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ISBN: 978-1-42983-471-1 Includes bibliographical references and index. Indexing Subjects 1. Sex 2. Sociology

First Edition


Introduction The Kinsey Report The Sexual Revolution & Counter Revolution Sexual Development Across the Lifespan Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Sexual Orientation Contemporary Theories of Sexual Orientation The Gay Rights Movement Sexual Orientation & Youth Sexual Orientation in the United States Gender & Sexual Orientation in the Workplace Homophobia Sexuality & the Media Religion & Sexuality Terms & Concepts Contributors Index

1 4 15 26 39 49 61 71 80 88 101 109 126 137 145 147

Exploring Human Sexuality



The study of human sexuality must often confronts the complex interplay of scientific research and cultural belief. Though sexual behavior is undeniably influenced by society, it often differs greatly from one society and decade to another. Within the past century, human sexuality and its various fields of inquiry have prompted modern sociologists to think about sexual identity and orientation in an analytical, sociological and psychological manner. The Sociology Reference Guide series is designed to provide a solid foundation for the research of various sociological topics. This volume provides an introduction to the general concepts of and research surrounding human sexuality and sexual orientation. The essays follow the effects and transformations of the “Kinsey Report” in 1948, which changed the mainstream notions of sexuality and paved the way for the exploration of sexual orientation and related issues, particularly throughout the last fifty years. While there have been many sociological studies on the scientific and popular understanding of sexuality over the last century, none has seen as dramatic developments and consequences as the 1948 study by Alfred C. Kinsey. Karin Carter-Smith explains that the “Kinsey Report” confronted “many medical and social beliefs about homosexuality and female sexuality.” While Kinsey’s research is viewed as a transitional moment in research on human sexuality, Carolyn Sprague, in her essay on the sexual revolution
Exploring Human Sexuality 1

in the twentieth-century, says that current research reveals how American society’s attitudes about sex had already been changing for many decades. Sharon Link and Noelle Vance initiate a series of essays on how contemporary science monitors the development of sexual orientation. “Medical science, theologians, legal doctrine and cultural norms,” Vance comments, “have all played a role in influencing how sexual orientation and/or same sex relations are perceived.” The next group of essays deepens the understanding of sexual orientation and, more specifically, homosexuality. Karen M. Harbeck reviews one of the more popular debates surrounding the development of sexuality by considering the question of “nature and nurture” as a relevant field of inquiry. The dramatic changes in mainstream thought regarding sexuality serves as the backdrop to the following essays on homosexuality and society. Carolyn Sprague offers a effective introduction to the emergence of the gay rights movement and its contribution to the transformation of societal perspectives on sexuality. In her two following essays, Harbeck examines the personal and social experience of individuals who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT). “As GLBT individuals gain self-knowledge,” she explains, “they are challenged by the choices of invisibility versus self-disclosure and safety versus self-respect.” Geraldine Wagner turns to the challenges that confront the GLBT community in the workplace, where homophobia and heterosexism continue to exist. She then delves into the causes and effects of homophobia, “a fear felt by some heterosexuals toward those with alternative sexual orientation.” The final two essays review more broadly several issues surrounding sexuality, from the influence of media upon popular thought to the connection between sexuality and religion and the ensuing attitudes adopted by different beliefs. In perhaps the most revealing of these essays, Maureen McMahon offers an important account of contemporary perspectives on sexuality generated by popular media sources, particularly the development of web media and social network sites. These web sources serve as one of the major areas of new research that studies the effects of excess media resources on younger generations. Together these essays provide a range of research on the transformations of human sexuality in the last several decades and the contemporary chal2 Sociology Reference Guide

Complete bibliographic entries follow each essay and a list of suggested readings will locate sources for advanced research in the area of study. Exploring Human Sexuality 3 . A selection of relevant terms and concepts and an index of common sociological themes and ideas conclude the volume.lenges many individuals confront in their claim to sexual orientation.

poet Ogden Nash titled a piece “The Kinsey Report Didn’t Upset Me. “I won’t allow my life to be regulated by reports. and lately. their impact on science and culture. Kinsey (1894-1956) was an American. Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University. the critically acclaimed movie Kinsey starring actor Liam Neeson as Alfred Kinsey. 2005. there have been academic and trade books published about the studies. Herzog.S. which became an international bestseller and drastically changed the perceptions of human sexuality among both the public and the academic body researching the field. about Kinsey himself. Gender and Reproduction. 4 Sociology Reference Guide . References to “The Kinsey Report” abound in both the academic literature and in popular culture. 2006). In 1947. p. Kinsey is best know as the lead researcher and author of the 1948 Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. Along with the 1953 volume. portrayed the researcher who revolutionized the study of human sexuality. In addition. 1964. In 2004. In 1964. It was posthumously renamed The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex. U. the two reports created a great deal of discussion and controversy and became an enduring part of American culture (Steinberg. Harvard-educated biologist and professor of entomology and zoology. Either” in which he wrote. Kinsey founded for the Institute for Research in Sex. Sexual Behaviors in the Human Female. whether rosily optimistic or gloomily cadaveric” (Nash.The Kinsey Report Karin Carter-Smith Overview Alfred C.1).

These studies lacked validity in that their basic assumptions were flawed (for example. with backgrounds in biology. while Hirschfeld relied upon historical data and personal knowledge until late in his career when he began to conduct personal interviews (Bullough. that homosexuals were ill). Hirschfeld used only a small portion of his data in his published books. Furthermore. it was supplemented by anthropological studies. as cited in Bullough. their questions were designed to determine differences among heterosexuals.In the decades following the publication of Kinsey’s seminal studies. though. especially those trained as psychoanalysts. were seen as the most logical experts in the field (Bullough. Ellis compiled histories through correspondence with volunteers. and much of it was informed by the political and moral standards of the early twentieth century (Bullough. when the medical community began to address issues of sexual function and sexually transmitted diseases. While some of the data reported in those early studies came from the physicians’ own practices and research. 1998). p. Kinsey received a great deal of praise for breaking the silence that had surrounded sexual matters and for making public norms and behaviors that had been considered much more rare and deviant than the research revealed (Herzog. 1998). Havelock Ellis and Magnus Hirschfeld were physicians whose research focused on sex through the use of sexual histories. Other early research by physicians was published by psychiatrists. The significant difference in their methods. Historical Background The study of human sexuality was considered a moral issue prior to 1890. assumptions about the medical community’s authority to explore human Exploring Human Sexuality 5 . debates about the methods he used. albeit with a nod to the moral standards of the times. 1941. 1994 as cited in Bullough. much like Kinsey. the conclusions he drew and recently. 1998). is considered to be critical to the divergence in their findings. Despite the difficulties in producing valid research. Doctors. 1998). “Unfortunately. 2006). anatomy and medicine. such as George Henry. his files were destroyed by the Nazis” (Bullough. about his own sexual practices. but they lacked comparative studies with which to validate them (Henry. have fueled a controversy that began soon after the reports were first disseminated. 1998. and before he could complete a comprehensive study of sexuality. 127).

only 18. he was receiving half of the committee’s total budget” (p. Kinsey’s approach to the study was clinical. 1998). he was a bench scientist with impeccable research skills. which was followed by full funding the following year. Although Kinsey had hoped to interview 100. 1998). Kinsey’s Research Methods Kinsey’s method of data collection involved personal interviews with volunteer subjects. he received an initial exploratory grant from the CRPS. and he was married with adolescent children (Bullough. physicians were among the first to receive the monies (Bullough.000 were completed by the time the Rockefeller Foundation had stopped funding for the research in 1954. One issue that he faced was in the creation of a representative sample population of American adults. This also worked with his methodology as the taxonomic approach required that data from as many subjects as possible be gathered. “People who agreed to give their sexual histories would necessarily be a self-selected. “the CRPS came to be so committed to Kinsey that by the 1946-1947 academic year. his research into the field had the full support of the university administration. Steinberg (2005) states. Kinsey was a classically trained scientist who taught courses in general biology. 19). Kinsey sought to mitigate the problem by using a large number of subjects hoping that the volume would lessen the bias. Kinsey had personally 6 Sociology Reference Guide . and therefore skewed. a grant-funding organization endowed through the Rockefeller’s National Research Council. 129). subset of the total population” (p. 000 subjects from a variety of distinct cultural subgroups for the report. The CRPS viewed Kinsey as a favorable candidate for research into human sexuality. began awarding funds to researchers to conduct sex surveys. In 1941. According to Bullough (1998). he was a full professor at a major university. He began his study of human sexuality in 1938 when he was invited to become a member of an interdisciplinary team delivering a course on marriage and family at Indiana University (Bullough. When the Committee for Research in the Problems in Sex (CRPS). ethical or political agenda to inform his conclusions. 1998). an author who had published several textbooks and a researcher and world-renowned expert on gall wasps. he used taxonomy to dispassionately classify and describe behaviors and had no moral.sexuality endured.

masochism. Pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases were ignored along with sexual behaviors such as swinging. In his reports. Homosexuality. 129). and he believed that his system was effective. He treated sex as a part of human behavior. however. Kinsey removed the taboo that had kept subjects from disclosing their sexual truths. were studied in some depth.000 participants. he instituted a process through which two interviewers would meet with the same subject independently and at different times and responses would be compared. He believed that self-administered questionnaires encouraged dishonest responses and inaccuracies. they were able to elicit more information. 1998). untruths and contradictions could be explored by the interviewer (Steinberg. Bullough. including Kinsey. The questions. Steinberg (2005) asserts.interviewed 8. and to mitigate that. 1998). by keeping the research clinical and for scientific use. “his basic method—a contribution to sexual science as profound and long-lasting as the data he produced—was to lead people out of their socially enforced silence around sex and into a bubble of free speech where they had permission to speak openly and honestly about sex” (p. were so wide-ranging that this too would limit much of the potential for slanting the data in any one direction” (p. transvestitism. In removing the moral overtones from the research. group sex. or statistically insignificant. there were four interviewers. 2005. According to Bullough (1998). pedophilia and bestiality. 19). Kinsey dismissed sexual practices he deemed outliers. sadism. however. Kinsey developed a system of variegated questions and checks to detect lies that respondents might tell. demystifying its discussion and bringing into focus the aspects of sexuality that defined individuals by making the study scientific rather than voyeuristic (Bullough. He held that participants would only be truthful about their sexual experiences when questioned personally because discrepancies. voyeurism and exhibitionism. Kinsey taught his researchers to project a sincere and objective demeanor that would put subjects at ease to disclose their sexual identities. and “if there was a bias. Kinsey’s challenge was to create an interview instrument and environment in which subjects would feel free to discuss a subject on which they had largely remained silent. Interviewer bias was also a concern. it came to be a shared one. Exploring Human Sexuality 7 .

The studies brought to light the fact that American sexual activities were radically different from what people believed. “he also found that nearly 50% of the women had engaged in sex before marriage and more than 25% had experienced extramarital sexual intercourse” (p. “Remember the Kinsey sermon: there is no such thing as abnormality. anal sex. sadomasochism. 39). and 64% before marriage” (Bullough. stating that among women“40%…had experienced orgasm within the first months of marriage. Bullough concurs.1). sex between older people. 1). oral sex. 131). “American commentators on the female volume were especially distressed by high rates of female marital infidelity and by Kinsey’s assertions that female orgasmic response was almost identical to men’s “(p. 19). 131). “Homosexuality. extramarital sex. Romesburg (1998) states. and 75% by the end of the first year” (p. This scientific 8 Sociology Reference Guide . premarital sex. masturbation. bisexuality.’ Kinsey proclaimed” (p. p. 20). and Steinberg offers.Further Insights Kinsey’s Findings The Kinsey studies had a profound impact on both American culture and the study of human sexuality. “he questioned the assumption that extramarital intercourse always undermined the stability of marriage… he seemed to feel that the most appropriate extramarital affair. Kinsey’s reports challenged many conventional beliefs about human sexual experiences. Another convention challenged by Kinsey’s research was that of the asexuality of women. sex with animals. The creation of a taxonomy of human sexual behaviors was one of the many points of controversy when the reports were made public. more than 50% by the age of 20. p. In addition. he portrayed extramarital sexual intercourse as a neutral activity rather than as a societal ill. sex with prostitutes—all of these were found to be common practices” (Steinberg. “Twenty-five percent had experienced orgasm by age of 15. Bullough (1998) suggests. was an alliance in which neither party became overly involved emotionally” (p. “’Everybody’s sin is nobody’s sin. from the standpoint of preserving a marriage. According to Herzog (2006). just ceaseless sexual variety” (p. sex with and between preadolescent children. 131). Bethell (2005) states. 2005. In addition. 1998. 67% by the first six months.

1). 1). his scale suggested that homosexuality was simply another sexual activity. 1998. “when one rates heterosexual orgasm as 0 and homosexual orgasm 6. The statistics related to the practice of homosexual behavior had a worldwide impact. While Kinsey found that most people could be classified exclusively heterosexual. he in effect weights the scale by seeming to imply that exclusive heterosexuality is one extreme and exclusive homosexuality the other” (p. that led to many of the attacks on his research (Bullough. Herzog (2006) states. which was revolutionary at the time. which was one of the standards means of organizing social science research data at that time. 1998). after Kinsey interviewed nearly 6. and his implication that it was within the normal range of behavior. it is a simple average of the two numbers. 1998). which impact sexual experiences. 1998).approach to the subject allowed for the objective classification of all sexual activities in which humans engaged and classified none as abnormal. According to Romesburg (1998). The idea that 10% of adult Americans are homosexual arose from these data. Homosexuality and heterosexuality were seen as points on the seven-point continuum with the only objective indicator being what activity resulted in orgasm. It was his findings that homosexual activity was much more prevalent than it had been believed to be. Prevalence of Homosexuality Kinsey developed a seven-point bipolar scale. The classification of human sexuality into a zoological framework failed to incorporate aspects of human psychology and emotion. (Romesburg. 13% of men and 7% of women had more homosexual than heterosexual experiences or psychological response for at least three years of adulthood. fewer than 3% could be classified as ‘exclusively homosexual’” (Romesburg. Most people would respond in such a way that they would be in the middle of the scale.000 men. Bullough explains. 130). a logical decision in terms of taxonomy. Among women. Kinsey “reported that while 28% of women had “experienced homosexual arousal” by age 45. he “concluded that 37% had engaged in at least one homosexual experience to orgasm between the ages of 16 and 55 [but] only 4% of the men were what he called ‘exclusively homosexual’” (p. Critics argued that defining what is normal for humans in the same manner as what is normal for animals neglected key aspects of human sexuality (Bullough. “the homophile reception—especially in France and West Germany—was Exploring Human Sexuality 9 . p.

and many participants indicated that curiosity was their primary motivation rather than sexual attraction (Beetz. where adult homosexuality was legal but nonetheless subject to social sanction. 48). the research revealed that in rural areas “about 40 to 50% of the males had had at least one sexual encounter with an animal. Also among the sample population. as the popular sex mythology of the day would have predicted” (Steinberg. 2005. Viewpoints Continuing Criticism Herzog (2006) states. the report demonstrated that although exact numbers of people engaging in forms of deviant sexual activity may vary. The prevalence among the entire population of American men in the study was closer to 8%. it is likely that they were under-reported to researchers rather than over-reported. (Kinsey. 2005) and the prevalence of sexual contact with animals among women was much lower at 3% (Kinsey et al. but Kinsey refused “on the grounds that not all of those included in the random sample would answer the questions put to them 10 Sociology Reference Guide . 1953 as cited in Beetz. the issue of statistical sampling was a point of contention for the duration of his research.thoroughly enthusiastic…in France. 42). 2005. Numerous challenges to the statistical methods Kinsey employed have been raised in the 60 years since the first report’s publication. committing suicide. p. and 17% had even experienced an orgasm as a result of sexual contact with animals during adolescence” (Beetz. activists effused about Kinsey’s contributions” (p. Attempts were made to encourage him to validate his data with a random sample of individuals. 2005). Indeed. “They were not all going crazy. or dying of grossly disfiguring sexually transmitted diseases. there were significant numbers of Americans engaging in those acts without physical and societal repercussions. “American critics variously attacked Kinsey and his associates for methodological insufficiencies (especially in their statistical sampling techniques) or for moral turpitude (for implying that the lived prevalence of non-normative behaviors also suggested that the norms themselves should be adapted)” (p. however. 1948 as cited in Beetz. 2005). 40). Pomeroy & Martin. p. Given the social stigma of these activities. getting pregnant. 20)..

the random sample would be biased” (Bullough.S. (1996) “Attention was directed to Tables 30-34 of Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. 10 percent were exclusively homosexual. “one of his more criticized sections in recent years is the table based on data he gathered from pedophiles. therefore. According to Bullough (1998). Bethell (2005) challenges Kinsey’s statistics. A significant incidence of intergenerational sexual behavior (between minor children and adults) was also reported in the study. His figures were undermined when it was revealed that he had disproportionately interviewed homosexuals and prisoners (many sex offenders)” Furthermore. Further. According to Pool. 1998). 2005). 1996). 131). 1998). 132). p. In 1981 questions were raised of how Kinsey and his staff collected data relevant to this area of their study.and that. The sample population on which Kinsey reported is not random. stating that the report maintained “85 percent of American men had sex before marriage. Kinsey’s implication that homosexual behavior was normal and acceptable caused a great deal of debate among homosexual rights activists and those opposed to its decriminalization in both the U. Kinsey’s controversial research demonstrated that many individuals who experienced intergenerational sex as children were not seriously harmed by it (Bullough. Herzog (2006) explains. and in Europe. students. 1998. “conservative opponents of Kinsey on both sides of the Atlantic were hostile to the notion that the prevalence of a particular sexual practice also implied that it was a morally acceptable practice (in other Exploring Human Sexuality 11 . the CRPS funding through the Rockefeller foundation was terminated (Bethell. and this is an area that remains controversial 60 years after its publication. when refused to adopt more valid statistical sampling procedures. which report observations of orgasms in over three-hundred children between the ages of five months and fourteen years” (p. 1). and among the over-represented groups are Caucasians. residents of Indiana and prisoners incarcerated for sexually deviant behavior (Bullough. Leadership at The Kinsey Institute confirmed that some of the data were collected from a group of pedophiles whom Kinsey opted not to report to authorities (Pool. 70 percent had sex with prostitutes. He is accused of not turning these people over to authorities” (p.

(2005). (2005). ebscohost. the fact remains that he removed the taboo from the discussion of sexuality.ebscohost. 38(3). from EBSCO Online Database Academic Search Complete. (Special Issue). have helped to keep his name and ideas at the forefront of American culture. Recent biographies. from EBSCO Online Database Academic Search Premier. “Kinsey was the major factor in changing attitudes about sex in the twentieth 2008. In the end. Interest in Alfred Kinsey and his research persists into the present day. A. 46-70. the conservative publication Human Events named “The Kinsey Report” #4 on its list of “Top Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries” behind such books as The Communist Manifesto. Activists. Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University is among the leaders in research in the field of human sexuality. T. Retrieved August 12. The impact of the work remains both controversial and profound. Bullough (1998) concludes. Anthrozoos. Bestiality and zoophilia: Associations with violence and sex offending. Kinsey’s reports continue to be cited and his data continues to be used.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=16495490&site=ehost-live 12 Sociology Reference Guide . 2008. 42). Among his other achievements was the establishment of a library at Indiana University for the collection of sources related to sexuality that is now among the most impressive collections in the world. 42-44. Retrieved August 12. Bibliography Beetz. 2006). and helped to spur the movement toward its legal and social acceptance. Kinsey’s report brought to light the high incidence of homosexuality. Mein Kampf and Quotations from Chairman Mao and among others like Das Kapital and The Feminine Mystique. 132).words. normal human sexual behavior should be both legally and socially sanctioned (Herzog. While critics have most recently called into question the researcher’s own sexual proclivities and those of his staff. as well as the popular movie. His limitations and his personal foibles are appropriately overshadowed by his courage to go where others had not gone before” (p. The Kinsey Institute for the Research in Sex. held that what was natural. that “what is” was also “what ought to be)” (p. In 2005. Kinsey as pervert. http://search. on the other hand. http://search. American Spectator.aspx?direct =true&db=a9h&AN=18426121&site=ehost-live Bethell.

aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=1 7296640&site=ehost-live Suggested Reading Cloud. 687-696.ebscohost. 61 (19). (2006). Retrieved August 12. Nation. Retrieved August 12. 2008 from http://findarticles. from EBSCO Online Database SocINDEX with Full Text: http://search.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=11909072&site=ehost-live Crespi. Sexuality and Culture. Retrieved August 12. Kinsey’s urethra.aspx?direct=true&db=fmh&AN=FMH2 524483910&site=ehost-live Nash. and Reproduction. 10(1). Sept-Oct).ebscohost. from EBSCO Online Database Academic Search Premier: http://search. 12. D. 8. June 23). (2005). 127-131.ebscohost.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=1801985 8&site=ehost-live Pool. Retrieved August 12. login. Retrieved August 12. 2008. 2008. Origins of the Kinsey Revolution. Retrieved August 18. The Kinsey Report didn’t upset me. (1964).ebscohost. (1996. E. Advocate. 265(14). (2004). from EBSCO Online Database Academic Search Premier. 2008. John Bancroft head of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex.ebscohost. (1997). Journal of Sex Research. from EBSCO Online Database Academic Search Premier: http:// search. Bondage unbound. Retrieved August 12. 2008. either.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=9710222992&site=ehost-live Herzog. 12(2). 12(4). V. May 30).aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=839529&site=ehost-live Duberman.aspx?direct=true&db=s ih&AN=11926121&site=ehost-live Exploring Human Sexuality 13 . com/login. 104-109. 2008. (1998).com/login. M. Alfred Kinsey and the Kinsey Report: Historical overview and lasting contributions. from EBSCO Online Database Academic Search Premier: http://search. and Kinsey: a conversation with Dr.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=741282&site=ehost-live Steinberg.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=1624821 4&site=ehost-live The Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th v56/ai_18640605/pg_1 Romesburg. 2008. Retrieved August 12.ebscohost.ebscohost. 35(2). 19-21. science. http://search. 2008. from EBSCO Online Database Academic Search Time. Sex. (2005. D. Retrieved August 12.. Kinsey reports sex stats. http://search. (1948). & Stanley Jr. 2008. O. http://search. The reception of the Kinsey reports in Europe. (1998. from EBSCO Online Database Academic Search Premier. Retrieved August 12. Public Opinion Quarterly. Gender. Youth looks at the Kinsey report. 163(3). from EBSCO Online Database Gender Studies Database. Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide. L. 237(10). from EBSCO Online Database Academic Search Premier: http://search. Saturday Evening Post. 6-7. (762). http://search. Human login. G. D..ebscohost.ebscohost. 2008.

The other Kinsey report. C. M. J. 9-13. S. (2006). Living libido aoca: a Kinsey report. Pomeroy. 2008. A. C. et.Del Tredici. Retrieved August 12. 2008 from EBSCO Online Database Education Research Complete: http://search. G. 2008 from EBSCO Online Database Academic Search Premier: http://search. & Martin. Natural History. J.ebscohost.aspx?direct=true& db=ehh&AN=16527874&site=ehost-live 14 Sociology Reference Guide . (1952). (2006).aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=21425954&site=ehost-live Jones.. Journal of Social Psychology. Retrieved August 12. Kinsey: A public/private life. 51(14). 279-288. Published reactions to the Kinsey report (book). (1998).aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=1525734 3&site=ehost-live Palmore. 22-25.. E. Darby. Sexual behavior in the human male. A. from EBSCO Online Database Academic Search Premier: http://search. 33(2).ebscohost.. al. Bloomington. 165-172. Sex therapy and the cultural construction of sexuality. J. Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved August 40(4). PA: Diane Publishing Co. (1951). B14-B15.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=135458 16&site=ehost-live Pertot. Contemporary Sexuality. (1997).ebscohost. 2008 from EBSCO Online Database Academic Search Premier: Klein. Kinsey. IN: Indiana University Press. IN: Indiana University Press. Retrieved August 12. Censorship and the Kinsey report. Social C. ebscohost. Sexual behavior in the human female. 2008 from EBSCO Online Database Education Research Complete: http://search. (2004). P. Retrieved August 12. Bloomington. & Varley. 31(2).aspx?direct=true&db=a ph&AN=20498831&site=ehost-live Ramsey. 115(6). Kinsey. (1998). Alfred C.

temperance reformers. and restrained sexual desire was common (Williams. 2002). female purity. the nineteenth century gave rise to what we now know as the nuclear family. women’s rights activists. By the 1870s. 2002). During this time.The Sexual Revolution & Counter Revolution Carolyn Sprague Overview The sexual revolution in the United States is not easily pinpointed to a specific set of events or decade. in actuality more relaxed attitudes toward sexuality began to emerge long before the 1960s. The Late Nineteenth Century In the US. A growing middle class arose as populations migrated to cities and gained greater affluence. To fully understand the liberalization of sexual attitudes in the US. men worked outside the home and women largely stayed at home to attend to domestic duties and raise children. one must begin with examining a number of events and influences dating back to the latter half of the nineteenth century. Although the phrase almost invariably elicits the 1960s era of free love. Middle class adherence to the Victorian ideals of male strength. male patronage of prostitutes was tolerated (Williams. and members of the protestant clergy aligned themselves in an effort to promote a “social Exploring Human Sexuality 15 . While non-marital and non-reproductive sex were publicly condemned.

women began to actively look for other ways to prevent pregnancy. Another movement around the same time was led by utopianists and proponents of Free Love. sobriety and self-denial.purity” movement. or. as time passed. which banned the mailing of “indecent and lascivious” materials. She supported a free love model which she believed would permit men and women to join as equal sexual and life partners outside of the confines and regulations she associated with traditional marriage. A backlash to the free love movement was lead by Anthony Comstock. These cohorts opposed religious authority and largely rejected the idea of traditional marriage. The Early Twentieth Century During the twentieth century. and many also entered college. sex was largely procreative because. Margaret Sanger was a tireless advocate for providing women with birth control options and the power to control their reproduction. These constituents advocated for a number of divergent social causes including ending prostitution and encouraging family planning. to more modern ones personal consumption and self-gratification (Williams. Many researchers and historians believe that the greatest shift toward more liberal views of sexuality began after WWI. Women began entering the workforce in greater numbers at the turn of the new century. no effective birth control was available to women. Young people began to enjoy the liberty to meet without supervision or chaperones. urban populations continued to grow as US middle class values shifted from the Victorian emphasis on thrift. as they called it. Comstock also opposed the free love advocates by demanding that authorities arrest them and any others who supported their liberal views of sexuality. voluntary motherhood (Williams. Recreation and leisure activities became much more important to the middle class and were less likely to be church supervised. 2002). From the 1910s onward. For most women at the beginning of the twentieth century. 2002). Involvement in a foreign 16 Sociology Reference Guide . However. He was responsible for establishing the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice and the 1873 Comstock Law. aside from abstinence in marriage. Victoria Woodhall was one outspoken opponent of traditional marriage. which she saw as perpetuating the oppression of women.

and non-marital sex was not uncommon during the war. His study of US Census Bureau statistics on premarital pregnancy and single motherhood between 1940 and1960 pointed to the “unexpected conclusion that there was much more sexual activity during those decades than Americans were willing to admit” (Petigny. and advertising began taking on sexual overtones (Williams. at least publicly. they began to enjoy an unprecedented level of freedom and equality. 2002). Rising economic affluence and increased leisure time triggered increased consumption and consumerism. public attitudes may not have overtly reflected this liberalization. to conservative views of women’s sexuality. American society retained traditional views of sexuality through the first quarter of the twentieth century. All of these influences lead to what some have called “America’s first sexual revolution” during the 1920s.war had exposed many servicemen to Europe’s more liberal sexual attitudes. literature. more liberal attitudes on topics from “child rearing to religion” took hold in American society. as was penicillin. according to Petigny (2005). On the surface. The “silent generation” of this period didn’t talk much about sex. and led people away from rigid Victorian social values. Exploring Human Sexuality 17 . Sexual attitudes had begun to shift in the nineteenth century. 2002). However. Money was the “ingredient for sophistication” during the carnival of the 1920s. but that didn’t mean that they weren’t having any. Condoms were available to GIs. movies. More and more Americans owned automobiles which offered unprecedented freedom and mobility. perpetuating a double standard (Williams. according to Petigny (2005). despite the era’s mood of sexual liberalism. 1947). but rather really took shape during the 1940s and 50s. which was termed the “VD Magic Bullet” (McPartland. the country was ready to adopt more liberal attitudes (McPartland. The 1940s & 1950s Alan Petigny has suggested that the sexual revolution did not start in the 1960s. though some have argued that after years of war and economic instability. The Great Depression held sexual standards in check. And when women entered the workforce and started earning money for themselves. 7). mainstream society adhered. p. After WWII. for the most part. but. 2005. 1947). As the decade wore on.

He referenced Albert Kinsey’s findings on American sexuality as proof that people’s actions tended to be inconsistent with societal rules. as a result. On average. For example. a biologist. 1992.but Petigny found that people’s actions often did not reflect their admitted moral values. researchers speculate that premarital sex during this period would have been much higher if people had not married at such young ages. he took it upon himself to start collecting the necessary data and began conducting surveys as a means of assessing the sexual behavior of American men and women. and. According to Richard Rhodes (1997). Kinsey. Though Americans’ sexual behavior was more or less the same during the two periods. public opinion converged with private morals (Petigny. Cultural historian Stephanie Coontz offered that “when it came to sexual intercourse. Additionally. In 1938. p. The Kinsey Report Alan Petigny’s use of US Census data and demographic statistics to extrapolate sexual trends in the 1940s and 1950s is quite different than the methodology that Alfred Kinsey used to study American sexuality during the same two decades. the 1940s and 1950s saw a dramatic increase in premarital pregnancies while the public continued to espouse traditional views of sexuality which disapproved of premarital sex (Petigny. as quoted in Petigny. 18 Sociology Reference Guide . the differences between postwar sexuality and the 1960s free love era boils down to dissimilarities between convention and conduct. during the 1950s women married around the age of 20 and men around the age of 22. public morality fell into step with personal conduct.000 sexual histories [are] the most extensive record of human sexual behavior ever compiled” (¶ 2). 2004). Kinsey’s more than “18. young people were not taught how to “say no”. 2005). According to Petigny. during the 1960s Americans were much more willing to publicly acknowledge their behavior. 12. When he found that existing research did not provide him with enough information for his lectures. found himself lecturing on sex education at Indiana University. People talked more openly about their behaviors and views. they were simply handed wedding rings” (Coontz. In effect. 2005).

