Sexual Orientation and Identity

Topics: Gender, Gender role, Gender identity Pages: 4 (967 words) Published: December 31, 2013
Sexual Orientation and Identity

Sexual orientation and identity are predominant constituents of human personality. In fact, it is impossible to think about personality as independent of sexual characteristics. This is because the personality of an individual is largely determined by gender and sexual orientation, as well as what that individual regards as appropriate behavior in terms of gender.

There are certain sexual aspects that determine an individual’s sexuality. These are:

Sexual identity: This is the pattern of a person’s biological sexual characteristics, such as genitals, hormones, chromosomes, and secondary sex characteristics, such as facial hair and breast development. Gender identity: This refers to the inherent sense of being male or female. Gender refers to the psychological and emotional traits of maleness and femaleness. Sexual orientation: This refers to the sex to which a person is attracted. A person may be heterosexual (attracted to the opposite sex), homosexual (attracted to the same sex), or bisexual (attracted to both sexes). Sexual orientation usually coincides with gender identity. Sexual behavior: This includes reactions and responses in sex-related situations. Whether a person is able to achieve sexual satisfaction from sexual relationships can determine that person’s sexual behavior.

There are several factors that determine gender role development and identity. Most of them fit into two camps of thought – the biological origins (nature) and the environmental origins (nurture).

Biological Origins

Biologically, gender identity is affected by the amount of androgens in the body. This hormonal influence explanation focuses on chemical substances released into the blood stream and that were prevalent during prenatal development. Evolutionary explanations focus on the natural selection process that over the course of human behavior shapes the traits (through genetics) that are passed on. Some evolutionary...
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