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February 14, 2004 Peer review Reviewed

Removed part of Heterosexuality#Academic_study[edit]

I removed part of the section Heterosexuality#Academic_study -- for a couple of reasons:

  • It read like an essay, not an encyclopedia entry
  • It was off-topic, never actually mentioning the stated section topic, "Academic Study"
  • It made some fairly strong assertions which, while quite possibly entirely true, were completely unsourced (despite a request for sources dating back to July)

Turns out it was practically the sole contribution of an anon editor. I'm a little surprised it sat there unchallenged for nearly two years. --Rrburke(talk) 03:24, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Category: Straight people[edit]

Am I allowed to create a category "Straight people," to complement the category "LGBT people"? Roscelese (talk) 01:58, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

Is there some reason you feel such a category is needed? Exploding Boy (talk) 06:00, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

Human reproduction?[edit]

Over the last couple of days there has been some slight editwarring concerning the inclusion of a section on human reproduction originally written by Joshuajohanson (talk · contribs). The argument against inclusion is that the section is redundant and/or offtopic. What is the argument for its inclusion? Gabbe (talk) 17:24, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

It's original meaning?[edit]

The associations with romantic love and identity in addition to its original, exclusively sexual, meaning dates back to early human societies and gender role separation.

How the hell do we know that? How the hell do we know the original meaning was exclusively sexual??? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:25, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

Linguistics tells us a tremendous amount about societies for which little other evidence exists. Through comparative linguistics earlier words can be reconstructed even though they disappeared before the first writings appeared that still survive and have been translated. I just did a quick look into The New Shorter Oxford Dictionary ([4th] ed. [early 1990s]) and Origins (4th ed. ['60s]) and they don't contradict a notion that the first meaning was sexual. If you have a contrary source, bring it. Nick Levinson (talk) 04:50, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
However, the sentence is a little meandering, and could probably be reworded for clarity... AnonMoos (talk) 17:36, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
It doesn't make sense. Is it saying that the word associations relating to the word "Heterosexuality" "dates back to early human societies"? I'm sure the word wasn't around then. Why is the following sentence about "gender role separation", and how do we know "Heterosexuality has been more intensely studied" than ""gender role separation" by "medicine...biology disciplines, and ...psychology". --Pontificalibus (talk) 19:21, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
I assumed it was talking about the thing itself, not the word, as the word didn't exist back then yeah. -- (talk) 22:04, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
Just on the linguistics: Words from thousands of years ago evolve; they may survive in very different forms. Although they're often unintelligible by people who know today's language, they can be the same words because of a chain of evolutionary etymological steps preserving historical continuity. Sex is traceable to Old and Modern French sexe or Latin sexus and hetero- is from Greek heteros, 'the other of two', according to The New Shorter Oxford Dictionary ([4th] ed. 1993). I don't know when the two words got together. I don't know what speakers of proto-Indo-European or the hypothetical proto-Nostratic would have said, but it's unlikely they didn't have wording for the concept, since words have been established for numerous functions and body parts vital in the course of human living going back 9,000 years. So, although we don't know the vocabulary of the original proto-World language of 35,000 years ago, the quoted statement is probably right concerning the linguistics. Nick Levinson (talk) 01:36, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
The OED 1st edition supplement only traces the word back to 1901 (and in the 1901 quote, the word was used in a sense very different from its modern meaning). "Pure" classicists would turn up their nose at the word, since it's a hybrid of Greek and Latin roots (like "television") -- such hybrid forms were not very common before the late 19th century or beginning of the 20th century.
In any case, I don't think it's at all likely that ancient speakers of the proto-Indo-European language had an established word meaning "heterosexuality" -- there's generally little need for such abstraction words unless two or more things are habitually compared and contrasted. In Biblical times, the ancient Israelites/Jews had no words directly meaning "religion" or "Judaism". Also, the ancient Romans and Greek had no real words for homosexuality as a stable sexual identity, and when Paul seemingly wanted to refer to male homosexuality in the abstract, he had to make up a new word on the spot (arsenokoitēs)... AnonMoos (talk) 10:06, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
Interesting. The earliest exemplar for any lemma, though, is about attested and therefore relatively modern forms only, whereas etymological research generally goes farther back and includes any reconstructions, for which exemplars won't be available. The Bible and similar works are etymological research sources but not the only ones. I don't know whether ancient societies had explicit words for 'homosexuality' and if they didn't they may not have had words for 'heterosexuality' on that ground, but they still may have had words for 'heterosexuality' to convey sexuality that could result in birth. A Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European Languages: A Contribution to the History of Ideas, by Carl Darling Buck (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1949, pbk. ed. [1st printing?] 1988) (my copy incomplete), section 2.242, in reference to sex lists words from 28 languages but explains "[t]he abstract notion . . . is in many languages expressed only by words of broader scope, the special reference to sex being shown by the context . . . ." The meanings are derived from 'birth, kin, race' and later 'sort, kind'. Section 4.67 is on having sexual intercourse, lists words from 29 languages, and says, "[t]he only indication of an IE term (there were doubtless several) is the agreement between a Greek, Slavic, and Sanskrit word." Other sections that may be helpful include 16.27, on 'love'. Possibly, it's also relevant to consider hetaera, 'ancient Greek concubine', derived from IE s(w)e- but with much vaguer meaning relative to this context, per American Heritage Dictionary (3d ed. 1992).
A solution, however, may be to clarify in the article what lineage or continuity is being expressed by the article editor. Nick Levinson (talk) 18:34, 4 September 2010 (UTC) Corrected one redundant word: Nick Levinson (talk) 18:46, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
Not really sure what that means -- if no occurrences of the word are attested before ca. 1900, and the word is structurally of a type which was not very commonly coined until ca. 1900, then the burden is really on you to prove that it existed before that. There would have been no real need for a word to denote the concept of "heterosexuality" until there was previously a word for "homosexuality" to contrast it with, and words for homosexuality as a way of life or stable sexual identity (as opposed to specific sex acts) actually did not really exist in European languages until rather recent times... AnonMoos (talk) 05:01, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
In the context of the lede, it's unclear whether the challenged sentence is mainly about the word or about the meanings that are meant by one word.
The original poster was challenging whether the original meaning was purely sexual, so an ancestral word meaning 'homosexuality' need only refer to 'same-sex sex regardless of identity and romance' for there to be a need for a contrastive form for 'mixed-sex sex regardless of identity and romance'. Since ancient linguistics suggests there was substantial interest in sex and in reproduction millennia before 1901, it's likely ancient people took an explicit interest in which kind of sex caused reproduction. In that case, romance and identity may not have mattered (and I'd question that) as much as the mechanics of reproduction. The words homosexuality and heterosexuality may have been preceded a century ago by words meaning 'homosexuality' and 'heterosexuality' such that people always had words for the meanings.
I wonder how hetaera could come to mean 'Greek concubine' thousands of years ago and have a lexical ancestry but how hetero- could only be a century old when prefixed to sexuality. That doesn't seem likely; I think there must have been predecessor words for heterosexuality.
I'd rather leave the editing to those doing it now. Whoever's got the etymology and perhaps checks OED Online (it's newer), I hope someone clarifies the sentence. Best wishes. Nick Levinson (talk) 06:44, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
They would have known the basic "facts of life" about the "birds and the bees", but they probably would have had little reason to coin an abstract term "heterosexuality" (especially if there was effectively nothing else to contrast it with). The Greek words hetairos "friend" and heteros "other" come from different roots, and neither one has a basic meaning connected with sexuality... AnonMoos (talk) 15:39, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

