Talk:Sexual identity

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Old talk[edit] 01:23, 15 November 2006 (UTC)This article needs to be merged with Sex.

I moved what wasn't duplicated into intersexual. Martin 09:15, 30 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I removed the very POV paragraph below:

People ask, of themselves and of others, "Who is this person?" The first kind of answer that one is likely to give is a name. But who is this "Kim"? There can be many kinds of answers given to this question, from address to year of birth, and one of the first of these answers is likely to be the sex of this person. Because most people naively accept the dualistic view of the world that dichotomizes populations into males and females, those people with atypical genetic, chromosomal, or developmental features may inappropriately be subsumed under one category or the other. Intersexuals may be "surgically reassigned" to have the appearance of typical male or female genitalia, and later may feel that the surgical "corrections" were done inappropriately. Other people may feel that their genitalia do not match their true, inner, sexuality, and they may seek surgical aid to become trans-sexuals.

If someone wants to take a crack at making it NPOV, it can go back in. —Frecklefoot 16:17, 31 Jul 2003 (UTC)

It was attributed... but it didn't actually use the term "sexual identity", but rather uses the more obvious term "sex".
Wikipedia is not a dictionary. Martin

I don't think this should be just a link to the wiktionary defition (especially because I couldn't find one), but should be more elaborated. What exactly are the differences between "sexual identity" and "gender identity"? Does anyone has the book by Fausto-Sterling at hands and can give a summary? -- till we *) 17:47, Jul 31, 2003 (UTC)

I do have the book, and I'm looking backwards from the point where I found it used to see whether she gives any clearer explanations on how she means it. The context is clearly sex differences. I think it is clear what "sex" means to her, and to people who do not take an "excluded middle" position on "male vs. female". I think it is clear from the dictionary what identity means. Erik Erikson was the one who has probably done the most to wring out the ways that identies are formed and recognized for each person.

John Money expanded the meaning of "gender" from a category of grammer because he needed to distinguish between the "hardware" and the various ways that people in different societies use different ways of letting each other know which sex they are without taking their clothes off. You learn your gender role. If you are a boy, you quickly learn to wear trousers and not skirts. If you are a Japanese boy you learn (without being consciously aware of it) to use a "pelvis thrust out" posture, and if you are a Japanese girl you learn to "tuck it back." In the U.S. this gender signal is constructed in exactly the opposite way.

The trouble in society comes when a person experiences what is called "gender dysphoria," which means that the person feels that, e.g., s/he is a female despite the presence of male genitalia. One response to this is to cross-dress (from the standpoint of people who think s/he is a male, anyway), to learn to behave in the ways that are appropriate to females in that society, etc. But, of course, the person can also chose to change his/her genitalia. S/he cannot fit in very well, however, if the gender signals s/he gives off are wrong.

Milton Diamond is another sexologist, and one who strongly attacked John Money. He is mentioned in Fausto-Sterling's discussion, and may have formed a definition. I don't happen to have any of his books at hand.

But, look, even if somebody somewhere uses the expression "red light" where s/he ought to say "green light", and even if lots of other people get involved and use the two terms indiscriminately, if there is a difference between "red" and "green", then there ought to be a difference between "red light" and "green light." I hope people can give that simple point of logic and language a green light.

Patrick0Moran 18:56, 31 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I found the following:

"Changing his anatomy to that resembling a woman's will facilitate social acceptance and life as a woman. His gender identity and sexual identity will thus be brought into concert"

"This person, having XY chromosomes and testes, until the diagnosis, had no doubts as to her sexual identity as a woman. She had always considered herself to be a female and accepts living as a woman. She accepts her gender identity as a woman and, despite concerns with infertility and other features common to her intersex condition, confidentially presents herself to the world."

Quoted from a long discussion by Diamond at:

Someplace else (I've lost the URL for the moment) Diamond said that the sex in the brain is more important than the sex between the legs. So sexual identity is not just the presence of a certain set of genitalia.

Patrick0Moran 19:43, 31 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Ok, let's start from scratch with what I think of as facts:

  1. Sexual identity is sometimes used as a synonym for sexual orientation
  2. Sexual identity is sometimes used as a synonym for sex
  3. Sexual identity is sometimes used to describe someone's sexual behaviour [1] [2]
  4. Sexual identity is sometimes used as in this article.

You've convinced me of the fourth point - previously I had never heard the term being used in this manner, nor could I find any webrefs, so it sounded like some new and not wholly relevant meaning. My apologies.

My next query is whether this is the most appropriate place to put the subject. Would sex of the brain be more appropriate, for example? In general, it's better to have unambiguous terms as article headers, and it reduces confusion. Naturally, there'd have to be a link from sexual identity to sex of the brain (or wherever), as part of a disambiguation page.

