Situational sexual behavior

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Situational sexual behavior differs from that which the person normally exhibits, due to a social environment that in some way permits, encourages, or compels the behavior in question. This can also include situations where a person's usual sexual behavior may not be possible, so rather than not engaging in sexual activity at all, they may engage in different sexual behaviors.

One example of situational sexual behavior includes when people might not have sex with prostitutes in their home countries, but may do so when they visit other countries, where such activities are legal or ignored by authorities. Another example is when individuals or members of a community might engage in homosexual behaviors but identify as heterosexual otherwise, such as among pirates, among soldiers, among prison inmates, among college students or in similar single-sex communities and institutions.

Many people change their sexual behavior depending on the situation or at different points in their life.[1] For example, men and women in a university may engage in bisexual activities, but only in that environment. Experimentation of this sort is more common among adolescents (or just after), both male and female. Some colloquialisms for this trend include "heteroflexible",[2] "BUG" (Bisexual Until Graduation), or "LUG" (Lesbian Until Graduation).[3]

A possibly common and transient example of situational sexuality is the person who self-identifies as heterosexual, but will sexually interact with a member of the same sex when lacking other opportunities. Less transient but also possibly common, a person who self-identifies as gay or lesbian (either at the time, or later) may sexually interact with a member of the opposite sex if a same-sex relationship seems unfeasible.[1]


Pseudo-homosexuality refers to homosexual anxieties, fantasies, or behavior exhibited by a person who self-identifies as heterosexual or who is generally attracted or sexually oriented to members of the opposite sex.

Where actual sex is sought as a result, pseudo-homosexuality is commonly distinguished from homosexuality in that it may not reflect a desire based on sexual orientation or honest curiosity. For example, this behavior may be found in restrictive environments, such as prisons or encampments. Where consent is lacking in these circumstances, sociopathic elements may manifest as a primary motivation.[4]

Harem effect[edit]

The harem effect is one example of situational sexual behavior in which women confined to a harem or harem-like situation may engage in sexual acts with the other women confined with them, either because it is encouraged by the master of the harem and/or the other women, as a form of sexualized social bonding, as a way of "training" new members, or in the cases of women who would otherwise consider themselves strictly heterosexual, then simply because there are no available men to become intimate with.[citation needed]

While "harem" refers to the now largely antiquated practice of a very wealthy or influential man, such as a king or emperor, taking many wives and sometimes consorts, all of whom are kept largely confined to a residence or a sectioned-off part of a residence, and forbidden from interacting with men other than their shared husband and male children. In modern English, the word "harem" can refer to the group of women themselves, or to the part of the residence housing them. (Example: "Every member of the king's harem was as striking as the last." or, "The warlord was said to have as many as a hundred wives, all kept locked inside the fortress harem.")

In the modern world, the harem effect can still potentially apply to same-sex interactions between women in contemporary polygamous marriages and relationships, as well as in other situations where women are confined together in an inherently sexual setting, such as in groups of prostitutes within brothels. This is the primary difference between the harem effect and other situations where otherwise heterosexual women engage in same-sex activities due to an absence of men for other reasons, such as being imprisoned, or during wartime, when able-bodied men may be scarce.

Culturally specific[edit]

Many contemporary societies, as those of the Muslim world, indigenous or rural Latin America and Japan, possess non-westernized concepts of male sexuality, and as such, sexual activities are not instantly or necessarily correlated with individual identity.

Third gender categories historically emerged, as for example, the South Asian hijra, the Omani khanith or the Latin American travesti, and some confusion between Western concepts of sexuality and these categories is likely to arise with cultural contact or gradual westernization. For example, Don Kulick described the gendered world of travestis in urban Brazil as having two categories: "men" and "not men"; women, homosexuals and travestis all belong to the latter category.[5]

Since bisexuality is much less discussed in Western societies than homosexuality, further interpretations on where certain men-identified males who have sex with transgender males or gay-identified males in what category varies greatly. In urban Brazil, for example, generally those that have sex with travestis and women alike, but demonstrate affection only toward women, are seen as straight (and their attraction toward travestis is regarded as mere fetish), but those romantically or sexually attracted to man-identified males are seen as gay (bisexual visibility only appeared in recent years).

An exception is to be made among individuals influenced by Western prejudices or taboos on male homosexuality (or non-normative male sexuality in a general manner) combined with the local machismo, and in their worldview those males that have sex with anyone but individuals of the opposite biological sex (including self-reported heterosexuals, bisexuals) are called "gay", but instead what is actually meant is the informal "not men" category – those that do not suit a heteronormative gender role.

Nevertheless, these taboos do not always apply to youths, especially among young adolescents when heterosexual sex is not available. In the Arab world, the sexual segregation is reported to make homosexuality seen as more accessible for single males to a certain extent.

In Latin America, more commonly in Brazil, youths' relaxation of taboos goes a step further, especially in rural areas, in more liberal cities such as Rio de Janeiro, and among older generations when premarital heterosexual sex was less available. Bromance among youths is viewed with less suspicion than would be expected in a society where machismo is prevalent, compared to bromance among older males. Homosexual contact among otherwise heterosexual young males in Portuguese is called meinha (literally "a little sock") or troca-troca (literally "bartering"), which is analogous to the circle jerk of English-speaking countries.

Some sources also say that this environment of societal attitudes of disinformation, even repression, on the topic of sexuality, and self-demonstration before the group also make less of a problem for youths to engage in zoosexuality in rural Brazil, a practice reported to be relatively common, and which do not necessarily demonstrate permanent sexual or romantic interest in interspecies relationships.[6][7][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Rosario, M., Schrimshaw, E., Hunter, J., & Braun, L. (2006, February). Sexual identity development among lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths: Consistency and change over time. Journal of Sex Research, 43(1), 46–58. Retrieved February 8, 2011.
  2. ^ Thompson, E.M.; Morgan, E.M. (2008). ""Mostly straight" young women: Variations in sexual behavior and identity development". Developmental Psychology. 44 (1): 15–21. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.44.1.15. PMID 18194001.
  3. ^ See for instance "Campus Lesbians Step Into Unfamiliar Light" New York Times, June 5, 1993
  4. ^ Chasnoff, Brian (February 5, 2004). "Life after Prison: A Program of Promise". The Daily Texan. Archived from the original on August 12, 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-31.
  5. ^ Kulick, Don (1998). Travesti: Sex, Gender, and Culture among Brazilian Transgendered Prostitutes (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998)
  6. ^ (in Portuguese) Revista Galileu – News – Has anyone ever been arrested on the charge of zoophilia in Brazil?
  7. ^ (in Portuguese) Revista Época – Sex with animals: why pretend that it does not exists? – News in Health & Fitness
  8. ^ (in Portuguese) Ezio Flavio Bazzo – Ecce Bestia: Profligacy with animals

External links[edit]

  • Bridget, Jan. "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Young People and Teenage Pregnancy" (rtf). Lesbian Information Service.
  • Goodmark, Leigh; Flores, Juanita; Goldscheid, Julie; Ritchie, Andrea; SpearIt (July 9, 2015). "Plenary 2 – Redefining Gender Violence Transcripts". University of Miami Race & Social Justice Law Review. Converge! Reimagining the Movement to End Gender Violence. 5: 289. SSRN 2628984.