chapter 9

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Family Relations and Human Development
FRHD 2100
Cynthia Clark

Chapter 9 – Sexual Orientation • Define sexual orientation and be able to describe the intersections of gender identities, sexual identities, and differences in sexual behaviours and activities between gay males and gay females • Gain a strong understanding of the influence that the Kinsey scale had on the study of sexual orientation • Learn about the historical and social developments of attitudes towards LGBTQ individuals and groups, such as homophobia (from sinful and criminal to shifts in acceptance in the form of same-sex marriage) • Learn about how same-sex behaviour transcends human behaviour and how certain animals engage in same-sex interactions • Critically evaluate the implications of biologically determining (prenatally, genetically, and hormonally) sexual orientation in humans • Apply different theories such as psychoanalysis and social learning theories to the study of sexual orientation • Define the “coming out” process and consider relational and social implications Getting Orientated to Sexual Orientation Sexual Orientation: The directionality of one's erotic attraction – that is, to members of the same sex, the other sex or both Heterosexual Orientation: Erotic attraction to – and preference for romantic relationships with- members of the other sex Homosexual Orientation: Erotic attraction to – and preference for romantic relationships with – members of your own sex Bisexual Orientation: Erotic attraction to – and interest in romantic relationship with – members of both sexes Coming to Terms with Terms • The term “Homosexuality” bears a social stigma, having been associated with deviance and mental illness • The term is often used only in reference to men, rendering lesbians invisible • Many people refer such terms such “gay male” and “lesbian sexual orientation” • The term is ambiguous Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity • Barry Adam (2000b) found that for gay men, the concept of being gay centred on the possibility for emotoinal involvement and relationships with other people who felt the same way, rather than on sexual behaviour • Kevin Alderson found a new scale called the sexuality questionnaire ◦ Concluded that sexual orientation should be conceptualized and measured as a combination of several factors: sexual attraction, sexual fantasies, sexual preference, sexual partners, tendency to fall in love romantically, and experience of falling in love romantically ◦ Also measures a person's self-identified sexual identity Classifying Sexual Orientation • Asians, Blacks, and Latinos may be less likley than whites to identify themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual even when they engage in sexual activity with people of their own sex • In Ontario Men's Survey, 81% of respondens identified themselves as being gay ◦ 61% having had sex with women • Gay males and lesbians may experience sporadic heteroerotic interests ◦ Heteroerotic: Of an erotic nature and involving members of the other sex • Heterosexual people may have occasional homoerotic interests ◦ Homoerotic: Of an erotic nature and involving members of one's own sex • Women's sexual orientations are more flexible, or plastic than mens, and women are somewhat more dependent on social experience • List M. Diamond (2003b) found that mroe than 25% of the women relinquished their lesbian or bisexual orientations as time went on ◦ Half of these relabelled themselves as heterosexual, and other half renouced any effort at self-labelling • Chivers and Baily (2005) exposed men and women to visual male and female sexual stimuli and measured both their gential responses ◦ Male heterosexuals responded genitally only to the female stimuli ◦ Gay males showed the reverse pattern. Responses bore out their verbal reports ◦ Women, both heterosexual and lesbian, were more likely to be aroused by both male and female sexual stimuli ◦ Found that women's sexual orientations are more flexible than mens, and more interwined with their social experiences The Kinsey Continuum • Kinsey and his colleagues (1948,1953) found evidence of a continuum of sexual orientation among the people they surveyed, with bisexuality representing midpoint between exclusively heterosexual and exclusively homosexual orientations • They reported that about 4% of the men and 1% to 3% of the women in their samples were exclusively gay (scoring six points on their scale) • Larger percentage were considered pre-dominately gay (Scoring four or five points) or pre- dominately heterosexual (scoring one or two points) • Suggested that close to 10% of the United States population was gay or pre-dominately gay • Half of the men who reported male-male sexual activity in Kinsey's sample limited it to the ages of 12 to 14 • The research showed that sexual behaviour patterns can change ◦ Sexual experiences or feelings involving people of the same sex are common Challenges to the Kinsey Continuum • Using self-reported content of erotic fantasies as an indication of sexual orientation, Storms (1980) found evidence that there are separate dimensions of responsiveness to male-female sexual stimulation (heteroeroticism) and same-sex sexual stimulation (homoeroticism) • According to Storm's model, bisexuals are high in both dimensions, whereas people who are low in both are essentially sexual • Kinsey would see bisexual as less responsive than hterosexuals to stimulation by the other sex, and more responsive to stimulation by the same sex • Storm's two-dimensional model allows someone to be as responsive as a heterosexual to stimulation by the other sex and as responsive as a gay person to stimulation by the same sex Estimates of Sexual Orientation • 3% of men surveyed in the United States, Britain, France and Denmark have identified themselves as gay • About 1% to 2% of theAmerican women surveyed have identified themselves as lesbian • In a sample of 8000 university and college students in Canada and the United States, with 3% of the males identifying themselves as gay or bisexual and 2% of the females identifying themselves as lesbian or bisexual • Another appraoch to determining sexual orientation involves measuring physiological responses to sexual stimuli ◦ Quebec have devised a method of measuring sexual prefernece in virtual reality ◦ Involves analyzing a respondent's computer interaction with an image of a naked woman as a measure of his or her sexual preference Bisexuality • Weinrich and Klein (2002) speak of bisexuals as being bi-gay, bi-striaght or bi-bi meaning some have stronger learnings toward people of their own sex (bi-gays), some toward people of the other sex (bi-striaghts), and some to people of both sexes equally (bi-bis) • Biphobia: Negative attitudes and feelings toward