My second query is whether the subject is sufficiently distinct from the related ones to warrant its own article. Where someone's sex and sexual identity are the same, the subject should be covered at sex - where they're different, at intersexual... won't we end up duplicating content?

My third query is whether there's a meaningful difference between between sexual identity and gender identity. Our page on gender identity starts:

In sociology, gender or gender identity describes the sex that a person identifies with. Less commonly, it can describe the gender role that a person identifies with.

Now, you say that logically there should be a difference between sexual identity and gender identity... well, logic and language don't mix very well, and I'm really struggling to see the distinction between this use of "sexual identity" versus "gender identity". Again, I think we'll end up duplicating content: the gender identity article already has a stubbish section on Formation of Gender Identity, for example. Martin 22:14, 31 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Language is easy to misuse. Misusing language gets people into trouble. That is why logic was developed. :-)

I think most of your questions have been rendered "inoperative" since someone has edited the page and has unlinked this discussion.I wrote responses to each of your points and then discovered that the point of writing them had disappeared.

 ?? The "Discuss this page" link should still be there...

To me, the whole series of linked discussions, starting with sex needs to be reorganized. The quality of the various articles varies tremendously, and they do wind in and around each other with a rationale that seems too dependent on the contingencies involved in writing each of them.

Probably... but is creating another new page the best way of doing that?

I believe that the homosexuality page is severely flawed because it offers 3 suggestions for etiology without relating them either by the structure of the article or by any kind of reasoned discussion. They are just three suggestions for why things might be as they are.

The fact that people who pick up buzz words and misuse them are many is not a good argument for ignoring the substantive points, or fuzzing the substantive points, that the originators of the terms were trying to make. In the beginning of the article by Milton Diamond cited above, he very diplomatically critiques the results of such careless use of terms. The whole point of setting out the term "gender" as something to discuss in the field of sexology was that it was discovered that people could have identifiable characteristics pertaining to one sex yet could have been given a discordant gender identity.

yep, you're preaching to the converted here.

Look, one who has a female sexual identity can have a sexual orientation toward males and/or toward females. One who has a male sexual identity can have a sexual orientation toward males and/or toward females. If people were only to look at the behavior and label it as being the gender and the role appropriate to either male-chasers or female-chasers or indiscriminate-chasers, that would give us three gender identities.

That's why we don't label the behaviour as the gender: we clearly distinguish between behaviour (gender role) and identity (gender identity).

But I don't think very many people would be content to see the world like this. "Here 'it' comes, thank goodness it is finally one who chases my kind of person." Usually, people seem to want to know whether the one who pursues them with amorous thoughts and goals is male or female. That additional knowledge is highly predictive of many interesting things, such as whether pregnancy is a possibility, etc.

Yep, biological sex is interesting too. But if sexual identity is just biological sex, why do we need a seperate article?

The formation of an individual who has, e.g., male genitalia and a pronounced yen for other people with male genitalia is one thing. It is related to, but separable from, the formation of an individual who would feel "abnormal" wearing a frilly frock and high heels, spreading his legs to help catch a thrown handfull of change, never hawking and spitting in public, etc. etc. The formation of sexual identity and the formation of gender identity both go on in the same individual, and you have to hope that they are not made discordant somehow, but they are in any event not the same thing. If they were the same thing, then people who discover their true sexual identity would not have to set about trying to change their gender identities to match.

biological sex and gender identity are not the same thing... but what's this "sexual identity" thing, and how do you define it so that it isn't the same as biological sex, and isn't the same as gender identity?

If the article on the Theory of Relativity reflects all of the mis-popularizations of that idea to mean, virtually, "Everything is everything," then I will be very surprised. But maybe the fact that a large number of people think that it means that my salary being "small" is only the result of my sheltered point of view will have influenced physicists to give Einstein equal billing at best on their 20th Century Theories page. Perhaps somewhere in that article it will say something like, "Less commonly, relativity can describe the arcane theory put forth by A. Einstein very early in the 20th century, one that has nothing to do with the everyday lives of the vast majority of people."

We deal with ambiguous cases all the time: see wikipedia:disambiguation. Remember, this isn't an encyclopedia for sexologists - it needs to accomodate all kinds of folks from a variety of backgrounds.

I hope you will understand that there is nothing personal in my remarks. This whole subject is murky for a myriad of reasons, and it is no wonder that it is frustrating to work through and make a coherent explanation of what the specialists in this field have advanced as hypotheses.

