This questionnaire was devised on “heterophobic” premises, rather than homophobic premises, and challenges heteronormative thought around sexuality.

Heterosexuality Questionnaire (Martin Rochlin, Ph.D.)

26 Aug, 2022Blog, Sexuality

The Heterosexual Questionnaire

Attributed to Martin Rochlin, Ph.D.
January 1972
(unpublished and not copyrighted)

Why Rochlin Created the Heterosexual Questionnaire

Martin Rochlin, Ph.D., developed The Heterosexual Questionnaire in the 1970s. Its goal was to give heterosexual people empathy for what it’s like to be homosexual in a heteronormative society. The survey, which was created in 1972, temporarily puts heterosexual people in the shoes of gay people by asking questions and making assumptions that challenge heterosexual thought as being “normal”. The reader is invited into a reversed environment, with the goal of demonstrating the absurdity of a “us / them” society in terms of sexuality.

Even today, LGBT people are frequently put in situations where we must defend our sexuality. Demands that we justify or explain our private sexual habits are unjust. As a result, the following questionnaire is purposefully written in a “heterophobic” style.


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The Questionnaire

Please try to answer the following questions as honestly as possible. It’s going to be hard. That’s the whole point.

  1. What do you think caused your heterosexuality?
  2. When and how did you first decide you were a heterosexual?
  3. Is it possible that your heterosexuality stems from a neurotic fear of others of the same sex?
  4. Is it possible that your heterosexuality is just a phase you may grow out of?
  5. Isn’t it possible that all you need is a good gay lover?
  6. Heterosexuals have histories of failure in gay relationships. Do you think you may have turned to heterosexuality out of fear of rejection?
  7. If you’ve never slept with a person of the same sex, how do you know that you wouldn’t prefer that?
  8. If heterosexuality is normal, why are a disproportionate number of mental patients heterosexual?
  9. To whom have you disclosed your heterosexual tendencies? How did they react?
  10. Your heterosexuality doesn’t offend me so long as you don’t try to force it on me. Why do you people feel compelled to seduce others into your sexual orientation?
  11. If you should choose to nurture children, would you want them to be heterosexual, knowing the problems they would face?
  12. The great majority of child molesters are heterosexuals. Do you really consider it safe to expose your children to heterosexual teachers?
  13. Why do you insist on being so obvious, and making a public spectacle of your heterosexuality? Can’t you just be who you are and keep it quiet?
  14. How can you ever hope to become a whole person if you limit yourself to a compulsive, exclusive, heterosexual object choice, and remain unwilling to explore and develop your normal, healthy, God-given homosexual potential?
  15. Heterosexuals are noted for assigning themselves and each other narrowly restricted, stereotyped sexroles. Why do you cling to such unhealthy role playing?
  16. How can you enjoy a fully satisfying sexual experience or deep emotional rapport with a person of the opposite sex, when the obvious, biological, and temperamental differences between you are so vast? How can a man understand what pleases a woman sexually, or vice versa?
  17. Why do heterosexuals place so much emphasis on sex?
  18. With all the societal support marriage receives, the divorce rate is spiraling. Why are there so few stable relationships among heterosexuals?
  19. Shouldn’t you ask the fringe straight types, like swingers, Hell’s Angels, and Jesus freaks, to conform more? Wouldn’t that improve your image?
  20. How could the human race survive if everyone were heterosexual, considering the menace of overpopulation?
  21. There seem to be very few happy heterosexuals. Techniques have been developed with which you might be able to change if you really want to. Have you considered trying aversion therapy?
  22. Do heterosexuals hate or distrust others of the same sex? Is that what makes them heterosexual?
  23. Why are heterosexuals so promiscuous?
  24. Could you really trust a heterosexual therapist to be objective and unbiased? Don’t you fear he/she might be inclined to influence you in the direction of her/his own feelings?

If you really took this questionnaire seriously, right now, you’re probably feeling a bit depressed, defensive, and maybe even a little ashamed. Well, now imagine that this were real, not just a little exercise. Rather, it was all of society, your family, and your friends asking you these questions and really wanting the answers. Not only is your own knowledge of your own sexuality, feelings, and body questioned, but now you must defend a whole group of people who happen to have one similarity with you, most of whom you’ve never even meet because to fail to do so in any way, in anyone’s eyes is to say that you are *fill in the stereotype or negative image*, just like they are.

Now you have a better idea of how LGBT persons feel every day. The only differences are that you only felt this way for a few minutes and now you can go back to a world of acceptance. This is not a temporary experience for LGBT persons who can’t turn it off and find a world of acceptance. They still have to answer these questions and many more each and every day.

I hope that you have learned something from this experience. It’s always very hard to truly understand how another person feels until you are in their shoes. That is what this exercise was about. It was never intended to actually make you believe that your sexuality is wrong or that you have to defend it in anyway, but rather to give you a better idea of how LGBT persons feel when they are made to feel guilty and forced to defend our own life and sexuality to people they don’t even know.

I hope that the next time you hear someone saying something like what you read above in this questionnaire, you will remember how you felt when it was you in that place and that you will have not only compassion (which you probably had to begin with since you are reading this), but also a little more understanding. This is a big world and there is plenty of room for all kinds of people in it! So, please, celebrate diversity and support the right of all people to live, love, and be happy without question and without having to defend the gender of the person that they share their life with!

Martin Rochlin, Ph.D.

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