Sexual and gender identity sexual and gender disorders
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Sexual and Gender Identity & Sexual and Gender Disorders. Main Ideas. What is gender identity? How does gender identity develop? Theories of gender development. Important Vocabulary. Sex - Male/female-based upon chromosomes (xx or xy)

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Sexual and Gender Identity & Sexual and Gender Disorders

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Sexual and Gender Identity& Sexual and Gender Disorders

Main Ideas

  • What is gender identity?

  • How does gender identity develop?

  • Theories of gender development.

Important Vocabulary

  • Sex- Male/female-based upon chromosomes (xx or xy)

  • Gender- Cultural, social, and psychological meanings associated with masculinity or femininity.

  • Gender Identity- a person’s psychological sense of being male or female.

  • Sexual Orientation- a person's emotional, romantic, and sexual attraction to individuals of a particular sex(not a preference)

    • I prefer pizza & boys to chocolate & girls???



Sexual Orientation

Biological correlates of sexual orientation

  • Evidence strongest in males

    • Gays & lesbians fall in between straight males & females

  • 1. Brain differences

    • One hypothalamic cell cluster larger in straight males than females and gay males

    • Anterior commissure is larger in gay males than females or straight males

    • Gay males hypothalamus reacts the same as females to smell of sex related hormones

Biological correlates of sexual orientation (contd.)

  • 2. Genetic Influences

    • Shared sexual orientation is higher among identical twins than fraternal twins

    • Sexual orientation in fruit flies can be genetically manipulated

  • 3. Pre-hormonal Influences

    • Altered prenatal hormone exposure may lead to homosexuality in humans & other animals

    • Males with several older brothers more likely to be homosexual

  • These three differences/influences may contribute to observable gay-straight differences in…

    • Spatial abilityFingerprint ridge counts

    • HandednessOccupational preferences

    • Relative finger lengthGender nonconformity, etc.

Important Vocabulary

  • Gender Roles- behaviors, attitudes, and personality traits designated as masculine/feminine.

  • Gender Stereotypes- oversimplified beliefs about male/female behavior

  • Gender Schema- cluster of physical qualities, behaviors, and personality traits associated w/one sex.

  • Modeling- Social learning through observation and imitation of others. (Bandura’s Bobo doll)

Gender Roles

Gender Stereotypes

Development of Gender Identity (Bee 1998)

  • Gender identity: 1-3 yrs

  • Gender stability: 3 - 4 yrs

  • Gender constancy: 5 - 6 yrs

Gender Development Theories

Gender Schema Theory

  • Links cognitive development with social learning theory in the sense that schemas are socialisedcognitive networks of sex & gender roles

  • People with high gender schemas are more prone to stereotypic perception & behaviour

  • High schemas facilitate the creation of cognitive heuristics (gender stereotypes & gender values)

Social Learning Theory

  • Almost from birth children are treated in gender specific ways (e.g. birthday cards, toys, & dress)

  • Parents & society reinforce gender specific behaviours & attitudes

  • Boys and girls imitate males & females respectively

Social Learning Theory

Identity Constructed Theory

Bee (1998) suggests 3 stages:

  • This theory emphasises the individual’s sense of commitment to a gender category.

  • The gender category may conflict with social norms (McManus 1999) - may lead to gender dysphoria

Enculturated-Lens Theory

  • Development of gender identity is embedded in socio-historical context of each culture

  • Culture operates as lens through which gender identity & gender roles are defined & passed on as memes of behaviour

    • Memes-A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another

  • Androgyny is the socialised freedom to identify with male or female roles (Bem 1993).

Enculturated-Lens Theory

Biological Theory

  • Biologists argue that males with Klinefelter’s syndrome (males with extra x=xxy) & females with Turner’s syndrome (females with a damaged/missing x) may have a very different gender identity

  • Intersexed infants (born with both male & female genitals) may have to decide which gender category they belong

    • Hermaphrodites


Biological Theory contd.

  • Biological characteristics may partly explain gender differences

  • Hormonal activities tend to influence mind and body (e.g. aggression & emotionality)

  • Estrogen (associated with xx) may be a protective hormone associated with longevity

  • Estrogen may also be associated with the slow processing of alcohol & quicker intoxication

Gender Identity Disorder

  • Gender Dysmorphic - those unhappy with their anatomical sex who wish to be of the opposite sex

  • A male with GID experiences his sexual interest in men as a conventional heterosexual orientation

    • Doesn’t consider himself homosexual, instead, a female trapped in a man’s body

  • Biological studies (e.g., hormones, chromosomal abnormalities) have been inconclusive

  • In children with GID, parents are more accepting of their cross-gender behavior

Gender dysmorphic

The Paraphilias (unusual sexual fantasies, urges, or behaviors)

  • Fetishism - reliance on an inanimate object for sexual arousal

  • Transvestic Fetishism - a man who is aroused by dressing in women’s clothing, although he still regards himself as a man (usually heterosexual)

  • Pedophilia - adults, usually men, who derive sexual gratification exclusively through physical and often sexual contact with prepubertal children

    • 95% of known Pedophiles are heterosexual

  • Voyeurism- arousal from observing an unsuspecting person who is disrobing, naked, or engaged in sexual activity


Transvestic Fetishism


The Paraphilias (unusual sexual fantasies, urges, or behaviors)

  • Exhibitionism-sexual arousal by exposing one’s genitals to shocked strangers.

  • Frotteurism- sexual arousal from touching and rubbing against a nonconsenting person (crowds, bus, subway car, etc.)

  • Sexual Sadism- arousal from intentionally inflicting psychological or physical suffering on another person.

  • Sexual Masochism- arousal in response to being humiliated, beaten, bound, or made to suffer.

    • BDSM-bondage, domination, sado-masochism



Sexual Sadism

Sexual Masochism

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