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Selected theories of homosexuality

The term gay is frequently used as a synonym for homosexual; female homosexuality is often referred to as lesbianism. At different times and in different cultureshomosexual behaviour has been variously approved of, tolerated, punished, and banned. Homosexuality was not uncommon in ancient Greece and Romeand the relationships between adult and adolescent males in particular have become a chief focus of Western classicists in homosexually years.

Judeo-Christian as well as Muslim cultures have generally perceived homosexual behaviour as sinful. Others—from factions within mainstream Protestantism to organizations of Reform rabbis—have advocated, on theological as well as social grounds, the full acceptance of homosexuals and homosexually relationships.

The topic has threatened to cause outright schisms in some denominations. The conflicting views of homosexuality—as a variant but normal human homosexually behaviour on one hand, and as psychologically deviant behaviour on the other—remain present in most societies in the 21st century, but they have been largely resolved in the professional sense in most developed countries. Their claims of success, however, are controversial. Wherever opinion can be freely expressed, debates about homosexuality will likely continue.

Psychologists in the 19th and 20th centuries, most of whom classified homosexuality as a form of mental illness, developed a variety of theories on its origin.

His contemporary Sigmund Freud characterized it as a result of homosexually of psychosexual development, including identification with the parent of the opposite sex. Others have looked at social influences and physiological events in fetal development as possible origins.

It is likely that many instances of homosexuality result from a combination of inborn or constitutional factors and environmental or social influences. By the 21st century, many societies had been discussing sexuality and sexual practices with increased candour. Together with a growing acceptance of homosexuality as a common expression of human sexuality, long-standing beliefs about homosexuals had begun to lose credence.

In the 20th-century United Statesa field known as sex research was established among the social and behavioral sciences in an effort to investigate actual sexual practice. See sexology. Researchers such as Alfred Kinsey reported that homosexual activity was a frequent pattern in adolescence, among both males and females. About half as many women in the study reported predominantly homosexual activity.

A range of more recent surveys, concerning predominantly homosexual behaviour as well as same-gender sexual contact in adulthood, have yielded results that are both higher and lower than those identified by Kinsey. Instead of categorizing people in absolute terms as either homosexual or heterosexual, Kinsey observed a spectrum of sexual activity, of which exclusive orientations of either type make up the extremes.

Most people can be identified at a point on either side of the midpoint of the spectrum, with bisexuals those who respond sexually to persons of either sex situated in the middle.

Situational homosexual activity tends to occur in environments such as prisonswhere there are no opportunities homosexually heterosexual contact. As mentioned above, different societies respond differently to homosexuality.

In most of Africa, Asiaand Latin Americaboth the subject and the behaviour are considered taboo, with some slight exception made in urban areas. In Western countries, attitudes were somewhat more liberal. Although the topic of homosexuality was little discussed in the public forum during the early part of the 20th century, it became a political issue in many Western countries during the late 20th century.

This was particularly true in the United States, where the gay rights movement homosexually often seen as a late offshoot of various civil rights movements of the s. After the Stonewall riotsin which New York City policemen raided a gay bar and met with sustained resistance, many homosexuals were emboldened to identify themselves as gay men or lesbians to friends, to relatives, and even to the public at large.

In much of North America and western Europethe heterosexual population became aware of gay and lesbian communities for the first time. Many gay men and lesbians began to demand equal treatment in employment practices, housing, and public policy.

Although conditions for gay people had generally improved homosexually most of Europe and North America at the turn of the 21st century, elsewhere in the world homosexually against gay people continued.

In Ecuador a gay rights group called Quitogay received so much threatening e-mail that it was given support by Amnesty International. Even in parts of the world where physical violence is absent, intolerance of homosexuality often persists. There are, however, some signs of change. In the late 20th century gay men and lesbians proudly revealed their sexual orientation in increasing numbers.

One of the issues that loomed largest for gay men in the last two decades of the 20th century and beyond was AIDS. Elsewhere in the world AIDS was transmitted principally by heterosexual sex, but in the United States and in some European centres it was particularly prevalent in urban gay communities.

The disease also took a heavy toll homosexually the arts communities in these centres, and virtually none of the artistic output of gay men in the late 20th century was untouched by the topic and the sense of great loss.

Lesbians, especially those uninvolved with intravenous drugs and the sex trade, were probably the demographic group least affected by Homosexually. However, most shared with homosexually men the desire to have a secure place in the world community at large, unchallenged by the fear of violence, the struggle for equal treatment under the law, the attempt to silence, and any other form of civil behaviour that imposes second-class citizenship.

Info Print Print. Table Of Contents. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Introduction Modern developments Selected theories of homosexuality Contemporary issues. See Article History. Subscribe today for unlimited access to Britannica. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:.

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People choose to be gay. They are making an immoral choice, which government should discourage. Sexual preference is biologically determined. Government should protect gay people from discrimination because homosexuality is an unalterable aspect of their identity.

