Few aspects of human biology are as complex—or politically fraught—as sexual orientation. Now, a new study claims to dispel the notion that a single gene or handful of genes make a person prone to same-sex behavior. The analysis, which examined the genomes of nearly half a million men and women, found that although genetics are certainly involved in who people choose to have sex with, there are no specific genetic predictors. Yet some researchers question whether the analysis, which looked at genes associated with sexual activity rather than attraction, can draw any real conclusions about sexual orientation. Other studies have linked sexual orientation with environmental factors such as hormone exposure before birth and having older brothers.
Biometric modeling revealed that, in men, genetic effects explained. Retrieved 10 February Social reason for being homosexual neuron count Cadillac dealer twin falls idaho found a homlsexual difference in INAH3, but found no trend related to sexual orientation. This was a relevant area of the brain to study, because of evidence that it played a role in the regulation of sexual behaviour in animalsand because Social reason for being homosexual and INAH3 had previously been reported to differ in size between men and women. The third group was of six women whom the researchers presumed to be heterosexual. Some advocates for the rights of sexual minorities resist what they perceive as attempts to pathologise or medicalise 'deviant' beiing, and choose to fight for acceptance in a moral or social realm.
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Horm Behav. See the article " Pedophiles want same rights as homosexuals. Rakes and homosexuals were sexually selfish and irresponsible, not only because they were self-indulgent, but also because they saw sexuality fod divorced from the responsibilities of parenthood. According to them, homosexual behavior is a mental illness, symptomatic of arrested development. Research on the physiologic differences between male and female Social reason for being homosexual are based on the idea that people have male or a female brain, and this mirrors the behavioral differences between the two sexes. The gay lifestyle is strikingly impermanent. No one answer is acceptable to all researchers in the field. Deseret Foor News. Related Articles Why write about Winning balsa model towers Biological Factors in the Social reason for being homosexual of Sexual Orientation. Conclusion So, is homosexuality dangerous to society? Female sexual orientation does not seem hmoosexual be linked to Xq28,   though it does appear moderately heritable.
Between 2 and 11 percent of human adults report experiencing some homosexual feelings, though the figure varies widely depending on the survey.
- The relationship between biology and sexual orientation is a subject of research.
- Though many would like to think otherwise, the very existence of our society depends upon each individual contributing to the survival and well-being of all.
The relationship between biology and sexual orientation is a subject of research. While scientists do not know what determines an individual's sexual orientation , they theorize that it is caused by a complex interplay of genetic , hormonal , and environmental influences. Biological theories for explaining the causes of sexual orientation are favored by scientists. A number of twin studies have attempted to compare the relative importance of genetics and environment in the determination of sexual orientation.
Self reported zygosity , sexual attraction, fantasy and behaviours were assessed by questionnaire and zygosity was serologically checked when in doubt.
Other researchers support biological causes for both men and women's sexual orientation. Women showed a statistically non-significant trend to weaker influence of hereditary effects, while men showed no effect of shared environmental effects.
Biometric modeling revealed that, in men, genetic effects explained. Corresponding estimates among women were. Nonetheless, it is possible to conclude that, given the difference in sexuality in so many sets of identical twins, sexual orientation cannot be attributed solely to genetic factors.
Another issue is the finding that even monozygotic twins can be different and there is a mechanism which might account for monozygotic twins being discordant for homosexuality. Monoamniotic twins share a hormonal environment, but can suffer from the 'twin to twin transfusion syndrome' in which one twin is "relatively stuffed with blood and the other exsanguinated".
Sanders et al. Chromosome linkage studies of sexual orientation have indicated the presence of multiple contributing genetic factors throughout the genome. In Dean Hamer and colleagues published findings from a linkage analysis of a sample of 76 gay brothers and their families.
Gay brothers who showed this maternal pedigree were then tested for X chromosome linkage, using twenty-two markers on the X chromosome to test for similar alleles. This was popularly dubbed the " gay gene " in the media, causing significant controversy.
A later analysis by Hu et al. Mustanski et al. In the full sample they did not find linkage to Xq Significant linkage was also detected in the pericentromeric region of chromosome 8, overlapping with one of the regions detected in the Hamer lab's previous genomewide study. The authors concluded that "our findings, taken in context with previous work, suggest that genetic variation in each of these regions contributes to development of the important psychological trait of male sexual orientation".
