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Discuss One Way in Which You Think Views of Sexuality Have Changed Across Time and One Way You Think Things Have Stayed the Same

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Sexuality is not about who you have sex with, or how often you have it. Sexuality is about your sexual feelings, thoughts, attractions and behaviours towards other people. You can find other people physically, sexually or emotionally attractive, and all those things are a part of your sexuality. Sexuality is diverse and personal, and it is an important part of who you are. Discovering your sexuality can be a very liberating, exciting and positive experience. Some people experience discrimination due to their sexuality. If someone gives you a hard time about your sexuality, it’s good to talk to someone about it.Sometimes, it can take time to figure out the sexuality that fits you best

And your sexuality can change over time. It can be confusing; so don’t worry if you are unsure. You might be drawn to men or to women, to both or to neither. There is no right or wrong – it’s about what’s right for you. And while there are common terms to describe different types of sexuality, you don’t have to adopt a label to describe yourself.

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When filling out a document such as a job application or school registration form you are often asked to provide your name, address, phone number, birth date, and sex or gender. But have you ever been asked to provide your sex and your gender? As with most people, it may not have occurred to you that sex and gender are not the same. However, sociologists and most other social scientists view sex and gender as conceptually distinct. Sex refers to physical or physiological differences between males and females, including both primary sex characteristics (the reproductive system) and secondary characteristics such as height and muscularity. Gender is a term that refers to social or cultural distinctions associated with being male or female. Gender identity is the extent to which one identifies as being either masculine or feminine. A person’s sex, as determined by his or her biology, does not always correspond with his or her gender. Therefore, the terms sex and gender are not interchangeable

A baby boy who is born with male genitalia will be identified as male. As he grows, however, he may identify with the feminine aspects of his culture. Since the term sex refers to biological or physical distinctions, characteristics of sex will not vary significantly between different human societies. For example, all persons of the female sex, in general, regardless of culture, will eventually menstruate and develop breasts that can lactate. Characteristics of gender, on the other hand, may vary greatly between different societies. For example, in American culture, it is considered feminine (or a trait of the female gender) to wear a dress or skirt. However, in many Middle Eastern, Asian, and African cultures, dresses or skirts (often referred to as sarongs, robes, or gowns) can be considered masculine. The kilt worn by a Scottish male does not make him appear feminine in his culture. The dichotomous view of gender (the notion that one is either male or female) is specific to certain cultures and is not universal. In some cultures, gender is viewed as fluid. In the past, some anthropologists used the term berdache to refer to individuals who occasionally or permanently dressed and lived as the opposite gender. The practice has been noted among certain Aboriginal groups (Jacobs, Thomas, and Lang 1997). Samoan culture accepts what they refer to as a “third gender.” Fa’afafine, which translates as “the way of the woman,” is a term used to describe individuals who are born biologically male but embody both masculine and feminine traits. Fa’afafines are considered an important part of Samoan culture. Individuals from other cultures may mislabel them as homosexuals because fa’afafines have a varied sexual life that may include men or women.

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Somerville used several concepts to explain the relationship between homosexuality and equity. According to Somerville (1997), homosexuality was considered to be a deviant behavior and was thus unacceptable. The heterosexuals who were against it focused on the use of various forms of punishments to discourage sexual acts between individuals of the same sex (Somerville, 1997). Their decision was based on the concept of dominance whereby a person or a group attempts to gain control over another for their own benefit. However, the perspective of the heterosexuals did not take into account the rights of the persons who proclaimed same-sex sexuality. This is because their freedom to engage or not to engage in sexual activities of their choice was limited. Drawing from Marxism theory, Somerville argued that sexuality was used to perpetuate inequality by classifying human beings according to their sexual orientations (Somerville, 1997). According to Marxism theory, social and economic determinants are used to classify individuals. Thus the homosexuals were classified as perverts due to their sexual orientations. He also argued that the methodologies and symbolic representations that were used in comparative anatomy aimed at identifying specific physiological characteristics that formed the basis for classifying human beings (Somerville, 1997). The use of physiological and social attributes thus became a widely accepted principle for illustrating the differences between individuals from different backgrounds. This principle was thus used by sexologists to distinguish the ‘homosexual’ body from the ‘normal’ body (Somerville, 1997). This means that the principle formed the basis for identifying the differences between the homosexuals and the heterosexuals.

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All in all, for no matter how dissociated gender and sexuality may be in epistemology and discourse, they are indeed associated in a different dimension. And that is one of the reasons why the neosexual revolution, the greatest leap toward banalization in the history of western sexuality, has not eliminated the conflicts associated with desire, arousal and love. We shall continue to speculate on the cunning ways of homo sexualis and his differentia specifica, because the fetishes and the scenes that trigger excitement in us enclose an unknown secret, making it utterly impossible to produce or purchase them.

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Somerville, S. (1997). Scientific racism and the emrgence of homosexual body. In R. Lancaster, & M. Leonardo (Eds.), The gender/ sexuality reader: culture, history, politics, economy (pp. 37-47). London: Roughtledge.

Riggle E, Rostosky SS, Reedy CS. Online surveys for BGLT research: Issues and techniques. Journal of Homosexuality. 2005;49:1–21.

Kurdek LA. Differences between partners from heterosexual, gay, and lesbian cohabiting couples. Journal of Marriage and Family. 2006;68:509–528.

Kroeger RA, Smock PJ. Cohabitation: Recent research and implications. In: Treas JK, Scott J, Richards M, editors. The Wiley-Blackwell companion to the sociology of families. 2. New York: Wiley-Blackwell; 2014. pp. 217–235.

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