While sociologists and historians admit that Kinsey’s data collection methods are questionable. These reports on the sexual behavior of men and women provided one way for Americans to make sense of the broader cultural shifts occurring after WWII (Meyer. 1997). 1997). students were asked to fill out a questionnaire about non-normative behaviors like masturbating. most experts had focused their attentions on what were understood to be marginal sexualities (Meyer. better understand sexuality. The prevalence of premarital sex is difficult to measure. a state of affairs which can easily lead to skewed results (Petigny. Kinsey’s work shed light on what were. Kinsey Contributions to American Sexuality. When the report was published though.” 2002). Prior to Kinsey’s research. Kinsey’s findings don’t hold up to scrutiny by today’s scientific standards. after completing the questionnaire. normative sexual practices.Kinsey’s findings were published in two volumes: Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953). and engaging in same sex relations. hitting their partner. oral sex. and premarital sex were all prevalent behaviors among Kinsey’s subjects (Rhodes. Further. Exploring Human Sexuality 19 . the students were told that they’d be compensated for participation only if they consented to take a polygraph. using pornography. in the mid 1960s. 2004). His report shocked the nation: it revealed that homosexual relationships. When. and under 35. masturbation. Kinsey’s subjects were predominantly white. Up to 90% of the American public will not answer surveys about their sexual histories. the fact remains that his findings helped to open minds and prompt discussion about American sexual behavior. For example. as important as they were at the time. and helped experts. 1997). college educated. respondents may not be entirely truthful (Petigny. it was a significant benchmark in the quantitative study of sexuality in US society (“Alfred C. Further complicating matters is the fact that. as well as the American public. middle class. and people who are willing to answer them are generally less inhibited about sex than those who refuse to answer such questions. in actuality. 2004). Kinsey and his key associates were interviewing several thousand men and women a day (Rhodes. 2006) However. 2006). Though his sample was large. he favored full samples of large groups in lieu of randomizing (Stossel. even when willing to answer questions about their sexual history. In the prime years immediately following WWII.

paved the way for public dialog about sex. • Focus on their own sexual pleasure without worrying about the consequences of an unplanned pregnancy.they all changed at least one of their answers on the questionnaire. The Pill may have been responsible for ushering in the 20 Sociology Reference Guide . 2004). which quickly became known as simply “the Pill. (Cunningham. Such a finding suggests that surveys and polls about sexual behavior should be approached with a great deal of skepticism (Petigny. With it. they could: • Control if and when they would have children. and has been credited with ending the baby boom (Cunningham. The Pill was almost 100% effective in preventing pregnancy. 1990). 1990) In the years since oral contraceptives gave women control over their reproductive lives. Without focusing too much on the weakness of his research methods. they have also changed the country’s social fabric. 1990). and discussions about it. The 1960s: Sex. Albert Kinsey is still credited with having a huge impact on the social and cultural values in American and around the world. The Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill (COCP). • Many women also felt that the Pill. 1990). It wasn’t difficult for women to enumerate the Pill’s benefits. giving them the option to seriously pursue careers. Married women on the pill reported having sex up to 39% more often than women who weren’t on the pill (Cunningham. Findings by both Kinsey and more recently Petigny. and gave women nearly complete control over their reproductive systems (Cunningham. condoms were the most reliable and widely available contraceptive method. “The Pill has become a right of passage for many of the daughters of the first women to enjoy the [benefits] of the Pill in the early 1960s” wrote Ann Marie Cunningham (1990). though it was generally men’s responsibility to use them. suggest that the years between 1940 and 1960 set the stage for the overt sexual revolution that would explode in the 1960s. Drugs & Rock & Roll At the start of the 1960s. • Choose to have sex more often.” was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June 1960.

The 1960s gave life to the counter culture. • Sexuality and the sex act as liberating. but the right to sexually express oneself was important from a political standpoint. The 1960s were about much more than the right to express and act upon sexual freedoms. gay men. The 1960s and 1970s are now viewed as decades of great sexual freedom and experimentation.” and. lesbians and African Americans all viewed themselves a residing on the lower levels of the political and social hierarchies. many people began to calculate the costs that have been exacted upon many of the same groups that benefited from the greater political and social freedoms that were gained in the 1960s and 1970s. Today. 1997). gay and lesbian rights and the civil rights movement. many liberals welcomed broader rights for gays and women.era of the “one night stand. Charles Taylor (2007) offered four characteristic views of the period: • Sensuality as a good in and of itself. The decade was shaped by profound social changes as well as young people embraced their sexuality in all aspects of their lives. Some women also worried that the Pill decreased the incentive for men to commit to monogamous relationships. Exploring Human Sexuality 21 . Women. many women believed that men would now assume that women would “take care” of protection. and lesbians the personal was political when it came to expressing sexuality in ways that empowered them. During the final two decades of the twentieth century. and access to new contraceptives. While the Pill was discussed openly and publicly. • Sexuality as a major part of one’s identity. The availability of oral contraceptives was just one factor in liberalizing sexuality in the 1960s. gays. ironically. Politically. the term “the sexual counter-revolution” is used to describe the “reigning in” of sexually promiscuous behavior that occurred during the 1980s and 1990s. some suggest that it may have benefited men as much as women. • Men and women as equal sexes whose relationships could be free from traditional gender roles. In general most liberals also supported sex education initiatives which would keep people informed about their new choices and liberties (Stossel. women’s rights. For women.

conservatives succeeded in convincing a large portion of the public that AIDS was a “gay disease. 1990). Though they had made major political and social gains during the 1960s and 1970s. In general. 2008. 1997). many feminists look at their youth as the “bad old days” and “they [want to] imagine that the [women’s] movement’s hard work enabled women who came after us to enjoy sex more” (Gullette. The ideological debates between social conservatives and liberals played out along cultural. Gay men were particularly affected by the sexual counter-revolution. the AIDS crisis presented new challenges. They argued. that the sexual revolution had resulted in upsurge in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). According to Gullette. 90% of AIDS victims are heterosexual (Stossel. When a 1982 Time magazine article linked AIDS to promiscuity. political and religious conservatives also renewed their efforts to curtail the moral relativism they associated with the liberal acceptance of legalized abortion and same-sex marriage (Stossel. At the same time. social conservatives believed that easy access to contraceptives and a general acceptance of premarital sex caused a moral weakening across society. It stands to reason for many that the liberal tenor of the 1960s and 1970s would eventually elicit a backlash against the policies and cultural trends that came about during these tumultuous decades.” despite the fact that. 1997). the sexual revolution effectively ground to a halt as both socials conservatives and public health officials decried the dangers of promiscuous sex (Stossel.The Sexual Counter-Revolution In the age of AIDS. ¶3). too. political. Watching with 22 Sociology Reference Guide . and pointed to this as well as the AIDS crisis to bolster their arguments against sex outside of marriage. the idea of a sexual revolution can seem archaic and dangerous (Cunningham. and religious fronts simultaneously (Stossel. Initially. 1997). outside of the US. Anxiety & the Modern Sexual Revolution Margaret Gullette’s (2008) essay “Then and Now: What Have the Sexual ‘Revolutions’ Wrought?” looked both backward at her own early sexual history and forward to what her daughter’s will be. Conservatives suggested that promiscuous sexual practices had compromised traditional social and religious bonds and loosened social mores. 1997).

Gullette’s essay closed with questioning just how far women have come in becoming sexually equal to men. once these men returned to the US. but instead grew steadily throughout the last half of the nineteenth century and gained momentum between and after the world wars. the growing affluence of the American middle class created a consumer society which led people to discard Victorian values.concern. Girls who are openly homosexual may fear that they will be stigmatized. and. • Fear: Girls may be afraid that they might not be sexually adept. It is ironic that in the more than forty years since the Pill became available. it cannot protect women from STDs or AIDS. many people are realizing that condoms are again necessary. • Body Image: Girls start disliking their bodies at a young age in patriarchal and consumerist societies as they judge themselves against a single. for many women coming of age.” The Pill. their first sexual experience is marked by coercion or abuse (Gullette. The gains in sexual rights and freedoms made during these decades served as a foundation for those of the following decades. Women’s entry into the workforce precipitated the women’s rights movement which played a major role in helping women gain control over their sexuality. ideal body type. At the same time. Conclusion The American sexual revolution did not happen in one decade. However. • Sex Education: Many girls and boys learn little about contraception since 30% of schools teach only abstinence. 2008). these attitudes infiltrated American culture. can still protect women from unintended pregnancies. and girls who enjoy sex often worry about being labeled “sluts. Exploring Human Sexuality 23 . The rise of political and social movements during the 1960s also empowered a number of minority groups to more freely express their sexuality. which held so much promise in affording women reproductive control and sexual freedom. the author and her contemporaries with heterosexual daughters saw a whole host of threats that have persisted despite the sexual freedoms and liberties that women have won. Her findings revealed that. the world wars exposed many American men to more liberal European sexual attitudes. Additionally.

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• Adolescent sexual development. Bancroft (1989) distinguished three different strands of sexual development. • Adult sexual development. 149). dyadic relationships” (p.Sexual Development Across the Lifespan Sharon Link Overview Human Sexual Development According to DeLamater and Friedrich (2002) human sexuality might be described as a developmental process manifesting different characteristics throughout the human lifespan resulting in stages and milestones comprised of biological and behavioral components. Jannsen (2007) added to the conversation regarding human sexual development by arguing that cultural aspects affect human sexuality in multiple ways. sexual response and the capacity for close. Four stages of development can be identified and characterized in accordance with resulting biological and behavioral manifestations: • Childhood sexual development. and • Sex among older adults In his model of sexual development. All of these factors create the context for better understanding the different stages of human sexuality and provide a framework for 26 Sociology Reference Guide . which can be identified as “gender identity.

Houston and Shafran (1998) indicated that masturbatory behaviors are normal and can be observed and indicated by the sexual play of young children. vaginal lubrication has been identified in female infants within 24 hours after birth.understanding not only the biological and behavioral attributes of human sexuality. the touching of genital parts has been documented in early childhood and even before birth (Brenot & Broussin. For example. 2). Western society parents and educators find it difficult to decide how to react to children’s sexual behaviors or questions about sexuality asked by children due to a growing societal fear regarding the risks of sexual victimization by adult predators. or cultural backgrounds” (p. According to research that is available on child sexual development and a general consensus of empirical evidence. p. and becomes more clandestine in children aged 6 to 9 after children become more aware of cultural norms attributed to sexual behavior (Reynolds. 1988). and in male infants. but may also contribute to the cultural interplay. Herbenick. Broughton. and digitally manipulating their genitalia from 2 ½ to 3 years of age. Goldman & Goldman. 2006. Fisher. & Reynolds. & Brancroft. Johnson. Moreover. According to Masters. as well. erections have also been triggered and documented. Moreover. 1996). 4). Herbenick. and Kolodny. Friedrich. many opportunities for enhanced understanding regarding increased knowledge of childhood sexual developmental stages now exist which seems to point out “which sexual behaviors and feelings should be considered “normal” for children of certain ages. Applications Childhood Sexual Development De Graaf and Rademakers (2006) indicated that developing an improved insight into the sexual behavior and feelings of children has become increasingly important. Martinson (1994) indicated that infants have been identified fondling their genitalia. “After birth boys of 6 to 8 months of age and girls of 8 to 11 months of age reportedly discover their genitals by unintentionally touching them” (de Graaf & Rademakers. 2003. genders. Other sexual expressions might be rooted in pervasive sucking beExploring Human Sexuality 27 . Masturbation can be identified as a behavior that is solitary in nature and occurs when an individual touches or stimulates his or her own genitals typically for the purpose of stimulating sexual arousal (Bancroft. (1982) sexual response in infants was found to be evident from birth. 2003).

cuddling. parents may restrict the information they provide their children. Larsson & Svedin. and exposure of genitals are most common in children up to 12 years. 1997). the role of gender identity typically forms around the age of 3 and can be described as an individual’s sense of “maleness” or “femaleness. Lamb & Coakley.” At the same time biological identity forms. which 28 Sociology Reference Guide . Herbenick. practiced by playing house or assuming other adult roles tending toward gender specificity. 10). 1996. Haugaard. 1994) leading to potential misinformation resulting in misinterpretation and misidentification. vaginal or anal insertion with an object or finger. 2002. p. As a result of increased sexual interest. a behavioral manifestation of gender-role identity is being socialized by others in relationship to the child (Bussey & Bandura. Goldman and Goldman (1982) further identified that children from ages 3 to 7 demonstrate an increased level of sexual interest. 11). Moreover. Adolescent Sexual Development Thome (1993) indicated that during the stage of preadolescent sexual development. children organize themselves into homosocial groups. and children may resort to gaining information from their peers (Martinson. 2003). and Kerr (1995) argued that appropriate and positive physical contact offers the opportunity to provide stable and fulfilling emotional attachments in adulthood. It should be noted that experiences with no direct genital contact. & Abramson. experiences with oral-genital contact. and vaginal or anal intercourse are highly unusual between children 12-yearsold and younger (de Graaf & Rademakers. Finally. the showing and touching of genitals can also be part of mutual sexual experiences between children in which both children play an active role (Goldman & Goldman. 1999). kissing and hugging. and other kinds of stimulation (de Lamater & Friedrich. 2002. 1993. 1988. Goldberg. Olmstead. p. Bowlby (1965) indicated that attachments form between infants and their parents that impact the quality and capability of relationships and form the basis for a child’s sexual and emotional attachments and relationships throughout the lifespan. Muir. 2006. Moreover. children might engage in “playing doctor” and demonstrate an increased interest in the genitals of other children or adults (Okami. Indicated by multiple researchers. & Bancroft. Reynolds.haviors. such as talking about sex.

Furthermore. Bancroft. et al (2003) reported that males typically begin masturbating between the ages of 13 to 15. & Keller. 2002. Meyer-Bahlburg. precipitating factors for increased masturbation and heterosexual intercourse may be attributed to father absence and permissive attitudes regarding sexual behavior. Hunter. 1993). During adolescence bodily changes stimulate physical growth. & Reynolds. Reportedly. homosocial interactions and subsequent exposures from these relationships may initiate the capacity for sustained intimate relationships (Thome. which can be attributed to several factors. Exner.can be described as a social division of males and females. In addition to increased testosterone and estrogen levels and other biological factors.” both of which may delay female sexual activity (de Lamater & Friedrich. However. genitalia. Children at this stage gain experience with masturbation as identified by a study indicating that 38% of men surveyed and 40% of women surveyed recalled masturbating before the onset of puberty (Bancroft. Simultaneously. these changes signal to the adolescent and to others that sexual maturity is occurring. the average Caucasian female has her first period at 12. 1996). According to researchers. and girls somewhat later. From a physiological perspective. 2003). adolescents are having heterosexual and homosexual intercourse at earlier ages than in the past. Today. the age at which females have their first period has been falling since the beginning of the twentieth century. and secondary sexual characteristics enlarge and mature during this time (Tanner. 2003. Herbenick. behavioral manifestations create opportunities for sexual interactions which facilitate or inhibit sexual expression (Udry. gonads. Rosario. increases in genital size and female breast size combine with the onset of facial and pubic hair. First. p. Gwadz. 11). 1988).7 years of age and the Exploring Human Sexuality 29 . One theory as to why this occurs is due to the sexual exploration and learning that occurs in homosocial groups involving individuals of the same gender. behavioral changes are accompanied by biological changes associated with puberty which begins from 10 years of age to 14 years of age. Indicatively. 1967) all leading to an increased sexual interest and rising levels of sexual hormones and accompanying sexual fantasies. contrasted by regular “church attendance and long-range educational and career plans. preadolescents at the ages of 10 to 12 years begin to experience sexual attraction followed by sexual fantasies occurring from several months to one year later (Bancroft et al.

In 1998. 2007). Bureau of the Census. In 1960.S. that the rate of teen pregnancies increased between the 1970s and 1991 would appear to indicate that teens used birth control only sporadically during these years. 1998). Finally. Additionally. & Turner. married for the first time at 20. while 6% of adolescent females have had sexual encounters with other females (Bancroft et al. and birth control and consistent teen use. since increasing numbers of individuals are marrying later there has been a substantial gap between biological readiness and age of marriage of typically 12 to 14 years. Abma. Lindberg.8 years of age. while men. potentially reflecting an increased access to birth control by teens. & Henshaw. Pleck. high school students had had sexual intercourse at least once (YRBS. Turner. 11).S. 1999). married for the first time at 22. 2003. p. Curtin.average African American female has her first period at 12. the teen pregnancy rate declined by 18% between 1991 and 1997. The adolescents participating in these studies generally reported that these encounters were with a peer. STDs and teenagers. 1990). Rogers.8 years of age. Additionally. Several factors play a role in adult sexual development and include effective communication between partners engaged in intimate relationships. According to findings from the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey. on average. however.. young men and women are increasingly delaying marriage. Sonenstein.5 years of age (Hofferth. women. Adulthood & Sexual Development Factors regarding sexual maturity continue into adulthood.7 years of age for men (U. Additional research should be conducted in the areas of sexual education. 2002. Studies on teen homosexual behavior indicate that between 5% and 10% of adolescent males have had sexual encounters with other males. increased attention in society to the importance of preventing pregnancy for adolescents. and increased economic opportunities for teenagers (Ventura. Some of the participants also indicated that these encounters were initiated out of curiosity and that the behavior was not ongoing. on average. the age of first marriage was 25 years of age for women and 26. 48% of U. making informed decisions regarding reproduction and the prevention of sexually transmit30 Sociology Reference Guide . Adolescence is certainly a pivotal time in human sexual development (de Lamater & Friedrich. Mosher. 1998).

According to the U. 2002).S. Today.” theoretically constituted by an increased availability of contraception which offered different alternatives to women than was available in previous eras (p. & Markman. however. 1999). and marriage presents the most legitimate social context for sexual expression. remaining celibate. Gagnon. and by the age of 45. Glenn. In 1999. Michael. Nock. Exploring Human Sexuality 31 . as of ten years ago. Despite relationship alternatives. 41% of African American males and 38% of African American females were never married as contrasted with 20% of Caucasian men and 16% of Caucasian females. Amos (2006) indicated that during the 1960s and 1970s “a time of radical change began. adults may choose among many relationship choices and lifestyles.ted infections (such as HIV) as well as decisions regarding sexual lifestyles. In 1999. As a result of changing female roles. participating in a single. Stanley. & Michaels. In the context of marriages in the United States monogamy has been a widely accepted so practice (Wiederman & Allgeier. and Michaels (1994) average American couples engage in sexual intercourse 2 to 3 times per week. Bureau of the Census. 270). 1997). long-term monogamous relationship. Gagnon. participating in sexual relationships with several individuals. 34% of men and 19% of women reported engaging in extramarital sex at some point in their lives (Wiederman. 1996) and extramarital sex among marital couples are significantly disapproved within the societal context (Johnson. Michael. 80% of women and 73% of men had been married at least once. 1994). Census Bureau (2000) African American men and women more often remain single than Caucasians. 26% of the men and 22% of the women usually had sex at least twice a week. or engaging in serial monogamous relationships involving fidelity with one partner at a time for the duration of each relationship. while 22% of the men and 30% of the women had not had sex for at least one year (Laumann. Lifestyle choices include living single. sexual satisfaction. Amos (2006) stated: “Our view of marriage. Amato. and other contributing factors. its goals and its purposes have undergone a seismic shift during the last 50 years” (p.S. According to Laumann. 95% of all women were reportedly married once (U. marriage was still categorized as the most prevalent sexual lifestyle choice in the United States. 270). cohabitation or “living together” is an increasing option. and relationship factors. Among reporting singles.

relationship. physical and mental health. resulting in a gradual decline in testosterone production. according to the United States Bureau of the Census. erections may occur more slowly. Zacur and Flaws (2007) indicated that menopause lasts approximately 4 years and begins in the mid-to-late forties with a reported decline in sexual activity during the menopausal transition (pp. It would seem that much more research exists in terms of female menopause as opposed to male andropause. For example. biological factors that include physical changes and illness may be contributors to diminished sexual expression. resulting in dramatic changes in hormone levels” (p. Smith (1994) reported a decline in the frequency of sexual intercourse with age. 2002. and life situation (p. 2000). Schilling.which can be characterized as a public statement regarding commitment and sexual relationship. In contrast with women. Miller. These relationship variables include “general well-being. p. According to AARP (1999) older. Gallicchio. 133). Moreover. 133). other factors play a role in adult sexual development. The relationship between the menopausal transition and decreased sexual function has been observed in women despite relationship variables. 132 – 133). healthy humans 74 years and older may continue to have regular opportunities for satisfying sexual expression in all forms including masturbation and homo-sexual behavior (de Lamater & Friedrich. During this time. emotional and mental health impacts of aging and sexual development. 32 Sociology Reference Guide . which can occur as early as age 40 (Morales. Tomic. While cohabitation may be temporary with onethird lasting less than 1 year. Additional research should be considered in this area. Heaton. and men may experience increased control over their sexual response. a “hallmark of the menopausal transition is a decline in ovarian function. 1997) which can be described as a ADAM-androgen decline that occurs as men age. & Carson. Sex & Older Adults In addition to the changing context of coupling in America. physical. the occurrence of menopausal symptoms. as well. men experience andropause (Lamberts. (1999) 7% of all women living in the United States were living with males in a cohabitative relationship. van den Beld. This occurrence might indicate that sexual frequency is tied directly to biological as well as relationship factors. & van der Lely. 13). Additionally.. Additional studies should be considered on the impacts of biological.

& Hershberger. 1989. 5). many of Freud’s theories toward childhood sexuality and fascination could be exemplified by the Shakespeare’s character. ailments which Freud identified in himself (Cohler & Galatzer-Levy. Moreover. 2000. and he believed post-adolescent development was non-existent. D’Augelli. later displaced by a burgeoning hatred toward his stepfather (pp. According to Galatzer-Levy & Cohler. Anzieu (1975) argued that Freud’s work was greatly influenced by his treatment of a man who suffered from an obsessional neurosis and homicidal thoughts. who similarly possessed an incestuous desire toward his mother and possessed ambivalence toward his dead father. Lee. Some of the themes included public image as represented by the media. Anzieu (1975) indicated that much of Freud’s beliefs regarding sexual development were rooted in his own experiences. Grossman. postulating that Freud was jealous of his own father and had formed an erotic attachment to his mother. Hamlet. Freud viewed sexuality as “a generalization of the pleasures associated with mucous membrane stimulation. Significant gaps in the literature have especially related to HIV risk and prevention. Vacha. Freud’s work is considered to be a key developmental aspect of human sexuality and deserves additional research into the foundations of developmental psychology and sexuality. 1985). Homosexuality Significant issues related to human sexual development are those related to gay and bisexual men. and as the central motive for relating to other people” (p. Murry and Adam (2001) researched and identified several themes regarding homosexuality and human sexual development. Indicatively. relationships between younger and older men and the orientation Exploring Human Sexuality 33 . Moreover. 235 – 236). (1993) Freud approached theories related to childhood sexuality from the viewpoint of a male child. which has received some research in the social sciences (Berger. the study of childhood sexuality is rooted in the work of Sigmund Freud.Viewpoints Sigmund Freud From a developmental application. While seemingly a potentially strange application. 1996. Freud postulated that life could best be understood from the viewpoint of a child. 2008).

human sexuality integrates both behavioral and biological factors manifested in aging. adulthood. studies of childhood sexuality are difficult to obtain. Additional work should be considered in creating a “system of diversity” for all individuals regardless of age or sexual orientation. According to DeLamater & Friedrich (2002) sexual attitudes especially relate to age factors and sexual expression and the elderly. it would be interesting to determine lesbian correlates in order to better understand how female homosexual orientation might be manifested. adolescence and puberty. and the elderly may hold such attitudes themselves. Often times. A derivative of these attitudes is directly linked to negative attitudes in elder care facilities and nursing homes. a search for intimacy at all ages. Conclusion Human sexual development across the lifespan is a dynamic phenomenon with multiple facets. All of these issues were indicated to have played a significant role in the human sexual development of homosexual males. These attitudes may be a more important reason why many elderly people are not sexually active than the biological changes they experience” (p. studies that do exist demonstrate that children of all ages display behaviors or have feelings that could be identified as sexual in nature. From a research perspective. 13). it 34 Sociology Reference Guide . and old age. sexual behavior between aged individuals in these kinds of facilities are prohibited. because of the potential victimization of children.of youthfulness in gay culture. Sexual attitudes and prejudice are perpetuated by the unacceptable notion that individuals over 75 should not engage in sexual activity. However. child development. “These attitudes affect the way the elderly are treated. Elderly Sexual Activity Another important issue regarding human sexuality and development relates to attitudes. According to researchers. DeLamater & Friedrich (2002) indicated that human sexual development begins in infancy and certainly extends across the lifespan of humans. especially masturbation. Development at all of these stages shapes sexual attitudes and sexual identity and directly impact sexual behavior. While humans certainly share similarities in their sexual progression. especially those which define specific behaviors as appropriate or inappropriate. and the impact of an entire generation marked by AIDS/HIV. Conclusively.

J. K. (1975). W. Masturbation as a marker of sexual development. 1 – 21.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=22018255&site=ehost-live Anzieu. Retrieved September 13. J. N. 39(1). D.). W. Orgasme in utero? Sexologies. Normative sexual behavior in children: A contemporary sample.ebscohost. Brenot. Social cognitive theory of gender development and differentiation. Sexual behavior of prepubertal children. 15–16. 2008 from EBSCO online database Academic Search Premier: http://search. Pediatrics. 106. J. Human sexuality and its problems. 269 – 279. 5(21). (2008). & Broussin. Additional research should be considered in all areas of human sexual development in order to shed light on this area of continued interest and importance in sociological studies and society. New York: Haworth Press. yesterday. 18(1).. Cohler. N. Human sexual development. Broughton. (2003). Bowlby. 10 – 14. & Galatzer-Levy. Bussey..aspx?di rect=true&db=aph&AN=30055722&site=ehost-live De Graaf. aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=23085915&site=ehost-live DeLamater. and the problem of female sexuality. and today. Marriage – and its alternatives: An Anglican perspective. Islam & Christian – Muslim Relations. (2006). IN: Indiana University Press. J. M. Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality. Houston. In J.ebscohost. Bancroft. Sexual Development in Childhood. Psychoanalytic Inquiry. Fisher. Gay and gray. Bancroft (Ed. 101(4). & Bandura. Berger. R. Journal of Sex Research. C. D. J. Retrieved September 13. Bowlby (Ed.. trans. 28. M. & Shafran.aspx?direct=true&db=a ph&AN=6773761&site=ehost-live Friedrich. Bibliography Amos. B. Graham. (1989).. Psychological Review. & Friedrich. (1996).697. com/login. Herbenick. Retrieved September 13. (2006). D. 693 .com/login. A. J. M. 13). (1996).. Retrieved September 13. 2008 from EBSCO online database Academic Search Premier: http://search.). 676-713. R. Freud’s self-analysis. (1998). Anna. 2008 from EBSCO online database Academic Search Premier: http://search. 3 – 26. 1986. CT: International Universities Press. Scotland: Churchill Livingstone. In J. (2002). Bloomington. C.ebscohost. J. Child care and the growth of love. Bancroft. & Rademaker.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=449559&site=eho st-live Exploring Human Sexuality 35 . Madison. 2008 from EBSCO online database Academic Search Premier: http://search. Retrieved September 13. 2008 from EBSCO online database Academic Search Premier: http://search. P. (1999). H. Maternal care and mental health. B. London: Penguin. R. & Reynolds. (1965). 17(3) further indicated that differences are also present (p.

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Take the following cases as examples: Exploring Human Sexuality 39 . n.. as equal (Asia-Europe Foundation. While there are common categories used to describe sexual orientation: heterosexual (prefers opposite sex). and societies have not always accepted these different relations. Defining Sexual Orientations Defining one’s sexual orientation is not as simple as it would seem. Although history is replete with literary and religious references to same sex relations as well as to relations between members of the opposite sex.d. for researchers.Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Sexual Orientation Noelle Vance Overview Sexual orientation is defined as one’s preferences towards men. 1997-2008). cultures. and those who claim a preference for these relations have been subjected to harsh punishment and discrimination. the treatment of individuals with sexual orientations towards members of their own sex remains controversial and emotionally charged. bisexual (enjoys both). homosexual (prefers same-sex). Herek. or the sexual orientations of the people who engage in them. it is more difficult to define who fits into each category. Indeed same sex relations have often been condemned. or both in sexual relations. While attitudes around the world have become more accepting in recent years. This is because an individual’s desires and attractions may not always match behavior. the world’s peoples. women.

young boys have same sex relations. and perhaps because of it. theologians. Innate Quality The question of whether people have same sex relations as a result of a biologically determined and innate sexual orientation or as a choice made due to environmental factors which prohibit heterosexual relations or encourage opportunistic behavior is one of the core issues underlying controversies over same sex relations. 1998). they have same sex relations on the side.• Interviews have indicated that some men who consider themselves to be heterosexual have only had sexual relations with men (male prostitutes) (Stokes. but as adults they reject these relations to enter into heterosexual marriages (Cardoso. there is no worldwide consensus on the roots of homosexual and bisexual behavior and even less agreement on how individuals who engage in such behavior should be treated. Throughout history. • In some cultures. 2008). Miller & Mundhenk. and legal scholars have provided guidance on why people engage in same sex relations and/or on how cultures should respond to individuals who engage in them. 40 Sociology Reference Guide . medical professionals. but prefers one over the other. 1998). How should individuals in these cases be defined? Should a self-definition as heterosexual be considered accurate when a man says he prefers women but only has sex with men? If one has sex with both men and women. Because self-definitions do not always match behavior. and because behavior may be influenced by cultural attitudes towards same sex relations. answering this question is not easy. what classification should be given? And what about socially accepted experimentation in adolescence with members of the same sex? Does sexual orientation change over time? These are some of the confusing issues that can arise when defining sexual orientation for the purposes of research and which may also cause confusion when individuals are struggling to define their sexual orientation or identity (Stokes. Despite this guidance. • Some men and women who are attracted to members of the same sex marry a member of the opposite sex in order to fulfill cultural demands or to avoid stigmatization. Sometimes. today. Choice vs. Miller & Mundhenk.

