Gender, Sex, and Sexuality

Read this chapter for a review of gender, sex, and sexuality. As you read through each section, consider the following points:

  • In the "Introduction to Sex and Gender", read about Harry's journey to becoming Hailey. Write a personal reaction to your thoughts on Hailey's parents allowing her to make this transition. Also, write a sociological reaction to Hailey's parents allowing her to make the transition. Remember: A sociological reaction will be one without bias or judgment.
  • Take thorough notes on the differences between sex and gender. Which one is ascribed? Which one is achieved? Also, take note of gender identity and what populations of people fall under the transgender umbrella.
  • Take note of how socialization plays a role in gender identity and gendered behaviors. Focus on the stratification of gender within the United States. In addition, explore the various theoretical perspectives on gender, taking note of feminist theory as it relates to gender-related issues.
  • Take note of varying attitudes associated with sex and sexuality. Define sexual inequality. What has been the greatest influence on sexual behavior in most societies? How have those influences recently shifted? Also, take note of Queer Theory as it pertains to sex and sexuality.

Key Terms

biological determinism
the belief that men and women behave differently due to inherent sex differences related to their biology

doing gender
the performance of tasks based upon the gender assigned to us by society and, in turn, ourselves

Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 U.S. law explicitly limiting the definition of “marriage” to a union between one man and one woman and allowing each individual state to recognize or deny same-sex marriages performed in other states

double standard
the concept that prohibits premarital sexual intercourse for women but allows it for men

a term that refers to social or cultural distinctions of behaviors that are considered male or female

gender dysphoria
a condition listed in the DSM-5 in which people whose gender at birth is contrary to the one they identify with. This condition replaces "gender identity disorder"

gender identity
a person's deeply held internal perception of his or her gender

gender role
society's concept of how men and women should behave

an ideology and a set of institutional practices that privilege heterosexuals and heterosexuality over other sexual orientations

an extreme or irrational aversion to homosexuals

queer theory
an interdisciplinary approach to sexuality studies that identifies Western society's rigid splitting of gender into male and female roles and questions its appropriateness

a term that denotes the presence of physical or physiological differences between males and females

the prejudiced belief that one sex should be valued over another

sexual orientation
a person's physical, mental, emotional, and sexual attraction to a particular sex (male or female)

a persons capacity for sexual feelings

social construction of sexuality
socially created definitions about the cultural appropriateness of sex-linked behavior which shape how people see and experience sexuality

an adjective that describes individuals who identify with the behaviors and characteristics that are other than their biological sex