Female sexual orientation does not seem to be linked to Xq28,   though it does appear moderately heritable. In addition to sex chromosomal contribution, a potential autosomal genetic contribution to the development of homosexual orientation has also been suggested. They also found that "unusually high" proportions of homosexual males and homosexual females were Rh negative in comparison to heterosexuals.
As both blood type and Rh factor are genetically inherited traits controlled by alleles located on chromosome 9 and chromosome 1 respectively, the study indicates a potential link between genes on autosomes and homosexuality.
The biology of sexual orientation has been studied in detail in several animal model systems. In the common fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster , the complete pathway of sexual differentiation of the brain and the behaviors it controls is well established in both males and females, providing a concise model of biologically controlled courtship.
Without the gene, the mice exhibited masculine sexual behavior and attraction toward urine of other female mice. Those mice who retained the gene fucose mutarotase FucM were attracted to male mice. In interviews to the press, researchers have pointed that the evidence of genetic influences should not be equated with genetic determinism. According to Dean Hamer and Michael Bailey, genetic aspects are only one of the multiple causes of homosexuality.
In , Scientific Reports published an article with a genome wide association study on male sexual orientation. The research consisted of 1, homosexual men and 1, heterosexual men. LeVay's research suggested that the hypothalamus of gay men is different from straight men. The researchers found that the thyroid stimulating hormone receptor TSHR on chromosome 14 shows sequence differences between gay and straight men.
It had been suggested that the overactive TSHR hormone lowered body weight in gay people, though this remains unproven. In , Ganna et al. The data in the study was meta-analyzed and obtained from the UK Biobank study and 23andMe. The variants on chromosomes 11 and 15 were specific to men, with the variant on chromosome 11 located in an olfactory gene and the variant on chromosome 15 having previously been linked to male-pattern baldness. The four variants were also correlated with mood and mental health disorders; major depressive disorder and schizophrenia in men and women, and bipolar disorder in women.
However, none of the four variants could reliably predict sexual orientation. In August , a genome-wide association study of , individuals concluded that hundreds or thousands of genetic variants underlie homosexual behavior in both sexes, with 5 variants in particular being significantly associated.
Some of these variants had sex-specific effects, and two of these variants suggested links to biological pathways that involve sex hormone regulation and olfaction.
These genes partly overlap with those for several other traits, including openness to experience and risk-taking behavior. Additional analyses suggested that sexual behavior, attraction, identity, and fantasies are influenced by a similar set of genetic variants. They also found that the genetic effects that differentiate heterosexual from homosexual behavior are not the same as those that differ among nonheterosexuals with lower versus higher proportions of same-sex partners, which suggests that there is no single continuum from heterosexual to homosexual preference, as suggested by the Kinsey scale.
A study suggests linkage between a mother's genetic make-up and homosexuality of her sons. Women have two X chromosomes, one of which is "switched off".
The inactivation of the X chromosome occurs randomly throughout the embryo, resulting in cells that are mosaic with respect to which chromosome is active. In some cases though, it appears that this switching off can occur in a non-random fashion. Bocklandt et al. This maternal immunization hypothesis MIH begins when cells from a male fetus enter the mother's circulation during pregnancy or while giving birth.
These Y-linked proteins would not be recognized in the mother's immune system because she is female, causing her to develop antibodies which would travel through the placental barrier into the fetal compartment. Successive male fetuses are then attacked by H-Y antibodies which somehow decrease the ability of H-Y antigens to perform their usual function in brain masculinization.
However, the maternal immune hypothesis has been criticized because the prevalence of the type of immune attack proposed is rare compared with the prevalence of homosexuality. In , researchers discovered a biological mechanism of gay people who tend to have older brothers. They think Neuroligin 4 Y-linked protein is responsible for a later son being gay. The result also indicates that number of pregnancies, mothers of gay sons, particularly those with older brothers, had significantly higher anti-NLGN4Y levels than did the control samples of women, including mothers of heterosexual sons.
In , Italian researchers conducted a study of about 4, people who were the relatives of 98 homosexual and heterosexual men. The researchers concluded that there was genetic material being passed down on the X chromosome which both promotes fertility in the mother and homosexuality in her male offspring.
Research conducted in Sweden  has suggested that gay and straight men respond differently to two odors that are believed to be involved in sexual arousal.