Melanesia – Serves to develop masculinity Azande – Compensates for the lack of women Brazil – Increases sexual options for poor fishermen India – Allows for the discharge of body tension among truck and taxi drivers Morocco – Comprises a stage of sexual development among boys 9-17 While the relative unavailability of women seems to account for some instances of same sex relations among men. the masculine man is active and aggressive while the feminine woman is Exploring Human Sexuality 41 . Myers & Scanzoni. these religions contend. once married. Evidence for this perspective comes from many studies. young men may first experiment with sex through prostitutes or same sex relations. to explain this behavior is that men need to learn about sex in order to function as husbands..d. 2005). this would no longer be necessary and the behavior would be deemed inappropriate. In cultures where women are secluded. n. perhaps.Applications Cross-Cultural Research One reason that many people around the world may view same sex relations as a product of choice is that in many cultures. This fact has forced cultures around the world to grapple with what their attitudes should be towards homosexuality in general. Exodus International. In the natural order of sexual relations. 2005. and was reported in a round-up by Cardoso (2008) that is partially summarized here and which illustrates the many reasons that cultures use to justify same sex behavior. Many religions have condemned same sex relations as being sinful and against the Will of God (Asia-Europe Foundation. same sex behavior appears to be connected to a lack of available women. throughout all cultures there are women and men who choose homosexual relationships even when heterosexual ones are available. is for man to mate with – and in many traditions to be superior to – woman. The reasoning. The natural order of the world.

In other cultures. which is a greater violation of traditional gender roles (Cardoso. This makes them “more ‘despicable’ than being a woman because the homosexual has the elements of supremacy and seems not to care or be interested” (p. gay men who demonstrate effeminate behaviors may be perceived as passive and as accepting the lower female status. only the passive actor is considered homosexual. a distinction is made between the active and passive actors in same sex relations. IX). 42 Sociology Reference Guide . working class boys who have sex with homosexuals. which is perceived as unacceptable according to these religious norms (Stokes. For instance. Costa Rica. Stokes. Same sex relations put a man in the passive position and a woman in the active position. Turkey and Thailand. Toro-Alfonso (2007) writes that for Latinos. While contemporary western sociologists have separated sex from gender with sex being a biologically determined characteristic and gender being socially constructed — meaning that for a man to display “feminine” characteristics is not necessarily unusual — this separation is not always recognized outside of academia or in non-Western cultures (Jandt & Hundley. 1998). Syria and Morocco (Cardoso 2008). social categories exist for poor. Nicaragua. Uruguay. 2008. the Dominican Republic. While they may be socially tolerated. Thus. 1998). Other countries which have created a social role for “heterosexual men” who like to have sex with homosexuals include Mexico. Attitudes toward the passive actor are generally more negative in cultures that make such a distinction. in Brazil. and those who are passive may be considered differently than those who are active (Cardoso. Argentina. 2008). the “machismo” ideology. which grants males superiority in the culture is widely accepted. the violation of traditional gender roles is enough to condemn anyone who considers themselves homosexual. they do not fall into the homosexual category. Miller & Mundhenk. In some cultures. Thus. Miller & Mundhenk. gay men are viewed as rejecting the natural superiority of their penis. At the same time.passive and receptive. they are likely to be viewed more negatively than a masculine gay man whose blends into the heterosexual crowd (Cardoso. in some cultures. 2007). The distinction between active and passive homosexuals is a widespread phenomenon. This is because the passive actor is more like a woman. the myth is held that gay men want to be women and lesbians want to be men. 2008). Iran. Thus.

world opinion is sharply divided along religious lines in regard to homosexuality.. loyalty and warmth. Religious doctrines reflect a diversity of opinion on homosexuality with divisions occurring among denominations of one religion as well as between major religions. Younger respondents were more likely than older respondents to say that morality did not require God and to accept homosexuality (The Pew Research Center. A 2007 Pew Global Attitudes survey found that majorities in Africa.Religious Perspectives Perhaps the most influential force in the development of cultural attitudes towards sexual orientation is religion. n. This code says. Religion is the compass by which many people judge whether actions are right or wrong. Similar majorities in these countries rejected homosexuality. 2007).). Exploring Human Sexuality 43 . and many of the world’s major religions hold firm positions on whether homosexuality is moral. The Buddhist precept relating to sexuality is the panca sila or moral code. Other Buddhist principles related to relationships indicate that if two adults are consenting. then no precepts are broken. Indeed. adultery is not involved. the Buddha did advise against acts that would be against societal norms or that would raise legal sanctions because of the anxiety and embarrassment that such acts create (Asia-Europe Foundation. In Western Europe. but individuals have interpreted texts relating to sexuality and relationships in order to understand how a Buddhist might perceive sexual orientation. individuals indicated mixed views. respect. where large majorities said that morality is possible without faith. Gay and Lesbian Counseling Service of New South Wales. and the sexual act is made out of love. on the other hand. The following provides a brief overview of the most pertinent positions of some of the world’s religions. In the Americas. While same sex relationships are not condemned by Buddhism. Buddhism Buddhism does not have a position on homosexuality. “I will take the rule of training not to go the wrong way for sexual pleasure. Asia and the Middle East said that faith in God is a necessary element of morality and good values.” The code allows the individual to define wrong way.d. similar majorities said homosexuality should be accepted. marked by a significant age gap.d. n.

Evangelical Christians condemn homosexuality for being a sin that goes against the Will of God. Vatsyana. Others have said the text. which says procreation is one function of marriage. Many Protestant Christians have argued that since God created many sexual orientations. and many Evangelicals believe that homosexuality can be reversed through reorientation or reparative therapy.d. Reconstructionist and Reform Jews 44 Sociology Reference Guide . Islam Islam is a religion that condemns homosexuality based on interpretations of the Quran. homosexuals should be accepted into the church. Islamic Law (Shari ‘ah) provides guidelines for how same sex behavior is treated. says that homosexuality is accepted and allowed by the teachings. such as the United Church of Christ and the New York Diocese of the United States Episcopal Church. Conservative.). Under this law. Judaism Orthodox Jews are strongly against homosexuality. 2005).Christianity Multiple positions on homosexuality exist within the various denominations of the Christian faith. Some churches. believing that homosexuality is an innate. Protestant Christians tend to reject this view. physiological characteristic that cannot be changed (Myers & Scanzoni. indicates that homosexuals should not be allowed to marry. The Hanafite says that no physical punishment is necessary. indicating the punishment that might follow from same sex relations. which they say is forbidden by the Torah. reformation. The Manusmriti is a text that does not accept homosexuality. a Kama Sutra writer. The Hanbalite requires severe punishment while the Sha’fi requires a minimum of four adult males as witness before a conviction is possible. as supporting homosexual relations that are based on love. which give three functions of sexuality. and standards of proof needed to convict someone of homosexuality. On the other hand. n. ordain active gays and lesbian members (Gay and Lesbian Counseling Service of New South Wales. Some interpreters have read the Dharma Shastras. four separate legal schools provide slightly different guidelines for punishment. Hinduism Hinduism does not provide clear guidance on homosexuality.

Since then. and hate crimes. Homophobia is. the fear of homosexuality and often leads individuals to reject or socially exclude those who claim gay. the American Psychological Association. Homophobic behaviors and attitudes can result in gay-bashing. and the American Psychiatric Association have said that attempting to change one’s sexual orientation through therapy can cause harm (Herek. Two positions are based on a Taoist viewpoint. because all males have some yin and all females some yang.. making jokes that put down homosexuals.d. lesbian or bisexual identity (Toro-Alfonso. technically. biological characteristic that cannot be changed.d. Following years of research and treatments that failed to change desires or behaviors. Taoism This Chinese religion is based on the beliefs that there is a natural balance in the universe represented by the opposites of yin-yang. National Association of Social Workers.have taken more moderate positions. 1997-2008. providing support for various gay and lesbian rights. discrimination. feminine behavior in males or vice versa could be considered a natural phenomenon and thus. such as unfair treatment toward homosexuals in the workplace. One is that a yang-yang (male-male) or yin-yin (female-female) relationship would be out of balance. Gay and Lesbian Counseling Service of New South Wales. Medical Perspectives In Western cultures. the medical community removed homosexuality from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1973. that homosexuality was a disorder requiring treatment. held from the late 1800s until the 1970s. On the other hand..). n. This view is a change from the medical community’s earlier position. 2007). 2005). violent Exploring Human Sexuality 45 . Issues Homophobia & Legal Rights Negative attitudes towards same sex behavior may manifest themselves as homophobia. the medical and mental health communities have become strong proponents of the view that sexual orientation is an innate. homosexuality could be viewed as normal (Asia-Europe Foundation. n. school or other societal institutions. American Academy of Pediatrics. Myers & Scanzoni.

more educated. and having homosexual friends correlated with feeling more comfortable with homosexuals (European Commission. bisexuals and transgendered (those with the strong desire to identify as a member of the opposite sex). 2007). encouraged by medical views that sexual orientation is innate and normal. have become politically organized. 2007. organizations have formed to advocate for homosexual rights including the right to be free from discrimination. gay men. Their friends and family members may deny that their loved ones are different. IRIN. 1998). a majority of Europeans said they would be comfortable having a homosexual as a neighbor or in the highest political office of their country. These movements have brought sexual orientation into public view and are spurring changes in cultural attitudes and behaviors. The fear of negative reactions to their identity can produce negative mental health effects (Tereskinas. 46 Sociology Reference Guide . Around the world. in the European Union (EU). In the United States. 2000-2008). Many homophobic attitudes have been inscribed into law in the form of laws that make same-sex relations illegal or that deny rights such as marriage or adoption to same-sex couples. lesbians. Miller & Mundhenk. Younger (under 55 years of age). and inspired by other Civil Rights movements. For instance. a majority of Europeans indicate that they are personally comfortable in the presence of homosexuals. In a survey conducted in February and March 2008. the gay rights movement has been successful in achieving the decriminalization of sodomy and recognition of civil unions and gay marriage in some states (Infoplease.and/or other criminal actions committed against homosexuals because of their sexual orientation. Although sexual orientation is still perceived to be the second most widespread reason for discrimination in the EU (after ethnicity). or may accept it as long as it isn’t mentioned. In the past several decades. wide-ranging anti-discrimination laws have been passed that include sexual orientation as a protected category. and urban respondents were more likely to have homosexual friends. Homophobia may result in an environment of secrecy and lies. 2005). the right to civil unions and marriage and the right to adopt (Halsall. It can also make it more difficult for those struggling to understand their sexual orientation to accept a homosexual or bisexual identity (Stokes. Homosexual and bisexual individuals may hide their identity to avoid negative repercussions.

edu/ rainbow/HTML/facts_mental_health. Exploring Human Sexuality 47 . and tran history.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=31141838&site=ehost-live European Commission. from http:// exodus. 2008. from EBSCO online database. Coming out in dialogue: Policies and perceptions of sexual minority groups in Asia and Europe. from http:// www.).D. from http://www. 2008. (2008). Policy Statement. a Journal of Reformed Thought. Retrieved September Gay and Lesbian Counseling Service of New South Wales. from the European Commission http://ec. The Journal of Men’s Studies. 216-231. the world society is likely to experience a reduction in homophobia.M. from University of California Davis http://psychology. eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_296_en. (2007). 101-113. Retrieved August 31. (2007). Kyrgyzstan: Focus on gay and lesbian rights. from http://www. H. D. 7(2). 2008.irinnews.pdf Cardoso. F. 21-37. P. (2005. People with a history: An online guide to lesbian.html Herek. G. from EBSCO online Changing sexual orientation? A look at the data.asef. R. & Mundhenk. (2005). from IRIN/UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs http:// www. Information Packet Document #11. 2008.. Retrieved August 31. Retrieved September 1. Some considerations on the limitations confronting the cross-cultural field of sex research. 2008.G.. Miller.1-TNS Opinion & Social. Toward an understanding of behaviorally bisexual men: The influence of context and culture.. This last finding indicates that as more homosexual and bisexual individuals become comfortable revealing their identities.2008) ect=true&db=sih&AN=24993402&site=ehost-live Myers.ebscohost. January 11). 15(2). login.pdf Halsall. 2008. civdialogue. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality. (n.pdf Exodus Retrieved August 31. Religions and their attitudes to homosexuality.P. (2005). ( index-eur2. 12(1). Facts about homosexuality and mental health. Sexuality & Culture.aspx?ReportId=27160 Jandt. F. (2008).fordham.ucdavis. (1998). J. Bibliography Asia-Europe Foundation.HTML IRIN. 2008. experiences.rca. bisexual. from http://www. Retrieved August 31. SocINDEX with Full Text Discrimination in the European Union: Perceptions. Retrieved August 31. Perspectives. & Scanzoni.L. from EBSCO online Stokes. and attitudes.europa. (1997-2008). SocINDEX with Full Text http://search. Special Eurobarometer 296/wave 69. L. R. 2008. Retrieved August 31. Retrieved September 1. Retrieved September 1. Retrieved August & Hundley. 2008. Intercultural dimensions of communicating masculinities. 2008. 2008.d.

html The Pew Research Center. Communiqué Special Section: Psychological Perspectives on Sexual Orientation in Communities of Color. from http://pewglobal.. J. 2008. (Eds. (2000-2008).com/ipa/A0761909. (2007). and tran history.infoplease. 2008.). from http://www. http://www. Retrieved August 31.aspx?direct=true&db=si h&AN=1098833&site=ehost-live Tereskinas. Latino perspectives on sexual orientation: The desire that we do not dare name. bisexual. M.pdf Toro-Alfonso. 48 Sociology Reference Guide . 2008.). Lithuania gays and lesbians’ coming out in the public/private divide: Sexual citizenship. A.SocINDEX with Full Text http://search. Retrieved September 1. Sexual orientation and mental health: Examining identity and development in (2006). Halsall. 74-87. & Kurtzman. H. London. 2008.S. apa. New York: Routledge.pdf Suggested Reading Badgett. (Eds. gay. & Omoto.M. (2007). World public welcomes global trade – but not immigration: 47-Nation Pew Global Attitudes Survey. Washington DC: American Psychological Association. gay. A. 1(19).edu/halsall/pwh/ index-eur2. Sociologica Mintis ir veikmas. secrecy and heteronormative public.ebscohost. (2007). P. People with a history: An online guide to lesbian. Retrieved August 31.. from Infoplease. from (2007). J. and bisexual people. Retrieved September 1.fordham. The American gay rights movement: A timeline. Sexual orientation discrimination: An international perspective.

it is important to consider how complex and interconnected biology and psychology can be. Experts in genetics. It centers on the question of whether a person is born heterosexual or homosexual. Likewise. they believe that one’s sexual orientation can differ over time and according to one’s life experiences. for example. Harbeck Overview The nature versus nurture debate is a central theme in any review of contemporary theories of sexual orientation. although the balance of this article looks at the various factors individually. Thus. the answer to this question depends upon how one approaches the issue. some individual scholars view one factor as causal in the development of sexual orientation. or if people develop their sexual orientation through childhood interactions with family members and playmates. have had both homosexual and heterosexual experiences during their lifetime. neurology. while others seek a more integrated theoretical analysis that considers several factors. In part. And though a person may identify himself or herself as homoExploring Human Sexuality 49 . while social scientists and psychologists tend to focus on human interactions as a basis of social development. and related biological sciences tend to develop perspectives based upon more innate physical qualities that impact human behavior.Contemporary Theories of Sexual Orientation Karen M. Rather. It is also important to consider how most scholars believe that one’s sexual orientation is not a fixed or absolute concept. Many people.

Traditionally.000 births in this country. • Psychological dispositions/trait factors (temperament. and • Contextual factors (availability. Blackless. surgery. or bisexual. genetic markers. a specialist in sex differentiation is to be consulted in order to begin the process of defining the baby’s gender. pollution). therefore. even this self-definition may differ from that of an outside observer. heterosexual. lifespan). However. Derryck. femininity. acceptability). and other neurological and biological materials. little is known about the number of individuals who 50 Sociology Reference Guide . people in Western cultures have believed that there are two genders: male and female. • Developmental experiences (family. suggested that in one out of every 1. Harbeck (2007) and others have argued that “male” and “female” represent two extreme points on a continuum of gender identity. for example. social institutions).” While we know that a significant number of individuals have physiological gender variations. Similar anomalies can be found in internal sex organs. In these cases. gender. Fausto-Sterling. • Social and cultural structures and process (masculinity. Scholars have referred to these conditions as “intersex” or “disorders of sex development. In thinking about sexual orientation.” but those eager to abolish the negative connotations of these labels use the phrase “variations of sex development.500 to 2. • Biological and environmental modifications (hormones. Charuvastra. identity. the baby’s gender is not clear because its external genitalia do not exactly conform to typical male or female genitalia. One important way to deepen our understanding of sexual orientation is to first expand our knowledge of gender orientation. peers. and other learned behaviors). Lauzanne. Their work suggests that this continuum can be described in an integrated theory that takes into account a variety of causal factors like: • Genetic and other biological predispositions.sexual. and Lee (2002). it is important to keep one’s mind open to the complexities of the human experience.

2008). and adopt the stereotypical mannerisms associated with that gender. but the most familiar definitions are also the legal definitions: heterosexuality. sea bass. arguing that this process enhances traditional. high heeled shoes. transvestites may be heterosexual. Thus. sexual arousal. frogs. homosexual or bisexual. bridging the discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation is the topic of intersexuality or transgender identities.have psychological gender variations or identify with a gender variation. 1982. Transsexuals and their advocates are somewhat divided over this last point. Individuals may engage in this behavior for emotional satisfaction. we now know that environmental pollution plays a role in gonad function as well as in the sex development of various species such as green mussels. 2006. and makeup to adopt the persona of a woman. For example. Additionally. Transsexuals. or they may choose to wear the clothing of and pass as the opposite gender. or self-identification. Sitzlar. In terms of their sexual orientation. a male transvestite might wear a dress. Thus. roaches. some scholars have begun arguing that gender may be more diverse than previously thought. They may or may not choose to undergo gender reassignment through hormone therapy or surgery. and swallows (Nagarajappa. homosexuality Exploring Human Sexuality 51 . Further Insights Sexual orientation can be defined in many ways. transgendered individuals who are attracted to women express gynephilia. Transsexuals may choose to ignore these feelings. as some question the need for hormone therapy and surgery to change the gender of an individual. rodents. Transgender is an umbrella term that encompasses both transvestites and transsexuals. while individuals attracted to men express androphilia. distorted views of gender in our society rather than supports gender diversity. are individuals who identify with a physical sex different from the one with which they were born and raised. Since their pleasure in wearing clothes of the opposite gender is not necessary linked with sexual orientation. These individuals may have aspects of the male/female duality or they may have been assigned the wrong gender at birth. or intersexuals. Transvestites are individuals who wear the clothing normally ascribed to the opposite gender in a given society. Thomas. and may even be becoming more diverse.

sociocultural. is different in gay and straight men (1991). LeVay has suggested that these differences in brain anatomy may be caused by some prenatal factor (like hormone levels) that affects the fetus’ development and. the results of his study may be invalid. 2006. More recently. Rather than identifying any one factor as a determinant of sexual orientation. Estimates of the number of individuals who are homosexual in our culture vary from between 3% and 10% of the adult population. social constructionism. This theory is 52 Sociology Reference Guide . and a larger percentage is believed to be bisexual (Frankowski. Kauth described sexual orientation as “a biologically based processing bias continuously exploited or challenged by social and cultural conditions. sexual experiences. although some individuals choose to use the words “polysexual” or “pansexual” to avoid bisexuality’s implicit assumption that only two genders exist. 2008). a bundle of fibers running across the midline of the brain. while homosexuality is an attraction to individuals of the same gender. psychoanalytic theories. Bisexuality is an attraction to both men and women. differences can be seen between heterosexual and homosexual individuals (2008). 2006). behaviorism/socialization. birth order. is larger in women and gay men than heterosexual men” (1978. functional brain studies. developmental. cognitive. ¶10).and bisexuality. the baby’s sexual orientation (2003. 2004. Asexuality is a lack of sexual interest altogether. 2008). Similarly. Reitman. such a definition takes in several factors: anatomical brain studies. Odent & Odent. However LeVay’s critics have pointed out that since all of his research was conducted on the brains of individuals who died of AIDS. Savic and Lindstrom suggested that when comparisons are made of left and right brain hemispheres. genetics/chromosomal. thus. Gorski reported that “the anterior commissure. Anatomical Brain Studies A number of studies on the anatomical aspects of sexual orientation have focused on the brain.” taking into account both sides of the nature versus nurture debate on sexual orientation (2000. Heterosexuality is a sexual attraction to individuals of the opposite gender. One of the more well-known studies was conducted by LeVay. and personal identity. who argued that the hypothalamus. a part of the underside of the brain which controls hormone production and release. LeVay. anatomical.

and odor response (LeVay. 1994. While studies have failed to find a link between adult’s hormone levels and sexual orientation. reported finding evidence of linkage with sexual orientation at markers 8p12. Note that the gene loci was on the male’s X chromosome. In fact. neurotransmitter function. meaning that this genetic characteristic is carried in the mother’s DNA. with the latter two being affected by equal parts of maternal and paternal genetic influences (LeVay. 1993. Another researcher. Spaulding. it is the case that certain medical conditions (like congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Although little empirical evidence is offered. in which high levels of testosterone-like hormones masculinize external genitalia in female fetuses) and drugs can impact a fetus’ physiological gender characteristics. & Veniegas. However. Functional Brain Studies Preliminary studies of brain function have found minor differences between heterosexual and homosexual individuals in terms of startle response. 2008). individuals had a 100% likelihood of not being gay. However. Conley. sounds produced by the inner ear. Dorner and others have argued that prenatal hormone levels may impact the sexual orientation of an individual in later life (1969). similar studies conducted on women failed to find any significance. Mustanski. 2008). 2003. If that composition was not present. 1999). Bearman and Bruckner concluded that. 2003.called the early fixation hypothesis. so far no research has proven that these conditions or drugs actually increase the person’s likelihood of being homosexual (LeVay. 7q36. sexual arousal and brain activity. 2008). and 10q26. Hamer & Hu. and efforts to replicate Hamer’s findings have been inconclusive (Hamer & Copeland. Hamer reported that individuals with a certain constellation of genetic material at the Xq28 gene loci on the X chromosome had a 70% likelihood of being gay (1993). In their review of the literature on genetic studies of twins. which would seem to disprove the theory that female fetal exposure to male hormones can cause lesbianism (Peplau. Genetics/Chromosomal In his studies of male homosexuals in Mormon populations that maintained excellent geologies. while genetics may play a part in sexual orientaExploring Human Sexuality 53 . research suggests that the majority of women affected by congenital adrenal hyperplasia identity as heterosexual. LeVay 2008).

Blanchard and Klassen reported that gay men are more likely to be among the youngest of their siblings and to have more older brothers than heterosexual men (1997. this tendency does not prove that sexual orientation is primarily biological (Peplau. 2008). Studies of siblings have found that lesbians do seem to report a greater number of siblings who also are gay. subsequent male children are more likely homosexually oriented. and lesbian and straight women were equal). • Object location memory (gay men did better than straight men. Birth Order Focusing on birth order as a causal factor. et. LeVay provided a detailed review of their findings in areas such as: • Visuospatial tasks (straight men were slightly more able than gay men). Other studies of twins have found that while monozygotic twins are more likely to have the same sexual orientation. its role is dwarfed by those of other factors. 1999. again. LeVay. but slight advantage to gay men and lesbians). al. intuition and perception. et. Another study found a difference in fingerprint patterns between straight and gay men. 54 Sociology Reference Guide .. and sexual orientation is more likely socially constructed than biologically determined (2002). 2008). but. Anatomical Several studies have concluded that lesbian women’s index fingers are shorter than their ring finger. They argued that because mothers develop male-specific antibodies during each pregnancy with a male child and because the antigens involved in brain masculinization gradually grow weaker with each pregnancy. Cognitive Other researchers have focused on finding differences in how heterosexual and homosexual individuals acquire knowledge through reasoning. 2008). LeVay. whereas most women’s ring and index fingers are about the same length (LeVay. 2008).tion. al. 1999). • Verbal fluency (mixed results.. this correlation does not prove that genetics is the exclusive cause of homosexuality (Peplau. but these findings have not been replicated (LeVay.

Bem’s theory is based upon numerous studies which suggest that gay males. or a temperamentally aggressive girl may prefer to play football. Bem argued that because of these temperamental and activity differences. and • Handedness (homosexuals were more likely to be left-handed than their heterosexual counterparts) (LeVay. Psychoanalytic Theories Inversion theory is based upon Freudian psychosexual developmental analysis. 2008). much of Bem’s theoretical framework is based upon an analysis of male behavior. et. However. and lesbian and straight women were equal). One interesting related argument put forth by Bem is that sexual orientation need not be based upon gender (Bem.. a temperamentally nurturing boy may prefer to play with dolls. so it may not be applicable to female sexual orientation development (Swidey. leading to same-sex attraction. Thus. report not conforming to gender roles during childhood. boys are thought to become homosexual if Exploring Human Sexuality 55 . Under this theory. 1999). 1997). However.• Aggressiveness (gay men were less aggressive than straight men. these children will grow up feeling different from their own gender groups and eventually eroticize these differences. However. Developmental Daryl Bem. a male would feel sexual arousal toward women and then develop attachment bonds that lead to heterosexuality. this theory would seem to be contrary to the experience of many lesbian women. In other words. 2005). who report the opposite experience of forming a strong emotional attachment to another woman that then develops into a sexual relationship (Peplau. in particular. a psychologist from Cornell University. has become known for his argument that children’s biologically determined temperaments can cause some to be attracted to activities that are associated with a gender role other than the one that corresponds to their physical sex. al. Attachment theories of sexual orientation development hold that individuals feel sexual arousal toward others and then develop attachment bonds that define their sexual orientation (Zeifman & Hazan. these findings are not consistent overall. 1996).

the differences between lesbians and heterosexual women are nonexistent. critics of these theories argue that while gender identity and roles.they have a close relationship with a dominant mother while their father is distant or absent. peers. Sexual Experiences Some individuals argue that early sexual experiences can influence one’s sexual orientation. and society at large. and feminist beliefs. analyst Richard Isay has argued that a same-gender parent’s negative behavior toward their pre-gay child may be a response to the child’s atypical gender characteristics rather than the cause of them (1996. However. However. Behaviorism/Socialization Behaviorist and socialization theories suggest that gender and sexual orientation are learned behaviors which are consciously and unconsciously inculcated by parents. others have shown that when study participants are matched upon socioeconomic factors. A young woman. studies have shown that homosexual parents are no more likely to socialize their child to be homosexual than are heterosexual parents. a young boy 56 Sociology Reference Guide . However. Girls. may be averse to sex with men and become lesbian. educational level. Over the decades. and a good number have concluded that lesbians score higher on masculine traits such as straightforwardness. and sexual knowledge are influenced by cultural attitudes and values. Similarly. and voice inflexions (Peplua. direct speech. sense of honor. 1989). Though not many scholars uphold inversion theory today. dozens of studies have compared the masculine and feminine qualities of lesbians and heterosexual women. it is still important since it has guided biological studies of homosexuality with its assumptions that gay men are physically and emotionally effeminate and lesbians physically and emotionally masculine. become lesbian because they have a strong. Much of the traditional literature on sexual orientation builds upon this premise. sexual attitudes and beliefs. alone they cannot account for homosexuality. who has been raped. for example. Similarly. seeking affirmation of the view that atypical gender characteristics explain sexual orientation. since most homosexual individuals are raised by heterosexual role models. unconscious dislike of their mothers or because of penis envy (LeVay. sexual orientation. 2008). 1999). on the other hand.

is often the expected outcome for women in most cultures. but are adopted by him or her (LeVay. However. As such. Social Constructionism Others follow Foucault in claiming that gender. Most scholars believe that this theory is not credible. and reproduction (1986). Personal Identity Despite whatever role the developmental or physiological processes play in sexual orientation. more and more scholars are emphasizing that it is the individual’s self-knowledge. and identity that ultimately defines his or her sexual orientation. 1970). and sexual orientation are labels. in his study of the “tearoom trade” (sex between men in public restrooms) Humphrey’s found that a majority of his study’s participants were married and did not define themselves as homosexual (Humphreys.” but if she marries and engages in sexual relationships with women. Khan. Their research has led them to observe that some individuals may identify with different sexual orientations at various times in their lives. gender roles. if a woman refuses to marry she is a “pariah. 2008). Blackwood suggested that cultures vary significantly in the extent to which they regulate women’s lives. For instance. reported that in modern Pakistan. while others may adhere to a heterosexual identity. critics charge that this explanation fails to describe most people’s sexual experimentation and development.who sexually experiments with other boys may come to define himself as homosexual. sexual orientation labels do not arise from within the individual. self-acceptance. Some cultures. as long as they are inconspicuous and informal (Peplua. for example. are accepting of sexual relationships between women who are married to men. For instance. though they may have had numerous homosexual encounters. marriage. sexuality. whether arranged or freely chosen. these relationships are overlooked as long as she fulfills her marital and familial obligations (1997). which society imposes upon the individual and which the individual internalizes (1978). 1999). Some would argue that such men are closeted gay Exploring Human Sexuality 57 . Sociocultural In her cross-cultural review of women’s sexuality. however.

