Ch- 12 Sexual Orientation: An Integrative Mini- Chapter
Introduction: Media overemphasizing on the female celebrities’ sexual orientation. People can vary in
just how set or fluid their sexual orientation is. There was a study conducted on a set of women 18-25
years of age which studied their labelling very 2 to 3 years. These women were 100% lesbian during the
start of the study but gradually they became 50% attracted to both the sexes. There is no fixed sexual
orientation. Example: compare the stability of Ellen DeGeneres’s lesbianism with that of her two
partners who at one point were involved in heterosexual relationships.
Myths and Misperceptions About Sexual Orientation:
Gay men and lesbian women vary in their masculinity and femininity—and in all characteristics—in the
same way that heterosexual men and women do. Sexual orientation is the sexual desire and emotional
attachment but not a change of lifestyle (Page 352). ***Refer to the table***
The Personality of Everyday Life:
The cultures view heterosexuality as the normal or natural way the humans are supposed to be. This
view is called normative sexuality or heteronormativity.
The importance of spousal laws and rights after marriage in America: E.g. Partners who are not allowed
to be in the emergency room if they are not married to the patient. They cannot make any decisions
regarding the treatment (NOC for an operation in case of a life threatening situation). Even though, the
laws are being modified regarding the same- sex marriage, homosexuals still face social rejection,
prejudice, and discrimination.
Pg 254 Kinsley organised a sexual hierarchy by conducting a sexual history interviews with great care
and precision, using an elaborate coding system to protect the identities of his participants. His
experiment findings were solely based on the people who are willing to talk about their sexual histories.
Kinsley overestimated the population of same- sex sexuality in general population. He was correct that
sexual orientation occurs at a continuum; however it was much more fluid and less flexible. Another
criticism of this scale was that sexual orientation includes more than behaviors (thoughts, feelings, attractions and emotions towards any sex). E.g. Klein, Sepekoff, and Wolf
(1985) measured sexual orientation through sexual attraction, behaviors,
fantasies, emotional preferences, social preferences, self- identification, and
lifestyles across a person’s past, present and ideal life.
Sexual Orientation as the prevalence of erotic arousals, feelings,
fantasies and behaviors one has for males, females and both. It can be
expressed through sexual attraction, behavior or identity.
Sexual attraction includes thoughts, feelings, wants, or desires for
sexual relations or to be in a loving sexual relationship with another person; it
does not include behavior. Many people have sexual orientation and
fantasies and imagination about being with someone .E.g. --> Hina about Aditya
Sexual Behavior refers to sexual activities they have engaged in. This includes any sexual
excitement (genital contact, orgasm) without an intercourse.
Sexual Identity is labels people associate with their sexuality based on personal or social
There are different facets of sexual orientation. By engaging in a certain sexual behavior does not
necessarily change your sexual orientation. Many examples from different cultures are illustrated where
a female who acts like a man and is attracted to a traditional female is even allowed to marry her. That
female is not labelled a lesbian; she is just like any other women. Native American tribes believe in 2
major sexual spirits of a male and female. The members are supposed to pick either one and act
accordingly. They are allowed to engage in same- sex behavior and even marry them. These people take
on a spiritual- sexual identity in the community and are considered blessed. Simultaneously cultures like
African American and Latin American are less tolerant towards same- sex relationships especially
towards the males. In Arab and Egyptian cultures individuals who at some point of their lives engaged in
homosexual behavior but ended up marrying the opposite sex are considered heterosexuals instead of
bisexuals(they are never labelled hidden but still exists).
How Many People Are Gay, Lesbian, Straight, or Bisexual?
Depending on how the question is worded, the percentage of people who consider themselves gay,
lesbians, bisexuals or straight varies. In one study only 20% of gay and lesbian adults in the U.S. were
consistently classified as gay or lesbians in all 3 dimensions. Alfred Kinsley and his associated reported
the largest estimate they found 37% of men and 13% of women recounted at least 1 adult sexual
experience with the same- sex but this did not defined them as gays or lesbians.
A more recent study from the NORC (National Opinion Research Center) suggested much reduced rates
based on face- to – face interviews and anonymous survey which indicated 0.9% and 0.4% of men and
women reported having a same- sex relationships YET, 2% of men and 0.9% of women identified
themselves as gays and lesbians. What Determines Sexual Orientation?
3 assumptions regarding sexual orientations: (1) Heteronormativity view is considered the traditional
view, homosexual is considered an exception or abnormality. (2) Scientist have assumed that
heterosexuality is the only process that persists and so they have looked for theories that would explain
the orientation of same sex male and females. (3) Researchers are also starting to wonder that there is
not just one type of same sexuality, there are diff factors like social and genetic that might account for
Biological Explanations of Sexual Orientation:
How is the same- sex trend continuing if there is no reproduction? There are 3 possible solutions to this
problem: male alliance theory, the kin altruism hypothesis and increased female reproductive success.
Male Alliance theory: Male- male sexual behavior evolved as a way of regulating domi