The research showed that when both heterosexual women and gay men are exposed to a testosterone derivative found in men's sweat, a region in the hypothalamus is activated. Heterosexual men, on the other hand, have a similar response to an estrogen-like compound found in women's urine.
Researchers have suggested that this possibility could be further explored by studying young subjects to see if similar responses in the hypothalamus are found and then correlating these data with adult sexual orientation. A number of sections of the brain have been reported to be sexually dimorphic; that is, they vary between men and women. There have also been reports of variations in brain structure corresponding to sexual orientation.
In , Dick Swaab and Michel A. Hofman reported a difference in the size of the suprachiasmatic nucleus between homosexual and heterosexual men. Research on the physiologic differences between male and female brains are based on the idea that people have male or a female brain, and this mirrors the behavioral differences between the two sexes.
Some researchers state that solid scientific support for this is lacking. Although consistent differences have been identified, including the size of the brain and of specific brain regions, male and female brains are very similar. Simon LeVay , too, conducted some of these early researches. This was a relevant area of the brain to study, because of evidence that it played a role in the regulation of sexual behaviour in animals , and because INAH2 and INAH3 had previously been reported to differ in size between men and women.
He obtained brains from 41 deceased hospital patients. The subjects were classified into three groups. The first group comprised 19 gay men who had died of AIDS -related illnesses. The second group comprised 16 men whose sexual orientation was unknown, but whom the researchers presumed to be heterosexual. Six of these men had died of AIDS-related illnesses. The third group was of six women whom the researchers presumed to be heterosexual.
One of the women had died of an AIDS-related illness. The HIV-positive people in the presumably heterosexual patient groups were all identified from medical records as either intravenous drug abusers or recipients of blood transfusions. Two of the men who identified as heterosexual specifically denied ever engaging in a homosexual sex act. The records of the remaining heterosexual subjects contained no information about their sexual orientation; they were assumed to have been primarily or exclusively heterosexual "on the basis of the numerical preponderance of heterosexual men in the population".
However, the INAH3 group appeared to be twice as big in the heterosexual male group as in the gay male group; the difference was highly significant, and remained significant when only the six AIDS patients were included in the heterosexual group. However, other studies have shown that the sexually dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area, which include the INAH3, are of similar size in homosexual males who died of AIDS to heterosexual males, and therefore larger than female.
This clearly contradicts the hypothesis that homosexual males have a female hypothalamus. These areas of the hypothalamus have not yet been explored in homosexual females nor bisexual males nor females. William Byne and colleagues attempted to identify the size differences reported in INAH 1—4 by replicating the experiment using brain sample from other subjects: 14 HIV-positive homosexual males, 34 presumed heterosexual males 10 HIV-positive , and 34 presumed heterosexual females 9 HIV-positive.
The researchers found a significant difference in INAH3 size between heterosexual men and heterosexual women. The INAH3 size of the homosexual men was apparently smaller than that of the heterosexual men, and larger than that of the heterosexual women, though neither difference quite reached statistical significance.
The neuron count also found a male-female difference in INAH3, but found no trend related to sexual orientation. A study, Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab asserted that "the fetal brain develops during the intrauterine period in the male direction through a direct action of testosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hormone surge.
In this way, our gender identity the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender and sexual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb.
There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender identity or sexual orientation. In many species, a prominent feature of sexual differentiation is the presence of a sexually dimorphic nucleus SDN in the preoptic hypothalamus, which is larger in males than in females.
Roselli et al. Neurons of the oSDN show aromatase expression which is also smaller in male-oriented rams versus female-oriented rams, suggesting that sexual orientation is neurologically hard-wired and may be influenced by hormones. Although the exact function of the oSDN is not fully known, its volume, length, and cell number seem to correlate with sexual orientation, and a dimorphism in its volume and of cells could bias the processing cues involved in partner selection.
But even the worst racist wouldn't suggest that it is due to genetic predisposition. The gay lifestyle is strikingly impermanent. Are homosexual proclivities natural or irresistible? There have also been reports of variations in brain structure corresponding to sexual orientation. Corresponding estimates among women were. Apparently, she thought that heterosexuality was a universal fact of human nature.
Social reason for being homosexual. Is Homosexuality Moral?
