2 Common DefinitionsSexual Identity: based on a person’s sexual characteristics, such as external and internal genitalia, hormonal characteristics and secondary sexual characteristics.Gender Identity: based on the person’s sense of maleness or femaleness.Sexual Orientation: based on the person’s choice of a love object, may be heterosexual (opposite sex), homosexual (same sex), bisexual (both sexes), or asexual (no sex).
3 Dictionary Definitions of Sexuality (American Heritage Dictionary) The condition of being characterized and distinguished by sex.Concern with or interest in sexual activity.Sexual character or potency.The quality or state of being sexual.
4 Competing Explanations Biology: sexuality is shaped by our physical shapes, biological capacities, hormones (etc.)Sociobiology: human have innate genetically triggered impulses to pass on their genetic material through successful reproduction. Differences in reproductive capacity and strategy can shape sexual desire.Social: cues from the environment shape human beings from the moment they enter the world. Sexual customs, values, and expectations exert powerful influence over individuals.
5 Sexuality“Sexuality is not limited to ‘sex acts’, but involves our sexual feelings and relationships, the ways in which we are or are not defined as sexual by others, as well as the ways in which we define ourselves.” Scott and Jackson 1996“Sexuality is not instinctive but learned from our families, our peers, sex education in school, popular culture, negotiations with partners, and listening to our own bodies.”
6 SexualitySexual Scripts: reflect social norms, provide a framework and guidelines for sexual behavior (societal level)Sexual Self-Schemas: identities about sexual aspects of the self established from past and present experiences (guide behavior on individual level)Sexual identity: attraction to people of certain sex – desire and behavior (versus gender, which focuses on masculinity/femininity)
7 Defense of Marriage Act DOMA – 1996 Marriage defined as between one man and one womanJuly 2011 – President Obama backs the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act
8 Feminist Issues Related to Sexuality Media’s Portrayal of Women’s SexualityReproductive FreedomPornographySex Work (stripping, prostitution, etc.)Sexual HarassmentSexual Violence
9 Sexuality as a Feminist Issue Sexual freedom:Freedom from the policing and regulation of female’s sexualityFreedom from the double standardsFreedom of expressionBodily freedom
10 Contradictions of Sexuality “Sexuality is simultaneously a domain of restriction, repression, and danger as well as a domain of exploration, pleasure, and agency. To focus only on pleasure and gratification ignores the patriarchal structure in which women act, yet to speak only of sexual violence and oppression ignores women’s experience with sexual agency and choice.” Carole Vance