Patrick0Moran 00:48, 1 Aug 2003 (UTC)

For what it's worth:

Diamond, M. (2002). Sex and Gender are Different: Sexual Identity and Gender Identity are Different. Clinical Child Psychology & Psychiatry 7(3, Special Issue (July)), 320-334.

Patrick0Moran 01:01, 1 Aug 2003 (UTC)

To me, the whole series of linked discussions, starting with sex needs to be reorganized. The quality of the various articles varies tremendously, and they do wind in and around each other with a rationale that seems too dependent on the contingencies involved in writing each of them.
Probably... but is creating another new page the best way of doing that?

I'm not invested in the term "sexual identity". The problem is that the page that originally called that link is confusing. It's as though somebody who had a problem with zits, or whose kid had a problem with zits looked up "zits" and found, scattered here and there, three statements. (1)Zits are caused by impure thoughts. (2) Zits are caused by eating too much fat. (3) Zits are caused by raging adolescent hormones. It's very likely that the person went to the zits page out of more than academic interest. Seeing these three assertions, or even seeing them translated into NPOV, (1) Rev. Skallywag saith... (2) Famed diet guru O. Chess says... (3) Endocrinologist Fatima Wigglesworth reported... -- the person is at likely to be left confused and irritated. Linking to "Causes of Gender I.D." or whatever it was is an improvement, but the frayed rope syndrome still bothers me.

I don't know whether just doing something about the homosexuality page is enough. Moving bits and pieces here and there and relinking things on an ad hoc basis may not be as efficient as starting with the "sex" page and re-outlining to see what really needs to go where.

BTW, Diamond says everything I was trying to say regarding the difference between sexual identity and gender identity in a much more polished and coherent way. I suppose that he does not have a neutral point of view, but I think that he is worth studying to see what professions in the field of sexology regard as issues concerning which they need to form their "best take."

(All names except Diamond are fictitious.)

Patrick0Moran 16:59, 1 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I can see why it might bother you... but consider that building an encyclopedia is difficult enough... building an encyclopedia that contains only truth - that might be impossible. Martin 19:28, 1 Aug 2003 (UTC)


I don't get the difference between "sexual identity" and "gender identity". I've done some reading today, and I've learned that people do not necessarily identify as "homosexual" simply because they have boy-boy or girl-girl sex. There is:


...but there is considerable emphasis placed on the elusive concept of identity, and that's what I want to write an article about.

"If I fuck him, I'm not gay"

Okay, then we distinguish between the overall phenomenon or identity of "homosexuality" and the specific mechanics of "gay sex".

Can we talk? --Uncle Ed 20:47, 5 Apr 2004 (UTC)

[P0M:] The first thing to get clear on is "identity." We generally think we know what we mean by this word, and we think we know our own identity, but we might be mistaken -- even in that regard. I think I am the product of a certain set of parents, but maybe I was adopted, maybe somebody else was my father, etc. So there is some room for error even on my part. Then there is the question of what other people make of my identity. I have a double, and I've been mis-identified by people who have been angry with "Tom" (or whatever his name was) because he walked right by them and didn't pay them any attention. Actually, I had lunch with "Tom," and it was a rather spooky experience. So I can easily understand how other people could fail to make a correct identification.

[P0M:] The same kind of thing can happen with our knowledge of what our sex is. It is possible for a person to have an X and a Y chromosome, and to have testicles instead of ovaries, and still be indistinguishable from a normal female human being. (There was a case of a "female" Olympic competitor who was disqualified when "her" XY status was discovered in a routine test.) What other people make of one's sex is in some cases more problematical (when someone decides that, e.g., an atypical female is "actually" a male) or more accurate (e.g., when an M.D. determines that a baby is actually of one sex when other people have misidentified it as the other sex).

[P0M:] The basic determination of sex is whether one is capable of producing an ovum or capable of producing sperm. That should be simple, but some individuals do not fit either category. On top of that, although we all learned in biology class that males are XY and females are XX there are actually several other chromosomal possibilities. It seems a little simplistic to imply that there are no special characteristics to, e.g., individuals with only a single X chromosome. (In that case, the somatic form and the general behavior is feminine, but these individuals cannot produce viable ova.)

[P0M:] Anyway, sexual identity is fundamentally a question of the genitalia possessed by an individual. (Do not forget that sometimes an individual will have an ovary and a testicle in the same body.)

[P0M:] Gender identity includes sexual identity. But one can be a person with male genitals who experiences herself as a woman, or a person with female genitals who experiences himself as a man. The reason, in the simplest of terms, is that "what is between the legs is not as important as what is between the ears." Frequently, people who experience themselves as women even though they have male genitalia, and people who experience themselves as men even though they have female genitalia, have developed in the womb under atypical hormonal conditions. It is believed that the brains of these individuals are formed in atypical ways that influence the gender identities they will eventually possess.