(1969).. Conclusion Can sexual orientation be changed? Although several “therapeutic” techniques have been applied to alter sexual orientation. but an increasing number of scholars would accept the study participants’ heterosexual self-definition by separating personal identity from sexual behavior. W. (2002). American Journal of Human Biology. Blackless. 12. Brain Research. In fact. H. Bibliography Bearman.. K. Shryne. P. 148. Lauzanne. Opposite-sex twins and adolescent same-sex attraction.. 320-335. for example. & Brückner. et. (2000).. American Journal of Sociology.. Diaz.. While this belief remains intact in some socially conservative segments of society. Fausto-Sterling. M. 278-281. R. 58 Sociology Reference Guide . but behavior is only one aspect of an individual’s sexual orientation. login. J.. Kaplan. Aversion therapy.ebscohost. including depression. E.. (1994). and self-destructive behavior. D. These types of therapies generally stem from the belief that homosexuality is a disorder. B. Derryck. M. 2008 from EBSCO online database SocINDEX with Full Text. anxiety. & Staudt.. (1996). & Lee.aspx?direct=true&db=sih&AN=7355761&site=ehost-live Bem. 107(5). Pediatrics. 113(6). ebscohost. 1179-1205. Klein. New York: Simon & Schuster. A. S. How sexually dimorphic are we? Review and synthesis. D. the American Psychiatric Association suggests that reparative therapy has numerous risks. 4. Hamer. Those who undergo this sort of therapy may continue to have same-gender feelings of attraction and arousal. Retrieved August 30. D.. Sexual orientation and adolescents. & Santham. Fisher. http://search.. Gordon. J. 103(3). The science of desire: The search for the gay gene and the biology of behavior. J. there is no evidence that this reparative or conversion therapy works. Frankowski. 1827-1832. may teach one to curb homosexual behaviors.. Exotic becomes erotic: A developmental theory of sexual orientation.. A. Perinatal structural sex differentiation of the hypothalamus in rats. there is a growing professional and public awareness that sexual orientation and gender orientation are multifaceted and complex expressions of human life. P... A. Yancy. J. Dorner. 333-346. 2008 from EBSCO online database Academic Search Complete: http://search. al. (2004). Charuvastra.S. (1978). Evidence for a morphological difference within the medial preoptic area of the rat brain. A.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=13164802&site=ehost-live Gorski. & Copeland. Psychological D. Retrieved August 30. A. G.

Isay. The development of sexual orientation in women. August). Curto. 2008 from: http://www. (1989). 105(27). (1982). (2006). A. Gay.. Attachment: The bond in pair-bonds. Fleming. A difference in hypothalamic structure between heterosexual and homosexual men.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=2909820&site=ehost-live Reitman. com/login.Hamer. & Lindström. P. (2006).). Kauth. K. Humphreys. Swidey. F. I. Kenricks (Eds. P. Khan. Retrieved August 30. 85 – 88. A. C. Potential effects of environmental contaminants on P450 aromatase activity and DNA damage in swallows from the Rio Grande and Somerville. LeVay. Hillside. 261 (5119): 321-327. True nature: A theory of sexual attraction. Magnuson.. Isay. J. M. Savic. L. & Hazan. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (2005. (1970). M.. New York: New York University Press.and heterosexual subjects. Conley.. In S. Bickham. (2008). M. Retrieved on August 30. M..ebscohost. R.. 1034-1037. 9403-9408. & Goswami. Tearoom trade: Impersonal sex in public places. C. (2000).. NJ: Erlbaum.. New York: Pantheon. 365369. R. Harbeck. Bazer. T. 2008 from: http://www. M. Simpson & D. The Netherlands: Springer. L. Exploring Human Sexuality 59 . M. D. Retrieved August 30. (1991). Odent. 70-100. (1999).html Peplau. (1997). Malden. L. and transgender youth in American schools and colleges. Science. Sitzlar.. V. K.wombecology. (1993).. Ganguly. Roscoe (Eds. What makes people gay? The Boston Globe. & Veniegas. New York: Farrar. (1996). WombEcology. Genesis of sexual orientation. Science.. Chicago: AldineAtherton. MA: Amethyst Press. Becoming gay: The journey to self-acceptance. A linkage between DNA markers on the X chromosome and male sexual orientation. Sexuality: Sexual orientation. 15(4). 10. Ecotoxicology. (2006)..medscape. Odent. & Matson. DNA damage in male gonads of Green mussel (Perna vividis) upon exposure to tobacco products. Retrieved August 30. Ecotoxicology... bisexual. Straus and Giroux. Nagarajappa. Environmental Health Perspectives. MEHP/DEHP: Gonadal toxicity and effects on rodent accessory sex organs. PET and MRI show differences in cerebral asymmetry and functional connectivity between homo. J. In J. Being homosexual: Gay men and their development. & Pattatucci. & Thomas. (2008. R.. T.). 45. N. D. what_makes_people_gay/ Thomas. 2008 EBSCO online database Academic Search Complete: http://search. Hu. lesbian. (1997). S. Texas. Not-so-gay life in Pakistan in the 1980s and 1990s. D. Spalding. 253(5023).. S. U. Islamic homosexualities (275-296). Murray & W. August 14). (2007). Evolutionary social psychology (237-263). Annual Review of Sex Research. 2008 from: http:// emedicine. J.

& McAnulty. Davies. LeVay.. The sexual brain. S. (1993). MA: MIT Press. Cambridge. (1996). CT: Greenwood. 24-35. Cambridge. com/login. (Ed. Intersex Society of North America. behavior. (2006). Paediatric and adolescent gynaecology: A multidisciplinary approach. (1988). M. K. (1997). & Stanhope. L. R. Cambridge. and in-between: The sexology of sexual orientation. (1998). MA: Amethyst Press. M. Westport.aspx?direct=true&db=fmh&AN=GSD0002344&site=ehost-live Dreger. Gay and lesbian educators: Personal freedoms/Public constraints. Dreger. Clinical guidelines for the management of disorders of sex development in childhood. J. A. Ambiguous sex – or ambivalent medicine? Ethical issues in the treatment of intersexuality. Gay. J. New York: Haworth. S. straight. Cambridge. New York: Oxford UP.D. D. 60 Sociology Reference Guide . D. Hermaphrodites and the medical invention of sex. R. (1998). and identity: A handbook. (2004).Suggested Reading Balen. and curricula. A. teachers. Malden. S.). Money.. (Eds. Retrieved August 30. LeVay. (1995). MA: MIT Press. MA: Harvard University Press.). (Eds. UK: Cambridge University Press.). MacDougall. Rohnert Park. CA: Intersex Society of North America. Harbeck.ebscohost. A. (1991). M. Harbeck. Diamant. K. Coming out of the classroom closet: Gay and lesbian students. 28(3). The psychology of sexual orientation.. 2008 from EBSCO online database Gender Studies Database: http://search. Hastings Center Report. Creighton. Queer science: The use and abuse of research into homosexuality..

bisexual. The social movement led by and on behalf of gay. as the next great step to genuine equality. urban centers in the US began to grow as rural populations migrated to cities for work opportunities.The Gay Rights Movement Carolyn Sprague Overview “Today. and transgender (GLBT) people is both dynamic and active. along with some of the significant milestones that precipitated the rise of the movement. and equal access to protection as employees in the workforce. including the impact of AIDS on the gay community. The Rise of Gay Culture Late in the nineteenth century. Gays and lesbians were among the many who left their family networks and farm lives for the rapidly expanding cities. Those in favor of this movement refer to it as a revolution. 2005). same-sex marriage. for the first time. This essay will discuss several current issues that are currently debated within and between the gay rights movement and its opponents. Within these cities. they could remain anonymous while Exploring Human Sexuality 61 . lesbian. The growth of the gay rights movement will be discussed. hereafter. gay men and women found that. Those opposed to the movement refer to it as the homosexual agenda or the decline of American morality” (Hudson. American society is witnessing a social movement for another cause: gay rights.

and • Mainstream society as perverse (Bullough.forming social networks with other gays. 2002). Entrapment was common. A large number left their families to serve in the sex-segregated military. As Bullogh (2002) explained. Though homosexuality was not condoned in the military and some homosexuals were dishonorably discharged. 2002). After the war. In 1953. and the FBI began surveillance of known and suspected homosexuals. for the first time. • The courts and law as criminal. “they were victims of what others said about them. • Religious groups as immoral and sinful. Eventu62 Sociology Reference Guide . During the 1950s. President Dwight D Eisenhower issued an executive order banning gay men and lesbians from all federal jobs. and social networks expanded along with a widening gay subculture that was quite active throughout the 1940s (“Milestones in the Gay Rights Movement. As early as the 1920s and 1930s. or to join the ranks of workers flooding the cities in search of wartime employment. Federal policy in turn influenced local law enforcement and police began regularly raiding gay bars and arresting their patrons. Homosexuality was denounced by: • The medical profession as pathological. many gays and lesbians who served in the military went undetected or were simply ignored. As a result. met other gays through the service – decided to remain in metro areas like San Francisco and New York.” and what was said only served to perpetuate stereotypes and fear. Those arrested simply hoped that they would be fined and that their arrests would escape public notice (Bullough. Cities were welcoming to the rising gay culture and lifestyle. 2002). Though gay subculture thrived in many large cities. gays and lesbians still faced discrimination and prejudice. State and local governments and some private corporations followed suit.” 1991). World War II initiated a cultural shift for many gays and lesbians. though it remained largely hidden because of social hostility and shame. they were able to make life-long friendships (Bullough. many of these gay former servicemen and women – who had. gays were routinely fired from government jobs. and many were forced to leave the military. an urban gay subculture began to emerge.

” 1991). sparking a riot that lasted for three nights. and a movement was born as gays and lesbians began to chal63 Exploring Human Sexuality . At first the groups were small in size and political influence. in general they resulted in general harassment and the patrons’ arrests. in particular the civil rights movement. 2002). This movement gave gays and lesbians much more visibility as a social group. 2002).” 1991). The formation of small. However. gay political groups represented the first steps of gays and lesbians to create a grass roots civil rights movement of their own. which was founded in Los Angeles in 1948 by Henry Hay and Chuck Rowland. Though the civil rights and women’s movements had made major gains with the Civil Rights Act and other anti-discrimination legislation. The social changes happening in 1960s. During the 1960s. It wasn’t until 1969 that a watershed event in New York City sparked an enormous grassroots movement. when police staged a raid on the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village on the night of June 27. A parallel lesbian Initially secret. some gays and lesbians began to organize politically. By the 1960s. was founded in San Francisco around the same time. inspired them to begin demanding change through what was initially called the homophile movement (“Milestones in the Gay Rights Movement. the gay rights movement didn’t have the history of activism or the documented discrimination that these other movements had (Bullough. fed up with the harassment and growing intolerance. but public. One of the first gay organizations was the Mettachine Society.. the group eventually went public. but growing numbers of gays began to take a stand for their rights (“Milestones in the Gay Rights Movement. The numbers of gay who were willing to openly protest discrimination remained quite small through the 1960s: the numbers were probably only in the thousands (“Milestones in the Gay Rights Movement. many gay men and lesbians were becoming more willing to act out against the discrimination that they were experiencing. the patrons fought back. The Stonewall Riots came to represent the first real public backlash against police harassment. and it later merged with the Mettachine Society. the Daughters of Billitis. marking the start of “gay activism” (Bullough. 1969.” 1991). police raids on New York City gay bars were the norm.

an unlikely and seemingly benign opponent would emerge. However.000 people (“Milestones in the Gay Rights Movement. a 1987 march in Washington drew 600. they also believed that sexual freedom was their well-earned right. they were not widely accepted within mainstream society. curtail police harassment.” Today. a more organized coalition of conservatives took up the issue of what they termed “the gay agenda. The Emergence of AIDS In 1981. inspired other religious and social conservatives to organize against the gay rights movement (“Milestones in the Gay Rights Movement. These diagnoses marked the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. and include sexual orientation as a protected status within existing civil rights laws. a rare form of cancer. Within a decade of Stonewall. Though a number admitted that their sexual behavior might be risky. despite their new visibility and legislative gains. In 1977 Anita Bryant – a singer from Dade County. In the 1980s. Applications AIDS & Its Impact on Gay Men & the Gay Community During the 1970s. Soon after.” 1991). Major legislation was passed throughout the 1970s to decriminalize homosexual behavior. Early on. Nearly two decades after the Stonewall Riots. gays and lesbians found that. it was frequently perceived as a major threat to this freedom (DeNoon. The movement coined the phrase “coming out of the closet” to describe a person’s decision to be openly gay.lenge all forms of hostility toward them (“Milestones in the Gay Rights Movement. Florida – initiated a successful effort to repeal a gay rights ordinance in her county. 26 men in New York City and San Francisco were diagnosed with Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS).” 1991). which was supported by conservative Christian leaders like Jerry Falwell. many gay men strongly identified themselves with the right to freely express their sexuality. there was a striking correlation between the disease and the victims’ sexual orientation. At first the disease was called 64 Sociology Reference Guide .” 1991). Her activism. When the AIDS crisis developed during the 1980s. the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that five young gay men in Los Angeles had a rare form of pneumonia. many conservatives view LGBT activism as a threat to the moral and cultural fabric of American society. 2007).

but it also spurred the gay community to take action on its own behalf. At the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. education. “guiltless” people like hemophiliacs or children born to infected mothers.” which was widely associated with recreational drug use. Some public health officials even began to call for mandatory testing and quarantines (Bateman. like gay men and drug users. The press. More conservative voices in the gay press cautioned against the sexual and social excesses of the 1970s. At the same time. gay men took it upon themselves to call for a political solution. 2004). Some journalists were vehemently protective of the accomplishments of gay liberation and resented the demonization of the “gay male sex culture. the gay press spoke out passionately on the crisis. but it was quickly realized that gays were not the only ones affected (Bateman. the majority of the victims. little reliable information was available about how the virus (HIV) was actually transmitted. Faced with such a life-or-death crisis. which helped to raise awareness of the disease. also created a divide within the gay community. however. were dangers to society who could spread the disease to other. multiple partners. and STDs (Bateman. Exploring Human Sexuality 65 . To much of the public. In the minds of some. The Gay Press Because of the strong association between AIDS and the gay community. The “social tragedy” caused by AIDS paradoxically strengthened the political arm of the gay movement (“Milestones in the Gay Rights Movement. Because AIDS had had such a devastating impact on the community in the US and because AIDS research was so underfunded. 1991). The gay press took up the cause of calling for research. Gay Activism & the AIDS Epidemic The AIDS epidemic increased anti-gay rhetoric. the American government’s and public’s indifference or outright hostility toward the disease and its victims perpetuated or even increased the rate of infection. political mobilization took on new importance to the gay community (“Milestones in the Gay Rights Movement”. 2004).gay-related immune deficiency (GRID). and moderation. 2004). the disease’s association with the gay community fueled anti-gay sentiment.” 1991). The dearth of accurate information about HIV and AIDS contributed to a general culture of fear within the gay community and the general public.

AIDS Service Organizations (ASO) The legacy of the gay liberation movement served gay men well during the early years of the AIDS crisis. 2004). Besides calling for more accessible and effective treatment options. Lesbian AIDS Activism Lesbians. Some believed the ASOs were pandering to the mainstream establishment and moving away from the principals of gay liberation. Early on. These two ASOs offered medical and social support. Not all gay men supported the ASO mission. many gay men were unconvinced that people’s sexual practices contributed to their chances of infection. In the end.They “declared war on promiscuity and cautioned gay men to take responsibility for their sexual lives” (Bateman. ACT UP’s high pressure tactics were meant to challenge bigotry and promote safe sex as a prevention method. 2004). In 1983 two prominent gay authors. too. 2004). In 1987 the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) was formed to counter the “political complacency” of the GMHC (Bateman. educated gay men who were at risk of contracting HIV. “Self-reliance” became the watchword as gay men realized that they had to become their own experts. published a book called How to Have Sex in an Epidemic which helped encourage and standardize safe sex practices within the gay community (Bateman. Two of the earliest ASOs were The Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GHMC) in New York and the Karposi’s Sarcoma Research and Education Foundation in San Francisco. the lack of information also prompted gay men to demand more research and take responsibility for educating themselves. 2004). A number of grass roots networks established during the 1970s helped activists quickly mobilize in the face of the new threat. played an active role in the fight against AIDS by supporting their gay male friends who were suffering from the disease. and it took years to persuade some gay men that safe sex could save their lives. In 1982 the first AIDS service organizations (ASOs) were established to serve as support networks for gay men (Bateman. And since 66 Sociology Reference Guide . and also advocated for AIDS patients’ rights. Michael Berkowitz and Michael Callen. Many gay men simply refused to “give in” to the safe sex rhetoric.

in some Exploring Human Sexuality 67 .a large number of lesbians were also active feminists. In other countries and cultures. “It was not until the 1990s. The Waning of AIDS Activism By the 1990s. • A religious rite. activists still argued that lesbians also participated in high risk behaviors and needed to actively educate themselves (Bateman. the development of effective AIDS treatments brought hope to those afflicted with the disease. they did much to mainstream the conversation about AIDS treatment. And as celebrities like Magic Johnson revealed that they had the disease.. There are four distinct aspects of marriage. marriage may only involve only a few of the four aspects. AIDS is now a mainstream disease. according to author Claire Snyder: • A personal bond between the partners. they were responsible for pushing the discussion on AIDS toward a broader social change agenda. And while lesbians were generally not considered to be at high risk for contracting AIDS. By tying the epidemic and its defeat to national health care and universal sex education. 2004). when the American courts came to recognize that denying lesbians and gay citizens the right to marry violated the principle of legal equality. and there is “less urgency” about its effects. For example. It has moved being from an acute illness to a being chronic one. In some cultures. Likewise. all four of these components may be part of a marriage contract. and • A civil contract (2006). Different cultures assign different meanings to marriage. Issues Same Sex Marriage & Civil Unions Same-sex marriage is one of the topics on the minds of many gays and lesbians today. • A community-recognized relationship. in countries that practice arranged marriage a personal bond between the partners may not exist. the stigma associated with it lessened. 2006). that the issue become a central focus for the lesbian /gay rights movement” (Snyder.

Most major religions prohibit homosexuality. Gay activist Michael Warner has been vocal in his opposition to gay marriage. 2006). the right to make medical decisions for the partner. Both of these groups wish to define marriage as a union that can exist only between a man and a woman (Public Agenda. some religious denominations recognize and sanction same sex relationships. Opposing Views of Same-Sex Marriage within the Gay Community However. defined “as a sacred union ordained by god. He opposes the “correlative tendency” to valorize gay men and women who want to live more or less like straight people (Snyder. and religious conservatives additionally argue that marriage. and social security survivorship (Hudson. tax benefits. custody and child visitation rights. As Snyder (2006) explained. though this absence doesn’t negate the legality of their marriage. it is not just social and religious conservatives who oppose same-sex marriage. These conservatives argue that legalizing same-sex marriage would alter the definition of marriage and undermine the family. In his opinion. which he sees as potentially “marginalizing” for gays who embrace a non-traditional lifestyle. 2006). Warner worries that “mainstreaming” gays and lesbians into American society might destroy the distinctive gay culture. “Many gay and lesbian people have committed personal relationships and within their communities may be widely recognized as couples. same-sex marriage will further marginalize non-conforming gays and lesbians who have non-monogamous relationships and do not wish to marry. Benefits afforded to married individuals can include: access to partner’s health insurance. 2005). retirement benefits. n. bereavement leave.” necessarily precludes same-sex unions (Snyder. Where same sex couples lose out is with the benefits afforded to married individuals. 2006). For many gays and lesbians who wish to marry. the civil contract aspect is at issue (Snyder. 68 Sociology Reference Guide .). It is through a government recognized civil marriage that the social benefits of marriage are shared between partners.” Conservative Views of Gay Marriage The argument against gay marriage is made most vocally by social and religious conservatives.countries many couples chose to forego a religious ceremony.d.

com/ipa/A0194028. (n. from http://www. the legal recognition of civil unions has afforded gay couples the civil rights of marriage.” (1991).As long as Americans want the government to provide married couples with benefits. Foner (Eds.infoplease. 2008. from http://www. Republican matters.cfm?issue_type=gay_rights Exploring Human Sexuality 69 . Others are fearful that “gay identity” and “gay culture” will be assimilated into the larger “homogeneous” culture. (2007) Men’s HIV/AIDs epidemic: It’s back. Advocate. “AIDS activism. (2007. from http://www. Bibliography Bateman. Retrieved April 23. The gay rights movement is very active today in its struggle for equality and the civil rights afforded to other minority groups.html Bullough. people marry to protect themselves. November 20). even within the gay community. Retrieved April 24. D. (2005) Gay rights (point/counterpoint). and their assets. At least in part.). D. J.html Public Agenda.shtml Eleveld. The movement is taking place within the gay community and across society as a whole as GLBT people work to secure equal and fair protection under the law while also negotiating with their unique identities. A.” Retrieved April 27.3. Chelsea House Publishers: Philadelphia. the choice to marry is not completely unconstrained.glbtq.” Retrieved May 9. The gay community still grapples with its social identity. 2008. Many committed gay couples want to have access to the same civil benefits afforded to heterosexuals who choose to marry. “Gay rights: Overview. from http://www. DeNoon.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=27759032&site=ehost-live Hudson. Garraty and 2008. V (2002) Before Stonewall: Activists for gay and lesbian rights in historical contexts.). 2008. com/social-sciences/aids_activism. The Reader’s Companion to American History. Retrieved April 28. (2004). 2008 from EBSCO Online Database Academic Search Complete. In several states. In J. com/login. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. publicagenda. Harrington Park Press: New York. “Milestones in the Gay Rights Movement.d. their children. K. Some gays welcome the opportunity to become integrated into “mainstream” cultural ideals. The issue of gay marriage is a divisive one.

33(4). Retrieved April 24. Inc. Religion. http:// search. 2008 from EBSCO Online Database Academic Search Complete. http://search.aspx?direct=true&db=f mh&AN=23815633&site=ehost-live 70 Sociology Reference Guide . 2008 from EBSCO Online Database Gender Studies Database. and relationships: The dream of relational equality. Hypatia.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=31489147&site=ehost-live Snyder. Suggested Reading Denike.ebscohost.aspx?direct=true&db=fmh&AN =FMH2938122860&site=ehost-live Lieber. 71-91. 22(1). 91-96. M. Retrieved April 24. Gay marriage and democracy. Gender identity and expression in the workplace. (2007).Rauch. L. Employment Relations Today (Wiley). National Journal. J. (2007). The right kind of gun rights. R. (2008) Retrieved April 24. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.ebscohost. 10-10. 2008 from EBSCO Online Database Gender Studies Database. 40(11).com/login. http://search. (2006).

homosexuality and bisexuality. Arkansas. bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) individuals everyday in our society. Throughout Newman’s analyses of school shootings nationwide. Sexual orientation can be defined in many ways. youth affected by another junior high school shooting in Westside. p. Harbeck Overview On February 12. Thus. reported that being called “gay” was a “catastrophic” epithet that would destroy their standing with their peers (Newman. he had confirmed their accusations. 2008). but the most familiar definitions are the legal ones: heterosexuality. With Valentine’s Day approaching. 2008. King had been teased by his peers since he had started elementary school because of his effeminate mannerisms. By the age of 10. stating that he was gay and sometimes dressing in women’s clothing. lesbian. California junior high school computer lab working on a paper. at this time there are also real risks and threats that confront gay. anxiety about sexual orientation played a major role in these murderous confrontations. and the next day that student brought a handgun to school and killed him (Setoodeh. female friends of King started asking male classmates to be their Valentines. Exploring Human Sexuality 71 . 2004.Sexual Orientation & Youth Karen M. According to Katherine Newman’s study on school shootings. 15-year-old Lawrence King was shot twice in the head as he sat in his Oxnard. 38). King asked a 14-year-old male student to be his Valentine. despite the profound advancements made in social equality in terms of sexual orientation nationwide.

choose to pass as the opposite gender. Bisexuality is an attraction to both men and women. Individuals also might define themselves as pansexual. distorted views of gender in our society rather than supports diversity in gender existence. Complicating the matter is the fact some individuals identify with a different sexual orientations at various times in their lives.Heterosexuality is a sexual attraction to individuals of the opposite gender. Reitman. Transgender is an umbrella term that includes transvestites and transsexuals. Determining Sexual Orientation Scholars continue to debate how to determine an individual’s sexual orientation. depending upon their relationships and their 72 Sociology Reference Guide . friends. homosexual or bisexual. Asexuality is a lack of sexual interest altogether. and community. Transvestites are individuals who wear the clothing normally worn by members of the opposite gender in a given society and adopt the stereotypical attributes or mannerisms associated with that gender. Transsexuals or intersexuals are individuals who feel that their sexual identity is different from the one that they present within their family. it is likely that a larger percentage is bisexual (Frankowski. Estimates on the number of individuals who are gay or lesbian in our culture vary from between 3% and 10% of the adult population. Some advocates for intersexual individuals are today questioning the need for hormone therapy and surgery to change the gender of an individual. alternately. while individuals attracted to men express androphilia. or they may have been assigned the wrong gender at birth. Some may choose to undergo gender reassignment through hormone therapy or surgery. They may choose to ignore these feelings or. with some relying solely on self-identification and others also taking into account the individual’s sexual behavior. Transvestites can be heterosexual. which means that they express their sexuality in many forms. transgendered individuals who are attracted to women express gynephilia. since their pleasure in wearing the clothing of the opposite gender does not necessarily have anything to do with their sexual orientation. In terms of their sexual orientation. 2004. and homosexuality is an attraction to individuals of the same gender. although some individuals choose to use the word “polysexual” to avoid the assumption that only two genders exist. arguing that this process enhances traditional. 2006). These individuals may have aspects of the male/female duality.

sometimes on a daily basis. other individuals adhere to one sexual orientation even in the face of numerous sexual encounters that would seem to indicate a different orientation (e. These negative feelings toward self are called internalized homophobia. anonymous sex. Exploring Human Sexuality 73 . a man who identifies himself as heterosexual yet also engages in homosexual encounters). young people are beginning to express their identities in middle and high school. in part because of the greater visibility of GLBT issues in our society as well as the increased support for these young people in our schools. genital sex is not considered a prerequisite for a homosexual or heterosexual identity. which Humphreys documented. young people are announcing their sexual identity at a younger age. Further. and acceptable person. in his study of the “tearoom trade” (sex between men in public rest rooms) at a rest area on a highway outside a major urban center. Another complicating factor is that. good. religious institutions. In the 1970s.g. Like other forms of oppression and discrimination. many individuals choose not to disclose their sexual orientation to others or even to themselves. this discussion will start with the individual and early childhood experiences. it was typical for gay and lesbian individuals to solidify their sexual orientation identity in their mid-to-late twenties. and families. given the increased visibility of variations on sexual orientation.state of mind. Now. The majority of these men resided in the suburbs with wives and children and did not define themselves as homosexual (Humphreys. Social & Sexual Identity At this time in our society. Humphreys estimated that over 5% of the male population in his metropolitan research area participated in the public rest room sexual activity. For instance. hostility toward GLBT individuals (also called “homophobia”) takes a great toll on the individual’s sense of being a whole. 1970). they may engage in the type of risky. while others would accept the study participants’ heterosexual self-definition by separating personal identity from sexual behavior. Youth. Conversely. Instead. meaning that an individual may consider him or herself homosexual without having ever engaged in homosexual intercourse. because being GLBT is stigmatized in our society. Some would argue that these men are closeted gay males who cannot deal with their sexuality. Thus.

2007). GLBT youth also lack positive role models and mentors. GLBT individuals realize that they are different. ideally. bullied. As GLBT children gain in self-knowledge. and country are cohesive. the child reflects the parental social identity. Some GLBT individuals manage their identity by trying to be perfect within all the other realms of their lives. teased. public restrooms. and other situations that might lead to greater exposure to or harm from others. he or she is treasured within the family even if social oppression. In fact.Most children are born into family settings that mirror their social identities. only add to the torment. Further. though. gender. or even thrown out of their homes by disapproving parents. and. and community. Others drop out of school or are frequently truant in order to avoid gym class. Exceptions that come to mind are children born with mental or physical challenges and interracial adoptions. Parents and friends may understand. and most of the social categories that define one in relation to family. GLBT children usually grow up in a very different context (Harbeck. even with the best intentioned of parents. linguistic expression. Until relatively recently. Their cognitive confusion can increase. ethnicity. In these families. family and supportive community members can prepare the child to face social oppression and can convey to the child their own experiences and a sense of pride in his or her cultural identity. they quickly realize that expressing their questions and feelings could be profoundly harmful. there was little accurate information available in our culture on GLBT issues to help these individuals form a positive identity. 74 Sociology Reference Guide . But. In general. Many of the development processes and rites of passage of our society. Negative stereotypes and abusive comments abound. though. even within the close confines of home. such as racism. devalues the child in the wider world. but GLBT youth also face a high risk of being shamed. lockers. community. church. especially when they are young and beginning to realize that they are different. church. abused. may react hostilely in order to change the child or punish him or her. GLBT youth face high rates of child abuse and neglect as parents. which is predominately heterosexual and androcentric. Often very early in their development. religious orientation. however. if they try to hide their identity by lying or isolating themselves from similar individuals or engage in risky behaviors. race. sensing that a GLBT child is different.