Are homosexual proclivities natural or irresistible? At least three answers seem possible. The first, the answer of tradition, is as follows: homosexual behavior is a bad habit that people fall into because they are sexually permissive and experimental.
This view holds rat homosexuals choose their lifestyle as the result of self-indulgence and an unwillingness to play by society rules. The second position is held by a number of psychoanalysts e. According to them, homosexual behavior is a mental illness, symptomatic of arrested development. They believe that homosexuals have unnatural or perverse desires as a consequence of poor familial relations in childhood or some other trauma.
The third view is "biological" and holds that such desires are genetic or hormonal in origin, and that there is no choice involved and no "childhood trauma" necessary. The answer seems to be that homosexual behavior is learned. The following seven lines of evidence support such a conclusion. Occasionally you may read about a scientific study that suggests that homosexuality is an inherited tendency, but such studies have usually been discounted after careful scrutiny or attempts at replication.
No one has found a single heredible genetic, hormonal or physical difference between heterosexuals and homosexuals - at least none that is replicable. Two large studies asked homosexual respondents to explain the origins of their desires and behaviors - how they "got that way.
The second, in , 4 involved homosexuals. Both were conducted prior to the period when the "gay rights" movement started to politicize the issue of homosexual origins. Both reported essentially the same findings: Homosexuals overwhelmingly believed their feelings and behavior were the result of social or environmental influences. There is evidence that homosexuality, like drug use is "handed down" from older individuals.
The first homosexual encounter is usually initiated by an older person. Likewise, a study of over London teenagers reported that "for the boys, their first homosexual experience was very likely with someone older: half the boys' first partner were 20 or older; for girls it was 43 percent.
In the s, scholars 12 examined the early Kinsey data to determine whether or not childhood sexual experiences predicted adult behavior. A similar pattern appeared in the Kinsey Institute 4 study: there was a strong relationship between those whose first experience was homosexual and those who practiced homosexuality in later life.
A similarly progressive pattern of sexual behavior was reported for females. It is remarkable that the three largest empirical studies of the question showed essentially the same pattern. A child's first sexual experiences were strongly associated with his or her adult behavior.
These studies suggest that when people believe strongly that homosexual behavior is immoral, they are significantly less apt to be involved in such activity. Recently, because of the AIDS epidemic, it has been discovered that, relative to white males, twice as many black males are homosexual 14 and 4 times as many are bisexual. One needs to look no further than the prison population to see evidence of homosexual behavior in otherwise heterosexual individuals not including incidents of prison rape.
However, many would argue that gay people should be afforded the same rights as heterosexuals whether being gay is a choice or not. If homosexuality is caused by genetic or inborn traits, gay and lesbian people would be unable to change their sexual orientation, even if they wanted to. If homosexuality is caused by environmental factors, however, then gays and lesbians could change and become straight with therapy. That is not to say that all of being gay or lesbian is negative. Some lesbians say that being gay is a choice—especially those who were once married or came out later in life.
Others are angered to hear someone say such a thing. Sheryl Swoopes, a retired American basketball player, received some scorn from the gay and lesbian community when she said she thought being gay was her choice in an interview on Gay. Many gays and lesbians would argue that being gay is not a choice , but whether to act on it is. In other words, many people are either born with their sexual orientation or establish it at an early age. Scientists have studied twins to try and learn if being gay is biologically determined.
Studies of identical and fraternal twins suggest that there is a genetic influence on sexual orientation. If being gay were strictly genetic, then in identical twins, there would be a percent concordance rate for sexual orientation. However, one study in found a 52 percent correlation for male identical twins and a 22 percent for male fraternal twins.
If one identical twin was a lesbian, in 48 percent of cases, the other twin was also a lesbian. For fraternal twins, the concordance was 16 percent, according to British-American neuroscientist Simon LeVay. Genetics alone cannot cause sexual orientation, but they do play a part. Additionally, scientists have not been able to conclude that there is any gene or combination of genes that will make someone gay.
Genetics is very complex and scientists continue to study both human and animal chromosomes for linkage to sexual orientation.
Biology and sexual orientation - Wikipedia
Homosexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attraction , or 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 and heterosexuality , homosexuality is one of the three main categories of sexual orientation within the heterosexual—homosexual continuum.
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. Many modern style guides in the U.
Gay especially refers to male homosexuality,  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 Lesbos , where 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 school , today 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 activity and homoerotic referring to works of art.
