I like boys. On the other hand, I like girls…

BCN 85 cover

This originally appeared in BCN issue 85, Spring 2007

It’s clearly all in the hands.  Remember a few years ago when the length of your fingers was supposed to give away whether you were gay or straight?

University of Guelph psychology professor Michael Peters has published some odd research findings in a recent edition of the journal Brain and Cognition showing that ambidextrous people are more likely to be bisexual too.

His research found no differences in the ­sexual preferences of right-handed and left-handed people.  But the ambidextrous were noticeably more likely to be bisexual, and to a lesser extent homosexual.  They also reported higher rates of asthma, hyperactivity and dyslexia than right or left handers.

255,000 people answered questions on the BBC Science and Nature website. Participants were asked 150 questions covering demographics, personality, sexuality, social attitudes and behaviours.

The study was not trailed as being about left-handedness so it didn’t attract a disproportionate number of left-handed people, who make up about a tenth of the population.

It also didn’t directly ask participants if they were left- or right-handed, since past research those who use both tend to say they are left-handed. Instead, people were asked to rate their preference on a scale of one to five.

“1” meant they liked using their left, “5” meant they preferred their right and those who chose “3” – about one per cent – were equally comfortable with either hand.

These 2,500 were then broken down into male and female. Of the men, only four per cent of right-handers and 4.5 per cent of left-handers reported that they were bisexual – similar enough figures – but 9.2 per cent of the ambidextrous said they were bisexual.

Among women, 6.2 per cent of right-handers and 6.3 per cent of left-handers taking part in the survey said they were bisexual, compared with a remarkable 15.6 per cent among those reporting as ambidextrous.