Even though gender and sexuality may appear to be very similar but these two terms are separate and have different meaning. Gender is referred to the psychological and sociocultural characteristics associated with our sex that define our gender identity and gender roles. Sexuality or sex of a gender is referred to the physical characteristics that differentiate male from female. A male have a penis and a female have a vagina.
Gender roles and gender identity are attitude and behavior that are learned and associated with appropriate sex based on society influence and acceptance. A male child may learn to adopt masculine behavior and a female child may learn to adopt feminine behavior.
Sexuality is sexual interaction in which a person may engage in different sexual behavior for the purpose of lovemaking, intimacy, pleasure or reproduction. Sexuality also involves sexual fantasy and fetishes a person may engage in to enhance pleasure and arousal during sexual interaction. Sexual fantasy and fetishes are normal sexual behavior as long as it doesn’t hurt others in the process or cause individual distress.
Most of us growing up at early age discovered that we are either male or female and we learned to adopt gender roles based on our gender identity. This is not always the case for everyone as some people may be confused and conflicted about their gender and sexuality. A biological male may feel she is a woman and wish to adopt gender roles and gender identity of the opposite sex and vice versa. Intersexes are individual born with sexual anatomy of both sexes who may also be conflicted about their gender identity.
Gender and sexuality is what distinguishes the attitude and behavior from male and female. Male behave more assertive as a result more masculine whereas female are more nurturing as a result they are more feminine. Social learning also greatly influences the role of gender and sexuality that shape the attitude and behavior of male and female growing up. Young boys are encouraged to play with action toys and to engaged in competitive activities and are more comfortable being assertive. Young girls are encouraged to play with dolls, dressed up and adopt behaviors that are nurturing and nonassertive.
Gender roles vary from different societies that develop different attitude and behavior based on social learning and different cultures. In North America, a kiss on the cheek is considered a feminine act whereas the same behavior is considered to be masculine in many European and Middle Eastern societies. In most of North America, homosexuality is protected by law whereas in the Middle East, South Asia, and most of Africa homosexuality is illegal and may face violence, discrimination, and legal penalties.
Women who are subjected to negative socialization tend to suppress their sexual feeling and sexual expression. Women with negative attitude towards sexuality are taught that women who openly express their sexual feeling are label as “slut” and that men always have sex on their mind. Men are also subjected to false beliefs from porn movies in which men are condition to always be ready for sex because men are dominant and aggressive in bed. We also live in a society in which men who openly express their sexual desire are often label as “studs.”
Women with false beliefs that men only want sex tend to be always on guard and in control to be certain that men do not engage in unacceptable behavior. Women who always want to be in control of her sexuality may experience difficulty with expressing her sexual feelings or engaging in sexual intimacy with men.
Men who are condition with the false beliefs that men should
always be ready for sex experience more pressure performing in bed. In
reality, average men do not perform at the same level as the actors in
porn movies. Society also conditioned men to see women as sexual
challenges or sexual conquest and most men tend to focus on what they
will do next rather than focusing on the good feelings with being close
to someone. Men who always see women as sexual challenge may experience
difficulty engaging in sexual intimacy with women.
Intersex Intersexes are referred to people with sexual anatomy of both sexes. There are two types of intersex and these include true hermaphrodites and pseudohermaphrodites.
Gender Roles Most theorists explain gender roles are learned though socialization the process in which individual learned and adopt behavior that is appropriate to their sex based on society influence and acceptance.
Transsexualism Transsexualism or gender dysphorias are individuals whose gender identity is opposite to his or her biological sex.
Gender Reassignment Surgery Individuals who are distress and unhappy with their gender identity may seek gender reassignment surgery.
Sexual Orientation Sexual orientation refers to the gender a person is attracted to sexually, emotionally, or romantically.
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