Human male sexuality

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"Male sexuality" redirects here. For sexuality of non-human male animals, see Animal sexual behaviour.
Male masturbation detail from a Greek krater, 560 to 550 BCE
The shield and spear of the Roman god Mars represents the male sex.

Human male sexuality covers physiological, psychological, social, cultural, and political aspects of the human male sexual response and related phenomena. It encompasses a broad range of topics involving male sexual desires and behavior that have also been addressed by ethics, morality, and religion.

Sexual orientation[edit]

Male homosexuality[edit]

The Western "homosexual" category has been related[by whom?] to the non-Western "third gender" category, being cast as a redefinition and expansion of the latter category to include all biological males who acknowledge having same-sex attractions (instead of only effeminate males). This extension of "third gender" is due to various factors that were unique to the Western world, including the widespread influence of Christianity and the resultant encouragement of opposite-sex relationships.[citation needed] Before the concept of sexual orientation was developed in the modern West, only effeminate males who sought to be anally penetrated by men (oral sex was far less common than today) were seen as a belonging to a different gender category.[1] The Western equivalent of the third-genders (and not all men with same-sex attractions) were the ones who started and propagated the Western concept of a homosexual identity.[2][3][4][5]

Many non-Western societies show hostility towards the concept of homosexuality, which they view as a pernicious Western practice and a legacy of colonialism and (Western) sexual tourism. However, and strangely to Western eyes, such societies do accept both men who have sex with men and third-genders who have sex with men as an unremarkable part of society, so long as they're not called "homosexuals".

In the West, a man often cannot acknowledge or display sexual attraction for another man without the homosexual or bisexual label being attached to him.[6] The same pattern of shunning the homosexual identity, while still having sex with men, is prevalent in the non-West,[7][8] where sexual attraction between men is often seen as a universal male phenomenon—and practised, either quietly or openly—even if held morally wrong in the larger society, sexual attraction between men being seen as a universal male quality, not something limited to a minority.[9][10][11][12]

Origins of the heterosexual–homosexual classification[edit]

In the 1860s, German third-gender Karl Heinrich Ulrichs coined a new term for third-genders that he called "urnings", which was supposed to mean "men who like men". These "urnings" were "females inside male bodies", who were emotionally or sexually attracted to men. Ulrichs thought—as did most members of the third sex, who popularized the term "homosexual" for themselves—that masculine men can never have sexual desires for other men, and that a male necessarily had to be feminine-gendered, or had to have a female inside him, to be attracted to men. This was supported by Ulrichs's own experience as well as by the fact that men only had sex with men secretively, due to the cultural climate. Ulrichs termed men (as opposed to third-genders) as "diones", meaning "men who like women."

Later, Austrian third-gender and human rights activist Karl Maria Kertbeny coined the terms "homosexual" and "heterosexual". For most of this period, these terms were popular only amongst the third-gender and scientific communities, the latter of which was developing the concept of homosexuality as a mental disorder.

Thus, the idea of "men who like men" being different from "men who like women", as well as the idea of differentiating male sexuality between "heterosexuality" and "homosexuality", was born. The basis for the division, however, remained gender orientation (masculinity and femininity). Mainstream men, who were now decidedly "heterosexual", however, rarely related to these terms, as they saw themselves as neither heterosexual or homosexual.[citation needed] Even in 2010, "straight" men in the West, quite like men in the East,[13] seldom relate strongly to sexual identities.[14] These identities, however, remain a strong focus within the LGBT community.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Zuni Berdache Quotes: History of hermaphrodites
  2. ^ A false birth: A critique of social constructionism and postmodern queer theory, by Rictor Norton
  3. ^ Sex and the Gender Revolution, Volume 1 Heterosexuality and the Third Gender in Enlightenment London Quotes: The University of Chicago Press, by Randolph Trumbach
  4. ^ Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, Alfred C. Kinsey, Wardell R. Pomeroy and Clyde E. Martin Quote: "Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. Not all things are black nor all things white.
  5. ^ A false birth Quote: "... It is argued that 'Whitman himself stubbornly resisted the notion of a distinctive homosexual sensibility' (D'Emilio 1993)"
  6. ^ 'I want to do what I want to do': young adults resisting sexual identities Fiona J. Stewart, Anton Mischewski, Anthony M. A. Smith; Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. Quote: "I don't think I was actually afraid of being gay, what I was afraid of was having a gay identity imposed upon me without my control over it..."
  7. ^ Prevalence of Same-Sex Sexual Behavior and Associated Characteristics among Low-Income Urban Males in Peru, PLoS ONE,"Researchers studying same-sex sexual contact and related risk behaviors among Latino men have described a construction of sexuality that links penetration with masculinity and receptive intercourse with femininity, through which male same-sex sexual contact does not necessarily presume a homosexual identity."
  8. ^ Straight Men Who Have Sex With Men by Tristan Taormino, The Village Voice.
  9. ^ Edward J. Tejirian (17 October 2000). " Male to Male: Sexual Feeling Across the Boundaries of Identity (Haworth Gay & Lesbian Studies)". ISBN 9781560239758. 
  10. ^ Afghan Men Struggle With Sexual Identity, Study Finds Fox News
  11. ^ Alexander the Great Sexual attraction between males was seen as a normal and universal part of human nature since it was believed that men were attracted to beauty, an attribute of the young, regardless of gender.
  12. ^ In order to understand the origins of male sexuality, a variety of demographics need to be researched, including race. According to Zea (2003), "to study sexual attitude, identities, and behaviors of Latino gay and bisexual men, it is necessary to understand the role of culture"(p.282).
  13. ^ Sexuality and Society Fox News Struggles with Sexual Identities of Afghan Men by Shari L. Dworkin; Sexuality and Society; Quote from the report: "found that Pashtun men commonly have sex with other men, admire other men physically, have sexual relationships with boys and shun women both socially and sexually—yet they completely reject the label of 'homosexual.'"
  14. ^ of sexual identity formation in heterosexual students, SpringerLink; by Michele J. Eliason1, College of Nursing, The University of Iowa; Quote from the abstract: Students could be categorized into all four of Marcia's identity statuses. Additionally, six common themes were noted in their essays: had never thought about sexual identity; society made me heterosexual; gender determines sexual identity; issues of choice versus innateness of sexuality; no alternative to heterosexuality; and the influence of religion.

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