Sex. An individual's biological status as male or female; or, a sexual act.
Sexuality. The sexual knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, values, and behaviors of
individuals. Its dimensions include the anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry of the
sexual response system; identity, orientation, roles and personality; and thoughts,
feelings, and relationships. The expression of sexuality is influenced by ethical, spiritual,
cultural, and moral concerns. For moderns (especially Freudians), sexuality is thought to
provide a key to unlocking the mysteries of the self: sexual activity is considered in a
psychological and self-reflexive way.
Essentialism. the belief that people (or phenomena) have properties that are
essential to what they are. Such properties are viewed as definitive of identity because
they are “natural” or “inherent” or “inborn,” existing before or beyond acculturation.
Constructionism. Constructionists, on the other hand, believe different times and
places produce different "sexualities"— that sexuality as we understand it today has little
to do with those of people in other historical periods. Therefore, constructionists can say
that sexuality and sex are "cultural constructions"
***NOTE that an essentialist view is NOT the same as ‘a biological constant’—
one sexual biological constant is that males ejaculate on climaxing. But this is not the
same as male sexual practices which are condoned/censured in a society. 2
People who believe sexual preference is always inborn are pure essentialists.
People who do not believe anyone is born with any predisposition toward any particular
sexual preference are pure social constru