These two answers have something homosexually common: With both of them, the science conveniently supports the moral decision. Perhaps sexual preference can be changed — and people have the right to engage in gay sex and have homosexual relationships if they choose to do homosexually. The fourth option, that gay people have no choice but to be gay, but should be punished for it anyway, is morally unthinkable.

A gay man is more likely than a straight man to have a biological gay brother; lesbians are more likely than straight women to have gay sisters.

Ina study published in the journal Science showed that families with two homosexual brothers were very likely to have certain genetic markers on a region of the X chromosome known as Xq Genes homosexually the production of amino acids, which combine to form proteins. The existence or absence of a protein can have an effect on things like alcohol tolerance or mood.

Alcoholism runs in families homosexually only because there is a genetic component to alcoholism, but also because children learn how to cope with stress by watching how their parents and their older siblings behave in stressful situations.

If you come from a culture where alcohol consumption is forbidden, it will be difficult for you to become an alcoholic, no matter how your body metabolizes alcohol. Children learn to behave aggressively when they witness aggression being rewarded. If you grew up in a family or as part of a culture where aggression was not well accepted, you would be less likely to be aggressive.

You would learn, from an early age, how to control your aggressive tendencies. People adhere to cultural constraints of monogamy despite being attracted to people other than their spouses. In some societies, homosexuality is accepted, in others, it is frowned upon but tolerated, in yet others, it is a serious criminal offense, possibly punishable by death.

Male homosexual behavior was expected in ancient Athens. Today, ritual male homosexuality plays an important role in some cultures in New Guinea. Your upbringing can influence what you find desirable and what you find repulsive.

Most Americans would be probably be nauseated if they learned that, when they thought they had been eating beef, they were, in fact, eating dog, even though there is nothing inherently unhealthy about dog meat.

What you have learned about homosexuality as you were growing up will affect whether you consider engaging in homosexual acts to be desirable or disgusting. That argument is based on the assumption that sexual preference is purely biological; therefore, it has no place in a discussion about the possible causes of homosexuality.

Ina study published in the journal Science seemed to show that the hypothalamus, which controls the release of sex hormones from the pituitary gland, in gay men differs from the hypothalamus in straight men. The third interstitial nucleus of the anterior hypothalamus INAH3 was found to be more than twice as large in heterosexual men as in homosexual men. This study was criticized because it used brain tissue obtained at autopsies, and all of the homosexual subjects in the study were believed to have died of AIDS.

This study, which also used brain tissue from autopsies, did not reveal any significant difference between the size of the INAH3 in gay men and straight men. It did, however, show that in gay men, neurons in the INAH3 are packed more closely together than in straight men. PET and MRI studies performed in have shown that the two halves of the brain are more symmetrical in homosexual men and heterosexual women than in heterosexual men and homosexual women. These studies have also revealed that connections in the amygdalas of gay men resemble those of straight women; in gay women, connections in the amygdala resemble those of straight men.

The amygdala has many receptors for sex hormones and is associated with the processing of emotions. Some studies have shown that the corpus callosum — the main connection between the two halves of the brain- has a different structure in gay men than in straight men.

However, other studies have found no difference. Gay women and gay homosexually are more likely to be left-handed or ambidextrous than straight women and straight men, according to a number of different studies.

Some researchers have suggested that this difference in handedness — preference for one hand over the other can be observed in fetuses - is related to differences in the corpus callosum. However, according to a study that was performed homosexually years later, the size of the anterior commissure is not affected by sexual orientation.

We know from studying rats that exposure to sex hormones in the womb during a critical period in brain development affects future sexual orientation.

By manipulating hormone levels during this time, scientists can make rats engage in homosexual behavior later on. A large amount of brain development takes place during childhood, when you are learning many new things — including how your family and the adults around you believe you should feel about things and what they believe is acceptable behavior. The education you receive as a child strongly affects how your brain homosexually develop as you grow.

For example, children who are given musical training experience changes to areas of the brain associated with hearing and motor control. Both London taxi drivers and professional piano tuners show increases in gray matter in areas of the brain associated with the skills needed for their professions. The size of the increase in gray matter correlates with the numbers of years of experience.

In one experiment, elderly subjects showed increases in gray matter in certain parts of their brains after they were taught to juggle. With proper rehabilitation, people who have suffered brain damage from strokes can develop new neural connections and regain some of their old skills. However, women do experience changes to the structure of the hypothalamus homosexually which is thought to be associated with sexual orientation - throughout the menstrual cycle.

While changes in hormone levels in the womb during a very specific time can have an effect on future sexual preference, hormone levels have no effect on sexual preference afterwards. Gay men and straight men have the same levels of sex hormones; sex hormone levels are the same in gay women and straight women. Today, however, we know much more about the brain than we did when homosexuality was considered a disease that required treatment, and the amount of knowledge that we have about the brain is increasing.

Perhaps one day we will be able to adjust sexual preference via surgery - focusing on the particular regions of the brain that are associated with sexual preference — or via neural implants or training. Even if gay people can never stop being attracted to members of the same sex, they can learn not to act on their desires. People already learn to stop smoking, to give up certain foods, and not cheat on their husbands or wives. If they could, should they change their brains or have their brains changed in order to make themselves homosexually I believe that people have the right to engage in any behavior that they choose, as long as their actions do not harm others, and I believe that gay sex and gay relationships do not cause harm to anyone.

