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Chapter 12 notes.docx

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Connie Boudens

Chapter 12: Sexual Orientation WHAT IS SEXUAL ORIENTATION? Sexual orientation: prevalence of erotic arousals, feelings, fantasies, and behaviours one has for males, females, or both. It may be expressed in sexual attraction, sexual behaviour, or sexual identity Sexual attraction: thoughts, feelings, wants, or desires for sexual relations or to be in a loving sexual relationship with another person; it doesn’t include behaviour Sexual behaviour: refers to a person’s actions, the sexual activities they have actually engaged in (includes any genital contact and sexual excitement with or without intercourse or orgasm) Sexual identity: labels people associate with their sexuality, whether personally selected or socially ascribed In Mexico, 2 men who are engaged in a sexual relationship take the role of the receptive partner (considered feminine, unmanly and gay) and the inserting partner (considered masculine and is not labeled as gay) WHAT DETERMINES SEXUAL ORIENTATION? Biological explanations of sexual orientation: Evolution  Gay men become “helpers-in-the-nest” caring for their nieces and nephews and increasing their fitness indirectly (kin altruism)  Gay men tend to feel more distant and estranged from their families than heterosexual men  Maternal relatives (aunts and mothers) of gay men have more children than the aunts and mothers of heterosexual men  Gay men are less likely to be firstborns and to have older brothers  Findings suggest that same-sex sexuality in males is genetic and is transmitted partially through X chromosome Genetics  Greater chance for identical twin to be gay as well than a fraternal twin or adopted sibling Brain structures rd  The 3 interstitial nucleus of the anterior hypothalamus (INAH-3) was less than ½ as large in heterosexual women as in heterosexual men  The INAH-3 of gay men was indistinguishable from that of heterosexual women and was also half the size of heterosexual men  No difference in the # of neurons found in gay and heterosexual men Prenatal factors  Hormonal theories  There is no causal relationship between adult hormonal status and sexual orientation, but there is evidence for prenatal hormones  Exposure to prenatal hormones when an embryo is developing affects the development of certain brain structures that appear to influence sexual orientation  Androgens: regulate sexual behaviour, potential attraction to females, and the brain structures that support these behaviours (high exposure is thought to be associated with heterosexuality in men and same-sex sexuality in women, whereas low androgen is associated with same-sex heterosexuality in men and heterosexuality in women)  Gender nonconformity  Gender inversion: belief that a biological defect occurred during development that turned a male into a female and a female into a male in both psychological characteristics and body type  Gay men are more similar to straight men than to straight women (people tend to be similar in personality to others of their sex, regardless of their sexual orientation)  Gay men and women were more similar to the other gender in their interests and hobbies  Gender nonconformity in girls often takes the form of being a tomboy (girl who likes traditional boy games and activities), but the overwhelming majority of tomboys grow up to be heterosexual  Childhood nonconformity is a poor predictor of adult sexual orientation  Stressors during development  Based on evidence from animal research, maternal stress during pregnancy may feminize and demasculinize male rat progeny because of delay in the androgen
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