Sexualorientation is one of the most controversial subjects in the world today.Sexual orientation refers to the emotional, romantic, and physical attractionfrom one person to another. Heterosexuality, which refers to the romanticattraction between two people of opposite sex, was the only form of sexualorientation acceptable to society for a long time.
The emergence ofhomosexuality, sexual relationship between same sex members, was received withmixed reactions, with some groups welcoming the changes and others condemning them.Bisexuality is another prevalent form of sexual orientation, it refers toindividuals that fall in-between heterosexuals and homosexuals (Pascoe, 2007). Judgment on homosexuals,bisexuals, and other members of LBQT+ areshamed and prevented from living true to themselves. Sometimes, it is extremelydifficult for parents and family to understand their children’s sexualorientation, and along with society reject their sexual orientation preference.
Therefore, it is critical to evaluate the key factors that affect a person’ssexual orientation to shed more light on this phenomenon.Severalfactors influence an individual’s sexual orientation. To begin, it covers thebiological aspects of the human body.
Scientific research indicates that thebrain and hormonal balances have major influence on a person’s sexuality.Research done on homosexuals and heterosexuals indicate varying sizes of thehypothalamus gland, which affects the amount of hormones released in the body.Consequently, there is an adoption of different sexual orientations between thetwo groups. Moreover, scientific evidence also shows a variation in the numberof chromosomes among individuals that display distinctions in their sexualitybehavior.
Since these biological features dictate the normal functioning of thebody, it means that sexual orientation is uncontrollable like other aspects ofskin color and height. Additionally,various environmental factors have a direct influence on sexual orientation. Tounderstand the effects of the internal and external forces on sexuality, it isimportant to understand the queer theory. According to this model, the societyis heterosexually biased, most people are against gays, lesbians, bisexuals,and transsexuals in the community leading to the victimization of these groupsof people (Raymond, 2013). Besides, queer theory posits that homosexualitydevelops as a result of different constructs in the society, and it isimportant to evaluate these issues instead of concentrating on the biological issuesaffecting sexuality. Queer theory discredits the heterosexual bias, whichemphasizes that homosexuality is wrong and should be abolished, and embraces abroader outlook on sexual orientation.
Massmedia has a big impact on sexual orientation especially among the youth, it isan important socialization tool. Messages released through mass media reach ahuge population of people as the average American citizens spends a lot oftheir time watching televisions, and movies and other entertainment sites.There is a high rate of incorporation of sexually explicit materials in massmedia channels including the Internet, music videos, music lyrics, video games,and television programs. The sexual content may favor either heterosexual orhomosexual relationships which will most likely influences the perception ofpeople on preferred sexual orientation. For example, pornographic moviesshowing gay or lesbian sex increases the curiosity for same-sexualrelationships among single and married couples. Besides, movies like Will andGrace, which focuses on gay couples, depicts homosexual relationships as lovingand enjoyable for all the parties (Raymond, 2013). Previously, discrimination against homosexuals by indicating that suchsexual behavior leads to spread of HIV/Aids, or increases family conflictdeterred people from adopting homosexuality, while the gay and lesbians livedin secret out of fear (Raymond, 2013).
Undoubtedly, mass media messages haveled to the promotion and acceptance of different sexual orientations, as seenfrom the changing mindset about homosexual relationships and increasing samesex couples.Rolemodels are another crucial group of socializing agents that affect sexualorientation (McLorg & Taub, 1992). According to thesocial identification theory, people identify themselves with importantindividuals in the society, hence the decision to adopt the behavior of notablecharacters in the world or the media. For instance, the average American girlsare slowly gravitating towards slim bodies to look like the world famous models(McLorg & Taub, 1992). Similarly,individuals that identify themselves with gay or lesbian movie characters aremore open to homosexuality.
It is important to note the presence of successfulcorporate managers that have different sexual orientations; they also influencethe sexual behavior of the admiring parties.Additionally,it is vital to recognize the impact of peer pressure on sexual orientation.Pascoe’s study analysis shows that people are highly concerned about theopinions of their colleagues, and also tend to emulate their behaviors. Duringsexual talks, men and women share their sexual exploits or intentions to getintimate with their partners with the aim of getting approval or recognitionfrom their friends (Pascoe, 2007). Although some of the sexual tales areexaggerated or fiction in nature, they may affect the sexual orientation of theaudience. Due to peer pressure, heterosexuality has become compulsory in mostof the high schools in America, and everybody tries to fit-in the club. Forexample, some students are begin working out and trying new things to attractfemale attention, while others suffer silently when they are alienated fortheir strange sexual behavior (Pascoe, 2007).
In extreme cases, pressure to conformto particular sexual orientation may lead to more problems like suicide anddepression.Cultureis another important aspect of consideration in sexual orientation, it affectsall the key areas of a person’s life. Here, culture refers to the values,beliefs, norms, religion, race, and religion, and attitude of people living inclose proximity. Over the years, there has been a significant change in thesociety’s attitude towards sex (Kilbourne, 2017).Previously, sex was a sacred actbetween married people of the opposite sex, and it was important for people toremain pure until their weddings. However, with the rise of mass media, thesociety has altered its perception on sexual relations outside marriage, and italmost seems like virginity is frowned upon in some areas.
Moreover, there hasbeen an alteration in the attitude towards homosexual relationships, thesociety has increasingly accepted gay and lesbian couples, and theseindividuals have the same rights as heterosexuals (Raymond, 2013). At the same time, some religions havealso incorporated same-sex marriages, while others remain strongly opposedagainst homosexuals. Therefore, people living in a community where everybodyhas the independence to select their sexual orientation, can opt forheterosexual or homosexual associations depending on their feelings. On theother hand, a culture against homosexuality forces the people to conform to thetraditional heterosexual relations.
Lastly,the cognitive development plays an integral role on sexual orientation. At eachdevelopment stage in life, people become more knowledgeable and this isreflected in their daily activities. Cognitive development leads to genderidentity, where a person can determine if he is a woman or male depending ontheir bodily feelings, and other environmental issues affecting gender identity(Pascoe, 2007). Moreover, cognitive capacity helpspeople to distinguish between good and bad mass media messages or peerinfluence, and carefully select the aspects to integrate in one’s life. Forexample, individuals that believe that homosexuality is evil make the consciouschoice to pursue heterosexual relationships. Besides, cognition also affectsthe attitude and beliefs of people towards homosexuals, which in turndetermines whether the sexual behavior is accepted or rejected in differentsocieties.
Note that people with different mental capabilities view the samethings differently. For example, some people will conform to the new imagedepicting women as sexual objects, while some women are against such thoughtsand their behavior is a true indicator of their prowess and abilities.Therefore, it is imperative to note that cognition largely affects sexualorientation decisions among people.Thediscussion above highlights critical information on viewpoints of sexualorientation. There has been a gradual acceptance of homosexuality in thesociety, as people let go of the heterosexual bias that put a limit to sexualindependence many years ago (Yarber, 2010). Moreover, the advancement of sexualityresearch in the modern world today has led to the discovery of the role ofbiological factors on sexual orientation. Environmental factors are anotherdeterminant of sexual orientation, and there is a close interrelationshipbetween these factors. Cognitive development is a very important aspect ofsexual orientation, as it determines the extent to which a person allows natureand social environmental factors to influence their sexuality.
It is imperativeto continue engaging in research and dialogue about sexual orientation tocreate a better society, and ensure every human being enjoys their own happiness.