P.S. Some discussion on the history of the word "heterosexual" at ... I wouldn't necessarily put absolute faith in every detail of that article, but it in a general way it reinforces some of what I said above... AnonMoos (talk) 16:38, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

First reference link is broken.[edit]

First reference link does not work.
Wikholm, Andrew, Words: Heterosexual. Gay (Cited February 14, 2004) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:47, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

Heterosexuality (as an orientation) being between members of opposite genders[edit]

There is a major issue with the opening statement of this article: "Heterosexuality is romantic and/or sexual attraction or behavior between members of the opposite sex or gender." As it stands this sentence can be broken into the atomic propositions: "Heterosexuality is romantic and/or sexual attraction between members of the opposite sex or gender" and "Heterosexuality is sexual behavior between members of the opposite sex or gender." The problem is that only one of those atomic propositions is justifiable by any sources we have available, namely, the second one. Heterosexuality as an orientation is biologically determined, and if it is to any degree socially influenced we would need a source to justify this (as it leads to absurd conclusions). Please respond with thoughts about revision or issues with my proposal (talk) 06:12, 11 November 2011 (UTC) DDiaz

As I stated to this IP at Talk:Homosexuality: The APA says, "Sexual orientation refers to an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions to men, women, or both sexes. Sexual orientation also refers to a person’s sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors, and membership in a community of others who share those attractions." That shows gender is included. People are not only sexually attracted to the physical, but the mental/sociological. The IP's arguments for why the lead should not simply say "sex or gender" make no sense. ... Yes, I know the distinction between sex and gender, and I also know that they usually largely overlap, and that there is often no distinction. Things the IP does not seem to understand. This is why the IP saying that "gender" should be omitted is nonsensical to me. It shouldn't be omitted for the same reason that the IP says that homosexuality[/heterosexuality] is about orientation and behavior. I have made it very clear that sexual orientation is about sexual attraction to one's behavior almost as much as it is to one's sex. Gender is not just about behavior anyway. And there is the matter of transgender people who have not undergone hormones and/or sex reassignment surgery to alter their appearance, which Garik stressed above. Or simply the topic of transgender people. Chaz Bono who has not yet undergone sex reassignment surgery, for example, identifies as a man, despite his biological sex being female. Despite that his chromosomal makeup will always identify him as female. Therefore, if we want to be technical with the terms "sex" and "gender," his partner is also sexually attracted to his gender. No matter what others think, they are classified as a heterosexual couple. To only go by "sex," as the IP want us to, is to say that heterosexuality is all about sexual attraction to one's biological sex. Transgender people show us that this is not true. Researchers show us that this is not true. The only way "sex" means what it does in Bono's case when it comes to the IP's definition is if the IP means Bono's legal status as male or Bono's mind possibly being male. On the flipside of that, only using "sex" implies that Bono is homosexual. While many people still view him as female and as a lesbian, he does not view himself that way, and is not legally female. So bottomline: Sexual orientation is clearly not only about one's biological sex. People may be classified as a homosexual couple if one is a biological male and the other is not but does identify as male, and some people are sexually attracted to people who do not identify as male/man or female/woman but as a third gender or by some other term. That the IP does not see this and keeps arguing that sexual orientation is all about "attraction to the biological sex" is baffling to me.
I also pointed to the Gender article which also tackles the distinction between "sex" and "gender" with reliable sources. Its lead says:

Depending on the context, the discriminating characteristics vary from sex to social role to gender identity. Sexologist John Money introduced the terminological distinction between biological sex and gender as a role in 1955. Before his work, it was uncommon to use the word "gender" to refer to anything but grammatical categories. However, Money's meaning of the word did not become widespread until the 1970s, when feminist theory embraced the distinction between biological sex and the social construct of gender. Today, the distinction is strictly followed in some contexts, like feminist literature, and in documents written by organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), but in most contexts, even in some areas of social sciences, the meaning of gender has expanded to include "sex" or even to replace the latter word.

