Sexual Roles and Identities

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Androphilia (from Greek andro-, "male," + -philia, "love")
The romantic and/or sexual attraction to adult males.
Autogynephilia — ("love of oneself as a woman")
A paraphilia proposed in 1989 by Ray Blanchard, who defined it as "a man's paraphilic tendency to be sexually aroused by the thought or image of himself as a woman."
a black, gay male
People who consider themselves sexually attracted to members of the either gender
(Same as Homosexual below)
Gynephilia (or gynophilia) (From Greek gunē, "women," + -philia, "love")
The romantic and/or sexual attraction to adult females
People who consider themselves predominantly heterosexual but occassionally open to same-sex sexuality
People who consider themselves sexually sttracted to members of the opposite gender
People who consider themselves predominantly homosexual but occasionally open to opposite-sex sexuality
Sexual arousal from having sex with a member of the same sex (aka : Gay)
Fear of the same sex, usually in a sexual connotation.
People who consider themselves sexually sttracted to members of the same gender
Intersexual or Intersex person
A person who is born with genitalia and/or secondary sex characteristics determined as neither exclusively male nor female, or which combine features of the male and female sexes. The terms hermaphrodite and pseudohermaphrodite, introduced in the 19th century, are now considered antiquated, misleading and stigmatizing, and patient advocates call for these terms to be abandoned. The phrase "ambiguous genitalia" refers specifically to genital appearance, but not all intersex conditions result in atypical genital appearance.
Sexual attraction not based upon gender
Some people use the word queer as an umbrella term to describe any non-normative sexualities and gender expressions, Sexual orientation especially homosexuality, bisexuality, transgenderism and intersexuality, but also sometimes include BDSM, fetishism, prostitution, and polyamory.
(Same as Heterosexual above}
(Same as Bisexual above)
Transman, Transmen or trans men
Transgender or transsexual people who were identified female at birth based on genital appearance
People who have undergone sexual reassignment (including surgical modifications}
Transwoman, Transwomen or trans women

Sexual Orientations

Magnus Hirschfeld

In the late-19th century in Europe, there was speculation that the range of human sexual orientations looked more like a continuum than two or three discrete categories. Magnus Hirschfeld published a scheme in 1896 that measured the strength of an individual's sexual desire on two independent 10-point scales, A (homosexual) and B (heterosexual).10 A heterosexual individual may be A0, B5; a bisexual may be A3, B9; An asexual would be A0, B0; and someone with an intense attraction to both sexes (Pansexual) would be A9, B9.

Kinsey Scale

The Kinsey scale measures sexual orientation from 0 (exclusively heterosexual) to 6 (exclusively homosexual), with an additional category, X, for those with no sexual attraction to either women or men. Unlike Hirschfeld's scale, the Kinsey scale is one-dimensional. Simon LeVay writes, "it suggests (although Kinsey did not actually believe this) that every person has the same fixed endowment of sexual energy, which he or she then divides up between same-sex and opposite-sex attraction in a ratio indicative of his or her own sexual orientation."

Desire, behavior and identity

Researchers have variously measured an individual's sexual orientation by asking them how they identify; by ascertaining their sexual attractions; and/or by reporting their sexual behavior. An individual may be placed in differing categories by these three measures. For example, a married person may identify as straight, but have only homosexual desire; if they are having sex with same-sex partners as well as their spouse, they would also be classified as bisexual by their behavior.

When classifying sexual orientation by behavior, frequency of contact with either sex may a factor, whether group sex is admissible as an instance, and whether the occurrence of orgasm, as well as its frequency in terms of total encounters, has any bearing.

When classifying by desire, controversial topics include the breadth of attraction to both genders, what "intensity" of attraction is admissible, and whether self-reporting should be solely trusted or whether there should be any manner of "objective" measure.

Some newer terminology consciously differentiates between these three aspects. For example, men who have sex with men, or "MSM", describes behavior only. Same-sex attraction describes only feelings and desires.

Some examples may help clarify the distinctions between desire, identity, and behavior:

  • People of any sexual orientation may choose sexual abstinence, suppressing or ignoring any desires they may have.
  • Some people who feel homosexual desire may engage in heterosexual behavior and even heterosexual marriage for a number of reasons, whether cultural or religious beliefs, or through fear of discrimination should they "come out".
  • Some bisexual people have only one sexual or romantic partner at a time, and sometimes happen to have sexual and romantic partners from one only gender throughout their entire lives, despite attraction to some people of both sexes.
  • People with heterosexual attractions may nonetheless have homosexual encounters whether by self-initiation, with initiation by the other party, with multiple simultaneous partners, through acts of deception, or due to absence of an available partner of the opposite gender (see e.g. Prison sex) or other unusual social circumstances. (See: situational sexual behavior.)
  • A minority of people who self-identify as heterosexual or homosexual actually feel attracted to and engage in sexual behavior with people of both genders.