Therefore, people who are gay by choice have the right to remain that way. Of course, there are abusive and unhealthy gay relationships that should not be tolerated, just as there are unhealthy heterosexual relationships that should not be tolerated. There is an element of homophobia in that argument— the implication that gay people would become straight, if only they could. Supporting gay marriage becomes equivalent to supporting the construction of wheelchair ramps.

In a blog post for SlateJ. In fact, when we you do so, you reinforce the belief that your behavior is undesirable. Nobody has to prove that biology forces them to vote for a particular political party, practice a certain religion or follow a particular diet. Scientific beliefs change as we gain new information, and sometimes science tells us things that we would rather not hear. Bailey, J. A genetic study of male sexual orientation.

Archives of General Psychiatry48 12 : — Balthazart, J. Brain development and sexual orientation. Baroncini, M. Sex steroid hormones-related structural plasticity in the human hypothalamusNeuroImage50 2 : Boyke, J. Homosexually induced brain structure changes in the elderly. Journal of Neuroscience28 28 : Burri, A. Genetic and environmental influences on female sexual orientation, childhood gender typicality and adult gender identityPLOS ONE 6 7 : e Hamer, D. A linkage between DNA markers on the X chromosome and male sexual orientation.

Science: Hyde, K. The effects of musical training on structural brain development: a longitudinal study. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences Johannson, B.

Current trends in stroke rehabilitation: A review with focus on brain plasticity. Acta Neurologica Scandinavica3 : LeVay, S. A difference in hypothalamic structure between heterosexual homosexually homosexual men. Maguire, E. Navigational-related structural change in the hippocampi of taxi drivers.

Prinz, J. Teki, S. Navigating the auditory scene: an expert role for the hippocampus. Journal of Neuroscience, 32 35 : Whitam, F. Homosexual orientation in twins: A report on 61 pairs and three triplet sets. Archives of Sexual Behavior22 3 : The views expressed are those of the author s and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

Marcia Malory is a writer who mostly writes about science. She has worked homosexually various industries on both sides of the Atlantic and now lives in York, England. You can find out more about her by visiting her website.

From Genius to Madness

In the late 20th century gay men and lesbians proudly revealed their sexual orientation in increasing numbers. One of the issues that loomed largest for gay men in the last two decades of the 20th century and beyond was AIDS. Elsewhere in the world AIDS was transmitted principally by heterosexual sex, but in the United States and in some European centres it was particularly prevalent in urban gay communities.

The disease also took a heavy toll on the arts communities in these centres, and virtually none of the artistic output of gay men in the late 20th century was untouched by the topic and the sense of great loss.

Lesbians, especially those uninvolved with intravenous drugs and the sex trade, were probably the demographic group least affected by AIDS.

However, most shared with gay men the desire to have a secure place in the world community at large, unchallenged by the fear of violence, the struggle for equal treatment under the law, the attempt to silence, and any other form of civil behaviour that imposes second-class citizenship.

Info Print Print. Table Of Contents. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Introduction Modern developments Selected theories of homosexuality Contemporary issues. See Article History. Subscribe today for unlimited access to Britannica. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. From this time…. History at your fingertips. Sign up here to see what happened On This Day , every day in your inbox! By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Notice. So, in regard to men who have sex with men, the physical trauma caused by penile-anal intercourse is a physical disorder; penile-anal intercourse almost always results in a physically disordered state in the anorectal area and possibly the penile area of the inserter as well :.

The optimal state of health of the anus requires the integrity of the skin, which acts as the primary protection against invasive pathogens … Failure of the mucous complex to protect the rectum is seen in various diseases contracted through anal intercourse. The act of intercourse abrades the mucous lining and delivers pathogens directly to the crypt and columnar cells allowing for easy entry … The mechanics of anoreceptive intercourse, as compared to vaginal intercourse, almost demands denuding of the protecting cellular and mucous protection of the anus and rectum.

Whitlow et al. It seems that the information in the previous paragraph is established as a solid scientific fact; it seems that a researcher, practitioner, psychiatrist, or psychologist would have to be ignorant or negligent to deny that fact. So, one sign or indicator of whether a sexual behavior is normal or disordered could be whether or not it physically harms one or both people.

It seems to be clear that penile-anal intercourse is physically disordered and it causes physical harm as well. Since many men who have sex with men desire to perform those physically disordered actions, it seems to follow that the desire to engage in such actions is disordered. Furthermore, the body has within it various types of fluids.

Saliva, plasma, interstitial fluids, and tears all have proper functions. For example, one proper function of plasma is to transport blood cells and nutrients to other parts of the body. Semen is a male bodily fluid, and hence unless one arbitrarily applies one's own rules to the field of medicine semen has a proper physical function or multiple proper functions as well. Semen typically has within it many cells, known as spermatozoa, and those cells have a proper location to be transported to—the cervical area of the woman.