The IP is wrong because not only can "sex" and "gender" mean the same thing, researchers have designated "gender" as a part of sexual orientation as well. That is clear from the APA source I have cited. It talks about gender categories, behaviors (which are also a part of gender), identities (which no doubt includes gender identity; see the topic of transgender people I just mentioned above to the IP; the APA even says "also refers to a person’s sense of identity based on those attractions"), romantic attraction and sexual attraction. The source not using the exact word "gender" is irrelevant when the source is clearly describing gender aspects. Not just that source, but other sources in the article. And, as I just mentioned above, when one is sexually attracted to a transgender person who has taken on "the look" of the gender they perceive themselves to be, but has not undergone hormones and/or sex reassignment surgery to alter their appearance, it is obviously not that person's biological sex that the individual is attracted to. In the case of two men, where one is biologically male and the other is not, gender attraction is without a doubt playing a role there. So to stress once more, sexual orientation is not just about an attraction to one's biological sex. Why the IP is not understanding this is beyond me.
And, finally, per the "Religion POV in intro (RFC)" section, which the IP obviously hasn't taken the time to read through, researchers do not agree that sexual orientation is only biological. The APA and other sources in this article make it quite clear that sexual orientation is not only biologically-determined. More so that researchers do not know what causes sexual orientation, but that they generally believe it to be a combination of "biology and environment." That part of the lead is sourced. We even have a section on it in the Homosexuality article (see Fluidity of orientation), which is discussed in great detail in the Sexual orientation article. What does the APA have to say about what makes a person's sexual orientation? Well, the following: "There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles; most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation." Flyer22 (talk) 08:07, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

1) This whole thing seems to be dragging in disputes from other articles which are perhaps less directly relevant to this article. 2) The statement "Heterosexuality as an orientation is biologically determined" is greatly oversimplified. It's almost certainly true that there are biological mechanisms which predispose towards finding the opposite sex attractive, but we don't yet know very much about them in detail, and they only lead to concrete cases of a specific person A being attracted to a specific person B in interaction and combination with many other factors (including the surrounding culture, the individual's history of life experiences etc.). It's really not at all the same thing as simple Mendelian pea-pod genetics, where if you have a certain gene for a physical characteristic (one copy of a dominant allele or two copies of a non-dominant allele), then you directly manifest that particular physical characteristic, with little influence from any other factors... AnonMoos (talk) 09:34, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

Dear anonymous IP -- I'm personally a flaming heterosexual, and actually have contributed some of the images in Commons category "Heterosexuality". However, your proposed article revisions (insofar as I understood them) did not seem to result in clear article improvements, and some of the assertions which were claimed to support your proposed changes were too simplistic to be useful... AnonMoos (talk) 10:25, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Cleanup note: the references in the quote are causing some undocumented behavior where the citations are being automatically added to the bottom of the article, even without the use of {{reflist}}. I considered adding the template after the quote, but then future references would also appear there and probably be left unnoticed by future editors. I considered just having a references section at the bottom of the article, but any added sections would displace it. Hence I decided the best solution was removal, as the citations are not germane to the actual discussion. — trlkly 16:09, 11 July 2014 (UTC)

Heterosexual couples[edit]

Let's get some WP:RS's on this. I daresay most sources will say that heterosexuality involves male-female couplings, although if Penthouse Letters is correct, there are occasional threesomes; there's also prostitution, men with mistresses, friends with benefits and so on. It's not always a heterosexual couple living together.

But when they do live together, it could be "cohabitation", i.e., they're not married. Or it could be what more than 80% of US teenage girls look forward to: heterosexual marriage. Let's write about all this. --Uncle Ed (talk) 21:33, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

I don't think this is really the place to explore in any great detail the working out of the various implications of heterosexuality in various human societies -- that would be more suited for a large book than a Wikipedia article. We can mention and link to the articles on the concepts which are relevant. (Interesting that there's no link for "heterosexual marriage"; guess that's a new retronym like "rotary phone" etc.) -- AnonMoos (talk) 16:18, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
Well maybe there should be. Currently, Heterosexual marriage is an empty page. Why should Gay marriage be more interesting, if the other type could fill a book? --Uncle Ed (talk) 03:37, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Because for the vast majority of people, heterosexual marriage was the only kind that they knew about until within the last 20 years. Consult article "retronym"... AnonMoos (talk) 11:00, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

"Opposite sex"[edit]

I've changed the first sentence definition from "opposite" to "different" sex or gender. "Opposite sex" is not a neutral term since it reflects a heteronormative viewpoint and thus is against WP:NPOV. Diego (talk) 07:21, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

