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HUMANSEX Chapter 9.doc

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McMaster University
Tulsie Raghubir

Chapter 9 SEXUAL ORIENTATION SEXUAL ORIENTATION • Direction of one’s sexual interests towards members of the same, other or both genders • Heterosexual Orientation – Erotic attraction to and preference for developing romantic relationships with members of the opposite gender • Homosexual Orientation – Erotic attraction to and preference for developing romantic relationships with members of one’s own gender • Bisexuality – Where one is sexually attracted to and interested in forming romantic relationships with both males and females Coming to Terms with Terms • Why is terminology so important in human sexuality issues? • Terms may be vague and lead to misunderstanding • Labels • Terms define perspectives • Gender specific issues (polar opposites) • Focus on sexual behaviour (heterosexuals vs homosexuals) • What is appropriate? Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity • Gay people have a gender identity consistent with their anatomic gender just as heterosexuals Determining Sexual Orientation • Complex – May be situational (prisons, prostitutes, etc.) – Sexual orientation may not be expressed in sexual behaviour – Erotic interests/fantasies may shift over time • The Kinsey Continuum • Current Estimates of Sexual Orientation – Problematic -> “We cant count people who simply don’t want to be counted!” (Cronin, 1993) • Challenges to the Kinsey Continuum – Idea of masculinity and femininity as two opposing extremes is misleading – Figure 9.2 p. 237 – Kinsey argued that content of erotic fantasies are an excellent gauge of sexual orientation -> Agree? Bisexuality • Porblematic in both heterosxual and homosexual circles • Some believe it is a “cop out” in denying bein gay (fear of leaving spouse, scared of coming out, etc.) • Unfortunately bisexuals encounter prejudice and discrimination from both communities PERSPECTIVES ON SEXUAL ORIENTATIONS Historical Perspectives • Homosexuality in the past was understood and even encouraged • Ancient Greeks/other ancient societies – elite men celebrated homosexuality as the highest form of a relationship – shunned women because they were seen as intellectually inferior – men who did not participate in homosexuality were deviant – heterosexuality was a reproductive necessity, so it was favoured • Churches today perform marriages for gay couples and allow gay parishioners Cross-Cultural Perspectives • Male –male sexual behaviour – Sambian people of New Guinea (inner organ -> tingu) – Native American TwoSpirit (Berdache) – Siwans of North Africa • Female –female sexual behaviour – Little is known in non western countries – WHY? Cross-Species Perspectives • Observations have been made of male –male and female-female contact • Is the behaviour sexually motivated or an act of dominance Attitudes in Contemporary Society • Greater acceptance -> WHY? – Increased contact has humanized it • Older adults appear to be less accepting of equal rights • Women tend to be more accepting then men • Homophobia – Cluster of negative attitudes and feelings towards gay people, including intolerance, hatred and fear – Forms • Derogatory names • Telling disparaging jokes • Barring them from housing, employment, or social opportunities • Taunting (verbal abuse) • Gay bashing (physical abuse) – More common among heterosexuals but gay people can be homophobic as well • Why are people Homophobic? – Fear -> gay people confuse or reverse gender roles – Males -> fearful of discovering male-male sexual impulses within themselves • Gay Bashing • Canadian Law (Read p. 242-243) (not needed to memorize for test FUCK YES.) – 1969 – Pierre Trudeau decriminalized same sex behaviour between consenting adults – 1995 – federal government passed Hate Crimes Act – 1996 – Added sexual orientation as prohibited grounds for discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act – 2003 – House of Commons and Senate allowed civil marriage rights to same sex couples – 1992 – Canadian Armed Forces cannot discriminate – 1998 – SCC ordered Alberta to include protection under human rights legislation – 1999 – SCC ordered Province of Ontario to change the definition of spouse – 2002 – Marc Hall won the right to take his partner to the Catholic School prom – 2004 – SCC rules that Parliament has the authority to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples Gay Activism • Gay people have organized effective political action to fight discrimination (funding, education, safe sex practices, protection of civil rights, counseling and support) • Some use outing to combat discrimination • Outing – Exposure of the identities of gay people by other gay people – Intention is to force them out of the closet – Is this fair? Why? Why not? Stereotypes and Sexual Behaviour • Just as with heterosexuals sexual behaviour is varied so the idea of stereotypical behaviour is null and void • (e.g. butch-femme, bears, etc.) The Gay Rights Movemen
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