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March 2017
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SEXUAL ORIENTATION

SEXUAL ORIENTATION

Sexual orientation is defined as the direction of one's sexual interest towards members of the same sex, the opposite sex and both sexes, which are dictated by physiological factors rather than social conditioning. It is important to note that sexual orientation can differ from sexual ‘behaviour’ and from the sexual identity of a person.

The Kinsey Report

The first scientific analysis on sexual orientation was conducted by Professor Kinsey and his team.

 
Alfred Kinsey and his research team: Clyde Martin, Paul Gebhard and Wardell Pomeroy

His first book, the one about male sexual behaviour, called ‘Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male’, also known as The Kinsey Report, contained one of the most important theories on this argument: the Heterosexual/Homosexual Rating Scale, a scale with seven points used to measure sexuality and any possible homosexual tendencies a person may have.

0 -Exclusively heterosexual
1 - Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual
2 - Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual
3 - Bisexual
4 - Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual
5 - Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual
6 - Exclusively homosexual
What determines sexual orientation?

Nowadays it is believed that sexual orientation is the result of an interaction of environmental, cultural, biological and genetic factors. The family context, with its reference models, can also reinforce genetic predisposition. Sexual orientation forms in childhood and adolescence.

Cultures based on sexual identity

The gay culture
In the nineteenth century, and up until the middle of the twentieth century, the gay culture was hidden, and it was based on secret codes and symbols. After the famous Stonewall riots in 1969 in New York between homosexuals and the police, who raided a gay bar in Greenwich Village, the gay culture started to become more public. In the 1970s, it influenced pop art and other artistic expressions, affirming the pride of being homosexual. However, with the coming of AIDS, discrimination returned.

The lesbian culture
The lesbian culture has become apparent in recent years following the development of feminism. One of the icons of this culture is the singer Melissa Etheridge.

The bisexual culture
Bisexuals find themselves in the peculiar situation of not being accepted by heterosexuals nor by homosexuals. They are attracted to both males and females, in some cases in equal measures, but in other cases with a preference for one sex. This sexual orientation is often repressed. In order to create an identity for this culture and increase its visibility, Michael Page created the Bi Pride Flag.

The pink part on top represents homosexuality, the blue part below represents heterosexuality and the middle colour in the centre represent bisexuality.

SEXUAL ORIENTATION

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