First off "opposite sex" is NOT "heteronormative"; rather, the phrase reflects an implicit dichotomous gender/sex categorization (which is a separate issue -- there's nothing to prevent a homosexual from also being a gender dichotomist). But I'm not actually attached to the word "opposite". HOWEVER, anything which replaces "opposite" must be at least as clear, and "different" is simply not as clear, and in fact opens things up to a distracting variety of alternative irrelevant (and inaccurate) interpretations if more than two genders are posited (view the "Third sex / Third gender" section of Template:Gender and sexual identities)... AnonMoos (talk) 11:15, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
"Reflects an implicit dichotomous gender/sex categorization" is what makes this non-NPOV compliant. It's assuming the that "people fall into distinct and complementary genders (man and woman)". At the very least an explanation of what "opposite" means should be included to show that this is using one particular interpretation of gender and sex; I have edited the lead to include such explanation, although it's a bit convoluted. But I think the lead should be kept simple and neutral; different is suficiently understandable under the dominant Gender binary view, without endorsing it as the only interpretation. Explaining the irrelevant interpretations that you mention when more than two genders are considered should be dealt later in the body article, not in the first sentence. The point of this article is to place the term in context, and the way to do that is to show which theories and clasifications are affecting its definition, not to use one of them. People looking for this article will already know the mainstream definition, and are likely looking for a more nuanced explanation on how it fits in the context of gender theory. Diego (talk) 11:42, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Another version that would keep the reference to sex would be "of opposite sex or gender". This would provide a definition of "opposite", while avoiding the assumption of a particular viewpoint that the previous "the opposite" sentence provided. What do you think of it? Diego (talk) 12:00, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
And even another possibility is "of different sex or gender in a gender binary". This avoids the "opposite" interpretation while remaining unambiguous. Which one do you like more? Diego (talk) 12:05, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Your current wording introduces terminology from esoteric deconstructionist theory which many ordinary people will not really understand, but it is not inaccurate and inadequate in the same way that "different"[sic] was, so I'm not going to do any further editing on it right at the moment. However, some might say that it's perfectly true that biological sex is a continuum (rather than a binary dichotomy), and that gender identity does not always correspond to biological sex -- but that if it's also true that 95% of people are close enough to one end of the spectrum or another not to make much practical difference, and make no effort to present a divergent gender identity, then the place for discussing complications and how "third genders" relate to heterosexuality is down in the body of the article, not in the basic definitions in the first paragraph. In any case, clarity must always be given a very high priority. AnonMoos (talk) 02:03, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
I've kept the "different in the gender binary" version, which is the simplest and clearest and not just "different[sic]". I've also explained gender binary per wp:technical. I think the link to gender binary is the best way to introduce the proper context for which the term Heterosexuality depends. Diego (talk) 07:07, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
Why, when I said that the then-current version was minimally-satisfactory, and I would not change it in the short term, did you then go out of your way to change it yourself to something which you almost certainly knew that I would find to be quite unsatisfactory?? Some might suspect deliberately provocative or uncooperative behavior at this point. In any case, esoteric terminology from advanced deconstructionist theory does very little to compensate for the inadequacy and openness to distracting irrelevant interpretations of "different". As I said, clarity must always be given a very high priority. AnonMoos (talk) 23:34, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I offered three versions, and we agreed that the one in the article at that point was not clear. Given that you endorsed clarity to "a very high priority", I changed it to a more clear version of the ones I suggested. Given that you opposed "different"[sic], I interpreted it as "different without qualifiers" (which was the thing you opposed in your paragraph above - the version, not the word; read again what you said); the version I introduced was qualified, and the only way I had to test whether you opposed that particular form was to introduce it, since you hadn't provided above a direct answer to it in the talk page and I don't have a way to read your mind.

I'm content with the current version, so let it be "opposite sex/gender in a gender binary". At least this way it's defined and not open to the reader's interpretation. Diego (talk) 06:51, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

My only concern with the current version is that the Gender binary article appears to be in rather poor shape, being based on only one non-NPOV source. Could we try improving that to demonstrate the term is widely used? --Pontificalibus (talk) 09:16, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
There's the option to link gender role instead, which also covers the topic of the social constructions around masculine/femenine and is a more mainstream theory. But the gender binary concept is more precise, it would be great if it can be improved. Diego (talk) 09:35, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Diego Moya -- To put it in its most basic terms, the word "different" could imply that, for example, a heterosexual man can be attracted to anything that is not a man, while the word "opposite" would tend to imply that heterosexual men are specifically attracted to one type of thing, namely women (or some women). The topic of how "third genders" etc. relate to heterosexuality could be an interesting one, but it should be discussed in an appropriate place somewhere down in the main text of the article, and not be implicitly raised by including vague loose inadequate terminology in the basic definitions up at the top of the article. Meanwhile, the fact that after I declared myself to be moderately satisfied with one version of the article as edited by you, you then chose to change the article further, including reversing the main point under dispute, looks a whole lot like a personal snub to me... AnonMoos (talk) 10:20, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
If you think that your ambiguous assertion that you would restraint yourself should be interpreted by others as a total prohibition from further editing the article, I think you're at the wrong wiki. wp:BRD is the rule to change consensus here, especially when the achieved consensus is weak and doesn't satisfy anyone involved. Don't take it personally. Diego (talk) 10:50, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