2008). But if parents and school personnel ignore the issues or make derogatory jokes or comments. children now learn of their sexual or gender orientation at a much earlier age. children often unknowingly “come out” to most of the other children in their schools and communities. Some GLBT youth. In this age of instant messages. like Lawrence King. they can signal to other students at the school that bullying or violence against GLBT youth is acceptable. Parents. safe. flaunt their sexual and gender orientation in order to cope with crisis of identity and conflicts it can impose. traveling to and from school. Such an act can heighten an already physically and emotionally risky situation by confirming rumors that may have circulated about the child. stories abound of young people broadcasting a child’s orientation throughout the school community within minutes of its disclosure. GLBT and questioning youth can be subjected to unchecked emotional and physical abuse at their schools. lesbian.With GLBT individuals becoming more visible and with politicians and church leaders becoming more vocal on GLBT issues. Harbeck has argued that this is a critical point for the welfare of all the children involved. teachers. 2007). Further Insights “Coming Out” By telling a few close peers that one may be gay. Instead of spending 25 or more years processing this identity and the developing the skills they needed to manage it in our society. Exploring Human Sexuality 75 . and administrators can use such a situation to reinforce the priority of making sure that all children are physically and emotionally safe in the school by helping children learn about GLBT issues in a positive manner as well as how to deal with their differences peaceably. text messages and email. and whenever they are out within the community (Harbeck. interpersonal discussions about these socially and politically fraught issues. young people are now declaring their sexual orientation to their peers around the age of 13. One can see why GLBT issues have taken on a whole new dimension in our nation’s schools. and that adult’s actions and role modeling can play a key role in determining outcomes (2007). Thus. which often lack the ability to provide positive. bisexual or transgendered. Parents are generally not informed until about one year later (Setoodeh.

one discovers that the indicating conditions for an at-risk child are isolation. such as drinking. social conservatives employ it to demonstrate that being GLBT is deviant and wrong. are more likely to experience the indicators for suicide risk. low self-esteem. these sexual acts occur with substance abuse and unprotected sex. and well-meaning but poorly informed individuals quote it as if there were an inexorable link between being GLBT and committing suicide. siblings. Childhood Suicide Probably the most often cited concern for GLBT youth is the high rate of suicide and suicide attempts. alcohol abuse. the higher their risk of attempting suicide. and the earlier they disclose their sexual orientation to peers. or so poorly contextualized and understood than the risk of suicide for GLBT youth. and engaging in unprotected sex. teachers. Placed within this larger empirical analysis of youth suicide. despite being underage. Studies do suggest that the earlier children become aware of their sexual orientations. A catalyst for a suicide attempt under these conditions. but not label their identity as the causal factor of those risks. and depression. Many of these same youth reported greater loss of friends because of their sexual orientation as well as a higher frequency of going to bars and drinking. it is clear that GLBT youth. under the circumstances set forth above. is often rejection by a peer or parent. They can experi76 Sociology Reference Guide . employers. It is possible that no social statistic is more widely quoted and believed. GLBT youth rejected by their parents can face homelessness and may engage in sex with older adults for money or housing. When one reviews the literature on childhood suicide. drugs. church leaders. though. Parents fear it when they find out their child is GLBT. As in all youth suicide prevention efforts. This can lead to self-destructive behaviors. then. exposing the youth to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. and others. Rejection Many GLBT youth and adults face rejection from their parents. More often than not. peers. then. we need to identify and reduce the risks faced by all children.Other GLBT youth and adults internalize homophobia and develop a sense of self-hatred.

or job loss. and others may be disrupted. self-hatred. And while this prejudice can hurt emotionally. religious organizations and communities. peers. Like the individuals described above in the public restroom studies. some GLBT individuals may remain in the closet and pass as heterosexual or turn to anonymous homosexual sex. neglect. Issues Besides schools. Other Risks Studies of GLBT youth sexuality suggest that factors like low self-esteem. they will be accused of pedophilia. such as a loss of credibility. GLBT youth are one of the few minority groups that face a lack of leadership and mentoring by like-identified individuals. GLBT individuals must work to develop close interpersonal relationships and loving same-sex intimate bonds. families. Some studies suggest that 50% of all homeless youth on the streets are GLBT. it can also be paired with acts of discrimination. Not surprisingly. and a lack of financial resources and access to condoms can increase a sexually active GLBT youth’s likelihood of being raped or contracting a sexually transmitted disease. these young people can experience a cycle of despair in which they can feel that they have little hope for the future. Knowing the risks of their behavior. being overlooked for promotions. repeated. Throughout their lives. but with added challenges. all too often the professionals who provide physical and mental health services do not recognize GLBT issues or know how to address them. GLBT youth and adults may develop difficulties forming close personal or intimate relationships that are in concert with their GLBT identities. substance abuse. and homelessness. many GLBT adults conceal their sexual orientation or are afraid that if they work with GLBT youth. their colleagues may label them GLBT too. safety and self-respect. GLBT individuals must balance invisibility and disclosure.ence physical and emotion abuse. Like all individuals. Similarly. Studies on attitudinal change as it relates to interpersonal prejudice suggest that positive. denial. Interpersonal development is hindered because GLBT individuals may not fit in with their heterosexual counterparts and lack the support of other GLBT individuals. Thus. Heterosexual professionals may fear that if they demonstrate concern for these issues. because their social bonds with parents. and sustained interactions with individuExploring Human Sexuality 77 .

A. MA: Amethyst Press. and curricula. just as they may have exacerbated the cause of the murder. Lavzabbem K.. R.. D.. (2004)..ebscohost. Tearoom trade: Impersonal sex in public places. lesbian. 78 Sociology Reference Guide . New York: Haworth. Retrieved August Coming out of the classroom closet: Gay and lesbian students. Invisible no more: Addressing the needs of gay.. (2007). (2000). Diaz. Harbeck. J. R. What is missed in many discussions of GLBT issues. (2008. et al. Taking Lawrence King’s story as an example. Sexual orientation and adolescents. gay and murdered. Newsweek. K. Gay and lesbian educators: Personal freedoms/Public constraints. Reitman. 1827-1832.). K.. Malden. stereotypical interactions exacerbate prejudices.. Harbeck. K. D. E. (2001). MA: Amethyst Press. (1997). MA: Amethyst Press. 151-166. Feinstein. Humphreys. Malden.als who are different from oneself enhances feelings of acceptance. Kaplan. lesbian. Harbeck. K. http://www. (Ed. How sexually dimorphic are we? Review and synthesis. Bibliography Frankowski. The legal rights of gay. Charwastra.ebscohost. sexualized advances by an out. Fisher. (1970). Academic Search Complete: http:// search. Pediatrics. Sexuality: Sexual orientation. teachers. & Derrych. L. Retrieved August 30.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=13164802&site=ehost-live Harbeck. (2007). American Journal of Human Biology. while short. 12. Newman. B. bisexual. 113(6). (1991). Young. cross-dressing student may cause some to dismiss the murder. 2008. 2008 from EBSCO online database. Chicago: AldineAtherton.. A. Harbeck. is the realization that hundreds of thousands of young people deal with issues of sexual orientation in their everyday lives and that many face rejection and physical and emotional abuse if they don’t adhere to our society’s heterosexual and gender norms. from eMedicine.. M. July 28). Malden.. A.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=33277761&site=ehost-live Suggested Reading Blackless. (2006). and transgendered youth and adults in educational settings.emedicine. K. lesbian. Gay. gay. the extreme. (2004). 152 (4) 40-46. 2008 from EBSCO online database. Malden.htm.. New York: Basic. Setoodeh. MA: Amethyst Press. M. and transgender youth in American schools and colleges. K. bisexual. Rampage: The social roots of school shootings. Yancy. Academic Search Complete: http:// search. though. & Lee. S. Klein. Retrieved August 30.. bisexual and transgender youth in schools and their advocates.

714-721. Homophobia: How we all pay the price. W. Diamant. (1993). D.isna. and consequences. G. (1992). 2008 from: http://www. & Harris. L. M. Westport. Dreger. 282. April). Sexual orientation and youth suicide. Journal of the American Medical Association. (Eds. Remafedi. MA: Beacon. Resnick.. R.. Remafedi. (1995). 1291-1292. Needham. Pediatrics. and identity: A handbook. L. R. & McAnulty. Exploring Human Sexuality 79 .org/articles/ambivalent_medicine Hurst.). G. 89. causes. & Raymond. Social inequality: Forms. MA: Beacon. Ambiguous sex – or ambivalent medicine? Ethical issues in the treatment of intersexuality. Blum. Demography of sexual orientation in adolescents. A. Hastings Center Report. Blumenfeld. MA: Allyn and Bacon. (1992. Looking at gay and lesbian life. Boston. (1999).. C. 28(3). 24-35. (Ed.). Retrieved August 30.. (1998). (1992).Blumenfeld. behavior. W. Boston. CT: Greenwood. The psychology of sexual orientation.

Each of these individuals has faced job losses. On February 12. stating that he was gay and sometimes dressing in women’s clothing. Sometimes the prejudice and discrimination is deadly. the inability to marry their partners. Harbeck Overview Margaret was married to a man for seventeen years and has three grown children. Mark is a former Navy officer who now writes articles for national newspapers. fifteen-year-old Lawrence King was shot twice in the head as he sat in his Oxnard. In 2008. lesbian. threats to child custody. acts of hostility from family and strangers. King had been teased by his peers since he had started elementary school because of his effeminate mannerisms. makes a reasonable salary. with Valentine’s Day approach80 Sociology Reference Guide . If these individuals sound fairly normal. he had confirmed their accusations.Sexual Orientation in the United States Karen M. However. California junior high school computer lab working on a paper. 2008. and the loss of financial entitlements. which their heterosexual counterparts take for granted. it is because most gay. Jodie adopted a daughter late in life and faces the joys and challenges of raising a child as an older parent. and worries about her retirement funds. He is happily married and is thinking of buying a summer home with his spouse. bisexual and transgender (GLBT) individuals do not define themselves solely on the basis of their sexual orientation. society does define them as such. to a large degree. She is employed as a radiologist. By the age of 10.

youth affected by another junior high school shooting in Westside. transgendered individuals who are attracted to women express gynephilia. while Exploring Human Sexuality 81 . or they may have been assigned the wrong gender at birth. Sexual orientation can be defined in many ways but the most familiar definitions are also the legal definitions: heterosexuality. arguing that this process reinforces traditional. Advocates for intersexual individuals are today questioning the need for hormone therapy and surgery to change the gender of the intersexual individual. Transvestites can be heterosexual. and community. since their pleasure in wearing clothes of the opposite gender does not necessarily correlate with their sexual orientation. These individuals may have aspects of the male/female duality. real risks and threats still confront GLBT individuals every day. Thus. Transvestites are individuals who wear the clothing normally worn by members of the opposite gender in a given society. are individuals who feel that their sexual identity is different from the one that they present to their family. 2008). 2004. Throughout Newman’s analyses of school shootings nationwide. or may choose to undergo gender reassignment through hormone therapy and surgery. while homosexuality is an attraction to individuals of the same gender. distorted views of gender in our society rather than supports diversity in gender existence. In terms of their sexual orientation. These individuals may ignore these feelings.38).ing and his female friends asking male classmates to be their valentines. friends. reported that being called “gay” was a “catastrophic” epithet that would destroy their standing with their peers (Newman. or intersexuals. Transgender is an umbrella term including transvestites and transsexuals. or bisexual. According to Katherine Newman’s study on school shootings. Heterosexuality is a sexual attraction to individuals of the opposite gender. Arkansas. despite the profound nationwide advancements made in social equality in terms of sexual orientation. p. anxiety about sexual orientation played a major role in these murderous confrontations. may wear the clothing of and pass as the opposite gender. although some individuals choose to use the word “polysexual” to avoid the assumption that only two genders exist. homosexual. homosexuality and bisexuality. The next day that student brought a handgun to school and killed him (Setoodeh. and they adopt the stereotypical persona and mannerisms of that opposite gender. Bisexuality is an attraction to both men and women. Transsexuals. King approached a 14-year-old male student to be his Valentine.

French. Viewpoints One of the most contentious issues surrounding sexual orientation in the U.S. either heterosexual or homosexual. Similarly. Texas. and individual and minority rights have lead to many changes in the laws governing the lives of GLBT individuals. and identity that ultimately defines their sexual orientation. has been sodomy laws. so it is not surprising that since the founding of the American colonies. in reality the majority of individuals prosecuted under sodomy laws have been GLBT.W. The balance of this article will look at those institutional changes and the continuing discrimination faced by GLBT individuals in our society. Changes in contemporary attitudes towards privacy. self-acceptance. it is individuals’ self-knowledge. in order to define his or her sexual orientation. Reitman. Estimates of the percentage of individuals who are gay or lesbian in our culture vary between 3% and 10% of the adult population. 558 (2003). “Homophobia. In terms of a legal definition. one samegender sexual experience defines one as homosexual if employers or legal authorities discover this detail. 2006). depending upon their relationships and their state of mind. If fact. 41 S. Conversely.S. consensual sexual acts. GLBT individuals. however. some individuals adhere to a heterosexual identity even in the face of numerous homosexual encounters. and Spanish law for centuries. including sodomy. our laws have contained sanctions against same-sex relationships.” or hostility towards GLBT individuals. in Lawrence v. self-expression. Thus. Sodomy is legally defined as any anal or oral contact during a sexual act with another person or any sexual act that does not lead to procreation. 3d 349 (reversed and remanded). (02-102) 539 U.those attracted to men express androphilia. 2004. some individuals identify with a specific sexual orientation at various times in their lives. The laws were still in place in 13 states until 2003 when the Supreme Court. Although it is likely that many heterosexual individuals have violated sodomy laws. A larger percentage is believed to be bisexual (Frankowski. Whatever the developmental or physiological processes that play a role in sexual orientation. a person need not have engaged in genital sex. has been codified in English. like heterosexual 82 Sociology Reference Guide . struck down the selective application of sodomy laws to GLBT individuals. ruling that due process protects adults’ freedom to engage in private.

compensation. Colorado. though the outcomes of Exploring Human Sexuality 83 . Hundreds of thousands of GLBT individuals have served in our country’s military over the centuries. Michigan’s Governor Jennifer Granholm prohibited discrimination against state workers on the basis of gender identity or expression. in November of 2007. President Bill Clinton signed Executive Order 13087 to prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in the competitive service of the federal civilian workforce. including hiring. This began to change in 1982 when Wisconsin became the first state to prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in employment. Nevada. Federal and state legislators have worked to expand hate crime laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Maryland. Since the Clinton administration. are now free to engage in sexual activity without fear of being arrested or labeled sex offenders as long as they do not engage in nonconsensual sex or sex in public places. New York. However. Massachusetts. New Hampshire. New Jersey. and has resulted in the dismissal of thousands of otherwise qualified servicemen and servicewomen. there are no federal protections from employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. and harassment. Oregon. In 1998. Vermont. Similarly. Illinois. Now. but their service became a major issue during the 1940s and 1950s as Senator Joesph McCarthy led a campaign to blacklist and dishonorably discharge known homosexuals from the military (Harbeck. promotions. The inclusion of GLBT individuals in the military has also been a significant issue throughout recent decades. Hawaii. New Mexico. A significant number of current and former servicemen and women support the policy. the District of Columbia. in the past. Don’t Tell” (DADT). Maine. but advocates for the policy’s repeal claim that it leaves GLBT military personnel exposed to blackmail. Rhode Island. many GLBT civilians have faced job loss when their sexual orientation was discovered.individuals. Connecticut. job assignments. 1997). Iowa. and Washington. termination. and the following states have employment protections on the basis of sexual orientation: California. Similarly. the official governmental policy toward GLBT individuals serving in the military has been “Don’t Ask. despite the annual introduction of the Employment Non-discrimination Act (ENDA) in Congress for the past decade. Minnesota.

gender identity. 84 Sociology Reference Guide . sexual orientation. if legalized. The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (LLEEA). religion. employers. The Hate Crimes Statistics Act does require the Justice Department to collect data on “crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on race. 31 states and District of Columbia had chosen to include sexual orientation as a protected class within their hate crime laws. argue that state and federal constitutions should be amended to ban discrimination on the basis of gender as well as that alternative families should be formally recognized by the government. in 2008. 2007. sexual orientation. 2008b). and 11 of those states also included gender identity as a protected class (National Gay & Lesbian Task Force. If passed. Advocates. 2004. serving on a jury. or attending school” in order for the crime to qualify as a hate crime (Matthew Shepard Foundation. However. and society at large. and disability. which was enacted in 1994 to provide stiffer penalties for hate crimes. Opponents to same-sex marriage believe that. disability. on the other hand. it would undermine the stability of the family and society by radically redefining marriage and give legal precedent for the legalization of other currently prohibited marital practices like polygamy. the Shepard Act would amend the 1969 United States federal hate crimes law to include gender. is introduced in Congress annually in honor of a gay college-student. heterosexual couples are denied to unmarried individuals at federal and state levels. does list sexual orientation as a class against which a hate crime can be committed. also known as the Matthew Shepard Act. including but not limited to “medical. who was murdered in Laramie. Wyoming in 1998.their efforts have been somewhat uneven. ¶ 6) One of the major GLBT issues facing our country today is the question of same-sex marriages. Many of those entitlements pertain to employment issues. At the state level. ¶ 2). Public Law 103-322A.” but sexual orientation is not listed as a protected class in the 1969 federal hate crime law (Federal Bureau of Investigation. Matthew Shepard. One major factor behind this demand for recognition is that over two hundred entitlements granted to married. as well as remove the requirement that the victim must be targeted because of his or her engagement in a “federally protected activity such as voting. or ethnicity.

Norway. 2008c). South Africa. increases in deductions and entitlements. While the debate over same-sex marriage has been a “hot button” topic in the United States. New York. The following countries permit two same-sex individuals to adopt: Canada. and 13 states now recognize some form of same-sex union. Vermont. Germany and New Zealand. and medical authority over one’s partner are just a few of the additional entitlements granted to heterosexual couples in our society that GLBT couples are not guaranteed to receive. Nebraska. education and tuition assistance. child custody. and vision insurance. family and bereavement leave. Exploring Human Sexuality 85 . In the United States. Michigan. the Netherlands. the following states explicitly allow second-parent adoptions by same-sex couples. By May of 2007. civil union. 26 states had enacted DOMA statues of their own. or domestic partnership. Some employers have elected to offer same-sex couples employment benefits like health insurance. pension benefits. Colorado. disability and life insurance. Florida. including the United Kingdom. prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. Spain. and Norway all have recognized same-sex marriages under their laws. France. South Africa. and some parts of Australia and the United States (LGBT Adoption. whether it be marriage. Spain. unions. New Jersey. Guam. Connecticut. and domestic partnerships and allows states to refuse to recognize them as well. Maine. credit union membership. Another major GLBT issue facing societies today concerns the adoption of children by GLBT couples. health care assurances. Florida. ¶ 5). civil unions. Arkansas. however. and Utah all prohibit the joint adoption of children by same-sex couples (National Gay & Lesbian Task Force. adoption assistance. relocation and travel expenses and inclusion of parties at company events” (Human Rights Campaign. 2008c). 2008). Pennsylvania. Belgium. Washington. 2008. and the District of Columbia. which was passed in 1996. The countries of Belgium. Civil unions are recognized in 17 countries. it would appear to be less controversial in some other areas of the world. even if the marriages. Mississippi. Iceland. Illinois. the Netherlands. the Defense of Marriage Act. and partnerships are recognized in other states (National Gay & Lesbian Task Force. either by legislative action or court rulings: California. Reductions in taxes. probate protections. the United Kingdom. Sweden.

113(6). Young. K. (2004). 2008 from: http://www. Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2008 from:www. 1827-1832. (2008. (2008b).com/ped/TOPIC2773. Retrieved November 18.thetaskforce. Pediatrics. 2008 from: http://www. Gay and lesbian educators: Personal freedoms/Public constraints. In the United States. prohibitions because of their sexual downloads/reports/issue_maps/relationship_recognition_11_08_color.htm. discrimination. 40-46. While many advances have been made.pdf Newman. Reitman. MA: Amethyst Press. (2006). it also is the case that GLBT individuals are still subject to violence. Retrieved November 18. (1997). one can expect these struggles to continue. 2008 from: http:// www. (2008a). while GLBT individuals may feel that they are not so different than their heterosexual counterparts. 2008. Adoption laws in the United States. Malden.thetaskforce.S.fbi. Retrieved November 18. Newsweek.Thus. July 28). Retrieved September maps/ reports/issue_maps/adoption_laws_11_08_color. gay and murdered. (2008). (2007). Hate crime laws in the U. Human Rights Campaign. prejudice. 2008 from EBSCO online database Academic Search Complete: http://search. (2008c). and benefits as heterosexual individuals. Sexual orientation and adolescents. Domestic partner benefits. D.hrc.ebscohost. Sexuality: Sexual orientation.pdf National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Retrieved November 18.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=33277761&site=e host-live 86 Sociology Reference Guide . 2008 from: http://www. (2004). K. Bibliography Frankowski.pdf National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. 152(4). New York: Basic. (2004). Retrieved November 18. the legal and social reality is that many do not enjoy the same opportunities. Setoodeh. Hate crimes at least. Retrieved August 30. from http://www.S. Relationship recognition for same-sex couples in the U.emedicine. Retrieved November 18. Appendix Hate_Crimes_Legislation National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.htm Matthew Shepard Foundation.htm Harbeck. 2008 from: http://www. Rampage: The social roots of school shootings. R.

Westport. (1991). Eskridge. B. (Ed. Malden. K. and transgendered youth and adults in educational settings. Jr. Eskridge. PA: Temple University Press. Gay marriage: For better or for worse? What we’ve learned from the evidence. C.). Needham... behavior. 2008 from: http://law-library.. MA: Beacon. Naperville. The psychology of sexual orientation. New York: Oxford University Press. bisexual. University Press. and identity: A handbook. (2nd ed. S.).d. Looking at gay and lesbian life. The legal rights of gay. Joslin. D. W. Blumenfeld. MA: Beacon. and curricula. (1992). IL: Philadelphia. & McAnulty. Harbeck. Exploring Human Sexuality 87 . Diamant. Jr. New York: Viking. Hurst. Same-sex marriage: A selective bibliography of the legal literature. Blumenfeld. New York: Cambridge McWhorter. teachers. Homophobia: How we all pay the price. (2008). and consequences. Pierceson. (2006). lesbian. R. P. C. causes. L. & Raymond. (n.. Social inequality: Forms. (Eds. Dishonorable passions: Sodomy laws in America. N. America’s struggle for same-sex marriage. and transgender people: The authoritative ACLU Guide. gay men. (1995). D. New York: Haworth. 1861-2003. Hunter. W. MA: Amethyst Press. Gay and lesbian rights. liberalism and rights: Gay law and politics in the United States and Canada. Boston. W.html. bisexuals. K. W.Suggested Reading Axel-Lute.) New York: New York University Press. (1993). & McGowan. (2006). Coming out of the classroom closet: Gay and lesbian students.). J. Retrieved November 18. (2005). (Ed.).). (2004) The rights of lesbians. Harbeck. (1992).. (2007). (4th ed. Courts. MA: Allyn and Bacon. Pinello. Boston.rutgers. CT: Greenwood. (2006).

sexual harassment and glass ceilings. As adults we bemoan the sexual inequality that we experience every day in the workplace. Girls are 88 Sociology Reference Guide . Wage gaps and discrimination along with occupational sexism and segregation are still prominent in the workplaces of the 21st century. Women regularly bump their heads on glass ceilings because of a perceived lack of masculine traits that are more suited to management positions. Women in particular have long suffered such injustices as wage gaps. It is a multidimensional topic that covers early childhood cultural pressures as well as day to day interactions in the office. yet parents. and educational institutions still encourage traditionally gender-assigned traits to growing boys and girls. as the workplace offers a microcosmic snapshot of the current cultural atmosphere.Gender & Sexual Orientation in the Workplace Lynette DiPalma Overview Gender and sexual orientation in the workplace is an increasingly important topic especially as government policies change and cultural acceptances shift. but we still reinforce and encourage gender traits traditionally exhibited by each sex in our children. Many sociologists feel that these problems of gender and sexual orientation in the workplace have strong and firmly placed roots in the cultural norms to which we are introduced as children. while members of the GLBT community have only recently been given a voice with which to address the prejudices and disparities experienced within the corporate culture of businesses. society.

caring. nurturing and passive while boys are expected to be aggressive. These traits are then attached to later success or failure as adults in the business world since stereotypically male traits are generally seen as a pathway to success. Regardless of the success of Pink corporations. causing them to adopt certain attitudes and beliefs that may later create professional difficulties. Exploring Human Sexuality 89 . Women in the Workplace Though women have been a part of the workforce for well over a century. and generated many challenges for both men and women in the professional environment. their presence in the workplace has had many ramifications. (1991) refer to this situation as a “culture trap” since children are nurtured into these socially acceptable roles as children. Most often the term is applied to situations where women are being oppressed by their male co-workers or supervisors. Corporations who primarily target both women as workers and women as consumers have found tremendous success by favoring feminine traits above masculine ones. heterosexual men still appear to have the upper hand in business. Though the tides appear to be turning in favor of those traditionally marginalized populations like women and gays. ruthless. while stereotypically female traits are seen as necessary for supporting roles in business. Occupational Sexism Occupational sexism is essentially any kind of discrimination based on a worker’s gender. the business world still has a long way to go before it reaches an atmosphere of true equality. Interestingly. Lipsey. ambitious and pragmatic. but certain situations allow for men to be discriminated against as well. Gender bias has been repeatedly demonstrated through many studies conducted in multiple work environments over the last several decades. but these Pink corporations have found that gentle compassion has actually made for a strong inner community as well as well-rounded and enthusiastic workers. there have been situations where the concept of hegemonic masculinity has been turned on its head. Putting family first may seem like a risk in the traditionally masculine world.expected to be kind. et al.

2007). a recent study discovered that wage discrimination is still a major issue with women making an average of $0. This increase in the higher positions in the workplace also filters down to benefit the women in non-managerial positions as well. men are far more likely to be the target of disciplinary action because of the application of sexual stereotypes. When more women are found in high status positions. Stafford & Kelly.8% (Endicott. recent research has indicated that the glass ceiling for women workers finally appears to be cracking since there are significantly more women in managerial positions. the absence of females in high-status positions in particular companies or industries leaves the wage gap firmly in place (Cohen & Huffman. Gradus. Some studies have even indicated that the psychological effects of sexual harassment on men are actually more severe than those experienced by women who have been sexually harassed (Street. 2007). Though there has been plenty of documentation to indicate that both dynamics of harassment do occur in the workplace. 90 Sociology Reference Guide . Wage discrimination is demonstrated in a wide spectrum of occupations. Sexual Harassment Sexual harassment has become a highly sensitive area for many corporations because of various lawsuits and protective policies that have developed.7% of the average male employee’s wages while women in sales earned only 64. Though many had hoped that the days of women earning less money than their male counterparts were long gone. In the scope of sociology. For example. 2002). The hegemonic male is aggressive and sexually robust. female financial advisors earned only 53.One particularly scrutinized issue is that of wage discrimination. 2002). sexual harassment becomes an especially charged topic when it takes the rather non-traditional form of women sexually harassing men. and so any man who reports being sexually harassed by a woman is effectively psychologically castrated by his peers because he is seen as weak and submissive.78 for every dollar earned by men in the same position (Endicott. the wages of the female employees are effectively raised throughout the managerial hierarchy of a company. Though wage discrimination is still a viable concern. However. Men are less likely to report sexual harassment by a female co-worker or boss because of the personal and professional ramifications of their perceived masculinity.

but the decision to come out at work is laced with serious ramifications that affect the individual’s day to day life. This is true not only among co-workers. support groups. 2000). or at least be more subtle about their sexual identity. Lesbians. Gender Identity Disorder in the Workplace Transgendered individuals have an even more complex sociological situation in the workplace since they may have already clearly established themselves as one gender among their co-workers before making the transition. Homophobia. Another interesting phenomenon occurs within the GLBT community itself. It is also important to point out that this kind of sexual prejudice. Those workers who are older and were raised with a cultural stigma of homosexuality are more likely to stay in the closet. 2000). Heterosexism & Sexual Prejudice A large percentage of the gay population has stated that they have experienced harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Exploring Human Sexuality 91 . or heterosexism. Bisexuals & Transgendered in the Workplace Just as women have struggled in the workplace. is still a legitimate concern since to fire an employee on the grounds of homosexuality is still legal in 35 states. pressured to quit. Gay workers are often denied promotions. Co-workers and supervisors may actually be witness to the entire sex reassignment process. are more vocal and tend to fight more aggressively to obtain equality in the work place.Gays. and special training programs are often reluctant to have these workers publically associated with their company for fear of being considered a gay corporation (Hereck. or are held at a lower pay rate that their coworkers. Even those corporations that embrace their gay workers by providing them with domestic partner benefits. Many younger GBLT workers. the GLBT community has also been met with considerable challenges. 2002). and as the transition becomes more complete the inter-office relationships that the transgendered individual has honed as a member of one sex will inevitably change as they become the opposite sex (Prentiss & McAnulty. who were raised in a culture far more accepting of homosexuality. The decision to come out to family members and friends is often a troublesome issue for many in the GLBT community. but also among customers and business contacts as well (Hereck.

pilots. For women. waitress. and then a re-hiring as a member of the opposite sex once the sex reassignment is complete (Prentiss & McAnulty.Many heterosexuals who have never been exposed to this kind of situation may find it difficult to understand the significant difference between being gay and being transgendered. obtaining positions that are traditionally male is difficult. While some jobs are considered traditionally female (seamstress.). etc. Lipsey et al (1991) feels that the sex role socialization discussed earlier is the primary reason women are underrepresented in male-dominated occupations. independent men. others are considered traditionally male (doctor. and readiness to accept responsibility are key factors in women being unable to overcome professional hurdles as easily as their male counterparts. Men & Women in Cross-Gender Occupations Though it has been shown time and time again that women are equally as capable in most occupational roles as men. architects. harassment and prejudice. Some transgender employees find it easier to orchestrate a resignation prior to the reassignment process through upper management. This level of misunderstanding can lead to extreme situations of alienation. teacher.). 2002). and they often find many corporate hurdles that their male counterparts do not experience. In America. Occupational Segregation Another important dimension of gender and sexual orientation in the work place is gender stereotyping of professional roles. All of these factors are polar opposite to the masculine traits considered necessary for success. which is referred to as occupational segregation. whereas Gilligan (1982) sees it as a more Freudian problem based in the psychological pressures of women to continue the dependent roles of their mothers while men must make a forceful and clean break from the nurturing to become strong. lawyer. secretary etc. lack of aggression. Though there has been significant movement to close the wage gap. nurse. there has been little movement towards removing the occupational stereotypes that beget occupational segregation. this is primarily due to the masculine management style that has been socially accepted as equating to success. occupational segregation still persists. Kanter (1997) states that women’s lack of authoritarian attitudes. mechanics. 92 Sociology Reference Guide .

a male nurse may be passed over for promotion because it may be assumed that they will be pursuing an education to become a doctor. and Restuccia (2005) have proposed a strong argument that the wage gap continues to exist because of the perceived value of female workers based on their fertility. 2002). while men are considered at high-risk to leave traditionally female positions to pursue a more fitting position. and thus were forced into “settling” for a position as a nurse. and that the nursing position is simply a stepping stone to bigger and better things (Furr. Women are considered at high-risk for leaving traditionally male positions of extreme responsibility in order to pursue a family. corporations may be less willing to invest in female workers because it is a gamble whether a woman of child-bearing age will continue their work once they have children and if they do continue whether that work will be of the same quality or quantity.. and they are sometimes shamed even within their closest circles of relationships regardless of their dedication and skill in the occupation (Furr. This prejudice is so ingrained in society that it has become part of pop culture as a subplot in the film Meet the Parents starring Ben Stiller. Erosa. In this respect wages are a function of fertility and age. Occupational Segregation as Explanation for Wage Gap Many theories have been developed as to why the wage gap exists. Both men and women are often passed over for promotion when they occupy cross-gender occupational roles because of a perceived issue of abandonment. 2002). 1997. Traditionally female jobs are also some of the lowest paying jobs. Nursing is a traditionally female occupation.On the other hand. and men who choose to go into this field are looked down upon as if they were not successful enough to become doctors. A typical example of this would be the male nurse. 1993) But many feel that occupational segregation may be the culprit. In other words. Wood et al. so studies that Exploring Human Sexuality 93 . men wishing to find work in traditionally female occupations often experience ridicule and harassment both professionally and personally. For example. Fuster. Often this harassment and ridicule are attacks on their masculinity. Still others feel that the wage gap is due to educational disparities like men choosing business or other practical classes as minors and electives while women choose liberal or fine art courses that have no perceived practical application (Blau & Kahn.

