Defining Sexual Orientation

ead through the following descriptions of differ­ent sexual lifestyles. How would you categorize these people? Who is heterosexual? Who is homo­sexual? Who is bisexual?

Susan, 45 years old: / have been in an exclusive, monogamous lesbian relationship with Michele for 21 years. After 8 years with Michele, I de­cided I wanted a child and had sex a few times with a friend of mine, Jonathan. I now have a 13-year – old son. Seeing how much I enjoyed having a child, my partner decided she wanted one, too, but because she had no desire to have inter­course with a man she had herself artifi­cially inseminated.

Allie, 25 years old: / had my first sexual experience with a guy when I was 16 years old. I loved sex and enjoyed being with guys. However, I fell madly in love with a woman during my junior year of college. Our sex life was awesome. We drifted apart after college, and now I am sleeping only with men again.

Bill, 21 years old: When I was in my teens, a friend of mine and myself stroked each other to orgasm on three occasions. Although I now date only women, every so often while masturbating I fantasize about those experi­ences, which enhances my orgasm. I consider myself heterosexual and feel a bit uneasy about my fantasies.

Anthony, 31 years old: I have been married for 15 years, and I have two children. My wife and I have a healthy sexual life, and I love her very much. I have

never had sex with another woman since my marriage. However, about once every 2 or 3 months, I drive to a town about 2 hours away from where I live and pick up a man for quick, anonymous sex. I find these encoun­ters to be the most exciting part of my sex life.

Peter, 26 years old: / have been in prison for 5 years for dealing drugs. While in prison, I’ve engaged in anal and oral sex with other men, usually fantasizing that they were women. I long for my scheduled re­lease a few months from now, when I plan to resume having sex exclusively with women, as I did before being sent to prison.

Kiko, 45 years old: My partner and I enjoy engaging in group sex with other couples.

In these group sex sessions, sexual contact is very free, and often I will give a guy a blow job while my partner engages in sex­ual contact with women. We are both are very comfortable with such contact, feeling that sexual pleasure is sexual pleasure no matter who is administering it.

Are any of these people difficult to categorize? What about Bill, who is now exclusively heterosexual in his behavior but has fantasies of past homosexual behavior? Anthony has occasional sex with other men, whereas Peter and Susan both have had sex outside their usual lifestyles for purely practical reasons—Peter because he is in prison and women are not available to him, and Susan because she wanted to get preg­nant. Allie has had sexual relationships with both men and women, whereas Kiko has an open relationship in which he and his partner are not restricted to only one gender.

Подпись:Подпись:mosexual?” “Bisexual?” Here, however, we focus our attention primarily on the research and writing about homosexuality and bisexuality.

Defining Sexual OrientationQuestion: If I played sex games with a friend of the same sex when I was 15, am I gay?

Sexual experimentation and sexual orientation are two different things. It is very common, especially in the teenage years and before, to experiment with same-sex contact (and for people who are pre­dominantly gay or lesbian to experiment with the other sex). Yet only a fairly small percentage of people who experiment will become gay, lesbian, or bisexual (Fay et al., 1989).

Kinsey Continuum Category Number

0 1 2 3 4 5 6

Defining Sexual Orientation

 

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Figure 11.1

The Kinsey Continuum. The 7-point scale is based on behaviors ranging from exclusively heterosex­ual behavior to exclusively homosexual behavior.

From H. Kinsey, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, 1948. Reprinted with permission of The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, Inc.