The current version states "Heterosexuality is romantic or sexual attraction or behavior between persons of opposite sex or gender in the masculine/feminine gender binary." I'm thinking now that the "in the masculine/feminine gender binary" part is unnecessary, since we wikilink to gender and that's where any exposition of the meaning of "opposite gender" belongs. Is any mention of "opposite sex" or "opposite gender" in this encyclopaedia really to be followed by "in the masculine/feminine gender binary"? --Pontificalibus (talk) 11:28, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Diego Moya thinks that "opposite" is narrow-minded and uninclusive, but I don't know of any other single word which expresses the intended meaning as clearly (certainly "different"[sic] doesn't fill the bill!). Anyway, "opposite sex" is an established phrase of clear meaning, and so I kind of agree that it doesn't really need a cloud of deconstructionist neologisms to explicate it (though they're somewhat harmless if only included briefly and in passing); anyway, "opposite" is actually only dichotomo-normative by implicit interpretation (not overtly and explicitly so)... AnonMoos (talk) 12:44, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
I'd appreciate that you don't try to second-guess my motivations for the change. I'm a firm believer that A WikiLink is not an explanation (to satisfy the opening paragraph guideline) and that the term used in the definition should be clear all by itself. If the term "opposite" is open to interpretation as you admitted, the lead should make explicit and in-place which interpretation is being used, for precision and to provide a neutral POV. In this case, a precise definition of heterosexuality using the word "opposite" needs to briefly put in context which one of the many cultural interpretations of gender is being used. Diego (talk) 13:37, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Quite frankly, Diego isn't making much sense. And, yes, I understand sex and gender. The reason Diego isn't making much sense is because heterosexuality is about romantic and/or sexual attraction to the opposite sex or gender, just as homosexuality is about romantic and/or sexual attraction to same sex or gender. This is covered by various reliable sources in both of these articles and that is what we should go by, not some editor's need to reject the two-gender binary. Saying "opposite sex" is not suggesting that there are only two genders anyway. And neither is saying "opposite gender"; both are only referring to what is indeed the opposite of the other sex/gender. It's not even like sex and gender are always the same thing, which is why we mention both terms and link to them. "Opposite sex or gender" is only saying that heterosexuality is about romantic and/or sexual attraction to someone who is of the opposite sex or gender than you, which it is. So how this is an issue about hetero-norms is beyond me. Even if it is suggesting that there are only two sexes (SEXES, not genders), that is true in the biological sense unless you consider intersex individuals to be neither male nor female. But, in actuality, even intersex people are going to have DNA that identifies them as male or female (one or the other) and most self-identify as male or female. So while there are more than two genders, nature/scientists have not identified more than two sexes. People are either one or the other, or a combination of the two. And the Gender article covers the concept of gender binaries, so including "gender binary" in the lead is redundant. Not only that, but this article is also about non-human animals and the lead-in sentence of what heterosexuality is should therefore not have "persons" in place of "members" or use "gender binary." Non-human animals are not referred to as "persons," and while some researchers relate "gender," even more than two genders, to some non-human animals, "gender binary" is in reference to humans. The rest of the lead also already clarifies what sexual orientation means with regard to humans. So someone needs to revert Diego on this and make him defer to the many reliable sources on heterosexuality in this article. (talk) 00:40, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Science has done fuck all about identifying sexes, merely reifying the traditional position of male/female as either/or options while mostly ignoring the fact that there is a continuum and considering intersex from a purely pathological point of view. "DNA that identifies them as male or female" is only true if you take the most base understanding of things. The "sexual" chromosomes are demonstrably not the be all, since it's possible to see someone develop fully functional reproduction of the "other" sex despite the "wrong" pair. Nobody is actually bothered to study the damn thing, and the few who have done it have either treated it as a disease (in some cases pushing for disgusting eugenic arguments), or treated as evil iconoclasts (e.g. Fausto Sterling). -- 15:40, 23 June 2012‎

(also hetero, straight)[edit]

I see Pass a Method (talk · contribs) is applying the same thought here as he has tried to do at Bisexuality. There is no consensus there for the addition, and it has been reverted. Among other things - e.g. the unencyclopedic 'coarseness' of stuffing slang and abbreviations into the opening of the first sentence, like Someone963852's example, 'Breast (also boob, tit)' - there is the fact that they are both also wrongly mentioned. Neither 'hetero' nor 'straight' are short for 'heterosexuality'. I don't want to have to have this identical discussion on every sexuality article for which Pass a Method can think of an informal alternative word. --Nigelj (talk) 20:07, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

The etymology of this article and the on at bisexuality are completely different so i dont see why you felt linking the two is relevant - it's not. By the way, two people disagred with you on the last talk page, me and Flyer22. Don't revert uless you have a consensus. Pass a Method talk 21:43, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
"Hetero" and "straight" are temrs for "heterosexual", not for "heterosexuality". They could be properly included in the lead if it included a summary-style paragraph for the Language section, not as also terms for the article's name like you used. Diego (talk) 22:02, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Pass a Method, I want to know how Flyer agreed with you, when all she said was that you may have a case for adding "straight" to the lead of this article. She did not agree that it should go in the first sentence the way you did it or that it should go in the first sentence at all. Given that she, like others, objected to the way you added "bi" to the bisexuality article, and said it should go in the paragraph broaching the eytmology of bisexuality, I get the sense that she would feel similar regarding this article. What the above posters are trying to get across is that the term heterosexuality consists of more than just the sexual orientation, but also behavior, self-identification as heterosexual, and feelings regarding either of those. This is why if a gay man has sex with a woman (straight or lesbian), it can be called heterosexuality (a heterosexual act) even though the man is gay.
Anyway, Pass a Method is always adding slang or otherwise informal words to articles in inappropriate ways. See Talk:Erection#Reverts of recent edits, for example. (talk) 23:17, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
I've added it in an appropriate way to settle the dispute. Diego (talk) 07:35, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

Asexuality as a main sexual orientation in the lead[edit]

Hi, all. See Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Sexology and sexuality#Asexuality as a main sexual orientation about the validity of User:Pass a Method adding that asexuality is "a main category of sexual orientation" to the Heterosexuality, Homosexuality and Bisexuality articles. Obviously, comments on the matter are needed. Flyer22 (talk) 14:06, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

Claim that most people are bisexual[edit]

In the "Behavioural studies" section there is the assertion "Contemporary scientific research suggests that the majority of the human population is bisexual, adhering to a fluid sexual scale rather than a category, as Western society typically views sexual nature. However, social pressures influence people to adhere to morals, categories or labels rather than behave in a manner that more closely resembles their nature as suggested by this research."