Sexual orientation and gender identity

The earliest writers on sexual orientation usually understood it to be intrinsically linked to sex. For example, it was thought that a typical female-bodied person who is attracted to women would have masculine attributes, and vice versa. This understanding was shared by most of the significant theorists of sexual orientation from the mid-19th to early 20th century, such as Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Magnus Hirschfeld, Havelock Ellis, Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, as well as many gender variant homosexual people themselves. However, this understanding of homosexuality as sexual inversion was disputed at the time, and through the second half of the 20th century, gender identity came to be increasingly seen as a phenomenon distinct from sexual orientation. Transgender and cisgender people may be attracted to men, women, or both, although the prevalence of different sexual orientations is quite different in these two populations (see sexual orientation of transwomen). An individual homosexual, heterosexual or bisexual person may be masculine, feminine, or androgynous, and in addition, many members and supporters of lesbian and gay communities now see the "gender-conforming heterosexual" and the "gender-nonconforming homosexual" as negative stereotypes. However, studies by J. Michael Bailey and KJ Zucher have purported to find that a majority of gay men and lesbians report being gender-nonconforming during their childhood years.

A definitional problem arises with the terms "homosexual" and "heterosexual" when either the subject or object of desire is transgender or intersex. Is a transwoman who is attracted to other women a lesbian? What about her female partner? The majority of transgender people today would describe this relationship as lesbian, but scientists (especially in the past) have tended to characterise it as heterosexual, interpreting the sex of the transwoman as male, and basing the definition of sexual orientation on biological sex rather than social gender. Others would interpret the sexual orientation differently depending on whether the transwoman is "pre-operative" or "post-operative". Difficulties in making these judgements can be seen, for example, in debates about whether female-attracted transmen are a part of the lesbian community. (See Homosexuality and transgender)

For these reasons, the terms gynephilia and androphilia are occasionally (but increasingly) used when referring to the sexual orientation of transgender and intersex people (and occasionally, cisgender people), because rather than focusing on the sex or gender of the subject, they only describe that of the object of their attraction. The third common term that describes sexual orientation, bisexuality, makes no claim about the subject's sex or gender identity.

Sexual orientation is further complicated by more recent non-binary understandings of both sex (male, female, or intersex) and gender (man, woman, transgender, third gender, or gender variant). Sociologist Paula Rodriguez Rust (2000) argues for a more multifaceted definition of sexual orientation:

"...Most alternative models of sexuality...define sexual orientation in terms of dichotomous biological sex or gender.... Most theorists would not eliminate the reference to sex or gender, but instead advocate incorporating more complex nonbinary concepts of sex or gender, more complex relationships between sex, gender, and sexuality, and/or additional nongendered dimensions into models of sexuality."


Sex refers to the male and female duality of biology and reproduction, a process in biological DNA that dates back 3.5 - 4.6 billion years. Unlike organisms which only have the ability to reproduce asexually, sexed male and female pairs have the ability to produce offspring through meiosis and fertilization. The two sexes attract one another and communicate their readiness to procreate through differences in their biology.


Main article: Gender

In common usage, the word gender often refers to the sexual distinction between male and female. In the social sciences, "gender" emphasizes a social, cultural, or psychological dimension, in contrast to biological sex. The discipline of gender studies investigates and theorizes on the nature of gender as a social construct.

Some languages have a system of grammatical gender; while nouns may be classified as "masculine" or "feminine", or even "neuter" (e.g. German) in such languages, this is essentially a convention which may have little or no connection to their meaning. Likewise, a wide variety of phenomena have gendered characteristics ascribed to them, by analogy to male and female bodies (such as with the gender of connectors and fasteners) or due to social norms.

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Gender Male Female Androgyny Boi Cisgender Gender identity Gender identity disorder Genderqueer Gender role Intersex Pangender Third gender Transgender Transman Transwoman Transsexualism
Orientations Asexuality Bisexuality Heterosexuality Homosexuality Pansexuality
Third genders Fa'afafine Fakaleiti Hijra Kathoey Khanith Mukhannathun Muxe Sworn virgin Two-Spirit
Other Butch and femme Castrato Eunuch Fetishist Master (BDSM) Polyamory Swinging Queer Womyn Top, bottom, and switch

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