Stringer & Duncan. 1985. it begs the question of why women have continued to occupy these low-paying positions. felt that these gender roles developed out of a three-step cognitive process that every child must work through from about the age of two to the age of six. Little boys. 1977). Whiston. on the other hand. Little girls are encouraged to develop nurturing and household skills by playing with dolls and pretend cookware. Kohlberg. At this point they understand that there is a fundamen94 Sociology Reference Guide . Two prominent theorists on this phenomenon of gender socialization are Albert Bandura and Lawrence Kohlberg. 1987). Children are inevitably asked what they would like to be when they grow up. Though parents do not necessarily reinforce these gender roles. 1993) Gender Conditioning & Reinforcement Gender traits and what is considered “traditional” is ingrained in our culture and reinforced throughout our childhood. The first step is for the child to recognize their particular gender. 1988. opposite-gender behavior may incur punishment (Bandura. and by playing with toys like cars and construction machinery. While some are relatively satisfied with this explanation. Boys learn masculine behaviors from their fathers and other male role models who exhibit these traits.consider income across occupations will not be accounting for the fact that the majority of women in the workforce are simply occupying positions that earn less money than the majority of those that are occupied by men (Cohen & Huffman 2006). Girls learn to be girls by mimicking the feminine behaviors of their mothers and other female role models. children tend to learn that behavior exhibiting same-sex traits often reaps rewards. are encouraged to be assertive and powerful through rough-and-tumble games. Bandura stressed that the process of gender socialization is achieved through a process called modeling where children imitate the actions of adults and other children around them. and little girls who want to be plumbers and little boys who want to be ballerinas are chided and strongly encouraged to reconsider their decisions (Connell. on the other hand. One popular explanation to answer this question is that women are often found to exhibit a lower sense of self-confidence when it comes to male-dominated occupations than towards those occupations that are traditionally considered female (Neville & Schlecker.

tal biological and social difference between a male and a female. Second, a child understands that this gender will not change. If they are female then she is a girl who will eventually grow up to be a woman. Finally, a child understands that no matter which gender traits they choose to exhibit their gender will still remain constant and unchanged (Kohlberg, 1966). These experiences—whether socially, psychologically, or biologically driven—reinforce what a culture believes to be “normal” for each gender, and since they are carried into adulthood they are often the foundation of our occupational choices. With this in mind, sociologists begin their search for the underlying factors of workplace issues, like wage discrimination, occupational discrimination, glass ceiling effect, and hegemonic masculinity, far before we begin to make any serious career choices. These cultural pressures of gender stereotypes not only shape our career choices, but they also shape our chances of success as well.

Masculine Management Style

Typically, leaders within a corporation are expected to take on the role of the hegemonic male in order to achieve real success. These male traits— like being independent, objective, and competitive—are associated with success to the point that even female managers are expected to either have or learn to assume them. One particularly strong example of a successful, masculine management style can be seen in Donald J. Trump. The official biography found on his website refers to him as the “archetypal businessman,” and reads like a checklist of the most stereotypically male traits ascribed to success in business (Trump, 2008). Trump had his beginnings working under his father in a small real estate office in Brooklyn, New York, and though his career has been rocky, he has managed to pull his business holdings out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy and into an empire valued at more than $3 billion at the end of 2007 (Forbes, 2007). Many, including Trump himself, have declared that the vast majority of this success is a direct result of Trump’s aggressive business nature. In fact, in 2006 BusinessWeek magazine named Trump as the world’s most competitive businessperson.

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In his most recent book, Trump outlines the top ten lessons in success, and not surprisingly, each of these lessons embodies a particularly masculine trait. The first lesson is simply that in order to be successful you must be a workaholic. He insists that an 80-hour work week is the key to reaching business goals, which leaves little time for family. Other hegemonic male attributes that are included in his top ten traits of success are persistence, aggression, and a keen ability to negotiate. He also suggests that any successful business person wishing to marry should only marry someone who understands they will be taking a back seat to business, and who is willing to sign a prenuptial agreement (Trump, 2007). Competition seems to fuel Trump’s aggressive management style. So much so that he created the well-known television show The Apprentice where he watches young business hopefuls compete for a position in his expanding company. Weakness is not tolerated, and results are rewarded regardless of any morals, principles, or emotional investments that may have been compromised. Though not necessarily well liked, Trump is most certainly respected as an extremely successful businessman. His embodiment of the hegemonic male leaves few to question how he has been able to amass such wealth and celebrity since it is precisely these traits that have been expected from successful men and women in the business world.
Feminine Management Style

The pressures of corporate culture have seen women attempt to adopt the traits of hegemonic masculinity, often at the expense of their perceived status as a woman. While many of these assertive women have achieved quite a bit of success, they are seen as successful in spite of their gender, not because of it. With this in mind, some companies who cater specifically to women as their primary market have begun to rebel against the idea that a successful woman must abandon all her feminine traits. Mary Kay Cosmetics is an excellent example of this movement. Founded by Mary Kay Ash, the company rose from a one-woman enterprise of less than $200,000 a year to over $2.5 billion in 2005 (Mary Kay 2008). What is most unique about Ash’s company is that she made a conscious drive to elevate the feminine traits generally viewed as weaknesses in the dog-eat-dog world of business into the cornerstones of a successful corporate culture. The Mary Kay motto states that family is more impor96 Sociology Reference Guide

tant than business, and that the Golden Rule of treating others as you wish to be treated plays a major role in the decision making process. Compassion, understanding, caring, and nurturing are all prominent elements of the Mary Kay empire, but the element of recognition is an interesting addition on top of all of these traditionally feminine traits. The women (and few men) who are a part of this pink corporate culture have enjoyed a wide variety of accolades specifically designed to reward the top performers (Mary Kay 2008). Competitiveness is surprisingly not one of the most lucrative traits to possess in this company since cooperation is highly prized and recognized over competition. What this pink corporate culture demonstrates is that the hegemonic masculinity that we associate with success is not, in fact, a necessity to achieve that success. Though culture may influence women to display traits that many consider to be detrimental in the business world, companies like Mary Kay Cosmetics clearly show that these traits can be just as successful (perhaps even more successful in some cases) as those that embrace traditionally male attitudes.

Issues of gender and sexual orientation in the workplace are not simply confined to the office. The challenges and multidimensional experiences that occur within the walls of the work building are rooted in our experiences that occur before we even enter the working world. Regardless of whether the development of gender roles and stereotypes is truly based in biology or traits nurtured in us through our dominant culture, evidence tends to point to the fact that there are strengths and weaknesses in both the hegemonic masculinity and the exaggerated femininity that develop within the corporate culture. Both feminine and masculine traits have had their successes, but it is yet to be seen whether they can exist harmoniously within the same corporate environment, or if they must remain separate and pitted against one another in the world of business. Though business has seen a dramatic shift over the last few decades to reincorporate those populations that are traditionally marginalized in corporate cultures, the road to equality is a long one.

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the person.) The psychology of sex. A. L. P. J. In Diament. (1987). R. L. R. Salary survey.aspx?direct=true&db=si h&AN=26644080&site=ehost-live Connell. A quantitative theory of the gender wage gap.aspx?direct=true&db=sih&AN=26788741&site=ehost-live Cohen. 72 (5).R.. M. Blau. Of course these issues will likely never be completely resolved as long as the dominate culture continues to condition children to exhibit traditional gender traits from such early Erosa. com/login. Men and women in cross-gender careers. (2005). 2008 from EBSCO online database. aspx?direct=true&db=buh&AN=9705132943&site=ehost-live Cohen. & Huffman. http://adage. Federal Reserve Bank. Gender and power: Society. University of Ontario. p 1. Restuccia. (1977). gender. and jobs: Issues and solutions. C. (2002). Gilligan. (2006). (1982).ebscohost. NJ: Prentice-Hall. Cambridge: Polity Press. Retrieved May 12. The continued sociological study of the topic of gender and sexual orientation in the workplace will be important in developing corporate techniques and political policies that will help usher in an era of equality that many workers are seeking. Working for the man: Management characteristics and the gender wage gap. Conference Papers -. 681-704. as has been demonstrated by the uphill battle of women in the workplace. 98 Sociology Reference Guide . D...A.W. P. Fuster. Social learning theory. Bibliography Bandura. C.Members of the GLBT community have a particularly long road ahead of them in respects to seeking out equal treatment. Englewood Cliffs. Business Source Premier http://search. American Sociological Review. S.ebscohost.ebscohost.American Sociological Association 2006 Annual Meeting. (2007). Montreal. Advertising Age. 47-68) Westport. CT: Praeger. (2002). 2008 from EBSCO Online Database SocINDEX with Full Text. 2008 from website. (1997). Regardless of the willingness of the population and the growing acceptance of women and gays in powerful roles. Cambridge. http://search. Retrieved May 12. Swimming upstream: Trends in the gender wage differential in the 1980s. and sexual politics. In a different voice: Psychological theory and women’s development. & F. Retrieved May 12. http://search. A. Working for the woman? Female managers and the gender wage gap. L. Furr. & Lawrence 1-42. Retrieved May 12. 15 (1). (pp. M. Endicott. & Huffman. (Eds. MA: Harvard University Press. 2008 from EBSCO Online Database SocINDEX with Full Text. L. the shift in gender dynamics in the culture will most certainly not happen overnight. Journal of Labor Economics.

75 (3).” Journal of Labor Economics.(1) 91-98. and Jobs: Issues and Solutions (pp. (1985). In Diament. 417-441. 2008 from EBSCO Online Database SocINDEX with Full Text. S. Retrieved May Retrieved May 12. Think big and kick ass in business and in life.ebscohost. & Schlecker. Nontraditional occupations: A study of women who have made the choice. Street. (1990).marykay. P. Nevill. Self-efficacy of women in traditional and nontraditional occupations: Differences in working with people and things. Trump. C. D. D. Business Source Premier http://search. B. http://search. CA: Stanford University Press. R. R. http://search. September 20). 11 (3). (1993). New York: Harper & Row.aspx?direct=true&db=si h&AN=8646868&site=ehost-live Prentiss. Journal of Career Development. Current Directions in Psychological Science. Wood. Vocational Guidance Quarterly. 35.. Purvis.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN= 4518897&site=ehost-live http://www.. & Kelly. On the frontiers of management. & Lee. Accessed May 12..aspx?direct=true&db=buh&AN=9311156448&site =ehost-live Exploring Human Sexuality 99 .L. Steiner. (2008). D. K. D. & Zanker.O. Accessed June 6.. Stanford. M. 2008 from EBSCO online database. M. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. (2007). 9 (1). Economics.trump.N. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology. Psychology of Women Quarterly. Gender. 19. Gender differences in experiences of sexual harassment: Data from a male-dominated environment. (32). E. J. L. (1988). 241-248. Kohlberg.D. & Duncan. 175-196.. (1993). Academic Search Premier. Courant.ebscohost. A cognitive-developmental analysis of children’s sex role concepts and attitudes. 2008 from EBSCO Online Database. 12.. (2007. The psychology of sexual prejudice. http://search. A. 19-22. & McAnulty. G. Westport. J. L. CT: Praeger. (1966).com/ (2008). (Eds. “Pay differences among the highly paid: the male-female earnings gap in lawyers’ salaries. Lipsey. 171-184). The Psychology of Sex. R. Academic Search Complete.J.ebscohost. Whiston. (2000). M. Maccoby ed. (1997). The relation of self-efficacy and assertiveness to willingness to engage in traditional/nontraditional career activities.E. & Courant. P. 2008 http://www. The development of sex differences. (2002).G. 464-474.A.. Gradus. (2007).Herek.. The Forbes 400. Stafford. Retrieved May 12. Retrieved May 11. New York: Harper Collins. R. 2008 from EBSCO online database. J.ebscohost.aspx?direct= true&db=aph&AN=25382973&site=ehost-live Stringer. Kanter.. Gender identity disorder in the workplace. 2008.. In Eleanor E.

& Greig.305. J. Community College Review. Retrieved May 14.ebscohost. 2008 from EBSCO Business Source Premier. Sociological Association. 2008 from EBSCO SocINDEX with Full Text. April).aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=31636491&site=ehostlive Bohnet. (2006).M. http://search. Montreal. 35(4). (2008). F. ebscohost. 1. 4-6.aspx?direct=true&db=sih&AN=26642067&site=eh ost-live 100 Sociology Reference Guide . Conference Papers -. 2006 Annual Meeting.aspx?direct=true&db=buh&AN=24355750&site=ehost-live Meyers.Suggested Reading Lester. http://search. 24p. http:// search. 277. Gender matters in workplace Retrieved on May 14. ( Performing gender in the workplace. J. Diversity and democracy: A model for change in the workplace. I.ebscohost. Retrieved May 13. 2008 from EBSCO Academic Search Premiere.

Homophobia Geraldine Wagner Overview Sexual Orientation A person’s sexual orientation. Straights are heterosexuals. However. Exploring Human Sexuality 101 . having a homosexual or bisexual experience does not necessarily mean that a person is homosexual. preferring to have sexual relationships with members of the opposite sex. whether he or she prefers sexual relationships with members of the same sex. particularly young people. is considered by some to be determined at birth or learned. 2004). Gays are typically males who prefer to have relationships with other males. or the opposite sex. and by others as both biological and social. or homosexual. however. Transgenderism refers to cross-dressers and those who do not conform to culturally prescribed norms about what it means to be male or female. while bisexuals will have sexual relationships with both the same and the opposite sex. preferring to have sexual relationships with members of the same sex. homosexuality is a way of life. For others. For some. homosexual or bisexual experiences are experimental and do not continue. while lesbians are women who prefer to have relationships with other women. A person can be heterosexual. Researchers have found that gay and bisexual men in particular often believed that they were different from other boys from an early age (Savin-Williams.

essentially. the notion of male or female is defined by the culture and both sexes are expected to adhere to the rules and norms of society regarding their sex and their gender role – the behavior and attitudes that are considered appropriate for each sex . independent and not likely to cry. stereotypes. and are reinforced strongly by religion. and how much wealth and power he or she will receive in the course of a lifetime. culturally defined female roles are often thought of as lesbians. while women are characterized being weak and emotional. Gays and lesbians frequently experience incidents of homophobia with 83% reporting verbal assaults. physical and sexual assault. or identified as being one gender or another can affect a person’s life every day from how he or she receives tasks and rewards. Being gendered. and men who transcend the culturally defined notions of what it means to be male. 2008). science. is the fear of homosexuality. Gender Roles While sex is biological. attitudes. gender is a cultural phenomenon. While homophobia can be defined as heterosexuals’ dread of being in close quarters with homosexuals as well as homosexuals’ self loathing. There are popular stereotypes about the genders. such as males being strong. or homophobia from heterosexuals. are punished socially and in the work place (Mottet & Tanis. In other words. The belief systems surrounding gender are embedded within a culture’s language and ideas. 2008). Aragon. and behaviors toward gays and lesbians (Espelage. 2008). Homophobia includes negative beliefs. Women who break from traditional. or body hair.What is Homophobia? Homophobia.which are taught from birth through the process of gender socialization. government and law. These stereotypes also reinforce the cultural 102 Sociology Reference Guide . homophobia is driven by a rigid gender code (Herek. the types of education and work available to him or her. referring to genitalia and to secondary sex characteristics such as breasts. threats. Birkett & Koenig. Persons of a sexual orientation besides heterosexuality have probably experienced some form of prejudice.

For example. ethnicity. sexual orientation. Stereotypes tend to be more easily dispelled among heterosexuals who know. six years after a closed-door meeting of Christians met to plan attacks on the gay rights movement (“They’ll Know.ideas and socialization institutions such as the family and religion. which criminalized gay 16. the Archbishop of Canterbury influenced members in the British House of Lords to veto an equal age of consent bill. Exploring Human Sexuality 103 . FBI statistics show that about 30% of hate crimes are crimes against property such as robbery.and 17-year olds. or have contact with more than one gay person and if there is openness about the sexual orientation of the others (Herek. gay family recognition is restricted in 39 states in the U. and some commit hate crimes against homosexuals. theft. These hate crimes are committed 95% of the time by young people who have no criminal record. Current religious homophobes point to the Bible and Leviticus 20:13. Hate crimes. Even more recently. Social scientists have found that lesbians and gay men who “come out of the closet” to their heterosexual friends and family members help to create these more positive attitudes. which demands that homosexuals be killed (Tatchell. or bias crimes. In another example. 2000). and murder. And one homosexual relative or friend doesn’t change much. either.S. in 2000. Coming Out Coming out. rape. or arson. Pope John Paul II criticized gay pride activities in Rome as offensive to Christian values and condemned homosexuality publicly. But personal contact isn’t enough. Their actions are fueled primarily by prejudice and dislike of people who seem different. or other minority group status..” 1994). People who have a gay friend or relative will think better of homosexuality. The remaining 70% involve an attack against a person such as assault. is an intimate detail about a person that can have some positive effects and reduce the stigma related to homosexuality. or do not belong to any type of hate group. religion. Many heterosexual Americans hold strongly negative feelings toward homosexuality. and gay parenting is restricted in at least seven states. or claiming publicly to be homosexual. 2008). vandalism. Hate Crimes Coming out also carries danger and risks. are intended to harm or intimidate people because of their race.

that notion could be easily believed (Herek. • Lack of legal protection in employment. male. and while most adults in the U. believing that homosexuality was disgusting. Within a twenty year span of time from 1973 to 1993. and indeed. recent passage of federal and state laws against same-gender marriage. heterosexism and its accompanying discrimination includes: • The ban against lesbian and gay military personnel. too. and • The existence of sodomy laws in more than one-third of the states (Herek. there is no stigma. attitudes about homosexuality began to change and most people no longer believe that it is always wrong. Further Insights Who is Homophobic? Those with negative attitudes toward gay people are more likely to be older. Despite these forms of discrimination. Heterosexism Heterosexism. • Open hostility to lesbian and gay committed relationships.with 60% of people surveyed in one study. Once homosexuality is out in the open.S. and services. states. The offenders tend to believe. As long as a person’s homosexuality remains hidden. the trend toward less condemnation may be coming. with job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation legal in most U. However. 2008). or sexual prejudice. 2008. view homosexual behavior as immoral. 2004). gay people are subject to punishment by society. is similar to sexism or racism in that it is an ideology that punishes or denies and stigmatizes non-heterosexual behavior or relationships. In the United States.S. housing. for example. less well-educated and living in rural areas or in the Midwest104 Sociology Reference Guide . the trend began to reverse itself in the early twenty-first century with 49% of respondents to a Gallup poll believing that homosexuality is unacceptable. American Psychological Association. that their behavior is sanctioned by others.

such as homosexuals. believe in traditional gender roles and divisions of labor.S. for example. Conflict Perspective Conflict theorists argue that sexism allows a system of patriarchy to continue. What Motivates Sexual Prejudice? Structural-Functionalist Perspective The structural-functionalist approach in sociology argues that attitudes about homosexuality serve to help heterosexuals make sense of their interactions with gays and to fit those interactions into a larger world view (Savage & Julien. Exploring Human Sexuality 105 . any display of such behavior in another setting could bring accusations of homosexuality and ostracism. Research in sports indicates that female team members are more accepting of lesbian teammates than males. and are less sexually permissive.S. or hugging one another. They also attend church frequently and have orthodox beliefs about religion and the literal truth of the Bible (Miller. Furthermore. This gives the heterosexual group a sense of well-being and an identity. are punished by being denied equal rights. expressing a prejudicial attitude serves as a defense mechanism for heterosexuals who can then separate themselves from any emotional expenditure when homosexuals are discriminated against. and male coaches are able to accept gay team members. 2007). While males experience acceptable forms of homoeroticism in the locker room such as slapping one another on the buttocks. or even violence (Demers. politically. males may be more likely to reject homosexuality and to align themselves to more socially-acceptable groups that do the same. 2008). bi-sexuals and transgenders. In the U. or even attacked physically (Herek. or by experiencing prejudice. They often do not believe that homosexuality occurs from birth and they do not have any close ties to any homosexual people (Herek. They are also likely to be more conservative. those with negative attitudes toward homosexuality tend to display authoritarian personalities. 2006). which serves to distance homosexuals as representative of a group to which they do not wish to belong. Heterosexuals who have not had interactions with homosexuals in a social setting often perceive homosexuality as their opposite. In other words. 1994). 2008). Strict gender roles reinforce patriarchy and those who fall outside of the rigid sex roles.ern or Southern U.

106 Sociology Reference Guide . upheld the right of states to enact Sodomy laws. public opinion was changing. HIV/AIDS More than 45% of African-American gay and bisexual urban males are infected with HIV. including homosexuals. the Supreme Court of the U. Despite the seriousness of the disease in the gay community. Sodomy includes sex acts such as anal intercourse. Issues Gay Marriage Many have argued that lesbian. funding for cures and medical attention on the federal level is scarce (Foreman.discrimination and even physical harm. 2008). with 60% of Americans favoring the legalization of homosexual relations. gay. 2008). with only 32% supporting the legality of homosexual relationships and 57% opposing them. particularly among young Blacks. violence. AIDS was more often traced to heterosexuals. 1997). with 43% favoring legalization and 43% opposing it. Responses were evenly split. the Supreme Court overturned the 1986 decision and ruled sodomy laws in Texas to be unconstitutional. Patriarchy then uses homophobia to oppress people who are perceived as a threat to that system (Schryer & Napier. AIDS-related stigma. In the mid1980s. and 35% opposing it. even though the statistics showed that on a global scale. The trend has continued to be favorable toward the legalization of homosexual relationships (Herek.S. the trend reversed. and quarantine of persons with HIV. bisexual and transgender families deserve the same recognition and legal protection as all other families. This stigmatization and subsequent discrimination can result in ostracism. But then the trend began shifting again and in 2003. African Americans are 10 times more likely than white people to contract AIDS. Some would argue that AIDS stigma prevents society from stemming the AIDS epidemic (Herek. Sodomy Laws Some thirty years ago in 1977. a Gallup poll asked about the legality of homosexual relations between consenting adults. with the new epidemic of AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) affecting American gay and bisexual males. In 1986. Similarly. or AIDS stigma refers to prejudice and discrimination directed at people perceived to have AIDS or HIV. oral sex and masturbation that are practiced among people. 2008).

ca/WOMEN/e/journal/apr2006/print_developing. 2008. One of the most remarkable changes has been in the workplace. psychological outcomes. public accommodation. Sexual Diversity in the Workplace Gay and bisexual people continue to experience discrimination in employment.. Retrieved September mfspeech_020808 Exploring Human Sexuality 107 . many homosexual men and women continue to experience both personal and legal negative effects of being stigmatized because of their sexual preference. Retrieved September 17. 2008 from: http://www.Despite strong opposition. Retrieved September 17.thetaskforce. 2008 from: http://www. and sexual orientation among high school students: What influence do parents and schools have? School Psychology Review 37(2). Homophobic teasing.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=32848652&site=e host-live 2008). 6(2). (2008). National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. 2008 from: http://www. and health care because of a lack of legal protection and a lack of public support for equality in these areas. While research indicates that homophobia has decreased in recent years. & Koenig. 2008 from EBSCO online database Academic Search Premier: http://search. 202-216. State of the Movement address by Matt Foreman. 2008. the California Supreme Court made the historic decision to support the freedom of homosexuals to marry (nclrights. 2008). coach.ebscohost.html Demers. taboo subject. 2008). Aragon. there are still segments of society who are homophobic and therefore. Canadian Journal for Women in Coaching education. Bibliography American Psychological Association. released in 1998.S. Speech given February to 54% in 2005. where a larger proportion of Americans feel homosexuals should be hired as elementary school teachers. (2008). Homophobia is a hatred or fear of the two to five percent of the U. but the trend is beginning to shift toward more tolerance. population that identifies itself as either gay. D. M. M. G.apa. Birkett.. Homophobia in sport — Fact of life. Retrieved September 20.htm Espelage. Position paper on hate crimes. the percentages have increased from 27% in 1977. (2006). Executive Director. 2008). or lesbian (Schaefer. S. to 41% in 1992. B. on May 15. Other increases in support for employment rights range from 13 percentage points (for clergy) to 34 points (for doctors) (thetaskforce. housing. org/site/DocServer/Marriage_FAQ_Final_5. 2008 from EBSCO online database Academic Search Premier: http://search. Retrieved September 17. The Issues: Anti Gay Industry. 2008 from: http://www. Conn.15. Marshall University Graduate College. (Eds.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=9407061 198&site=ehost-live Savin-Williams. 108 Sociology Reference Guide . London: Trenton Books.ebscohost. (2007). G.html They’ll know we are Christians by our sexual orientation [Editorial]. Apostles of Unreason settle into their third millennium [Electronic version]. R. National Gay & Lesbian Taskforce. J. Kantor. Opening the Door. Retrieved September 19.: National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute. Homophobia: The social basis of male supremacy? Unpublished paper.: Praeger Van Dijk.aspx?direct=true&db=a ph&AN=24348118&site=ehost-live Mottet. 1-11.ebscohost. Retrieved September 19. & National Center for Lesbian Rights. (n. National Catholic Reporter. M. Kimmel & Michael A. 2008 from: http://www. ucdavis. R.ebscohost. & Sexual Retrieved September 17. M. 51-61.) Men’s Lives. P. 52 (1). Social Work. (2000). (2000). 2008 from University of California Davis website: http://psychology.aspx?direct=true&db=a ph&AN=9409282018&site=ehost-live Suggested Reading Fone. (2007). Retrieved September 20.schryer. Challenging homophobia: Teaching about sexual diversity. Gay and Lesbian Humanist. Autumn. development. (1994). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.html (2008). 2008 from Nclrights. 30 (38). Retrieved September 17. & Tanis. (1998).C. Critical http://www. (1997). Retrieved September 19. Legacy denied: African American gay men. L. Tatchell. 2008 from EBSCO online database Academic Search Premier: http://search.pinktriangle. Retrieved September 17. Schryer. D. Marriage for same sex couples in California. Washington. 2008 from: http://thetaskforce. Westport. Homophobia: A history. B. 36 (1).pdf?docID=3041 Savage. B. Queering the pitch: A conversation.Herek. New York: Picador. (2004). O. and dynamics of gay bashing. & Napier. 2008 from EBSCO online database Academic Search Premier: http://search. L. & Van Driel. Messner. Homophobia: Description. Heterosexism. and the black church. ( (2008).).d. September 12). Memories of same-sex attractions. Definitions: Homophobia. In Michael (1994).