I found this assertion quite counter-intuitive and was interested in finding out more about the research, but no sources were given. It would be good if a source could be given for this statement. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Chipmunk1976 (talkcontribs) 12:31, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

You are absolutely right about sources. And by the way, to me nothing in this counter-intuitive. Fortunately, Wikipedia is not about our intuitions... Face-smile.svg Lova Falk talk 13:32, 15 December 2012 (UTC)


Hello. I found this unreferenced text at heterophile and thought the heterosexuality article would be a better place for it. Here it is in case someone wants to include it:

Heterophile is an alternate term to heterosexual and once competed with it for currency, but only did so successfully in Scandinavia. It is a parallel concept to homophile.

In Scandinavia and Finland, the word heterofil is a gender-neutral term, like "heterosexual" in Canada and the United States.

A brief Bing search yielded a few pages that mention that heterophile can be used to mean heterosexual. [1] [2] [3]--Wikimedes (talk) 05:17, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

At what age does sexual-orientation fully develops?[edit]

What is the age of 'onset' that people fully develop their sexual interests? I have seen various sources referring to this during the age of puberty and during teenage years. Some others state that it is rather determined during birth and the first years of life. Therefore, my question is, at what age do people develop their sexual orientation and what is the range that different people may have on this? i.e. is it possible for even adult-aged people to somehow change sexual orientation? — Preceding unsigned comment added by U1012738 (talkcontribs) 07:23, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

Children can have "crushes" and attractions at an early age, but a specifically sexual interest presumably wouldn't normally develop until approaching puberty. This appears to be more of a general developmental question than specific to improving the article "heterosexuality"... AnonMoos (talk) 18:03, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
It's a difficult question, U1012738, for a variety of reasons (such as some people reporting that they knew they were heterosexual since as early as five years old). Researchers do seem to generally believe that sexual orientation is solid at some point during childhood or adolescence and that it cannot (or usually cannot) be change past that point. In this source by the American Psychological Association, under their "How do people know if they are lesbian, gay, or bisexual?" section, for example, they state: "According to current scientific and professional understanding, the core attractions that form the basis for adult sexual orientation typically emerge between middle childhood and early adolescence." Also keep in mind that sexual identity is not necessarily the same thing as sexual orientation. Reading the Biology and sexual orientation and Environment and sexual orientation articles will also help you understand some matters regarding sexual orientation and sexuality. Flyer22 (talk) 18:38, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

"Heterosexual behaviors in animals"[edit]

"Most of the reproduction in the animal world is facilitated through heterosexual sex, although there are also animals that reproduce asexually, including protozoa and lower invertebrates.[5]

Reproductive sex does not necessarily require a heterosexual orientation, since orientation refers to a long term enduring pattern of sexual and emotional attraction leading to often long term social bonding, while, reproductive sex requires only the basic act of, often one time, vaginal intercourse."

The first paragraph in this section is inaccurate. Protozoa are not animals ( Also, it is debatable whether there is any kind of sex other than the heterosexual kind, especially when animal reproduction is the topic.

The second paragraph is unnecessary, anthropomorphic and probably political. It repeats the definition quoted in the first paragraph. Much of it doesn't apply at all to many animal species. Many species of animal never form "long-term social bonds", don't have vaginas, and don't have nervous systems capable of producing different sexual orientations.

The whole sub-section should be removed. Robert20112012 (talk) 21:21, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

The wording should be improved (probably "heterosexual orientation" should be replaced by something like "pair-bonding attachment between an opposite-sex pair"), but I'm not sure I see a need for drastic cuts. In some species, parthenogenetic reproduction is initiated by sex between two females... AnonMoos (talk) 00:57, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

Demographics of heterosexuality -- "[h]eterosexuality is by far the largest"[edit]

Two days ago (on June 18th), Tiredcleangate3 (talk · contribs) changed the lead from "Heterosexuality is one of the three main classifications of sexual orientation" to "Heterosexuality is by far the largest of the three main classifications of sexual orientation." I reverted because, as noted in my WP:Edit summary, it's not WP:Lead material since it's not covered lower in the article, and establishing that being heterosexual is "by far the biggest sexual orientation" lacks reliable data. I pointed to the History and demographics section and also indicated that this data is lacking partly because people can lie. I also noted that participating in heterosexuality, however, is clearly more common than participating in homosexuality...for obvious cultural reasons. I meant heterosexual behavior among humans (though I also meant to indicate heterosexual behavior among non-human animals, which is simply a nature thing). And by "cultural reasons," I mean heteronormativity and heterosexism.

Tiredcleangate3's response was to revert me today and state "'Not needed' is POV. The claim of a lack of reliable data for heterosexuality being the largest sexual orientation is fatuous. Yes, people can lie - both ways, The edit smacks of a political agenda." Tiredcleangate3's "fatuous [silly and pointless]" argument is wrong because of what WP:Reliable sources state on the matter, and accusing me of a political agenda is wrong because of what is clearly stated on my user page about going by what the WP:Reliable sources state (like my user page notes, if I'm not being accused of being biased toward one sexual orientation, then I'm accused of being biased toward another sexual orientation). And there is barely ever a reason for a person to lie about being gay, while there is just about every reason in the world to lie about being heterosexual, as is made explicitly clear by the Heteronormativity and Heterosexism articles. I reverted Tiredcleangate3 again, stating, "Your edit smacks of political agenda; we go by the sources. The content -- demographics of sexual orientation -- is clear." Tiredcleangate3 reverted again, stating, "No political agenda here, and the link you kindly gave, though Wiki, supports the comment 'by far the largest.'" I then left the following WP:Dummy edit: "You are clearly confusing sexual behavior with sexual orientation and sexual identity, and haven't a clue as to what you are talking about. And there is barely ever a reason for a person to lie about being gay. Taking to the talk page." The following shows the reverts in question:[4][5][6][7].

