Social And Cultural Differences Between Gender Identity And Sexual Orientation

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Gender Identity is defined as the gender a person identifies with or is certain they are. It should be noted that just because an individual may appear to be one gender physically, does not mean he/she feels they are the gender they appear to be. For example, a person who appears to be a woman physically and contains all the female reproductive organs and body make up may claim to be a man with the wrong gender body. Gender identity is often shaped by societal and cultural influences. So, it is no wonder that people who identify with a gender different from what society has tried to engrave in their minds, are left feeling confused or rejected. What gender a person is sexually attracted to determines their sexual orientation. There are a few commonly used labels in today’s cultures that explain sexual orientation, such as “straight” (heterosexual), “gay” (homosexual), and bisexual. It is also vital to recognize the differences between gender identity and sexual orientation. An individual may identify as a male and may be sexually attracted to women. Thus, this individual’s gender identity is male, while his sexual orientation is heterosexual, meaning he is sexually attracted to the opposite gender. Just as…show more content…
Theorists also believe that such disorders are due to a particular fixation an individual may have at a stage of psychosexual development. A fear known as castration anxiety is said to be important in maintaining abnormal behaviors in those with exhibitionism, voyeurism, and pedophilia. To explain, a man may have a fear of losing his masculinity or sexual functioning and considers the act of normal heterosexual intercourse as a risk that may cause his fear to come true. Thus, to prove to himself that he is masculine he exposes his genitals to unwilling strangers (most commonly
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