Sexual Orientation

Sexual Orientation

  • Sexual orientation is a term used to refer to a person's emotional, romantic, and sexual attraction to individuals of a particular gender (male or female).
  • Sexuality is an important part of who we are as humans
  • Beyond the ability to reproduce, sexuality also defines how we see ourselves and how we physically relate to others
  • Sexual orientation is a term used to refer to a person's emotional, romantic, and sexual attraction to individuals of a particular gender (male or female).
  • Sexuality is an important part of who we are as humans
  • Beyond the ability to reproduce, sexuality also defines how we see ourselves and how we physically relate to others

Identity labels

  • Many cultures use identity labels to describe people who express these attractions.
  • In the United States the most frequent labels are lesbians (women attracted to women), gay men (men attracted to men), and bisexual people (men or women attracted to both sexes).
  •  However, some people may use different labels or none at all

Sexual Orientation

  • Sexual orientation involves a person's feelings and sense of identity; it may or may not be evident in the person's appearance or behavior.
  •  People may have attractions to people of the same or opposite sex but may elect not to act on these feelings.
    • For example, a bisexual may choose to have a monogamous (one partner) relationship with one gender and, therefore, elect not to act on the attraction to the other gender.

Distinct

  • Sexual orientation is distinct from other components of sex and gender, including biological sex (the anatomical, physiological, and genetic characteristics associated with being male or female), gender identity (the psychological sense of being male or female),* and social gender role (the cultural norms that de
  • Sexual orientation is commonly discussed as if it were solely a characteristic of an individual fine feminine and masculine behavior).

Expression

  • People express their sexual orientation through behaviors with others, including such simple actions as holding hands or kissing.
  • Thus, sexual orientation is closely tied to the intimate personal relationships that meet deeply felt needs for love, attachment, and intimacy.
  •  In addition to sexual behaviors, these bonds include nonsexual physical affection between partners, shared goals and values, mutual support, and ongoing commitment.
  • Therefore, sexual orientation is not merely a personal characteristic within an individual.
  •  Rather, one’s sexual orientation defines the group of people in which one is likely to find the satisfying and fulfilling romantic relationships that are an essential component of personal identity for many people.

How to Know your Orientation

  • According to current scientific and professional understanding, the core attractions that form the basis for adult sexual orientation typically emerge between middle childhood and early adolescence
  • Prejudice and discrimination make it difficult for many people to come to terms with their sexual orientation identities, so claiming a lesbian, gay, or bisexual identity may be a slow process.

Particular Orientation?

  • There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation.
  • Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors

Homosexuality: A Mental Disorder?

  • No, lesbian, gay, and bisexual orientations are not disorders. Research has found no inherent association between any of these sexual orientations and psychopathology.
  •  Both heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Both have been documented in many different cultures and historical eras.

Transgender

  • Transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression, or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth.

Fact ! In order for a person in the US to become a full transgender ( surgery included) he/she must live as that gender for a minimum of 1 yr. as well as seek counseling for that time before surgery is granted

Homosexuality: A Mental Disorder?

  • Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience.
  •  Lesbian, gay, and bisexual relationships are normal forms of human bonding.
  • Therefore, these mainstream organizations long ago abandoned classifications of homosexuality as a mental disorder.

Can Sexual Orientation Change?

  • Most experts agree that sexual orientation is not a choice and, therefore, cannot be changed.
  • Some people who are homosexual or bisexual may hide their sexual orientation and/or live as heterosexuals to avoid the prejudice that exists against people who are homosexual and bisexual or to avoid their own moral dilemmas felt when their sexual orientation is incompatible with their personal beliefs