Sexuality & the Media Maureen McMahon Overview “In the early 1960s the word pregnant was not allowed on television. and television programs are viewed by the millions. it cannot take full responsibility for the misunderstanding or misrepresentation of sexuality. 1994. the average woman is not a size four like every model in the pages of a magazine. and in many instances. 209). magazine covers. does have standards. and the magazines sell. nor did it change in a vacuum. p. Yet. as normal. Ritzer & Yetman.” Nevertheless. becoming pregnant with twins by both men in some bizarre yet plausible way. It is possible that audiences live vicariously through these sexual mediums. Nor does everyone discuss sex as liberally or as frequently as radio “shock jocks. resulting in representations that are expected by consumers. but in living that way. and movies and television did not show married couples in the same bed” (Kammayer. the television and radio remain turned on. In addition. a person would not become involved in sexual activity until Exploring Human Sexuality 109 . various advertisements. only soap opera stars have sex with their husband’s sons. The media did not change overnight. however. they are promoting those mediums as acceptable. knowing their lives will never be like those in soap operas. In 2008. they don’t necessarily depict reality. In a perfect world. Normalcy. a person is lucky to experience a two-hour time span that avoids either concept. Indeed. As such.

and peer pressure. et al. as cited in Kammayer. et al. 140. emotionally. when males pay for meals and entertainment. life as a teenager is rarely perfect. abnormal.he or she was mentally. 1994.. and normal. oftentimes. but most do not. the media that most children are exposed to encourage behaviors that degrade women. and physically prepared to do so. 1988. 202). 200-201) Coercive and Aggressive • Surveys have shown that one-fourth to one-half of all women will experience rape or attempted rape in their lifetimes (Schur. Sexuality-Based Media Some media outlets use a variety of tactics to teach responsibility and confidence. and curiosity about changing bodies create an inherent mystique about sex. anyone who is not sexually active feels left out and. outside influences like the media. just like any other commodity in the marketplace • Americans are accustomed to purchasing their recreation and sex is seen by many as a form of recreation • Includes the sale of sexually oriented clothing and other sexual paraphernalia that are widely advertised and displayed • In dating situations. there is often the implicit assumption that the females owe something in return (p. p. Indeed.” Kammayer. 200) Commercialized • Sex is bought and sold. p. et al. When the media continuously references sex as fun. 1988. suggest provocative displays of physical interaction. p. and belittle the confidence required to “just say no. (1994) identify three ways that sexual activities are characterized by American culture: Depersonalized • Sexual acts and sexual partners are treated as though they are unimportant (Schur.. as cited in Kammayer. 110 Sociology Reference Guide . However. popular.

but most will gather information from various media sources. some may even depend on books. steamy plots on television shows. If sex is seen as purely physical – promoted by sexy pictures in magazines.7 0. did the media slowly introduce images of sexuality and audiences became conditioned to it? It may be that the conditioning toward and the promotion of sexuality as mainstream happened concurrently.5 0.8 0.5 1 0. and the media opted to make it a marketing tool? Or.4 0.7 0. Average Daily Media Use.4 0.3 0.7 1. adolescents utilize media sources (on average) for about eight hours per day.2 0. However. Figure 1. Teens & the Media Some adolescents will talk to their parents.4 3. Did society become used to sexual references (perhaps because of bra burning and “swingers” in the 70s). many will turn to their peers. 4 3.5 0 0.5 2 1.3 0.3 3.9 0.It is unclear what came first in the formation of sexuality-based media.6 0.9 0. the consequence of the conditioning remains that same. Regardless.1 Videotapes Taped Television Print Media Video Games Computer Movies Radio CD’s/Tapes Television Exploring Human Sexuality 111 . and scantily clad women in music videos – rather than emotional – in real-life relationships – young men and women mature accustomed to sex being a minor detail in their lives.2 0.5 3 2.5 0. According to a 1996 survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The following chart details those sources and their average use by hour.

” but it’s possible those criteria may be directed toward physical development. should a teen want such a thing. Two-thirds (64 percent) believe that adults tell teenagers things “when it’s too late. According to the same survey. What is more important than the lack of time to talk with parents should be the enormous power media sources have on the average teen. About one in three wants more information about where to get (35 percent) and how to use (40 percent) different kinds of birth control methods. seven hours in school. adolescents will find information in other ways which may be inaccurate or biased. eight hours of media influence). Further Insights The Media Magazines & Teens One way to settle that curiosity is to read magazines that specialize in the sexual matters of teenagers such as It is not clear here what is told to teens “too late. especially for young girls. which. Half (50 percent) want more information on how to prevent AIDS or other STDs (Girls Incorporated. Without honest input from parents. More than one in four girls (27 percent) says she wants more information on how girls get pregnant. teens may rely on the media for information because what insights they do get from adults are not necessarily helpful. “Adolescent girls cite magazines as significant sources of sexual information that are as meaning112 Sociology Reference Guide .Source: Girls Incorporated National Resource Center (1999) Average Daily Media Use Among Youth (ages 8-18) in Total Hours Considering the breakdown of a twenty-four hour day for an average teenager (eight hours for sleep.The 1996 Kaiser Family Foundation survey on teens and sex: What they say teens today need to know and who they listen to. though. happens earlier than most people want to think. T h e s e changes by nature instill curiosity about sexuality. there is not much time for conversations with parents. http://www.” More than half (57 percent) indicate that adults discuss things that fail to address the situations teenagers actually face.

ful a source as their parents” (Treise & Gotthoffer 2002; Walsh-Childers et al. 2002, as cited in Medley-Rath, 2007, p. 25). Medley-Rath examined the advice column of Seventeen for almost ten years trying to determine if teens reading the magazine would gain clear-cut information about sexuality based on the contents of the column. As the column’s format is anonymous, based on letters sent by readers, it may be easier for teens to ask Seventeen rather than their parents when questions about sex arise, especially those of an explicit nature. For example, the following question and response were printed in Seventeen in December of 1995 (p. 46). Reader: Questions losing her virginity as her boyfriend’s penis was “partially inside her vagina.” Seventeen: “There’s no textbook definition of sex … You are right that, technically speaking, penetration pretty much equals sex. For your boyfriend, though, it may not qualify unless he has an orgasm” (Medley-Rath, 2007, p 39). Medley-Rath notes that in this exchange, “sex is defined [for girls] based on penetration but for boys it might only count if he orgasms” (p. 30). An anxious teen trying to determine one of the most important questions of her life, might find this response confusing. If initial ejaculation represents the epic moment for boys, do they lose their virginity through masturbation (self or mutual) or though oral sex? This is not addressed during the nine-year research study conducted by Medley-Rath; the researcher notes that the lack of such information suggests that boys get to decide when they lose their virginity while girls have that decision made for them (p. 39). Likewise, if an adolescent inquires about gay, lesbian, or alternative sexual acts, he or she is provided the same information that is provided to heterosexual inquiries: Virginity (for girls) is lost when a penis penetrates a vagina. This communicates to readers that the important event of losing one’s virginity can only happen to girls who have intercourse with boys. It also communicates that intercourse (vaginal penetration with a penis) is normal. According to Medley-Rath,

Exploring Human Sexuality


Teen magazines present heterosexual sexual behaviors as normative (Carpenter 1998; Currie 1999; Jackson 1999, as cited in Medley-Rath, p. 25) … Heteronormative virginity loss is placed on a pedestal compared to non-heteronormative virginity loss, even though individuals may have other sexual experiences they consider as important as intercourse (Medley-Rath, p. 27). Adolescence is difficult enough. To have feelings that are not discussed by a magazine that is supposed to support teen girls, must have a devastating effect; yet, in the culture of Seventeen, that does not seem to be a concern. On the other hand, Medley-Rath did note that Seventeen was clear to stress that abstinence is the only way to avoid sexually transmitted infections (August 1989, p. 172). Conversely, Seventeen never supplies an official definition of abstinence for its readers (p. 34). Nor did the magazine discuss the medical determination of a broken hymen with regard to virginity loss in girls within the nine years Medley-Rath studied its column.
Magazines & Adults

Seventeen was created to reach females ages 13-18; Cosmopolitan and its Australian contemporary, Cleo, were created for female readers ages 18-34; Cosmo is the most widely read women’s lifestyle magazine globally (McCleneghan, 2003, as cited in Farvid & Braun, 2006, p. 298), and therefore the information within the magazine reaches (and influences) millions of people. Farvid & Braun (2006) conducted an examination much like Medley-Rath’s to determine how sexuality was approached in these two adult magazines. Farvid & Braun looked at the portrayal of male sexuality and how it conditions female sexuality (both overtly and covertly) from issue to issue (p. 296). They conclude: The focus on men is particularly relevant because, in a heteronormative world, male and female sexualities are constructed simultaneously. Therefore, although previous examinations of constructions of femininity/female sexuality in magazines have been useful, they are only partially complete, as female (hetero) sexuality is also constructed through the magazines’ accounts of male (hetero) sexuality (Farvid & Braun, 2006, p. 298). The research was based on six issues of both magazines from January to June 2002 (p. 298), and the data is consistent with that of the Seventeen
114 Sociology Reference Guide

study. Sexuality (for both men and women) is portrayed exclusively as heterosexual (Jackson, 1996; McLoughlin, 2000, as cited in Farvid & Braun, p. 299). Furthermore, while there were a number of incidences in which women were portrayed as being confident and independent, . . .women were overwhelmingly represented as wanting/ needing men in their lives and ultimately seeking (monogamous) long-term relationships with men; this was often situated as the desired outcome from a new date/sexual encounter…[Furthermore, w]omen were constantly depicted as ultimately looking for their ‘Mr Right’ (who was presumed to exist for all women)… [and] men were implicitly located as the underlying source of women’s fulfilment, security, and happiness. The magazines rarely considered a woman’s life without a man … Men were rarely represented as ‘needing’ women in the same manner, and their presumed full autonomy and independence was something women implicitly still do not possess, nor should they desire it (p. 299-300). As a publication created for women, what men want in and outside of the bedroom was the focus from month to month. In addition, women “giving” men what they want was also the focus in that advice (sometimes from men) was provided for readers to best meet the (primarily sexual) needs of the men in their lives. This information was provided based on the assumption that women didn’t already have it – or couldn’t figure it out on their own. Furthermore, it was clear within the magazines that what men want was their primary concern and should also be the primary concern for women (Farvid & Braun, 2006, p. 300). Of concern is the fact that interviews from men were expanded upon by the magazine editors as though what the men said was gospel. One man described being controlled by his “groin” as though the biology of his body was responsible for his actions; he couldn’t help being a creature of sexual desire (p. 301). Farvid & Braun note how dangerous this concept can be as it “can function to represent male sexuality as not only needy/driven, but also as uncontrollable, which potentially shifts the responsibility of certain sexual actions (such as infidelity/cheating [or sexual assaults]) away from the man” (p. 301).
Exploring Human Sexuality 115

Over five-hundred African American female teens aged 14-18 (p. are juxtaposed to one advertisement after another selling products to hamper the aging process. “Guy talk: Is there any man totally cheat-proof?.When articles entitled. et al. however.” which include quotes from men. 2002. and amoral … their depiction often overemphasizes their sexualized. Peterson and colleagues note that teenagers who regularly viewed the stereotypical sexual behaviors often portrayed by rap music were more likely (by their own admission) to. In a summary of their findings. 1161). that women in general (regardless of race) are portrayed the same way in videos representing a variety of musical genres. 1158). 1157). who touts a Louisville Slugger proudly as she bashes the headlights out of her cheating boyfriend’s truck. 302): Give your man what he wants and be as attractive as possible when you are doing it. “African American women are often portrayed as hypersexual. 1158). Shakira. p. p. 1158) participated in the study by completing the written surveys. Stephens & Phillips. It could be argued. Furthermore. it should not be a mystery what message women are supposed to take from these publications (Cosmopolitan. 2003. physical appearance and places them as decorative objects rather than active agents. To gather the appropriate data. Peterson et al. in the videos” (Emerson. 1157). et al. Harrington & Davies (2007) conducted one of the first studies to examine the relationship between images of sexual stereotypes in rap music videos to negative health consequences for African American female adolescents (p. as cited in Farvid & Braun. Hip-hop Music Videos Peterson. 2005. Consider Madonna. and providing urine for a marijuana screening (p. created a survey and interview questions about participants’ “rap music video viewing habits” (p. materialistic.. January 2002. note that within the history of rap music videos. • Have multiple sexual partners. Jennifer Lopez. Ward. and • Have a negative body image (p. Peterson. taking part in oral interviews. 2007. 2007. • Test positive for marijuana. or Carrie Underwood. DiClemente. as cited in Peterson. Hansbrough & Walker. Shania Twain. 116 Sociology Reference Guide . • Engage in binge drinking. Wingood.

After several posts listing various opinions. a person can access MySpace and read random pieces of information based on a variety of topics. would likely be arrested if she beats on her ex’s vehicle because she caught him cheating. which can list generic or specific information about the author. the “clicker” is directly sent to the author’s MySpace page. This. in reality. her post created a series of discussions on the general topics of teen pregnancy and abortion. heckled. Furthermore. eager to please. creating a topic or post also sets an author up for scads of criticism. The girl was ridiculed. to anyone who wanted to read it) stating that she’d had a miscarriage. their videos show them as being amoral. In one instance. materialistic. the site. Apparently. and in many instances. young women think they represent normal behavior. faces. After all. and hypersexual. possibly before they truly understand the consequences of pleasing behaviors. When those teen bodies. the author posted a short note (again. and “attitudes” don’t simulate the ones seen on television. In addition. one member (you do not have to be a member to access the discussion posts) created a forum to tell his friend to stop logging into the MySpace site using his username. She was asking anyone who wanted to respond about their opinions regarding her not having an abortion. in turn. Anyone can view forums from the past few weeks focusing on topics just as exciting. Moreover. The problem with those depictions is that because they are displayed so frequently. What is alarming about these forums is that whoever creates a topic or responds to posts already created is identified by his username. By clicking on the username listed within the post. set off further discussions. any woman. has open discussion forums ranging in subject from sexual preferences to God to teen pregnancy and abortion. and supported by people she did not even know. which allows people to upload pictures of themselves and discuss their lives in great detail.Regardless of how these women behave when the camera is not rolling on them. The Internet In ten minutes. Currently. youthful audiences are left to feel abnormal and inadequate. Friend #1 used Friend #2s computer often enough that he (Friend #1) clicked on the automatic login Exploring Human Sexuality 117 . a teenager wrote in about being pregnant.

org/) What is especially appealing about this resource is that if someone’s community does not have a Girls Incorporated organization. However. Information about Internet safety. The organization focuses educational programming toward high-risk female youth in America.option so as to not type in his username every time he used Friend #2s computer. .girlsinc. adolescent health. sexuality. most of the programming can be acquired online. friendships. An article entitled. 2005). media literacy. demonstrating effective parenting skills. Today he has two radio programs. violence prevention. it describes Jairo Bouer. women who lead successful lives – running companies. it could be a dangerous one depending on what Friend #2 does (writes) when he’s logged in as Friend #1. and HIV – over the Brazilian airwaves to help youth learn the truth about sexuality (Tabakman. and prepare them to lead successful. “All he talks about is sex. and fulfilling lives (http://www. smart. writes books. Positive Influences Sexuality Education & the Media Girls Incorporated is a nonprofit organization dedicated to “inspiring all girls to be strong. violence. sexually transmitted infections. Friend #2 – either overtly or covertly – used the saved username when he accessed MySpace. participating in political activisim – are celebrated every day within the site so that young girls can see the possibilities of thinking positively about themselves. and sports participation … [Participants learn to] confront subtle societal messages about their value and potential. math and science education. participates in 118 Sociology Reference Guide . economic literacy.” is sure to raise eyebrows. an adolescent psychiatrist in Brazil who talks openly about sex – pregnancy prevention.girlsinc. Whether or not this was a deliberate pregnancy and drug abuse prevention. and bold” (http://www. appears on television (“I reach the rich by cable and the poor by parabolic antenna”). and education can be found within seconds when touring this site. . the various programs include . through the website. independent. In addition.

2005. Various partners in the field of reproductive health. He notes that the call-in format of his talk shows and Q&A section on his website create anonymity for people who simply want accurate information. he appeared on MTV Brazil for a four-hour program on sex in 1998. Bouer encourages youth to use the radio or Internet when they need information. the more seriously it will be taken by its audience. Girls Incorporated. making considered choices about sexual activity and acquiring emotional intelligence are key learning outcomes (cited in “New Study. industry and trade. Sexuality education is not just about providing information. Having respect for oneself and others. According to Dr. and the World Health Organization are encouraging a holistic approach to sexuality education delivered via the Exploring Human Sexuality 119 . Encouraging the development of positive sexual behaviors is not a concept restricted to the Internet or radio talk shows. Gunta Lazdane. many times by seeking out adolescents on their turf. “Can any fluid from the penis make you pregnant?” (Tabakman. par. The more consistently the message is promoted. such as governmental and non-governmental agencies. Regional Advisor. Reproductive Health and Research at the WHO Regional Office for Europe. reproductive health. Ruth Westheimer in the United States. When messages appear in different media simultaneously. 18). 2005. 7). the goal of any sexuality education collaboration should be all-encompassing. It helps young people develop values. Jairo Bouer. When he can’t go to them. and has his own website—you guessed it—on sex (Tabakman. attitudes and skills so that they can make appropriate choices about their sexual behaviour. can take a lead in mass media work. p. like one caller who asked. Schools can facilitate or develop partnerships with mass media representatives to co-ordinate and collaborate on efforts that address family life. and population issues and to ensure consistent messages (“Family Life. Much like Dr.conferences (including some organized by the Pan American Health Organization).” 2003. Bouer uses humor to reach his audience. their effect is intensified. serves as a government consultant on HIV/AIDS and drug and alcohol prevention. 17-18).” 2006. 47). p. p. and women’s and youth groups.

the concept of older people having sex would not be considered. a developing intellect. p. 120 Sociology Reference Guide . an elderly person who is mugged ranks much higher with regard to media coverage than a middleaged person. communities become enraged. This is stereotypical and creates a societal norm that women have to fight the process. as younger is classified as a societal value. Simon (1996) notes that when either a child or an elderly woman are raped. the concept of sexuality is one that focuses on young men and women in the midst of pubescence. and oftentimes. in films. 34). avoiding older populations in advertisements. as cited in González. For example. the media loses sight of that fact. while when a forty-year old woman is raped. when a woman who is expected to be sexually active is raped. Viewpoints Sexuality beyond Adolescence Clearly. without advertisements for Viagra. or classifying one cohort of people over the other based on their age is called age-grading. The idea of valuing. therefore. According to González (2007). This is a common phenomenon within the media. The problem with this is that power relationships are formed through the differences in people who are considered sexually attractive and those who are not. age grading is a practice demonstrated regularly by the media (p. communities tend to be less outraged (p. and a future without limits will also understand that she has a responsibility to make the best possible choices. it is not such a big deal. it affects everyone. while men simply let it happen. Any young woman who understands that the different pieces of her body are connected to real emotions. as if the effects of the aging process have not taken their toll on men as it has on older women. It is common also to note a distinguished older man. 52-54. when sex is forced upon them. Additionally. 2007. Middle-aged women are constantly seen in advertisements for products to help them look younger. The very young and the very old are seen as more vulnerable. in television programming. namely the elderly (p. This is age-grading: children and the elderly are not sexual creatures and. Yet. 35). however. their ages are classified as more important in this situation than is the forty-year old. it is despicable. 31).

11 (4).com/login. the Internet. Girls Incorporated. 2008 from Girls Incorporated website: http://www. (2008). C. Information Central: Resources Retrieved July 2. p.11 González. In consequence. 31-47. In addition. but diverse meanings which change through time and space (González. 2008 from EBSCO online database SocINDEX: http://search.aspx?direct=true&db=sih&AN=27768 239&site=ehost-live Exploring Human Sexuality 121 . age-graded sexualities are those arenas where our bodies are in constant struggle against their own ageing bodily boundaries while sexually expressing themselves … Because age-grading configures complex and contested forms of interaction and ways of experiencing sexuality. Age-graded sexualities: The struggles of our ageing body. The lack of discussion can lead teens to utilize the media for information about sex. but it is not so commonly discussed. Homepage: Retrieved July 3. the implication is that it is a topic that is better left to other sources. mature women are less attractive sexually. sexuality is commonly seen through media Girls and Sexuality. php?id=3. Bibliography Girls Incorporated. even when that information may be inaccurate or misleading. when. 2007. p. Music videos.1. Sexuality & Culture. 2008 from Girls Incorporated website: http://www. (2008). American culture promotes sex through the media by not enforcing diligent standards against images that commonly degrade women. It also creates inconsistency with regard to sexuality in that if those effects are not hidden. 43) Indeed.girlsinc. television programming.ebscohost. it may be left out of conversation because parents don’t realize their children are curious about it. even if a homosexual relationship is a girl’s primary concern. Conclusion In America. in fact. Retrieved June 23. Finally. and magazines are easily accessible to youth and lead young girls to believe that sex is something they should use to gain the attention of the opposite sex.Consequently.girlsinc. the implication from the media that women need to hide the effects of aging implies that there is something wrong with the aging process. When parents don’t discuss sex with their children. that it needs to be concealed from society. understanding these aspects requires establishing connections with sociological issues that affect and mediate our society and sexualities. age-graded sexualities are certainly not just about sex. while the same standard is not given to men. (2007).

Needham Heights: Allyn and Bacon. New study launched on sexuality education for young people. 17-19.aspx?direct=true&db=fmh&AN=23332644&site=e host-live Kammayer.ebscohost. 13– 27. Wingood. (2007). UK: Macmillian. Sexuality and Culture. 2008 from WHO website: http://www. R. anyplace.aspx?direct=true&db=sih& AN=26607939&site=ehost-live http://www. & Peterson.. 2008. (1991). and Population Education: Key Elements of a HealthPromoting School. 2008 from WHO website: http://www. 16 (8). Harrington. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology. (2007). C. (1999). (1993). M. N. R. S. H. & Hebron. Images of sexual stereotypes in rap videos and the health of African American female adolescents.Family anywhere: Male and female sexuality in Cleo and Cosmo. DiClemente. Retrieved June 23. 6. Sociology: Experiencing Changing Societies (6th ed. 1157-1164. Unbearable weight: login. S. W. and the body.pdf Farvid. Sex Roles. P. All he talks about is sex. R. Berkeley. 2008 from website: http://www. G. p. G.. Retrieved June 25. p. (2005). (2005). S.paho. C. 2008 from EBSCO online database SocINDEX: http://search. Website accessed July 5.ebscohost. M. Woman’s worlds: Ideology. (2006). Suggested Reading Baker. R. Images of sex and rape: A content analysis of popular film.). ‘Is that supposed to be sexy?’ Women discuss ‘top shelf’ magazines. (1994). Western culture. Bordo. 2008 from EBSCO online database Academic Search Complete: http://search. Journal of Women’s Health. E. K. 2008 from EBSCO online database Gender Studies Database: http://search.htm http://www. Frazer. M.myspace. Bufkin. V. (2003).euro. 52(1/2). 9.aspx?direct=true&db=fmh&AN=WMST128233&site=ehost-live Tabakman. Perspectives in Health. Reproductive Health. 10 (2).com/.com/ Website accessed July 5. 2008. P. Houndmills. Sex Roles. J. Images of women’s sexuality in advertisements: A content analysis of Black. 295310. Retrieved June 23. 55 (5/6).. 1317–1344.. Violence Against Women. & Yetman. N. Beetham. & Davies. who. 449–461. and the woman’s magazine. (2000).. Medley-Rath. S. Retrieved June 23.. S. 11 (2). Retrieved June 23. Boynton.who. Retrieved June 25. ‘Am I still a virgin?’: What counts as sex in 20 years of Seventeen.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=16272974&site=e host-live Ballaster. S. California: University of California Press. & Braun.ebscohost. femininity. Retrieved June 25. 122 Sociology Reference Guide .. K. (2006). World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe. 2008 from EBSCO online database Gender Studies Database: http://search. Most of us guys are raring to go anytime.and White-oriented women’s and men’s magazines. 24-38. p. p.

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“neither a purely biological or purely sociocultural approach can encompass the complexity of sexual desire (2001). 1922). Scholarly research about male and female sexuality has focused on two different aspects of influence: Biological and socio/cultural/political (Tolman & Diamond. Human sexuality can be defined as the way that a person views himself or herself as a sexual being through sexual preferences and actions. the essentialist theory acknowledges that social and historical influences also play a role. but a secondary one. While biology is the overriding influence in determining sexuality.” The essentialist theory focuses on biology as the major factor in determining male and female sexuality differences. but as the complexity of our culture increased. Tolman and Diamond state. “our entire experience of sexuality can be viewed as a context and culture-specific story that we come to live… [but] 126 Sociology Reference Guide . 2001). The social constructionist theory attributes gender differences in sexuality to the cultural and psychosocial processes that act upon individuals and prescribe appropriate male and female sexual feelings and behaviors. According to sociologists Deb Tolman and Lisa Diamond.Religion & Sexuality Carolyn Sprague Overview Sexual relations were never free of religious or economic regulations. social conventions began to place restrictions on sexuality (Weber.

Appealing to the Laity Sexual abstinence and self control were the two principals that were espoused by the Christian Church as the most certain path to righteous Exploring Human Sexuality 127 . early Christianity focused on human sexual pleasure as “warranting special attention. Sexual abstinence was seen as a central and indispensable means of salvation and was achieved through contemplative withdrawal from the world.” Hawkes reviews some of the influences that early Christianity has contributed to our socially constructed ideas about the sexual body. This essay investigates the role that different religions have played in shaping human sexuality within social and historical contexts. 1922). Max Weber. assured a fall from grace – a surrender to the irresistible temptations of the flesh (Hawkes.the sociocultural forces that shape our subjective experience of sexuality are largely invisible to us” (2001). According to Hawkes. Abstinence was a highly regarded and extraordinary type of behavior which could be used for the “magical coercion of God” (Weber. 2007). p. and self control. 1922).” Hostility to sexuality was manifest in the pursuit of chastity. Sexuality constituted the most powerful temptation (which linked humans with animal nature). The temptation of the body required constant vigilance. Weber’s “Sociology of Religion” included chapters related to human sexuality and the role of religion in its influence. an emphasis on alertness. In her essay “The Problem of Pleasure and the Making of Sexual Sin in Early Christianity. Christianity & Sexual Practice Sexual Abstinence & Self Control Sociologist Gail Hawkes describes herself as a sociologist of sexuality who looks at history as a way of translating current complexities into our modern lives. Weber suggests that Christianity exhibits an “anti-erotic religiosity. Whether the inhabitant or the observer. 2007. 2). a noted 19th century sociologist wrote widely about the social influences of religion on different aspects of society. Priestly celibacy was encouraged so that those holding church offices (clergy) would not lag behind the “supremely chaste” monks (Weber. unmediated proximity to the sexual body (as constructed by early Christianity). but the values attached to human’s sexual pleasure [were] negative” (Hawkes.

marriage offered a legally regulated channel of sexuality” (Weber. and will be discussed in more detail later in this essay. 2007). sexual intercourse was necessary for procreation and continuance of the human race. legitimization of marriage was a way to encourage monogamy which was the “hallmark of the Christian community” (Weber. Women’s body’s were of particular concern. 2007). influencing the general population about sexuality was a more daunting task. 128 Sociology Reference Guide . While these principals were practiced by clergy and monks. people who had sex (and particularly men) knew that sex with women was “overwhelmingly enjoyable” (Hawkes. the Judaic and Islamic faiths were also able to acknowledge that (procreation aside): “Sexual drivers were absolutely irresistible for the average person. Legally regulated marriage itself was regarded. not for its erotic value. 1922). • Second. according to Weber.salvation. 1922). 2007). Selling the idea of complete chastity to the general populate was challenging for a couple of fairly obvious reasons. as women were seen as lacking in self control and therefore posed a significant threat if they were to experience sexual pleasure (Hawkes. but as an economic institution for the production and rearing of children. Marriage The institution of marriage was one way that religions could place parameters around sexuality by defining marriage as a religious sacrament. • First. people need to “explicitly recognize the perils” associated with loss of control over the body. The theme concerning women and their lack of self control over their sexuality is a common one in many religions. While many espoused a “direct religious obligation to beget children. In every sense. Hawkes investigated the pre-Christian and early Christian attitudes toward human sexuality with a focus on how to “manage the problem of the body” (Hawkes. The role of marriage. was to eliminate all free sexual relationships. the body represented a danger to chastity. The Christian faith was effective in further raising anxiety levels by preaching the sex associated with pleasure was “bad” (immoral) sex.

Ironically. 2004). that church officials realized that they were essentially giving people an erotic education (Hawkes. Later. the text’s focused on distinguishing between moral and immoral sex. Penance for sins. 11). 2007). We will now look at how other religions view the theme of human sexuality. but represents a strong and chronic urge that can be equated to hunger or thirst. Jews believe that sexuality is a strong drive that must be controlled lest it lead people astray. Centuries of examining and distinguishing between sexual practices helped to establish “internal boundaries of shame” while firmly establishing the association of sex with sin (Weber. Sexuality & Judaism Judaism takes a (moderately) conservative stance regarding sexuality: Sex is seen as a divine gift from God not only from a procreation standpoint but for the purpose of companionship and pleasure. Much religion is “pleasure phobic” according to Daniel Maguire (Maguire. because many people think of sex as pleasurable and this is often counter to religious teaching. especially those of a sexual nature became part of the religious doctrine and provided a healthy dose of public shame. p. Like other religions. Marriage is the only allowable outlet for men and women to express their Exploring Human Sexuality 129 .Public Shame: Sex as Sin A growing Christian population posed challenges about how best to manage sexuality on a large scale. The Penitential’s covered all the original sins with over half the questions concerned with sexual behavior. Throughout. private confessions took the place of public penance and served as a means to both absolve one of past sins and monitor future ones. 2007). they contained as much detail as was acceptable to effectively control and prescribe what was acceptable. 2007. “The detailed questions relating to how. with whom and how often one had sex were in effect training the sexual body” (Hawkes. it must be emphasized that no distinctive religion of salvation has in principal any other view” (Weber. Sexuality across the Religious Spectrum “Despite the widespread belief that hostility toward sexuality is a special view of Christianity. 1922). the Penitential’s were so detailed. Penitential’s were handbooks that included exhaustive and detailed list of sins and their appropriate penance. the answer proved to be more of the same control. Sexual expression seems at odds with religious practice. Sexuality is not considered to be evil.

premarital sex and adultery Condemnation of sexuality Broad view of sexuality and gender. Judaism sees the consummation of the marriage as more than physical. Sexuality outside marriage is considered wrong or deviant. it is believed that she could potentially lose control . A union for life provides: Shared strength.with disastrous consequences. While men have little more luck than women of controlling their sex drives as a result of experiencing sexual pleasure. In the Islamic world. surveillance and punishment Condemnation of women Narrow view of sexuality-mostly about sexual function.sexuality and avoid the sin of temptation. Middle East & North Africa (East) Women’s sexuality is active and assertive Reliance on external sanctions to control behavior. sex and honor are linked making issues surrounding sexuality “potentially explosive” (Uhlmann. adultery. Jewish and Druze communities (Uhlmann. It may be helpful to examine the traditional views of Western vs Eastern societies on women’s sexuality. pleasure and partnership in raising children. but are not the exclusive concern of one religious group. as are any variation on: Premarital sex. women’s actions and bodies are closely policed by others and by the woman herself. The threat is seen in the potentially uncontrollable sex drives that are shared by both men and women. the consequences are far less serious for men. 1999). In the Islamic world. veiling. 2005). As a result. Christian. Female sexuality poses a threat to collective honor in Muslim. Europe and North America (West) Women are considered passive(sexually) Reliance on internalized sanctions to control behavior. 2005). female virginity and honor are closely linked. Marriage represents a mitzvah (a good deed) where the woman’s sexual needs have the most importance. homosexuality or bestiality (Nelson. If a woman on the other hand were to experience sexual pleasure. Sexuality & Islam Islam is a ubiquitous force in the Middle East and North Africa and is a crucial factor in understanding sexual behavior. essence. 130 Sociology Reference Guide . sexual practices have emerged as a critical arena in which social and ideological conflicts are played out. Across the Middle East. self-gratification. it is also a thinking act that requires responsibility and commitment.