The range of acceptable use for these terms depends on the context and speaker. The American 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 religions , the 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 Socrates , Lord Byron , Edward II , and Hadrian ,  have had terms such as gay or bisexual applied to them. Some scholars, such as Michel Foucault , have regarded this as risking the anachronistic introduction of a contemporary construction of sexuality foreign to their times,  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 unique cultural and social processes. The first record of a possible homosexual couple in history is commonly regarded as Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum , an ancient Egyptian male couple, who lived around BCE.
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 that 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 colonization, 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 execution , burning and being torn to pieces by dogs.
Hardwick that a state could criminalize sodomy , but, in , overturned 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 in , through various state court rulings, state legislation, direct popular votes referendums and initiatives , and federal court rulings.
In East Asia , same-sex love has been referred to since the earliest recorded history. Homosexuality in China , known 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.
Confucianism , being 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,  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  but in his late works proposed its prohibition. Little is known of female homosexuality in antiquity. Sappho , born on the island of Lesbos , was included by later Greeks in the canonical list of nine lyric poets. The adjectives deriving 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 Rome , the young male body remained a focus of male sexual attention, but relationships were between 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 Antinous , but the Christian emperor Theodosius I decreed a law on 6 August , condemning passive males 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 Justinian , towards the end of his reign, expanded the proscription to the active partner as well in , warning that such conduct can lead to the destruction of cities through the "wrath of God".
During the Renaissance , wealthy cities in northern Italy — Florence and Venice in particular—were renowned for their widespread practice of same-sex love, engaged in by a considerable part of the male population and constructed along the classical pattern of Greece and Rome.
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.
Between and Karl Heinrich Ulrichs published a series of twelve tracts, which he collectively titled Research on the Riddle of Man-Manly Love. In , he 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.
Beginning in with Homogenic Love , Socialist 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. In , Elisar von Kupffer published an anthology of homosexual literature from antiquity to his own time, Lieblingminne und Freundesliebe 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 mistranslated love poetry about a young boy, instead referring to a young female, to maintain their social norms and morals.
On the other hand, many governments in the Middle East often ignore, deny the existence of, or criminalize homosexuality. However, the probable reason is that they keep their sexuality a secret for fear of government sanction or rejection by their families. In ancient Sumer , a set of priests known as gala worked in the temples of the goddess Inanna , where they performed elegies and lamentations.
In ancient Assyria , homosexuality 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 love in ancient literature, like in the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh as well as in the Biblical story of David and Jonathan. In many societies of Melanesia , especially in Papua New Guinea , same-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 would "inseminate" him orally, anally, or topically, depending on the tribe over a number of years in order for the younger to also reach puberty. Many Melanesian societies, however, have become hostile towards same-sex relationships since the introduction of Christianity by European missionaries.
The American Psychological Association , the American Psychiatric Association , and 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 and fulfilling relationships": .
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 simple 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 ongoing commitment. The Kinsey scale , also called the Heterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale,  attempts to describe a person's sexual history or episodes of his or her sexual activity at a given time.
It uses a scale from 0, meaning exclusively heterosexual , to 6, meaning exclusively homosexual. In both the Male and Female volumes of the Kinsey Reports , an additional grade, listed as "X", has been interpreted by scholars to indicate asexuality.
Often, sexual orientation and sexual identity are not distinguished, which can impact accurately assessing sexual identity and whether or not sexual orientation is able to change; sexual orientation identity can change throughout an individual's life, and may or may 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.
The second phase involves one's decision to come out to others, e. At this age, they may not trust or ask for help from others, especially when their orientation is not accepted in society. Sometimes their own families are not even informed.
According to Rosario, Schrimshaw, Hunter, Braun , "the development of a lesbian, gay, or bisexual LGB sexual identity is a complex and often difficult process. Unlike members of other minority groups e. Rather, LGB individuals are often raised in communities that are either ignorant of or openly hostile toward homosexuality. Outing is the practice of publicly revealing the sexual orientation of a closeted person. Many commentators oppose the practice altogether,  while some encourage outing public figures who use their positions of influence to harm other gay people.
For information specific to female homosexuality, see Lesbian. This is the only major piece of research into female sexuality that has looked at how women understand being homosexual since Kinsey in The research yielded information about women's general understanding of lesbian relationships and their sexual orientation.