Sexuality Is Socially Constructed

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This paper will be examining why it may be important to see that sexuality is socially constructed, rather than biologically determined. Although the term sexuality encompasses many aspects, including sexual identity, sexual acts and desires (reference), this paper will focus on the sexual identity (heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual) aspect of sexuality. There are two main arguments about the formation and notion of sexual identity in society, those who believe it is biologically determined and those who believe it is socially constructed (DeLamater & Hyde 1998). Social constructionism is defined as a perspective which suggests that the interactions between people determine social reality (Giddens & Sutton 2013, p. 35). This paper argues…show more content…
However, from a social constructionist perspective, Kinsey et al. (1948 cited in Van Krieken et al. 2006, p.329) suggest that sexual identity is not consistent and is fluid. Kinsey et al. suggest that humans can place themselves along a spectrum of sexuality, and their position along this spectrum can change depending upon the desires and performance of sexual acts they have at the time. Furthermore, Kinsey et al. suggest that no one is completely heterosexual or homosexual, and there is no clear division between sexualities. point 3- example 2-link prison sex to kinsey? The example of prison sex may be a reason to consider a social constructionist perspective on sexual identity, as it may show the fluidity of sexual identity and the lack of a relationship between identity and sexual acts, as suggested by Kinsey et al. There is a scarcity of research conducted on prison sex in relation to sexual identity, which may be because it is a controversial topic (Tewksbury & West 2000). However, of the research that has been conducted in prison, it has supported the view that sexuality is fluid and sexual identities may change (Gibson and Hensley…show more content…
Gibson and Hensley (2013) suggest that the prison subculture may allow for the construction of sexualities, (as the social values differ from those in regular society.- different behaviours/attitudes that aren’t accepted in wider culture) This suggests that the views and influences of others and personal experience may have an affect on people’s sexual identities and may cause them to change. Gibson and Hensley (2013) support this view, as they conducted a survey on 142 male inmates in a Southern USA maximum-security prison. They found that (inmates were 52 times more likely to change their sexual orientation if they engaged in homosexual sexual activity). This suggests that sexuality may be socially constructed, rather than biologically determined because it supports the social constructionist view that humans can learn through experience and the influence of others and therefore may be able to change their sexuality. This provides evidence for the fluidity of sexuality, rather than it being biologically (set in stone). Hensley, Tewksbury & Koscheski (2002) support this finding, as they suggest prison subcultures …. and can therefore change a person’s sexual

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