Teens experience a “temptation rich” life. 2007). Statistics show that teens who call themselves evangelical actually have sex a bit younger than other teens and tend to have more partners as well (Rosin. The secular pressure exerted on teens today is far greater than what their parents experienced a generation ago. but rather how strongly they identify themselves with their religious ideals (religiosity). they don’t lead insular lives and are exposed to the same TV and music as others. Regerus found that while evangelical teens espouse the message of the religious institution (that sex is acceptable in marriage only).Current Attitudes about Sexuality & Religion Teen Sexuality & Religious Belief Mark Regerus. Sexual Guilt Other researchers have studied the influence of religion on attitudes about human sexuality from a different perspective. but became institutionalized with the publication of the Penetentials (Hawkes. A study conducted a decade before Regerus’ revealed that it is “not religion. The modern evangelical movement doesn’t allow for much gray Exploring Human Sexuality 131 . but because surveys are “notoriously unreliable” (Rosin. 2007). per se. 1997). This study reports that the intensity of religious belief has little bearing on sexual attitudes or behaviors if the individual experiences low or no sexual guilt. their actions may be quite different. Sexual guilt has been a part of the Christian faith from its earliest days. Regerus’ research found that it is not what religion teens identify with that affects their likelihood to have sex. This elite minority has tremendous discipline over their hormones. Regerus conducted comprehensive and in-depth interviews when completing his surveys. The same research suggests that an “elite minority” (about 16%) of teens stated that religion is extremely important in their lives. 2007) Regerus compared survey responses with the actual practices of teens. a sociology professor at the University of Texas at Austin has studied the association between teen sexuality (sexual activity) and religious beliefs. not only do they not have sex. that influences sexual attitudes and behavior but sex guilt that resulted from early religious training or experience (Gunderson & McCary. but masturbation is also very highly discouraged as “selfish and lustful” (Rosin. 2007).

and to do so while continuing the regular practice of Catholicism and even continuing the description of themselves as good. 2001) for many Catholics. 1997). Low sexual guilt. 1985. 2004). which will interfere with their sexuality (Gunderson & McCary. and a high level of sexual activity. the more pleasure that was experienced. 2008. strong. The reaction of practicing Catholics to the 1968 Humanae Vitae (the Catholic Church’s official pronouncement that it would not reverse its stance on the use of birth control within the confines of marriage) is outlined in the following quote from Catholic sociologist Andrew Geeley: “Certainly never in the history of Catholicism have so many Catholics in such apparent good faith decided that they can reject the official teaching of the church as to what is sexually sinful and what is not. p. conservative sexual attitudes. Sexual guilt is still a very effective means of regulating sexuality and suppressing information as well. 2007). on the other hand. qtd in Catholics for Choice. Christianity has long equated sexual pleasure with sinfulness. solid Catholics” (Greely. The Catholic hierarchy was trying 132 Sociology Reference Guide . Religious Doctrine & the Rise of the Laity Catholicism. like many other religions. and restricted sexual behavior. but rather the Catholic clergy. High sexual guilt has been traditionally associated with low levels of sex information. “Evangelicals see sex as a symbolic boundary separating good Christians from bad” (Rosin. has established prescriptive requirements that define appropriate human conduct in relation to sexuality. “Sexuality [is a] contested arena” (Herrara. has been traditionally associated with high levels of sex information. Greeley suggests that it was not rank and file Catholics that the Church hierarchy was seeking to control with the release of the “Humanae Vitae” in 1968. Individuals who attend church more frequently are more likely to experience elevated levels of sexual guilt. In Maguire’s opinion the “religious grounding” of such beliefs is largely to blame for people in Western culture’s inability to face their sexuality (Maguire.area between what is right or wrong when it comes to sex. liberal sexual attitudes. only sex with the right person of the right gender and under the right circumstances is acceptable. the greater the sin. 8).

but the ecclesiastic leadership of the Church is unmoved in its stance on sexuality (Greeley. welfare and social control were all once the domain of religious institutions. The church held unquestioned authority in a single moral universe dependent on a relaExploring Human Sexuality 133 . 2002). 1999). 40 years after the “Humanae Vitae” was made public. with clergy and laity growing closer in their views about human sexuality. Greeley suggest that there has been a definite change in the sexual values of the Catholic clergy. it is responsible for the changing social structures which are initiated through the industrialization of work. Today. The secular is related to the worldly or temporal rather than the spiritual. Modernization creates problems for religion. health care. religion’s influence is diminished in its impact over non-religious institutions. including a rise in the number of younger clergy holding modern values.S. Meanwhile. This trend toward exhibiting individual moral judgments may be a result of secular influence. 1973). the rise of individualism and economic prosperity (Bruce. Within this context. in the here and now (VaughnFoerster.” At high levels of the ecclesiastic leadership there was a fear that Catholic clergy were becoming too liberal (Greeley. The values and personality of Catholic clergy are changing. Greeley cites a number of factors that have contributed to the liberalization of the Catholic clergy. urbanization. the definition is taken to be the opposite of religious and often equated with the declining social power of religion (Bruce. it emphasizes living in the present world. Specialists who are trained in new bodies of knowledge have replaced religious professionals for guidance on social and familial issues. 2002). The reaction of practicing Catholics to the “Humanae Vitae” illustrates the willingness of some believers to dismiss religious doctrine in favor of their personal beliefs. 1973).” 2005). a 2005 Gallop poll showed that 75% of all U. Secularization & Modernization The term secularization has come to be closely associated with religion. In modern society. Catholics believe the Church should allow the use of contraception (“Many Catholics…. the Catholic Church continues to hold onto an ideology that becomes more outdated with each passing year. “plug a hole in the dike.

p. 2). 2001). 2002). Increased diversity within society means that individuals view what is sexually acceptable in a variety of ways. “Sexuality is God’s life-giving and life-fulfilling gift. In the opinion of one theologian. The modern believer is committed to his beliefs but can’t avoid the knowledge that many other people believe differently (Bruce. 2000). brokenness. secular moral system enables a customization of one’s moral.tively stable social structure (Bruce. The rising influence of the “laity” in religious affairs encourages a “separation from religious origins [and the] reconstruction [of a] secular moral system” (Herrara. “conservative denominations deliver obtuse messages about sexuality that are rooted in scripture and are often seen as turning a blind eye toward contemporary issues of sexuality (Dillashaw. Many do not believe that religious institutions have done enough to address issues of sexuality in the modern society. Catholic clergy are adopting liberal views towards human sexuality and are becoming much more closely aligned with that of the laity. What’s called for is “a re-evaluation of the theology of sexuality that allows for diversity of sexual expression within the church community” (Dillashaw. Secularization impacts beliefs about human sexuality in numerous ways. oppression. 2000). they are more tolerant of divergent attitudes regarding sexuality. Simply proscribing a definition of correct sexual expression does not encompass the experience of the majority of members” (Dillashaw. The Future: Increased Sexual Tolerance? In the modern world. 2000). We are speaking out against the pain. spiritual and ethical beliefs. 134 Sociology Reference Guide . 2002. and loss of meaning that many experience about their sexuality” (Haffner. We come from diverse religious communities to recognize sexuality as central to our humanity and as integral to our spirituality. The adoption of beliefs based on an individualized. 2002). people are not only more aware of issues related to sexuality. More liberal religions are striving to create faith communities that welcome sexual diversity into their congregations by crafting messages that promote the ideas of sexual justice and healing. New social roles and increased social mobility have increased the fluidity of social structures and increasing moves to separate Church and State contribute to differing community and religious world views.

Bianchi, E. (1996). Sexuality and Catholicism. America, 174(4), 26. Retrieved May 13, 2008, from EBSCO Online Database Academic Search Complete. http://search.ebscohost. com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=9603153761&site=ehost-live Bruce, S. (2002). The secularization paradigm. In God is dead (pp. 1-43). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Retrieved June 8, 2008, from content/BPL_Images/Content_store/Sample_chapter/9780631232742/001.pdf Catholics for Choice. (2008). Truth and consequence, a look behind the Vatican’s ban on contraception. Retrieved May 13, 2008, from http://www. Dillashaw, H. (2000) The transformation of the Church: Speaking a theology of sexuality. Vanderbilt Divinity School. Retrieved May 15, 2008, from http://www.vanderbilt. edu/divinity/carpenter/papers/dillshaw.html Greeley, A. (1973). The sexual revolution among Catholic clergy. Review of Religious Research, 14(2), 91-100. Retrieved May 15, 2008, from EBSCO Online Database Academic Search Complete. =a9h&AN=10815333&site=ehost-live Haffner, D. (2002) A time to build: Creating sexually healthy faith-based communities. Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice and Healing. Retrieved May 15, 2008, from Hawkes, G. (2007, November). The problem of pleasure and the making of sexual sin in early Christianity. Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality. Retrieved June 8, 2008, from Maguire, D. (2004). Sex and the sacred. Cross Currents, 54(3). Retrieved May 14, 2008, from Many Catholics reject church ban on birth control, condoms for HIV prevention; new Pope unlikely to have differing views. (2005, April 13). Medical News Today. Retrieved June 4, 2008, from Nelson. W. (1999). Mesa Community College. Retrieved June 9, 2008 from http://www. Rosin, H. (2007, May 30). Even Evangelical teens do it: How religious beliefs do, and don’t, influence sexual behavior. Slate. Retrieved May 14, 2008, from id/2167293/ Sacrament. (n.d.). Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved January 22, 2009, from website. Tolman, D., & Diamond, L. (2001). Desegregating sexuality research: Cultural and biological perspectives on gender and desire. Annual Review of Sex Research, 12, 33. Retrieved June 4, 2008, from EBSCO Online Database SocINDEX with Full Text. http://

Exploring Human Sexuality


Uhlmann, A. (2005). Introduction: Reflections on the study of sexuality in the Middle East and North Africa. Social Analysis, 49(2), 3-15. Retrieved June 4, 2008, from EBSCO Online Database SocINDEX with Full Text. rect=true&db=sih&AN=25845731&site=ehost-live Vaughn-Foerster, D. (1999, Sep/Oct). Secular religion: Its power and promise. HumanQuest. Retrieved June 8, 2009, from qa3861/is_199909/ai_n8859290 Weber, M. (1922). The sociology of religion. Retrieved June 8, 2007, from http://www.

Suggested Reading
Morelli, G. (2005). Sex is holy: Psycho-spiritual reflections in a secular world. Retrieved May 15, 2008, from Orthodoxy Today. MorelliSexIsHoly.php Slowinski, J. (2001). Therapeutic dilemmas: Solving sexual difficulties in the context of religion. Journal of Sex Education & Therapy, 26(4), 272. Retrieved May 13, 2008, from EBSCO Online Database SocINDEX with Full Text. login.aspx?direct=true&db=sih&AN=6823253&site=ehost-live Williams, R. (1997, November 12). Is America in a culture war? Yes-no-sort of. Christian Century Magazine, 1038-1043. Retrieved May 15, 2008, from


Sociology Reference Guide

Terms & Concepts

Age Grading: Classifying/ranking people based on their ages. Androphilia: Having a sexual attraction to males. Bestiality: Bestiality is a term used to describe a sexual act (kissing, petting, intercourse) between a human and an animal. Bias: A research bias occurs when some members of the overall population are more likely to be included in the research than others. The best way to avoid bias is to use a random sample of the population. Bipolar Scale: A bipolar rating scale is structured in such a way as to have a transitional midpoint between two extremes. In the case where a preference is indicated, each extreme would indicate a distinct preference, while the midpoint can signify either indifference to both or preference to each. In a bipolar scale, the definition of the midpoint has the potential to impact the meaning of other points as well. Bisexual: People who embrace the notion of being able to love one another irrespective of gender. Childhood Sexual Development: Childhood sexual developmental can be described as stages that take place throughout childhood which seems to point out which sexual behaviors and feelings should be considered “normal” for children of certain ages, genders, or cultural backgrounds. Civil Marriage: A type of marriage that is officiated by a civil authority, such as a judge, rather than by a religious authority or body. Though someExploring Human Sexuality 137

Its central purpose was the investigation of human sexuality in the context of morphology. The Committee was discharged in 1963. California in 1955. into an organized system. Comstock Law: Named for Anthony Comstock. Its members also promoted civil rights for GLBT people. and states are not required to recognize civil unions that are recognized in other states. values. Due to the support of the committee. Committee for Research in Problems of Sex (CRPS): The Committee was established in 1922 within the National Research Council’s Division of Medical Sciences with the cooperation of the Bureau of Social Hygiene and support from the Rockefeller Foundation. Domestic Partner: A person of the same or opposite sex who lives in a domestic relationship with another person without marriage. Codified: To arrange things. Civil Union: A form of legal union which allows same sex couples to receive the state rights and benefits conferred upon heterosexual couples. especially laws and principles.times spoken of as a contract. Counter Culture: Generally refers to the 1960s movement against conservative social and moral values. Daughters of Billitis: A lesbian organization founded in San Francisco. and psychology. and principles that govern the decisions and overall atmosphere of a business or organization. a great deal of new data on various aspects of human sexuality was accumulated.” the group grew considerably and provided a place for lesbians to meet outside the bars and speak freely about their lives.” which can be characterized as a public statement regarding commitment and sexual relationship as an alternative to marriage. physiology. marriage in the eyes of the municipal law affords specific benefits to the married parties. who in 1873 passed legislation prohibiting the mailing of obscene. Cohabitation: Cohabitation can be described “living together. lascivious. or indecent writing or advertisements. lewd. Corporate Culture: The attitudes. As the gay community “came out. Same-sex couples in civil unions are not eligible for the federal benefits conferred upon heterosexual couples. 138 Sociology Reference Guide .

Same-sex couples in domestic partnerships are not eligible for federal benefits conferred upon heterosexual couples. and states are not required to recognize domestic partnerships that are recognized in other states. bisexuals and transgendered individuals. Gay Rights Movement: The Gay Rights Movement in the United States has been successful in achieving many rights for homosexuals. Gay: Males who prefer sexual relationships with males. Gender Bias: Prejudice or discrimination against a person based on that person’s sex. same-sex couples in domestic partnerships generally receive fewer rights and benefits than same-sex couples in civil unions. and GLBT military personnel are obliged to keep their orientations and identities private if they wish to serve.Domestic Partnership: A form of legal union similar to civil unions in that it grants same-sex couples the state rights and benefits conferred upon heterosexual couples. It is a strong disparity between one’s body and one’s mind. Ecclesiastical Authority: The Christian belief in God as the supreme authority. Gender Identity: Gender identity can be described as a process that begins to develop typically around the age of 3 and can be described as an individual’s sense of “maleness” or “femaleness. Evangelical: Refers to a religious movement aligned with Protestant Christianity which identifies closely with the gospel. However. It reached its height during the late nineteenth century. but identifies themselves as being another gender.” Exploring Human Sexuality 139 . Gender Identity Disorder: A psychiatric condition where an individual who has been born or assigned one gender. This movement has extended around the world where many organizations are making the case for equal treatment for those of non-traditional sexual orientations. Don’t Tell: The current federal policy toward the question of GLBT individuals serving in the military: the government does not ask recruits about their sexual orientation or gender identity. and one of its major proponents was Victoria Woodhall. evangelism and a high regard for Biblical authority. Don’t Ask. Free Love Movement: Sought to separate the state from sexual matters such as marriage. or gender.

Gynephilia: Having a sexual attraction to females. strong. Heterosexism: A culturally embedded ideology which privileges heterosexual behavior. in females. Gonad: An organ that produces reproductive cells. or other minority group status. Hate Crimes: Criminal actions intended to harm or intimidate people because of their race. or gametes. Glass Ceiling: Occupational barriers that prevent women who are fully qualified and capable from advancing into another position within a company.Gender Socialization: The process by which cultural gender roles are taught Gender: Culturally defined differences between females and males. The hegemonic male is assertive. they are the ovaries. or seek to simply make it invisible. Heteronormative: Basing what is normal on the behaviors of heterosexuals. these organs are the testes. Can be used to collectively refer to people who identify themselves with these terms. also referred to as bias crimes. and communities over homosexual behavior. or transgender. relationships. a leader. aggressive. sexual orientation. bisexual. relationships. or to gay. and communities. In males. but originally used to describe the heterosexual’s discomfort with being near or having any dealings with a gay person. Homophobia: A term falling out of favor. Hegemonic Masculinity: The respected traits that the dominant American culture defines as masculine. 140 Sociology Reference Guide . bisexual. lesbian. or transgender cultures in general. A heterosexist society may openly denigrate or stigmatize homosexuality. ethnicity. GLBT or LGBT: Gay. Homosexual: Describes someone who prefers sexual relations with someone of the same sex. Heterosexual: Describes someone who prefers sexual relations with someone of the opposite sex. This term may also apply to the homosexual’s feelings of self-loathing that are generated by a largely heterosexual culture. lesbian. and heterosexual. religion.

same gender sex). They do not protect users against STDs. Neurology: The study of the nervous system. Oral Contraceptives: Often called simply ‘the Pill’ and widely regarded as one of the most effective forms of birth control. Besides raising consciousness through discussions and publications. Exploring Human Sexuality 141 . Mattachine Society: A gay men’s organization founded in Los Angles in 1948. and the capacity they have for erotic experiences and responses. Human Sexuality: Human sexuality refers to the various physical. They were first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1964. Occupational Sexism: Discrimination in the workplace. By 1951 it had adopted two major goals: 1) the establishment of a grassroots effort to challenge anti-gay discrimination. psychological. these pills deliver hormones that prohibit ovulation.g. and polled political candidates on gay rights issues. intellectual and emotional ways in which people experience and express themselves as sexual beings. Mattachine legally challenged the entrapment of gay men by law enforcement officials. Occupational Segregation: The phenomenon where men and women appear to favor different occupations. and 2) the development of a positive homosexual community and culture. Laity: Members of a religious organization that are not clergy. Monozygotic Twins: Twins who developed from a single egg (also called identical twins). Lesbian: A female who prefers sexual relationships with other females. Humanae Vitae: Of human life 1968 pronouncement by the Vatican that the Catholic Church would not support the use of contraception by practicing Catholics. which is based solely on an individual’s gender. Non-Normative Sexual Practices: Sexual behavior that falls outside the realm of traditional intercourse (e. the awareness and expression of themselves as male or female.Homosocial Groups: Homosocial groups can be described as a social division of males and females in group settings.

biologically speaking. Protected Class: Groups of people defined within anti-discrimination law as being protected from discrimination and harassment. and protection of assets. survivorship benefits. or experiences recurrent sexual urges towards and fantasies about children that cause distress or interpersonal difficulty. marriage and penance (Sacrament. age. Reparative Therapy: A type of counseling that attempts to change one’s homosexual preferences and to replace them with heterosexual desires. When recognized by the government. Because overall populations are generally too large to study. consid142 Sociology Reference Guide . and veteran status are all protected classes.Pansexual: A term adopted by individuals who believe that human sexuality is a continuum of genders and are attracted to all of these genders. but who chose not to use the term bisexual because they do not believe that there are only two genders. Sample/Sampling: For research purposes. and fathers are primarily responsible for the economic welfare of the family unit. Polysexual: A term used by individuals who are attracted to both men and women. color. the most powerful members. households are usually headed by men. Patriarchal Society: A society in which men are. race. it affords gays and lesbians with the same economic and social benefits afforded to heterosexual married couples such as access to partner benefits. Same-Sex Marriage: Marriage between people of the same sex. a sample is a subset of the population to be studied. Sacrament: Something regarded as possessing a sacred character or mysterious significance including: baptism. Within such a society. a sample of the population is used. Pedophile: The term pedophile refers to a person who either has acted on intense sexual urges towards children. disability status. A random sample. sex. by and large. national origin. 2009). religion. confirmation. Patriarchy: A society where men dominate women. At the federal level. Some states have also chosen to include sexual orientation as a protected class within their anti-discrimination laws.

Sexual Orientation: One’s preference for sexual relationships with members of the opposite sex. or both. Exploring Human Sexuality 143 . referred to as taxa that are arranged into a hierarchical structure so that they may be studied. Sexual Liberalization: This terms refers to the general and incremental shift away from traditional ideas about sex. Straight: A person who is heterosexual. Sexual Prejudice: Negative attitudes and assumptions towards an individual or group that is based solely on preconceived notions of their particular gender or orientation. Transgenderism: Refers to those who do not conform to culturally prescribed norms about what it means to be male or female. Sex-Reassignment: An extensive process wherein an individual suffering from Transgender Disorder is given hormones and undergoes surgical procedures to make them biologically the appropriate sex. is one in which any individual member of the total population has the same probability of being selected as any other member of the population.ered the best way to avoid bias. the same sex. Theocracy: Government ruled by or subject to religious authority. to ones in which an individual has rights over his or her sexuality. Sex: The biological differences between males and females. neutral to or moving away from the religious. Transgender: An individual who has undergone sex-reassignment therapy and surgery. Sexual Intercourse: Phrase used to define the act of sexual penetration. Taxonomy: Taxonomy is the practice and science of classification. Stigma: An attribute that is deeply discrediting. Sexual Harassment: Verbal or physical behavior that is of an explicitly sexual nature towards someone who neither invites or welcomes the behavior from the perpetrator. Taxonomies involved the divisions of kinds of things into units. Secularization: The belief that matters of church and state should remain separate.

Wage Discrimination: A situation where an individual of one sex is paid more or less than an individual of the opposite sex. Wage Gap: The difference between the average yearly wages of a man and the average yearly wages of a woman. 144 Sociology Reference Guide .

Karen M. She also is the proud mother of a Zen warrior child of age 12. Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania. Harbeck. Carter-Smith served as Director of the Office of Learning Resources at Swarthmore College. holds an interdisciplinary Doctorate from Stanford University in Education and the social sciences. where she majored in English Literature and minored in History of Religion. She has worked extensively in public education and has researched educaExploring Human Sexuality 145 . an independent four-year college in suburban Philadelphia.Contributors Karin Carter-Smith is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr. as well as Master’s degrees in both English and Psychology/Counseling from Eastern New Mexico University.D. Ms. presenter. Lynette DiPalma holds her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology. Pennsylvania.. and mother of a child with autism. adopted from China. advising. disability accommodations and the supervision of the award-winning Student Academic Mentors program. She is a nationally recognized expert in gay. She earned a Master of Education degree in Psychology of Reading from Temple University in Philadelphia. Ph. J.D.. In her role as Director of the Office of Learning Resources. and transgender issues in education. Ms. Sharon Link is an educator. She currently works as a freelance writer in the New Orleans area. bisexual. Most recently. Carter-Smith was responsible for academic support. lesbian.

Both organizations are education and research centers seeking to improve education by creating a system of diversity and inclusion in America’s schools. She teaches Sociology at Mohawk Valley Community College in upstate New York and Professional Writing at State University of NY. corporate. published in 1998 and Thirteen Months To Go: The Creation of the Empire State Building. Ms. Her operational experience as a manager at a global high tech firm and more recent work as a web content researcher have afforded Carolyn insights into many aspects of today’s challenging and fast-changing business climate. published in 2003. She has authored numerous writings including journalism articles. 146 Sociology Reference Guide . and two works of non-fiction: No Problem: The Story of Fr. Inc. She has degrees in English and Education and has taught in K-12 public schools as well as several institutes of higher education. New York with her husband and two children. Since earning her graduate degree. Dr. Colorado. Her Master’s degree in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology was earned from the University of Albany. Carolyn has worked in numerous library/information settings within the academic. Maine and coastal North Carolina. OP-ED columns. She resides in Plattsburgh. manuals. A Catholic Worker House. Link currently is the Executive Director for Autism Disorders Leadership Center. Bar Harbor. Carolyn gained valuable business experience as the owner of her own restaurant which she operated for ten years.tion and its relationship to autism disorders and other disabilities for the last ten years. Ray McVey and Unity Acres. McMahon has worked in higher education administration for eight years and taught composition and developmental writing for the past six. a professional development center. Geraldine Wagner holds a graduate degree from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship. College of Environmental Science and Forestry. She divides her time between upstate New York. Carolyn Sprague holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire and a master’s degree in library science from Simmons College. Maureen McMahon received her Bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh where she studied English. a non-profit research center and is co-founder of Asperger Interventions & Support. Noelle Vance is a freelance writer based in Golden. and consulting worlds.

11 Comstock Law. 44. 66 Androphilia. 22. 53 Civil Marriage. 129. 119 AIDS Service Organizations (ASO). 83 C Center for Disease Control (CDC). 71. 7. 106 Brain Studies. 6. 106. 75. 82 Azande. 132 Chromosomal. 130 Bias. 45-47. 101. 92 D Daughters of Billitis. 103 Bipolar Scale. 52. 34. 89. 50-52. 97 Cross-Gender Occupations. 76 Christianity. 96. 40.Index A Adolescence. 28 Adulthood & Sexual Development. 41 B Bestiality. 64-67. 127. 31. 6. 112. 85 Don’t Ask. 52 Brazil. 88. 61. 131 Exploring Human Sexuality 147 . 39. 61. 63 Domestic Partner. 33. 27 E Elderly Sexual Activity. 51. 54 Cohabitation. 29. 10. 120 Adolescent Sexual Development. Don’t Tell. 120 AIDS. 91 Domestic Partnership. 16 Conflict Perspective. 80-82. 23. 43 Childhood Suicide. 52. 34. 64 Childhood Sexual Development. 75. 30 Age Grading. 64. 82 Cognitive. 105 Corporate Culture. 9 Bisexual. 103 Committee for Research in Problems of Sex (CRPS). 34 Evangelical. 32 Coming Out. 72. 7. 68 Civil Union. 85 Codified. 72. 41 Buddhism. 40.

73. 105. 44 Homophobia. 84 Gender Identity Disorder. 41 Modernization. 34. 128. 105. 84 M Magazines & Adults. 43. 52. 46. 127. 41 H Hate Crimes. 22. 103 Hate Crimes Statistics Act. 106. 72. 44. 40-44. 107 Homosexual. 54-56. 95 Media. 4. 133. 45. 45. 106 Gay Culture. 78. 26. 89. 80-88. The. 91. 85. 129. 23. 12. 132. 4. 34. 51. 45. The. 35. 33 J Judaism. 83. 30. 80-86.F Feminine Management Style. 64. 64. 96. 84 Hegemonic Masculinity. 61 Gay Rights Movement. 49. 85 Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (LLEEA). 92. 11. 82. 9. 80. 81. 95. 91 Gender Socialization. 106. 12. 104 Heterosexual. 4. 9. 68. 89. 52. 23. 101. 61. 94. 51 Gynephilia. 63. 131. 21 P Pansexual. Sigmund. 104. 12. 81 Protected Class. 77. 29. 114 Heterosexism. 113 LGBT. 9. 72-74. 88 Oral Contraceptives. 39-42. 69. 60-66. 96 Free Love Movement. 26. 72. 112 Masculine Management Style. 110 Medical Perspectives. 102. 133 Human Sexuality. 104. 6. 67. 29 Humanae Vitae. 105 Polysexual. 61-65 Gender Identity. 102 Genetics. 103. 54 Morocco. 101. 33. 117. 73. 118. 93 Occupational Sexism. 121 Islam. 61. 49 O Occupational Segregation. 19. Sexuality-Based. 27.. 82. 91. 71-78. 103-107. 71-75. 76. 18 Kinsey Report. 39. 22. 72 Patriarchal. 45 Melanesia. 8. 72. 115 Hinduism. 133. 134 Lesbian. 97 Heteronormative. 95 GLBT. 56. 5. 51. 114 Magazines & Teens. 68. 29. 121 Homosocial Groups. 45. 81 L Laity. 119. Alfred C. 20. 41 Internet. 44 K Kinsey. 114. 44 148 . 50. 90. 84. 23 Patriarchy. 48. 77. 21. 55 Sociology Reference Guide I India. 34. 61. 18 G Gay. 84. 49-57. 98 Gonad. 53 Glass Ceiling. 51-57. 28. 133 Monozygotic Twins. 47. 28. 16 Freud. 91. 113. 84 Psychoanalytic Theories. 134 N Neurology.

95 Wage Gap. 22 Social Constructionism. 57 Sodomy Laws. 58 S Sacrament. 98. 9 Transgender. 8. 90 Sexual Intercourse. 56 Sexual Guilt. 91. 61. 101-104 Sexual Prejudice. 39. 92. 105 T Taoism.R Rejection. 106 Stigma. 52. 76 Reparative Therapy. 54. 64. 128 Sexual Counter-Revolution. 31. 10. 43. 22. 39. 90. 97. The. 68. 55. 104. 128 Sexual Orientation. 106 Straight. 46. 71-84. 80. 101 W Wage Discrimination. 8. 132 Sexual Harassment. 40. 51. 128 Same-Sex Marriage. 86. 92. 15. 34. 85 Secularization. 41. 61. 93 Exploring Human Sexuality 149 . 44. 22 Sexual Diversity. 40. 32. 68 Structural-Functionalist Perspective. 67. 104 Sexual Relations. 6. 18. 126 Sexual Revolution. 91. 131. 133 Self Control. 90. The. 88. 30. 92. 49-58. 127. 107 Sexual Experiences. 88. 45. 103. 45 Taxonomy. 84. 106 Transgenderism. 57 Sociocultural.

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