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How Sexuality is Socially Constructed

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From birth, one's sexuality is shaped by society. Cultures institute behaviors that are to be seen as the societal norms, which work to constantly reinforce societal expectations of how genders should act in relation to one another. Although some may argue that one's sexuality is an innate characteristic resulting from genetic makeup, there is a large amount of evidence pointing to its social construction instead. Through the power differences between males and females, established gender roles, and drastic economic shifts, society establishes sexuality and reinforces the behaviors that are expected of its citizens.

As Tamsin Wilton explains in her piece, “Which One’s the Man? The Heterosexualisation of Lesbian Sex,” society has fronted that heterosexuality, or desire for the opposite sex, is the norm. However, the reason behind why this is the case is left out. Rather, Wilton claims that “heterosexual desire is [an] eroticised power difference [because] heterosexual desire originates in the power relationship between men and women” (161). This social struggle for power forces the majority of individuals into male-female based relationships because most women are unable to overcome the oppressive cycle society has led them into. Whereas heterosexual relationships are made up of the male (the oppressor) and the female (the victim who is unable to fight against the oppressor), homosexual relationships involve two or more individuals that have been freed from their oppressor-oppressed roles.

Gender is a socially constructed phenomenon, and how acceptable one’s relationship is determined by society’s view of gender roles. Because the majority of the population is characterized as heterosexual, those who deviate from that path are ...

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Blackledge, Catherine. "The Function of the Orgasm." Gender, Sex, and Sexuality. New York: Oxford University, 2009. 272-84. Print.

D'Emilio, John. "Capitalism and Gay Identity." 467-76. Print.

Martin, Emily. "The Egg and the Sperm: How Science Has Constructed a Romance Based on Stereotypical Male-Female Roles." Gender, Sex, and Sexuality. New York: Oxford University, 2009. 248-53. Print.

Preves, Ph.D., Sharon E. "Intersex Narratives: Gender, Medicine, and Identity." Gender, Sex, and Sexuality. New York: Oxford University, 2009. 32-42. Print.

Somerville, Siobhan. "Scientific Racism and the Invention of the Homosexual Body." Gender, Sex, and Sexuality. New York: Oxford University, 2009. 284-99. Print.

Wilton, Tamsin. "Which One's the Man? The Heterosexualisation of Lesbain Sex." Gender, Sex, and Sexuality. New York: Oxford University, 2009. 157-70. Print.
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