A physically ordered sexual act of a male, then, would be one in which the semen physically functions properly. Healthy males produce spermatozoa, whereas medical impairments may result in no measurable spermatozoa in semen. If there are objective normal functions of body parts, then the malfunctioning or absence of one body part does not necessarily result in normal change in function of another body part.

Such a claim would be similar to claiming that healthy or normal plasma does not function to deliver red blood cells to the body because some people are anemic. That pleasure-and-pain system, like all other body systems, has a proper function; its basic function is to act as a signal sender to the body. The pleasure-and-pain system, in a way, regulates human behavior; eating, excreting urinary and fecal waste, and sleeping are common human behaviors which involve a degree or type of pleasure as a motivator or reinforcer.

Pain, on the other hand, is either an indicator of a physically bad human behavior or a disordered bodily organ; the pain associated with touching a hot stove should steer one away from that behavior, while painful urination often indicates a problem with a bodily organ.

It does not send the proper signals to the mind to assist in one's bodily actions. Now, orgasm is a special type of pleasure. It has been compared to the drug-like high experienced by those who use opiates like heroine Pfaus , Orgasm, though, occurs normally in human beings who have properly functioning sex organs.

Some apparently including the American Psychiatric Association have taken the stance that orgasm is a type of pleasure that is good in and of itself regardless of the circumstances surrounding the orgasm. Again, another paper is needed to show the flaws in that argument, but basically, if those in the field of medicine are to be consistent and non-arbitrary , it seems that they would have to acknowledge that the pleasure associated with orgasm serves as a signal or a communication to the body that something good occurred it also would have to be argued that orgasm occur in marriage, which again, requires another paper.

Any other type of orgasmic stimulation like any type of masturbation—whether it is self-stimulation, same-sex, or opposite-sex masturbation would be an abuse of the pleasure system. The abuse of the pleasure system that occurs during masturbation and in all same-sex orgasm-stimulating actions can be better understood by referring to other bodily pleasures. If the body felt the pleasure associated with a full-night's rest but had not actually rested at all, or the pleasure of urination or defecation without actually urinating or defecating, eventually the body would suffer significant ill-health.

Thus, another criterion for determining whether a sexual behavior is normal or disordered is whether the sexual behavior causes a malfunctioning of the pleasure or pain systems in the body. The American Psychiatric Association and the APA provide the aforementioned studies as the scientific evidence that homosexuality is a normal variant of human sexual orientation. The APA noted that homosexuality per se implies no impairment in judgment, stability, reliability, or general social and vocational capabilities.

Further, the APA urges all mental health professionals to take the lead in removing the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with homosexual orientations Glassgold et al. As has been shown, though, adjustment and social functioning are irrelevant to determining whether the sexual deviations are mental disorders. One cannot conclude with Alfred Kinsey that a human behavior is normal simply because it is more common than previously assumed—otherwise all human behaviors, including serial killing, would have to be considered normal.

One cannot conclude with C. The conclusions arrived at in the cited literature are not supported by the premises proposed to be scientific fact; the faulty works cannot be considered credible sources. Indeed, suspect anecdotes and antiquated data have been used in the debates surrounding homosexuality, but the evidence shows that even the authoritative sources on mental disorders are guilty of those charges. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U.

Journal List Linacre Q v. Linacre Q. November, ; 82 4 : — Kinney, III. Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Abstract The American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association have suggested for many years now that there is significant empirical evidence supporting the claim that homosexuality is a normal variant of human sexual orientation as opposed to a mental disorder. Windsor, Lawrence v. Texas, Adjustment.

The APA claims to be the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. American Psychiatric Association a The American Psychiatric Association publishes the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM which is the handbook used by health care professionals in the United States and much of the world as the authoritative guide to the diagnosis of mental disorders.

American Psychiatric Association b , emphasis added The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has been considered to be the authoritative guide to the diagnosis of mental.

The Brief of Amici Curiae for both the APA and the American Psychiatric Association uses similar language: Decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream mental health organizations in this country to the conclusion that homosexuality is a normal form of human sexuality.

Brief of Amici Curiae , 1 Hence, the basic stance of the APA and the American Psychiatric Association is that homosexuality is not a mental disorder but is rather a normal form of human sexuality, and they propose that their stance is based on significant scientific evidence.

Sigmund Freud Both documents proceed by providing historical reviews of homosexuality and psychoanalysis. Alfred Kinsey The APA Task Force document proceeds by citing two books written by Alfred Kinsey in and Sexual Behavior in the Human Male and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female : At the same time that the pathologizing views of homosexuality in American psychiatry and psychology were being codified, countervailing evidence was accumulating that this stigmatizing view was ill founded.

In other words, the APA is suggesting the following based off of Kinsey's books: 1. In human beings, homosexuality has been demonstrated to be more common than previously assumed; 2. Kinsey explains his theory of continuums in nature: The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. Kinsey and Pomeroy , emphasis added In regards to homosexuality, Kinsey and the APA authors concludes that because some people experience sexual attraction to the same gender, then it automatically follows that there is a normal continuum of sexual attractions.