[P0M:] The issue of homosexuality is a further wrinkle on all the previous wrinkles. It is not necessarily true that a person with male genitals who has strong desire to have intercourse with males will identify himself as a woman. Nor is it true that a person with female genitals who has strong desire to have intercourse with females will identify herself as a man. Sexual identity is not the same thing as gender identity (they can be "cross coded"), and gender identity is not the same thing as sexual preference.

[P0M:] There is a good bit of ideology involved in these categorizations, both on the part of society and on the part of the individuals themselves. The reality seems to be that all, or almost all, individuals will be motivated to have same-sex erotic adventures under the right circumstances. Whether one individual will interact amorously with another individual is a threshold question. An individual may ordinarily prefer other-sex sexual partners and react most strongly to them, and might ordinarily be little inclined to participate in same-sex sexual interactions. However, if affection for someone of the same sex is great enough, if heterosexual sexual outlets are extremely limited or missing, or if some other circumstance arises that causes the individual's threshold limit to be exceeded, then amorous activity (including intercourse) may ensue.

[P0M:] Ideology says that males are attracted only to females and females are attracted only to males -- or homosexual males are attracted only to males and homosexual females are attracted only to females -- or bisexual individuals are attracted equally to both sexes. But the truth is probably closer to Kinsey's scale. An individual may be easily "provoked" to have an amorous encounters with the members of one sex and much less easily "provoked" to have amorous encounters with the members of the other sex.

[P0M:] Sometimes people have sexual intercourse with others for money or to express dominance. That is another way to cross the threshold, and it can confuse the issue of who is a heterosexual and who is a homosexual. A male prostitute can claim to have no more emotional connection with his male customer than he has with his vibrator. A rapist can have intercourse with a victim of either sex without there being any affection involved. And it is frequently reported that men restricted to same-sex environments (prisons, military barracks, etc.) will have sex "just to help a buddy get off."

[P0M:] Whether one identifies oneself as a heterosexual, a homosexual, or something else can depend on lots of different factors. Sometimes there is an element of deception, as when a person who has no interest in members of the opposite sex identified himself/herself as "bisexual" -- thinking that there is less opprobrium directed toward bisexuals than to gays. A person may have tried homosexual intercourse, in which case s/he counts as "homosexual" under one definition, but that person may have discovered that s/he has no real interest in that kind of behavior, in which case s/he counts as "heterosexual" under another definition. I would think of those responses as being "truthful" even though others might say that the person is convicted by his/her own testimony of being "homosexual." The main issue seems to be whether one wants to look at overt behavior or at fundamental motivation. (Is a person who lusts after people of the same sex yet is celibate a homosexual? Depends on your definition, I guess.) P0M 01:13, 6 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Thank you for that lengthy response, Patrick. I appreciate your time and effort, answering my question. Perhaps we can add some of your insights into the sexual identity and gender identity articles. --Uncle Ed 12:04, 6 Apr 2004 (UTC)

This is a very good article on sexual identity. I am going to use it to write a two page assignment. I want to know if it is ok to use your names. If it is ok, please respond within the next five days. If there is no response (which I expect)you guys/girls will be anyonomous. Thank you again.

If you cite this discussion page or the article page itself you will automatically reveal as much of the identities of the authors as they have chosen to give out. If you follow the link to my user page you will find out a little about me there, and anybody can do the same thing. Some people operate only under pseudonyms, other people give their full names, and some people are in the middle somewhere.
The materials on this page are signed. The article itself is the product of very many contributions by individual editors. The only way anyone could determine who added what would be to hit the "history" link for the article and trace back through years of revisions.
One other things that you should keep in mind is that none of these contributions are supposed to be original research. The objective of an encyclopedia is to report the contributions of established researchers, hopefully supplying "the best of the litter." (Whoops, that doesn't exactly sound right, does it? I meant "litter" as in "litter of puppies.") What I wrote immediately above was a first draft recitation from memory of what I have retained from reading what experts like John Money, Milton Diamond, Anne Fausto-Sterling, et al. have had to say.
If you put a link to the article and/or to this talk page in your paper you will avoid any questions of the source of your material. Be careful not to quote anything without putting quotation marks around it and giving a citation (saying where you got the words) in papers for school (or for public speaking, remember Senator Biden's last attempt to run for the Democratic nomination for President?). P0M 11:18, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Technical sexual orientation[edit]

