● Sexual orientation is one’s erotic, romantic and affectionate attraction to the same sex, to
the other sex or both
■ Attracted to the other sex
■ Attracted to both the same and the other sex
■ Attracted to same sex
○ Situational sex behavior
■ Same-sex behavior limited to specific circumstances in which members of
the same sex are generally deprived of contact with the other sex
■ Typiclaly refers to men who are homosexual, but often used
interchangeably for both men and women
■ Applies only to homosexual females
● Sexual Orientation Myths
○ All gays and lesbians are easily identifiable because gay men are effeminate and
lesbian women are masculine.
○ In homosexual relationships, one partner plays the male role and the other plays
the female role.
○ Homosexuality is an emotional illness*
○ Gays and lesbians can change to become heterosexuals.
○ *American Psychiatric Association
■ Ruling of 12-15-73
● Homosexuality does not meet the following standards to be
considered a mental disorder:
○ Regularly causes subjective distress
○ (is) regularly associated with some subserviant impairment
in social functioning
○ Acting like a “sissy” or a “tomboy” causes or indicates homosexuality.
○ Gays and lesbians are oversexed and indiscriminately promiscuous.
○ Gay men and lesbians gravitate to particular occupations.
○ Gay and lesbian parents will raise gay and lesbian children.
○ Gays and lesbians cannot maintain long-term relationships.
○ Gays and lesbians think alike and tend to stick together.
○ Having one or a few homosexual experiences designates a person as a
○ Gay men molest children.
● Theories of Same-Sex Attraction
■ Many theories exist, but none have been proven or have been studied in
“perfect: clinical situations
■ Question: What causes any sexual orientation?
■ Genetic Theory: Something in a person’s genes causes that person to be
sexually attracted to members of the same-sex.
■ Hormonal Theory: Homosexuality is a result of hormonal imbalances,
either prenatally or after birth.
■ LeVay (1991) alleges that there is the existence of anatomical differences
in the size of parts of the brains of homosexual men when compared to
■ Freud: If a young boy was unable to satisfactorily resolve the Oedipal
complex (attraction for his mother) he became fixated and might become
■ Bieber, et al: Homosexual men more often had overprotective, dominant
mothers and weak, passive, and detached fathers than did heterosexual
■ Theory of Learned Behavior: Homosexuality is the result of situations
and/or experiences usually early in childhood and reinforced throughout
● Homosexual Lifestyle
○ Types of Relationships
■ Closed Couples: living together in committed, stable relationships.
■ Open Couples: living together with less emotional involvement and having
intercourse outside the relationship.
■ Functionals: sexually active people uncommitted to any partner.
■ Dysfunctionals: sexually active people with sexual problems who are
dissatisfied with their sexual orientation.
■ Asexuals: those unhappy about being homosexual and less active
○ Homonegative (aka Homophobia) is an irrational fear of homosexuality in others,
a fear of homosexual feelings within oneself, or an unhappiness of one’s own
○ It often results from ignorance, a belief in the common myths about
homosexuality, or the tendency to judge homosexuality as immoral.
● Results of Prejudice
○ People with strong negative feelings often reveal their homophobia by openly
insulting homosexuals and subjecting people suspected of being homosexual to
verbal or physical assault.
● Coming Out