Chapter 9 Sexual Orientation
Sexual Orientation What is your definition?
What is Sexual Orientation? Sexual orientation: distinct sense of natural preference and consistent attraction to sexual and romantic partners of particular sex in presence of clear alternatives
What is Sexual Orientation? Bisexuality
Prevalence of Homosexuality and Bisexuality Gay/lesbian/bisexual community prevalence statistics Other statistics Prevalence pockets
Defining Sexual Orientation: Another Look Sexual orientation: distinct preferences consistently made after adolescence in presence of clear alternatives 3 distinct components: Affective Behavioral Self-identity
Bisexuality Is bisexuality part of path toward homosexuality identification and/or a final destination, especially among women? What do you think?
Personal Reflections How would you react if someone at work told you that he or she was homosexual? What if your best friend told you that she or he was homosexual? Your brother or sister? Your teenage son or daughter? Why?
Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Roles Homosexuals and bisexuals generally have gender identity consistent with their anatomical sex Conformity to gender stereotypes does not accurately predict sexual orientation
The Origins of Sexual Orientation Neither heterosexuality nor homosexuality nor bisexuality has single cause Heterosexuality is the “norm” because vast majority of people are heterosexual Other orientations are normal part of human diversity
Psychoanalytic Explanations Recall Freud’s Victorian biases Sexual orientation depended upon how Oedipal complex was resolved Popular theory but no reliable evidence to support it
Differing Developmental Pathways Childhood gender nonconformity and later homosexuality is greater for boys than girls Developmental pathway to homosexuality and bisexuality is more diverse for women
Biological Explanations: Anatomical Factors Differences between heterosexual and homosexual men are found in small region of hypothalamus and major bundle of nerves connecting the two halves of the brain So…Are we born with these brain differences or do our brains change as we respond to life experiences?
Birth Order (and the Prenatal Environment) One Theory
Hormones (and the Prenatal Environment) Another Theory
How can anatomy be “normal” but orientation be variant? After reading your text, how would you respond to the above question?
Conclusions about Origins of Sexual Orientation Both biological and social influences contribute to development of sexual orientation Biological factors predispose individual to particular sexual orientation There is stronger evidence for biological contribution in men than in women
Homosexuality • Hetero: Greek for different (not to be confused with Latin for man) • Homo: Greek for same
History and Attitudes about Homosexuality Pederasty Ancient Hebrew Perspectives Christian Historical Perspectives
Homophobia and Sexual Prejudice Greater among: • men than women • those with stereotypic male gender-role attitudes, religious fundamentalist attitude, little education, and authoritarian outlook Hate crimes are increasing!
Minority Stress Minority stress: stigma, prejudice, and discrimination that create hostile and stressful social environment Higher prevalence of depression, mood, and/or stress disorders Higher for gay men experiencing sexual prejudice
Personal Reflections Do you ever judge others exclusively, or almost exclusively, by their sexual orientation? How do you suppose you would feel if others ignored your accomplishments in school, in your career, in your sports and hobbies, and in your community, and judged you on just your sex life?
Coming Out Admitting orientation Getting to know others like self Telling close family and friends Expressing openness about orientation
Personal Reflections Gays, lesbians, and bisexuals: Have you told your family and friends of your sexual orientation? Why or why not?
Homosexual Lifestyles and Relations Concentration by gender and city Educational level Love and relationship profile
Gay/Lesbian Romance Often function as “Best friends” Tend to value commitment and romantic love Typically do notcreate “husband” and “wife” roles More likely to regard monogamy as important
Gay/Lesbian Sex Manual touching and oral-genital sex preferred ways of reaching orgasms for women and common for men About 70% to 80% of gay men engage in anal intercourse
Marriage and Parenting Many in heterosexual marriage Many gays and lesbians establish long-lasting relationships
Children in Gay Households 250,000 children in households with same-sex parents Children of same-sex parents do not show: • gender identity conflicts • social adjustment • homosexual orientation
Media Portrayal of Homosexuals Closeted until recently Portrayed as stereotypes More variety and depth in newer movies and television shows Visit the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) website for more information: www.glaad.org
Can (Should) Sexual Orientation be Changed? What do you think? What information from the text can be used to support your position?
Personal Reflections Are you comfortable with your sexual orientation? If not, why not? What steps can you take to become more comfortable? Check out the national and local support groups – there may be one on your campus.