I rephrased part of the article to avoid the use of the phrase "technical sexual orientation". There is no technical standards board that sets definitions for sexual orientation, so the phrase is somewhat inaccurate. I think it was referring to sexual behavior, as in, "if you've had sex with both men and women than technically you are bisexual". This favors one particular definition of sexual orientation, and thus is not neutral. The phrase "sexual behavior" is probably a better phrase to use in similar situations. -- Beland 06:10, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

Sexual identity based on sexual characteristics[edit]

This section is problematic and contains no sources. To my knowledge it is totally non-standard to use the term "sexual identity" to mean one's physical sex - the terms "biological sex," "apparent sex," or "sex characteristics" are far more common. The passage references Fausto-Sterling, who to my knowledge has not used "sexual identity" in this way; I can't speak to the others as I've only read secondary sources about Money and Diamond. Unless a clear and credible reference can be provided, I'd suggest this section be deleted as it is unnecessarily confusing and unsourced. (talk) 07:07, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Something to Include[edit]

Is this article from the APA appropriate and if so where should it be put in the article? Father Time89 (talk) 18:46, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

Sexual orientation identity and gender identity[edit]

This article is confusing because it discusses two types of sexual identity, one related to gender identity and the other to sexual orientation. Reading the psychological literature, the often use the term sexual orientation identity to distinguish from gender identity. How about we create a new page for sexual orientation identity, and then leave a note on this page that if they want to read about sexual identity in terms of sexual orientation identity, they can go to the other page? Joshuajohanson (talk) 22:05, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Unfortunately, that is because that is the way it is - we reflect what happens, and there are multiple sources that refer to 'sexual identity' in this way. The other use does not correspond to 'gender identity', but more accurately 'sex identity' as neither of these are 'sexual' in the way 'sexuality' is. Mish (talk) 23:25, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
Google Scholar yields the following results:
  • "sexual identity" = appx 60,000
  • "sexual identity" -homosexuality -gay -lesbian -homosexual = appx 20,000
  • homosexuality OR gay OR lesbian OR homosexual "sexual identity" = appx 40,000
  • "sexual orientation identity" = 926
  • "sexual orientation identity" -"sexual identity" = 372
  • "sexual identity" "sexual orientation identity" = 554
that means it would be inappropriate to remove the section on sexual identity that relates to sexual orientation from this article - as there are twice as many references to sexual identity in that context than those relating to sex identification. Relatively few sources use 'sexual orientation identity', and most also refer to 'sexual identity'. Mish (talk) 01:06, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
To avoid replicating discussion, I have opened up discussion of this issue here:
I have also notified the other relevant project here:
Mish (talk) 01:31, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

Unsourced material now gone[edit]

This has been tagged as lacking sources for two years now, and much of the material could be assertion or WP:OR for all anybody knows. I've removed the bulk of the unsourced material, removed the article tag, and retained what is needed for readability, but added individual cite tags where necessary. Mish (talk) 11:20, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Merge template gone[edit]

I've removed this, as it didn't seem to go anywhere. Mish (talk) 11:21, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

What was decided? Last we talked about, you agreed we needed two separate articles, but their was discussion as to what to call them. The sexual orientation identity page still exists. I think we should have a direct on this page to that page until we decide on what to call the two pages. Joshuajohanson (talk) 18:15, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
This page should stay, as there are numerous sources that use the term. If you want to have a page for SOid I'm not going to contest that. If you have a link to that page from here, it would need to be in the context of something about SOid within this article. Maybe a section on SOid? Bear in mind this is a recently coined phrase, so there will be few references, which may be an issue for some editors. Mish (talk) 20:20, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Thinking point[edit]

I haven't waded all the way through this page but one might ask "What is the difference between the knowledge one is male or female, and the knowledge one is a man or a woman?" [See] Can one have a sexual identity but not a gender identity? Christie Elan-Cane ceratinnly thinks so ([The Fallacy of the Myth of Gender]) Cultural anthropologists are continually vexed by the idea idea that being a man or a woman is a different experience in different cultures, so much so that they write of multiple genders in some cultures. (talk) 10:30, 22 April 2012 (UTC)

Page needs to be edited[edit]

There are numerous formatting and non-NPOV issues, as well as some questionable statistics, present in this article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:50, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

Sex / Sexual Identity[edit]

the article "sex" uses this as a starting point: Organisms of many species are specialized into male and female varieties, each known as a sex.

this may be most practical starting piont for "sexual identity" stub. 0101Roger0101 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:02, 3 June 2013 (UTC)

Sex identity, which is used interchangeably with gender identity (which is why it redirects there), is not the same thing as sexual identity (according to most sources at least). Flyer22 (talk) 18:09, 3 June 2013 (UTC)