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Sexual Orientation
Chapter 11, Lecture 5
“Sexual orientation is not an indicator of mental
health. ‘Homosexuality, in and of itself, is not
associated with mental disorders or emotional
or social problems,’ declares the American
Psychological Association.”
- David Myers
Our first topic:
The Complexity of Sexual Orientation
In groups of 2-3, work
through Handout 11-13
Sexual Orientation
Sexual orientation refers to a person’s
preference for emotional and sexual
relationships with individuals of the same sex,
the other sex, and/or either sex.
Sexual Orientation Statistics
In Europe and America, based on many
national surveys, homosexuality in men
is 3-4% and in women is 1-2%.
As members of a minority, homosexuals often
struggle with their sexual orientation.
Origins of Sexual Orientation
Homosexuality is more likely based on
biological factors like differing brain centers,
genetics, and parental hormone exposure rather
than environmental factors.
Cynthia Johnson/ Time magazine
Homosexual parents
Animal Homosexuality
David Hecker/ AFP/ Getty Images
A number of animal
species are devoted to
same-sex partners,
suggesting that
homosexuality exists
in the animal world.
Wendell and Cass
Genes & Sexual Orientation
A number of reasons suggest that
homosexuality may be due to genetic factors.
1. Family: Homosexuality seems to run in families.
2. Twin studies: Homosexuality is more common
in identical twins than fraternal twins. However,
there are mixed results.
3. Fruit flies: Genetic engineers can genetically
manipulate females to act like males during
courtship and males to act like females.
Sexual Orientation: Biology
Changing Attitudes
Sex and Human Values
“Promiscuous recreational sex poses certain
psychological, social, health, and moral
problems that must be faced realistically”
(Baumrind, 1982).
Andreanna Seymore/ Getty Images
Important Things to Remember
“Most of today’s psychologists therefore view sexual
orientation as neither willfully chosen nor willfully
changed. Sexual orientation in some ways is like
handedness: Most people are one way, some the other.
A very few are truly ambidextrous. Regardless, the
way one is endures.”
- David Myers
“If there are environmental factors that influence
sexual orientation, we do not yet know what they
- David Myers
Important Things to Remember
“Perhaps we can agree that the knowledge provided
by sex research is preferable to ignorance, and yet also
agree that researchers’ values should be stated openly,
enabling us to debate them and to reflect on our own
values. We should remember that scientific research
on sexual motivation does not aim to define the
personal meaning of sex in our own lives.”
- David Myers
“Sex at its human best is life-uniting and
- David Myers
Read p.478-481
CT Questions – Motivations
(10 pts)