have had experiences that have affected their sexuality that they did not think they were experiencing, and that they were not aware of,” she explained.
“They’re very likely to say that they’ve never felt this way about themselves before, and it could be that they have had that experience and they’re not sure what it is.”
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