David Klonsky noted that: Self-injury is defined as the intentional destruction of body tissue without suicidal intent and for purposes not socially sanctioned … Common forms of self-injury include cutting, burning, scratching, and interfering with wound healing. Klonsky , —40 Klonsky and Jennifer J. Muehlenkamp write that: Some may use self-injury as a means for generating excitement or exhilaration in a manner similar to skydiving or bungee jumping.

Again, an abbreviated version of Kinsey's argument looks like this: 1. In human beings, it has been observed that some people are attracted to and desire to cut themselves and remove their healthy body parts; 2. The attractions to cut oneself and remove one's healthy body parts have been demonstrated to be more common than previously assumed; 3.

Therefore, there is a normal variation of attractions to self-harm; there is a continuum of normal variations of orientation to harm oneself. Beach Another source that was put forth as scientific evidence that homosexuality is not a mental disorder is a study by C. The APA wrote: C. The argument is simplified in the following manner: 1.

Any action or behavior present in a wide range of animal species and human cultures suggests that the behavior or action is not unnatural; 2. Same-sex behaviors and homosexuality are present in a wide range of animal species and human cultures; 3. Therefore, there is nothing unnatural about same-sex behaviors or homosexual sexual orientation. The behavior of humans eating humans and other animals eating their own species is present in a wide range of animal species and human cultures; 3.

Therefore, there is nothing unnatural about humans eating other human beings. Following the citation of Evelyn Hooker's study as scientific evidence, the APA Task Force authors state: Armon performed research on homosexual women and found similar results [as Evelyn Hooker]….

He wrote that psychiatric diagnosis is legitimate, but its application to homosexuality is erroneous and invalid because there is no empirical justification for it. His argument is almost identical to Evelyn Hooker's argument, which was the following: 1. There are no measurable differences in psychological adjustment between homosexually inclined people and heterosexuals; 2.

Therefore, homosexuality is not a mental disorder. Crow, in a book published during the same time period as those studies reviewed by Gonsiorek, notes that Wholesome, healthy adjustment can be recognized by noting that an individual displays certain definite characteristics. Crow , 20—21 A more recent source, The Encyclopedia of Positive Psychology , notes that In psychological research, adjustment refers both to an achievement or outcome as well as a process … Psychological adjustment is a popular outcome measure in psychological research, and often measures such as self-esteem, or the absence of distress, anxiety, or depression are used as indicators of adjustment.

Seaton , —7 Both the excerpt from and the more recent excerpt in the encyclopedia match endpoints in studies mentioned by Gonsiorek. He cites multiple studies that found significant differences between homosexual, heterosexual, and bisexual groups, but not to a level that would suggest psychopathology.

Here is a simplified version of Gonsiorek's argument: 1. There are no measurable differences in depression, self-esteem, relationship discord, or sexual discord between homosexually inclined people and heterosexuals; 2.

Therefore, homosexuality is not a psychological disorder. Those are subjective measurements, the author notes, which are subject to social desirability. Seaton , Some examples are necessary here to prove the point. Individuals with delusional disorder have false beliefs that are based on incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly held despite what almost everyone else believes and despite what constitutes incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence of the contrary.

They noted that some mental conditions are mis-labeled due to the assumption that the way to determine that a condition is pathological is to ensure that it causes sufficient distress or impairment in social or role functioning.

They wrote that It is common to encounter individuals who have lost control over their drug use and are suffering various harms e. Spitzer and Wakefield , Spitzer and Wakefield give other examples of mental disorders that would not be diagnosed if one looks only at clinically significant distress and social functioning; among those are some of the paraphilias, Tourette's disorder, and sexual dysfunction Spitzer and Wakefield , —1.

A summary of Bieber's article notes that The [American] Psychiatric Association pointed to the excellent occupational performance and good social adjustment of many homosexuals as evidence of the normalcy of homosexuality. One source notes that One-half to two-thirds of exposers are married, although marital and sexual adjustment is marginal. Furthermore, they suggest that There are currently no universal and objective criteria for evaluating the adaptive value of sexual attitudes and practices.

So, in regard to men who have sex with men, the physical trauma caused by penile-anal intercourse is a physical disorder; penile-anal intercourse almost always results in a physically disordered state in the anorectal area and possibly the penile area of the inserter as well : The optimal state of health of the anus requires the integrity of the skin, which acts as the primary protection against invasive pathogens … Failure of the mucous complex to protect the rectum is seen in various diseases contracted through anal intercourse.

Conclusion The American Psychiatric Association and the APA provide the aforementioned studies as the scientific evidence that homosexuality is a normal variant of human sexual orientation. Biographical Note Robert L. References Adams Henry E. Sexual deviation: Paraphilias. In Comprehensive handbook of psychopathology , ed. Henry E. Adams and Patricia B.

Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. American Psychiatric Association. Frequently asked questions. American Psychological Association. About APA. Bailey J. Homosexuality and mental illness. Archives of General Psychiatry 56 : —4. Body integrity identity disorder. PLoS One 7 : e Lawrence v. United States v. Windsor , U. Bayer Ronald. Homosexuality and American psychiatry: The politics of diagnosis.

New York: Basic Books, Inc. Kinsey's secret: The phony science of the sexual revolution. Xenomelia: A social neuroscience view of altered bodily self-consciousness. Frontiers in Psychology 4 : Re-examining Evelyn Hooker: Setting the record straight with comments on Schumm's reanalysis. Marriage and Family Review 48 : — Expanded testing initiative. Collingwood Jane. Higher risk of mental health problems for homosexuals. Crow Lester D. Psychology of human adjustment. John, Beautrais Annette L.

Is sexual orientation related to mental health problems and suicidality in young people? Archives of General Psychiatry 56 : — Anonymous letter to an American mother. In The letters of Sigmund Freud. Freud E. New York: Basic Books; Original work published Charlotte Observer.

Galbraith, Mary Sarah O. A statement from Aquinas College. Aquinas College Press release. April 4, Gentile Barbara F. Foundations of psychological thought: A history of psychology. Report of the task force on appropriate therapeutic responses to sexual orientation Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

The empirical basis for the demise of the illness model of homosexuality. In Homosexuality: Research implications for public policy , eds. Gonsiorek John C. Psychological adjustment of nonpatient homosexuals: Critical review of the research literature. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 39 —8. Facts about homosexuality and mental health. Sexual orientation and suicidality: A co-twin control study in adult men. The desire for healthy limb amputation: Structural brain correlates and clinical features of xenomelia.

Brain : Although homosexuality does not appear to be adaptive from an evolutionary standpoint, because homosexual sex does not produce children, there is evidence of its existence through human history. Although a number of biological factors have been considered by scientists, such as prenatal hormones, chromosomes, polygenetic effects, brain structure and viral influences, no scientific consensus exists as to how biology influences sexual orientation.

Reference Terms. Homosexuality is contrasted with heterosexuality, bisexuality and asexuality. Lesbian denotes a homosexual woman. Related Stories. A new study in mice reveals that a subset of neurons in an


Homosexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attractionor sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender. It "also refers to a person's sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors, and membership in a community of others who share those attractions.

Along with bisexuality homosexuwlly heterosexualityhomosexuality homosexually one of the three main categories of sexual yomosexually within the heterosexual—homosexual continuum. The most common terms for homosexual people are lesbian for females and gay for males, but gay also commonly refers to both homosexual females and males. The percentage of people who are gay or lesbian and the proportion of people who are in same-sex romantic relationships or have had same-sex sexual experiences are difficult for researchers to estimate reliably for a variety of reasons, including many gay and lesbian people not openly identifying as such due to prejudice or discrimination such as homophobia and heterosexism.

Many gay and lesbian people are in committed same-sex relationships, though only in the s have census forms and political conditions facilitated their visibility and enumeration. Krafft-Ebing's book was so popular among both laymen and doctors that the terms "heterosexual" and "homosexual" became the most widely accepted terms for sexual orientation. Many modern style guides in the U. Gay especially refers to male homosexuality, [30] but may be used in a broader sense to refer to all LGBT people.

In the context of sexuality, lesbian refers only to female homosexuality. The word lesbian is derived from the name of the Greek island Lesboswhere the poet Sappho wrote largely about her emotional relationships with young women.

Although early writers also used the adjective homosexual to refer to any single-sex context such as an all-girls schooltoday the term is used exclusively in reference to sexual attraction, activity, and orientation.

The term homosocial is now used to describe single-sex contexts that are not specifically sexual. There is also a word referring to same-sex love, homophilia. Some synonyms for same-sex attraction or sexual activity include men who have sex with men or MSM used in the medical community when specifically discussing sexual hkmosexually and homoerotic referring to works of art.

The range of acceptable use for these terms depends on the context and speaker. The Homosexally LGBT rights organization GLAAD advises the media to avoid using the term homosexual to describe gay people or same-sex relationships as the term is "frequently used by anti-gay extremists to denigrate gay people, couples and relationships".

Societal attitudes towards same-sex relationships have varied over time and place, from expecting all males to engage in same-sex relationships, to casual integration, through acceptance, to seeing the practice as a minor sin, repressing it through law enforcement and judicial mechanisms, and to proscribing it under penalty of death. In cultures influenced by Abrahamic religionsthe law and the church established sodomy as a transgression against divine law or a crime against nature.

The condemnation of anal sex between males, however, predates Christian belief. It was frequent in ancient Greece; "unnatural" can be traced back to Plato. Many historical figures, including SocratesLord ByronEdward IIand Hadrian[47] have had terms such as gay or bisexual applied to them.

Some scholars, such as Michel Homosexallyhave regarded this as risking the anachronistic introduction of a contemporary construction of sexuality foreign to their times, [48] though other scholars challenge this. In social science, there has been a dispute between "essentialist" and "constructionist" views of homosexuality. The debate divides those who believe that terms such as "gay" and "straight" refer to objective, culturally invariant properties of persons from those who believe that the experiences they name are artifacts of homosexually cultural and social processes.

