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ANT 2301 (23)

Sexual Orientation

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Florida State University
ANT 2301
Geoffrey Thomas

ANT NOTES 11/07  Sexual Orientation o An inherent prosperity towards emotional, romantic, or sexual attraction to men, women, both sexes, neither sex, or another sex  Also refers to a person’s sense of personal and social identity based on those attractions, behaviors expressing them, and membership in a community of others who share them  Sexual behaviors vs. sexual orientation o People can engage in homosexual behaviors but not have a homosexual orientation  Experimentation in adolescence  Depending on cultural beliefs- ancient Greeks o Identity and behavior may not always be synonymous  People can be concordant or discordant o Cultural determinant  In America, we recognize up to 4 categories of sexual orientation (exclusive or discrete)  Asexual o Defined as the absence of a traditional sexual orientation- estimated 1%  Little or no sexual attraction to males or females  It’s the lack of sexual attraction or lack of interest in and desire for sex  Heterosexual o ‘Consists of sexual behavior and practices w/ a preference or desire/attraction towards members” of the opposite sex  Homosexual o ‘’ ‘’’ Of the same sex o Gallup report (2012)- 3.4% of US adults identify as homosexual (11.7 million Americans)  Bisexual o “ “ Towards members of both sexes o Does not require that a person be attracted equally to both sexes  Categories created by culture  Sexual orientation theories o No single cause for sex. Orientation has been conclusively demonstrated  Research says by a combo of genetic, hormonal, and environmental influences o BIOLOGICAL  Genetics  Evolutionary speaking if homosexuality was a genetic trait it should have disappeared long ago through natural selection- unless it’s a recessive trait ‘carried’ by individuals  Genetic influences o Twin studies  Moderate concordance among identical twins especially compared to zygotic twins o The gay gene  33/40 sibling pairs tested were found to have similar alleles in the distal region of Xq28 o Hamer (1993) found that the gay men had more gay male uncles and cousins on the maternal side of the family than on the paternal side  Possible X chromosomes linkage from mothers and sons  Hormone theories o Concentrate on either hormonal balances before birth or on hormone levels in adults o Prenatal hormones  Maternal immune reaction- birth order  Blanchard and Klassen (1997) reported that each older brother increases the odds of a man being gay by 33%  Explained as HY antigens/antibodies reaction  The actual occurrence of this reaction is dramatically lower than the number of homosexuals  Theory suggest that fetus exposed to reduced levels of androgen in the uterus have feminized brains and show increased homosexuality  Physiology o Research differences between the brains of homosexuals and heterosexuals o Ratio of index and ring finger lengths (2D:4D) thought to be a marker of prenatal androgen exposure  Study looked at > 2000 men  Found that men had significantly lower 2D:4D ratios than women  Heterosexual men lower than homosexual men o Trends  Savic and Lindstrom (2008)  Brains of heterosexual men and homosexual women are slightly asymmetric o Right hemisphere is larger than the left  Brains of homosexual women are more symmetrical  In connectivity of amygdala, similar trends are seen between masculinized and feminized brains  Gay men  Counterclockwise hair whirl (23% vs 8%)  Increased ridge density in the fingerprints on their left thumbs and pinkies  Lesbians  Show a masculinized startle response (fight or flight)  Both  Left handedness  More verbally fluent than heterosexuals of the same sex o DEVELOPMENTAL  Psychoanalytic theory  Homosexuality was seen as a mental illness  Gender-role nonconformity theory
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