Sexual Orientation

… a core concept in Governance and Institutions and Atlas100

Concept description

The American Psychological Association (APA, reference below) describes sexual orientation as “an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions to men, women, or both sexes.”

The APA goes on to say:

“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. Research over several decades has demonstrated that sexual orientation ranges along a continuum, from exclusive attraction to the other sex to exclusive attraction to the same sex. However, sexual orientation is usually discussed in terms of three categories: heterosexual (having emotional, romantic, or sexual attractions to members of the other sex), gay/lesbian (having emotional, romantic, or sexual attractions to members of one’s own sex), and bisexual (having emotional, romantic, or sexual attractions to both men and women). This range of behaviors and attractions has been described in various cultures and nations throughout the world. Many cultures use identity labels to describe people who express these attractions. In the United States the most frequent labels are lesbians (women attracted to women), gay men (men attracted to men), and bisexual people (men or women attracted to both sexes). However, some people may use different labels or none at all.”

National Center for Health Statistics Report on Sexual Orientation of U.S. Adults

The National Center for Health Statistics (reference below) issued a report in 2014 providing national estimates for indicators of health-related behaviors, health status, health care service utilization, and health care access by sexual orientation using data from the 2013 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) of 34,557 adults aged 18 and over.

The results:

“Based on the 2013 NHIS data, 96.6% of adults identified as straight, 1.6% identified as gay or lesbian, and 0.7% identified as bisexual. The remaining 1.1% of adults identified as “something else,’” stated “I don’t know the answer,” or refused to provide an answer. Significant differences were found in health-related behaviors, health status, health care service utilization, and health care access among U.S. adults aged 18–64 who identified as straight, gay or lesbian, or bisexual.”

Tabular results are shown in the image below:

Atlas topic, subject, and course

Diversity, Identity, and Rights (core topic) in Governance and Institutions and Atlas100 Governance and Institutions.

Source

American Psychological Association (2008), Answers to your questions: For a better understanding of sexual orientation and homosexuality, at http://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/orientation.pdf, accessed 28 December 2016. See also: American Psychological Association (2015), Definitions Related to Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity in APA Guidelines and Policy Documents, at https://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/sexuality-definitions.pdf, accessed 25 December 2016.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics (2014), Ward BW, Dahlhamer JM, Galinsky AM, Joestl SS. Sexual orientation and health among U.S. adults – National Health Interview Survey, 2013. National health statistics reports; no 77, at https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr077.pdf, accessed 28 December 2016.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 5 February 2017.

Image: haunted timber, at https://hauntedtimber.wordpress.com/2010/04/28/q-a-sexual-orientation-gendersex-identity/, accessed 28 December 2016.