Last year, OKCupid expanded their list of sexual orientation labels available to users to include identities such as “heteroflexible,” “queer,” “asexual,” and “questioning.” But what if those labels are still too limiting?
Enter the Purple-Red Scale of Human Attraction, first spotted on the Reddit thread /r/Asexuality earlier this week. It’s a modification of the Kinsey Scale, which measures one’s attraction to people of different genders, by adding a layer that measures the degree to which one experiences sexual and/or romantic attraction. By measuring the “who” by degrees from 0 to 6 and the “how” by degrees from A to F, the Purple-Red Scale may make it easier for some people to express their sexual and romantic interests.
Someone who is a B0, for instance, is a “heteroromantic asexual”—someone who doesn’t experience or desire sexual attraction but is romantically attracted to the opposite sex. An E3, on the other hand, is someone who is sexually and romantically bisexual.
Langdon Parks, a self-identified B0 on the Purple-Red Scale, told Mic.com that he designed the scale “to provide a quick and easy way of scoring a person’s view of relationships on forums and dating sites.”
The responses to the Purple-Red Scale on Reddit have been mixed. While some people welcome it as a refreshing addition to the Kinsey Scale, which has long been criticized as limiting, others fear that it will only create more confusion. Demi Gray Speaks, a Tumblr blog devoted to discussion of asexuality, noted a number of problems with the scale, such as that “hypersexual is not the opposite of asexual,” and that “the scale conflates aromantic and asexual by putting them at the same end.” If one person could hypothetically be both a D1 and an E6, is the grid system really easier to understand than a label?
Parks hopes that, at the very least, the Purple-Red Scale will eliminate some of the conjecture that people make when they hear someone’s gender and orientation. “Instead of relying on assumptions like ‘Oh, he’s a guy, go for it!’ or ‘She’s a woman, wait for it,’ people can now use their letters to describe their basic outlook on relationships,” he told Mic.com. The Purple-Red Scale may not be the be-all and end-all for expressing one’s sexuality, but for some people, it may be just what they need to demystify the daunting world of online dating.