Indeed, I believe that Tiredcleangate3 is confusing heterosexual sexual behavior and heterosexual sexual identity with heterosexual sexual orientation; these things are not the same thing, though they can indicate the same thing. Like this 2008 scholarly source makes clear (page 198), "Few scholars and researchers had addressed the development of heterosexual identity prior to a 2002 major contribution in TCP devoted to heterosexual identity that included two different models of heterosexual development (Mohr, 2002; Worthington, Savoy, Dillon, & Vernaglia, 2002)." And like this 2013 scholarly source makes clear (page 69), "sexual orientation as a demographic characteristic is a relatively new practice" and "[o]utside of surveys primarily designed to assess sexual health and well-being, very few large-scale population-based surveys include questions about sexual orientation." Also refer to the graphs of that source, past page 69, comparing the demographics of heterosexuality to other sexual orientations/sexual identities (which sometimes show a higher incidence of heterosexuality, and often not a "by far" one). There are various other sources making it explicitly clear that demographics of sexual orientation, including heterosexuality, are dubious for various cultural reasons. So, yes, Tiredcleangate3's wording is inaccurate or rather misleading; that wording should not imply that heterosexuality as a sexual orientation is "by far the largest" sexual orientation; it should instead be clear that heterosexual behavior and/or heterosexual identity is "by far" more common than homosexuality or bisexuality or any other sexual identity (at least going by all of the available research), but it should do that with a WP:Reliable source. Doing that is what I was going to do before Tiredcleangate3 reverted me for a second time. Flyer22 (talk) 15:57, 20 June 2014 (UTC)

Note: Diego Moya reverted the material that Tiredcleangate3 added. Tiredcleangate3, you're going to have to make a case for your wording (here on the talk page) and gain WP:Consensus for it. Flyer22 (talk) 22:45, 20 June 2014 (UTC)


Not going to happen. BencherliteTalk 21:10, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

I propose that this article be merged with the article on Homosexuality. This article on heterosexuality is so tiny compared to the one on homosexuality that its best to merge it since it has virtually very little information. Caden cool 04:12, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

Caden, with all due respect, that is the silliest WP:Merge proposal I have ever read. Merge the distinct sexual orientation topics heterosexuality and homosexuality (topics that are distinct in all WP:Reliable sources on the subjects) and therefore obscure the very WP:Notable topic of heterosexuality just because an article has what you consider "virtually very little information"? Yes, that's a silly proposal. So silly that I briefly debated with myself whether or not I should reply to it. Secondly, the Homosexuality article is big enough as it is (WP:SIZE). And given how controversial the topic of homosexuality is, it's no surprise that it contains a lot more material than than the Heterosexuality article and has far more WP:Watchers. Flyer22 (talk) 15:22, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
[Edited to add: At currently 198 talk page watchers, I have more talk page watchers than the Heterosexuality article's current total of 179 watchers.] Flyer22 (talk) 01:34, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
What's silly is that the article barely touches on heterosexuality. Most of this article is about homosexuality and it is not written in a NPOV manner. Take a look at these sections: "Behavioral studies", "Heterosexism", "Heteronormativity", "Heterosexual ally", "Terminology", and "Slang". They are not about heterosexuality. The majority of this article is about homosexuality, therefore the article should be merged. How can you not see this? And how can you not see the POV slant in this article? Caden cool 15:12, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
Caden, most of the article is not about homosexuality. You pointed out sections that just happen to discuss homosexuality or other LGBT topics in addition to heterosexuality, and clearly should be in this article. And even if this article were mostly about homosexuality, that means that the article should be fixed, not merged. For example, the Heterosexism, Heteronormativity and Heterosexual ally sections currently in the article should be merged under the title Heteronormativity, especially since there is so little content in those sections and those sections (subheadings for that little bit of material) therefore violate MOS:PARAGRAPHS. Your proposal is ridiculous, plain and simple; how can you not see that? The article needs a lot of fixing up either way, and so does the Homosexuality article. If you think that your merge proposal is valid, go ahead and propose that this article be merged by slapping a merge tag on both articles, see how far you get with that. Flyer22 (talk) 01:16, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
We have two articles which can be improved (especially this one). However the solution is not to merge this one into Homosexuality as they are two distinct topics (however related they may be) like Male and Female. Readers searching for Heterosexuality would not be expecting to be redirected to Homosexuality and looking at info focused on that topic. --NeilN talk to me 04:27, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
Unhelpful idea. Heterosexuality is notable in its own right. I feel the proposer of this idea may be verging on the pointy. RomanSpa (talk) 11:25, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
Strongly oppose merger proposal -- Caden, heterosexuality is not an aspect of homosexuality, and is not unimportant as compared to homosexuality, so the merger fails to be useful. Traditionally, people spent a lot of time discussing and writing about heterosexual love, romance, marriage, families, child-rearing etc., but didn't use the term "heterosexual". This is because homosexuality was not at all commonly thought of as a way of life or identity until around the beginning of the 20th century, and there was no need for a word for "heterosexual" until there was a word "homosexual" to contrast it with... AnonMoos (talk) 12:02, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
Something else to point out: The vast majority of discussion of sexual orientation and sexual identity focuses on homosexuality/same-sex sexual attraction. For example, in the discussion section immediately above this one, I pointed out with a WP:Reliable source that few scholars and researchers had addressed the development of heterosexual identity prior to 2002. Go ahead and look at the literature on these topics, and you will see what I mean. Whether it's biology and sexual orientation, environment and sexual orientation, sexual identity or homosexual behavior in animals (meaning non-human animals), the vast majority of the research is focused on trying to figure out why a person or non-human animal experiences same-sex sexual attraction. Heterosexuality, for the most part, is considered a very natural part of life and something that does not need to be explained since heterosexual pairings often further life via reproduction by way of engaging in sexual activity with each other. Though scientists are also interested in what causes heterosexual sexual orientation, they generally don't see it as something that needs an explanation. This is another reason, perhaps the main reason, that the Homosexuality article has far more content than the Heterosexuality article. That is, if the controversial nature of homosexuality is not the reason that far more editors have focused on expanding the Homosexuality article instead of the Heterosexuality article. Flyer22 (talk) 12:28, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose Per Flyer22 and all relevant policies. Brandmeistertalk 21:54, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose – This is an entirely separate type of sexuality and it should therefore be kept separate.[8] Cassiantotalk 19:17, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