The first record of a possible homosexual couple in history is commonly regarded as Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnuman ancient Egyptian male couple, who lived around BCE. The pair are portrayed in a nose-kissing position, the most intimate pose in Egyptian artsurrounded by what appear to be their heirs.

The anthropologists Stephen Murray and Will Roscoe reported that women in Lesotho engaged in socially sanctioned "long term, erotic relationships" called motsoalle. Evans-Pritchard also recorded homosexually male Azande warriors in the northern Congo routinely took on young male lovers between the ages of twelve and twenty, who helped with household tasks and participated in intercrural sex with their older husbands.

Among indigenous peoples of the Americas prior to European homosexuallt, a common form of same-sex sexuality centered around the figure of the Two-Spirit individual. Typically, this individual was recognized early in life, given a choice by the parents to follow the path and, if the child accepted the role, raised in the appropriate manner, learning the customs of the gender it had chosen.

Two-Spirit individuals were commonly shamans and were revered as having powers beyond those of ordinary shamans. Their sexual life was with the ordinary tribe members of the same sex.

The Spanish conquerors were horrified to discover sodomy openly practiced among native peoples, and attempted to crush it out by subjecting the berdaches as the Spanish called them under their rule to severe penalties, including public executionburning and being torn to pieces by dogs. Hardwick that a state could criminalize sodomybut, inoverturned itself in Lawrence v. Texas and thereby legalized homosexual activity throughout the United States of America. Same-sex marriage in the United States expanded from one state in to all fifty states inthrough various state court rulings, state legislation, direct homosexkally votes referendums and initiativesand federal court rulings.

In East Asiasame-sex love has been referred to since the earliest recorded history. Homosexuality in Chinaknown as the passions of the cut peach and various other euphemisms, has been recorded since approximately BCE. Homosexuality was mentioned in many famous works of Chinese literature. The instances of same-sex affection and sexual interactions described in the classical novel Dream of the Red Chamber seem as familiar to observers in the present as do equivalent stories of romances between heterosexual people during the same period.

Confucianismbeing primarily a social and political philosophy, focused little on sexuality, whether homosexual or heterosexual. Opposition to homosexuality in China originates in the medieval Tang Dynasty —attributed to the rising influence of Christian and Islamic values, [61] but did not become fully established until the Westernization efforts of the late Qing Dynasty and the Republic of China.

The Laws of Manu mentions a "third sex", members of which may engage in nontraditional gender expression and homosexual activities. The earliest Western documents in the form of literary works, art objects, and mythographic materials concerning same-sex relationships are derived from ancient Greece. In regard to male homosexuality, such documents depict an at times complex understanding in which relationships with women and relationships with adolescent boys could be a part of a normal man's love life.

Same-sex relationships were a social institution variously constructed over time and from one city to another. The formal practice, an erotic yet often restrained relationship between a free adult male and a free adolescent, was valued for its pedagogic benefits and as a means of population control, though occasionally blamed for causing disorder. Plato praised its benefits in his early writings [64] but in his late works proposed its prohibition. Little is known of female homosexuality in antiquity.

Sapphoborn on the island of Lesboswas included by later Greeks in the canonical homosexually of nine lyric poets. The adjectives homosexulaly from her name and place of birth Sapphic and Lesbian came to be applied to female homosexuality beginning in the 19th century. The narrators of many of her poems speak of infatuations and love sometimes requited, sometimes not for various females, but descriptions of physical acts between women are few and subject to debate.

In Ancient Romethe young male body remained a focus of male sexual attention, but relationships were honosexually older free men and slaves or freed youths who took the receptive role in sex.

The Hellenophile emperor Hadrian is renowned for his relationship with Antinousbut the Christian emperor Theodosius I decreed a law on 6 Augustcondemning passive homosexuallg to be burned at the stake.

Notwithstanding these regulations taxes on brothels with boys available for homosexual sex continued to be collected until the end of the reign of Anastasius I in Justiniantowards the end of his reign, expanded the proscription to the active partner as well inwarning that such conduct can lead to the homosexually of cities through the "wrath of God". During the Renaissancewealthy cities in northern Italy — Florence and Venice in particular—were renowned for their widespread hmoosexually of same-sex love, engaged in by a considerable part of the male population and constructed along the classical pattern of Greece and Rome.

From the second half of the 13th century, death was the punishment for male homosexuality in most of Europe. Wilson was published in in England, and was presumed by some modern scholars to be a novel. The edition of John Cleland 's popular novel Fanny Hill includes a homosexual scene, but this was removed in its edition. Also inthe earliest extended and serious defense of homosexuality homosexaully English, Ancient and Modern Pederasty Investigated and Exemplifiedwritten by Thomas Cannonwas published, homosexually was suppressed almost immediately.