bisexual people, including intolerance, hatred, and fear • Help bisexuals deal with these issues, groups such as Bisexal Women of Toronto (BiWOT) provide counselling and support ◦ Objective is to educate community service groups about the effects of prejudice and discrimination against bisexuals • Bisexual is an authentic sexual orientation with its own developmental patterns and not just a cover for a gay or lesbian orientation Asexuality • Anthony Bogaert (2006a) argues that asexuality should be considered a sexual orientation ◦ He defines asexuals as people who have low sexual attraction for both sexes – that is, they're low on both heteroeroticism and homoeroticism ◦ They might be romantically attracted to others ◦ Notes that his definition of asexuality is narrow in scope, since it doesn't take into account whether someone is romantically attracted to another person or is engaging in sexual activity • Most have low interest in any kind of sexual stimulation, including masturbation Queer, Questioning Transgendered, and Two-Spirited • Queer people reject the labels “gay”, “Straight” and “bisexual” as too limiting, viewing them as designations that reflect the oppression so often faced by non-heterosexual people • “Queer” from their perspective, is a positive, self-affirming term for people who don't see themselves as fitting into standard classifications of sexual orientation • “Questioning” is used when they are unsure which of the currently available labels is best described their sexual orientations ◦ May consider themsleves to be in the process of discovering their sexual identities, or coming to terms with possibility that they're not heterosexual • Holly Dover (2002) argues that transgendered people should be icnluded in discussions of sexxual orientation ◦ Reasons that since transgendered people are the most visible minority among people engaged in same-sex practices, they face many of the same issues and concerns as gays, lesbians and bisexual people • “Two spirited” referes to gender or social identity, and includes same-sex behaviour ◦ There not easily identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual Perspective on Gay and Lesbian Sexual Orientations Hisotrical and Religious Perspectives • Jews and Christians have referred to male-to-male sexual activity as the sin of Sodom ◦ This has given us the temr “sodomy” which generally denotes anal intercourse ◦ According to the Book of Genesis, the city of Sodom was destroyed by God, though it's unclear what behaviour incurred God's wrath ◦ Pope Gregory III wasn;t ambiguous in his eighth-century account of the city's obliteration, however, calling it punishment for sexual activity between membes of the same sex • Some churches today perform marriages for gay couples – or at leat “bless” their relationships • Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches has many gay and lesbian parishioners ◦ The first Canadian church to perform formal marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples was the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto • Unitarian Church and the United Church of Canada do accept clergy who are involved in same-sex relationships • United Nations, has been leading a campaign to develop international laws to prohibit “Defamation of religions” ◦ One intent of this movement is to deter the United Nations and other international organizations from discussing issues such as gay rights, which are viewed by Isalmic countries as an affront to their religious beleifs and therefore an act of religious discrimination Cross-Cultural Perspectives • Ford and Beach (1951) found that male-male sexual interactions were viewed as normal and deemed socially acceptable for some members in 49 (64%) of 76 preliterate socieites • Other 27 societies (36%) had sanctions against male-male sexual behaviour, male-male sexual acitivity persisted there • Semen is believed to boost strength and virility • Older males thus transmit semen to younger males through oral or anal sexual activities • In Sambia of New Guinea, a society of war-like headhunters, 9 to 12 year old males leave their parents households and live in “clubhouses” with prepubertal and adolescent males ◦ There they undergo sexual rites of passage ◦ Acquire the fierce manhood of the headhunter, they perform fellatio on older males and drink “men's milk” ◦ By age 19, young men are expected to take brides and enter exclusively male-female sexual relationships Cross-Species Perspectives • Amale baboon may present his rear and allow himself to be mounted by another male ◦ The behaviour may represent a type of dominance ritual, in which lower-ranking males adopt a submissive (feminine) posture to ward off attack by dominant males • Vasey (2002) has found that the females routinely engage in sexual behaviour with both amles and females ◦ Female Japanese macques often have sex with othe rfemales even when willing male partners are available ◦ Also found that female macaques mount other females differently than the males do ◦ The female mounting styles are more varied and done in a way that provides greater genital pleasure ◦ This phyiscal drive for sexual pleasure with other females supports the assumption that this behaviour is sexual and indicates a bisexual orientation Biological Perspective The Evolutionary Perspectives • Krikpatrick (2000) suggests that male-male and female-female sexual behaviours derive from individual seleciton for reciprocal alturism ◦ Strong male-male and female-female alliances have advantages for group survival, in that they bind group members together emotionall ◦ Genetic factors linked to the X chromosomes might influence homsexual orientation in males aren't eliminated by natural selection, because they increase fecundity in female carriers Genetic and Sexual Orientation • Monozygotic (MZ) Twins: Siblings who develop from the same fertilized ovum. They're also called identical twins ◦ Share 100% of their heredity • Dizygotic (DZ) Twins: Sibilings who develop from different fertilized ova. They're also caled fraternal twins ◦ They share only 50% of their heredity ◦ If a gay or lesbian sexual orientation were transmitted genetically, it would be found about twice as often among identical twins as among fraternal twins born to gay and lesbian people • 52% of identical twin pairs (MZ) were found to be concordant for a gay male sexual orientation, compared with 22% of fraternal (DZ) twins and only 11% of adoptive brothers • Researchers have found evidence linking a region on the X chromosomes to a gay male sexual orientation • Dean Hamer found that gay males were more likely than the general population to have gay male relatives on their mothers' side of their families ◦ Thus, pattern of inhereitance is consistent with genetic traits, such
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