Redirects should be discussed (heterophilia)[edit]

Heterophilia redirects here, but is not mentioned at all in the entire article. Redirects are either synonyms, in which case they need to be mentioned at the top of the article, or are related topics most logically discussed under the one topic, and thus deserve a section talking about them. Heterophilia is the latter, and should be dicussed. (According to the list of paraphilias article, it refers to an abnormal fetishization of heterosexuality, particularly amongst people who are not heterosexual. Think, for example, a gay guy who would never want to have sex with a woman but gets off to straight porn.) — trlkly 16:10, 11 July 2014 (UTC)

Trlkly, from what I see, it would be WP:Undue weight to have a section in this article about that so-called paraphilia (as in something that barely has any traction medically or socially); the most it deserves in this article, if it deserves any space at all in this article, is a brief mention in the Etymology or Terminology section. Otherwise, it should be redirected to the List of paraphilias article; if a WP:Anchor can be used to point readers directly to that listing, that should also be employed. Flyer22 (talk) 18:04, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
Redirect to List of Paraphilias, per Flyer22's impeccable reasoning. RomanSpa (talk) 18:51, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

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Orphaned references in Heterosexuality[edit]

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@Flyer22 Reborn: As a compromise, I propose moving the gender part from the lead into history section. It's currently unsourced and even if there are some RS for that, this appears to be a recent invention not included in the present mainstream definition. See, for instance Oxford Dictionary, Cambridge Dictionary, Merriam-Webster or Macmillan Dictionary. All of them mention the opposite sex only. The gender definition is also contentious, requiring prior knowledge that the other person is transgender (or both of them). Otherwise you might get the There's Something About Miriam scenario. Brandmeistertalk 08:00, 11 April 2016 (UTC)

So that others are caught up on what is going on here, I'm noting the following: An IP took liberty with the lead's wording. Brandmeister reverted. As seen with this edit, I reverted further (because Brandmeister removed "or gender"), and Brandmeister reverted me stating, "looks like WP:FRINGE, the conventional meaning doesn't include that." As seen with this edit, I stated, "Not WP:Fringe. We include sex and gender for the reason the note says, including at Homosexuality and Sexual orientation. [...] I understand how including 'or gender' can be seen as WP:Fringe when it comes to the biology-based scientific studies on heterosexuality, but see Sexual orientation#Androphilia, gynephilia and other terms."
Brandmeister, when it comes to topics such as these, I don't rely on dictionary definitions, which are commonly outdated, unless I am sourcing a Definitions or Etymology section. But even for a Definitions section, I will rely more so on what non-dictionary sources state, since they tend to me more comprehensive and updated. In this case, I think that using "sex or gender" is safer...not only because of the transgender/genderqueer aspect (which can encompass pansexual or polysexual dimensions), but also because people tend to be sexually attracted to the gender presentation of the person as well, not just the anatomy of the person's body. For example, there are cases of women finding other women sexually attractive because the women visually look like men and behave like men (meaning, to them, have a male presentation). Because of all of this, and the fact that the terms sex and gender are commonly used interchangeably, except for when adhering to the sex and gender distinction, I don't see a problem with the lead stating "sex or gender." Also keep in mind that "sex or gender" has been stable, with no contentious battles regarding it. I also prefer that we are consistent on this matter for the sexual orientation articles. I wouldn't hugely object to simply stating "sex," but "sex" by itself would very likely be changed to "gender" or "sex or gender" soon enough by someone. And, if I had to choose, I'd rather "sex" be there than "gender" since the sexual orientation literature, with regard to sexual attraction, is so thoroughly based on the anatomy of the person. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 07:26, 12 April 2016 (UTC)
But again, I prefer the safer choice. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 07:29, 12 April 2016 (UTC)

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The majority of people are heterosexual[edit]

Why is this key defining feature of heterosexuality not stated anywhere in the article? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:54, 24 October 2016 (UTC)

It's already there, in the Demographics section: "According to major studies, 89% to 98% of people have had only heterosexual contact within their lifetime". Brandmeistertalk 16:28, 24 October 2016 (UTC)

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