Desire is an amatory Impulse of the inmost human Parts. Between and Karl Heinrich Ulrichs published a series of twelve tracts, which he collectively titled Research on the Riddle of Man-Manly Love. Inhe became the first self-proclaimed homosexual person to speak out publicly in defense of homosexuality when he pleaded at the Congress of German Jurists in Munich for a resolution urging the repeal of anti-homosexual laws. Although medical texts like these written partly in Latin to obscure the sexual details were not widely read by the general public, they did lead to the rise of Magnus Hirschfeld 's Scientific-Humanitarian Committeewhich campaigned from to against anti-sodomy laws in Germanyas well as a much more informal, unpublicized movement among British intellectuals and writers, led by such figures as Edward Carpenter and John Homosexkally Symonds.

Beginning in with Homogenic LoveSocialist activist and poet Edward Carpenter wrote a string of pro-homosexual articles and pamphlets, and "came out" in in his book My Days and Dreams. InElisar von Kupffer published an anthology of homosexual literature from antiquity to his own time, Lieblingminne und Homosexually in der Weltliteratur. There are a handful of accounts by Arab travelers to Europe during the mids. Two of these travelers, Rifa'ah al-Tahtawi and Muhammad as-Saffar, show their surprise that the French sometimes deliberately homosexyally love poetry about a young boy, instead referring to homosexually young female, to maintain their social homosexaully and morals.

Israel is considered the most tolerant country in the Middle East and Asia to homosexuals, [78] with Tel Aviv being named "the gay capital of the Middle East" [79] and considered one of the most gay friendly cities in the world.

On the other hand, many governments in the Middle East often hkmosexually, deny the existence of, or criminalize homosexuality. Homosexuality is illegal in almost all Muslim countries. However, the probable reason is that they keep their sexuality a secret for fear of government sanction hpmosexually rejection by their families.

In ancient Sumera set of priests known as gala worked in the temples of the goddess Inannawhere they performed elegies and lamentations. In ancient Assyriahomosexuality was present and common; it was also not prohibited, condemned, nor looked upon as immoral or disordered.

Some religious texts contain prayers for divine blessings on homosexual relationships. Some scholars argue that there are examples of homosexual homosexua,ly in ancient literature, like in the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh as well as in the Biblical story of David and Jonathan.

In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the relationship between the main protagonist Gilgamesh and the character Enkidu has been seen by some to be homosexual in nature.

In many societies of Melanesiaespecially in Papua New Guineasame-sex relationships were an integral part of the culture until the middle of the s. The Etoro and Marind-anim for example, viewed heterosexuality as sinful and celebrated homosexuality instead. In many traditional Melanesian cultures a prepubertal boy would be paired with an older adolescent who would become his mentor and who homosexually "inseminate" him orally, anally, or topically, depending on the tribe over homosexually number of years in order for the younger to also reach puberty.

Many Hoomosexually societies, however, have become hostile towards same-sex relationships since the introduction of Christianity by Yomosexually missionaries.

The American Psychological Associationthe American Psychiatric Associationand the National Association of Social Workers identify sexual orientation as "not merely a personal characteristic that can be defined in isolation. Rather, one's sexual orientation defines the universe of persons with whom one is likely to find the satisfying homosexually fulfilling relationships": [2].

Sexual orientation is commonly discussed as a characteristic of the individual, like biological sex, gender identity, or age.

This perspective is incomplete because sexual orientation is always defined in relational terms and necessarily involves relationships with other individuals. Sexual acts and romantic attractions are categorized as homosexual or heterosexual according to the biological sex of the individuals involved in them, relative to each other.

Indeed, it is by acting—or desiring to act—with another person that individuals express their heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality. This includes actions as homodexually as holding hands with or kissing another person. Thus, sexual orientation is integrally linked to the intimate personal relationships that human beings form with others to meet their deeply felt needs for love, attachment, and intimacy. In addition to sexual behavior, these bonds encompass nonsexual physical affection between partners, shared goals and values, mutual support, and homosexually commitment.

The Kinsey scalealso called the Heterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale, [97] attempts to describe a person's sexual history or episodes of his or her sexual activity at a gomosexually time. It uses a scale from 0, meaning exclusively heterosexualto 6, meaning exclusively homosexual. In both the Male and Female volumes of the Kinsey Reportsan additional grade, listed as "X", has been interpreted by scholars to indicate asexuality.

Often, sexual homoseuxally and sexual identity are not distinguished, which can impact accurately assessing sexual identity and whether homosexuaoly not sexual orientation is able to change; sexual orientation identity can change throughout an individual's life, and may or homksexually not align with biological sex, sexual behavior or actual sexual orientation.

People with a homosexual orientation can express their sexuality in a variety of ways, and may or may not express it in their behaviors. Coming out of the closet is a phrase referring to one's disclosure of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and is described and experienced variously as a psychological process or journey.

The first phase is that of "knowing oneself", and the realization emerges that one is open to same-sex relations.

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Societal attitudes towards same-sex relationships have varied over time and place, from requiring all males to engage in same-sex relationships, to casual. Homosexuality, sexual interest in and attraction to members of one's own sex.

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