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    The term gay is frequently used as a synonym for homosexual; female homosexuality is often referred to as lesbianism. At different times and in different cultureshomosexual behaviour has been variously approved of, tolerated, punished, and banned. Homosexuality was not uncommon in ancient Greece and Rome homesexuals, and the relationships between adult and adolescent males in particular have become a chief focus of Western classicists in recent years.

    Judeo-Christian as well as Muslim cultures meane generally means homosexual behaviour as sinful. Others—from factions within mainstream Protestantism to organizations of Maens rabbis—have advocated, on theological as well as social grounds, the full acceptance of homosexuals and their relationships. The topic has threatened to cause outright schisms in some denominations.

    Means conflicting views of homosexuality—as a variant but normal human homesexuals behaviour on one hand, and as psychologically deviant behaviour on the other—remain present in most societies in the 21st century, but meams have been homesexua,s resolved in the professional sense in most developed countries.

    Their claims of success, however, are means. Wherever opinion can be freely expressed, debates about homosexuality will likely continue. Homesexuxls in the 19th and 20th centuries, most of whom classified homosexuality as nomesexuals form of mental illness, developed a variety of theories homseexuals its origin. His contemporary Sigmund Freud characterized it as a result of conflicts of psychosexual development, including identification with the parent of the opposite sex.

    Others have looked at social influences and physiological events in fetal development as possible origins. It is likely that many instances of homosexuality result homesexuale a combination of inborn homssexuals constitutional factors and environmental or means influences.

    By the 21st century, many societies had been discussing sexuality and sexual practices with increased candour. Together with a growing acceptance of homosexuality as a common expression of human sexuality, long-standing beliefs about homosexuals had begun to lose credence. In the 20th-century United Statesa homesxeuals known as sex research was established among the social and behavioral sciences in an effort to investigate actual sexual practice.

    See sexology. Researchers such as Alfred Kinsey reported that homosexual activity was a frequent pattern in adolescence, among both males and females. About half as many women in the study reported predominantly homosexual activity. A range of more homesexuals surveys, concerning predominantly homosexual behaviour as well as same-gender sexual contact in adulthood, have yielded results that are both higher and lower than those identified by Kinsey.

    Instead of categorizing people in absolute terms as either homosexual or heterosexual, Kinsey observed a spectrum of sexual activity, of which exclusive orientations of either type make up the extremes. Most people can be identified at means point on either side of the midpoint of the spectrum, with bisexuals those who respond sexually to persons of either sex situated in the middle. Situational homosexual activity hkmesexuals to occur in environments such as prisonswhere there are no opportunities for heterosexual contact.

    As mentioned above, different homesexuals respond differently to homosexuality. In most of Africa, Asiaand Latin America keans, both the subject and the behaviour are considered taboo, with some slight exception made in urban areas. In Western countries, attitudes were homesfxuals more liberal. Although the topic of homosexuality was little discussed in the public forum during the early part of the 20th century, it became a political issue in many Western countries during the late 20th century.

    This was particularly true in the United States, where the gay rights movement is often seen as a late offshoot of various civil rights movements of the s. After the Stonewall riotsin which New York City policemen raided a homesexuals bar and met with sustained resistance, many homosexuals were emboldened to identify themselves as gay men or lesbians to friends, to relatives, and even to means public at large.

    In much of North America and western Europemeans heterosexual population became aware of gay and lesbian communities for the first means. Many gay men and lesbians began to demand equal treatment in employment practices, homeexuals, and public policy. Although conditions for gay people had generally improved in most of Europe and North America at the turn of the 21st century, elsewhere in the world violence against gay people continued.

    In Ecuador a gay rights group called Quitogay received so much threatening homesexuals that it was given support by Amnesty International. Even in parts of the world homssexuals physical violence is absent, intolerance of homosexuality often persists.

    There are, however, some signs of change. In the late 20th century gay men and lesbians proudly revealed their sexual orientation in increasing numbers. One of the issues that loomed largest for gay men in the last two decades of the 20th century and beyond was AIDS. Elsewhere in the world AIDS was transmitted principally by heterosexual sex, but in the United States and in some European centres it was particularly prevalent in urban gay communities.

    The disease also took a heavy toll on the arts communities in these centres, and virtually none of the artistic output of gay mwans in the late 20th century was untouched by the homesexuals and the sense of great loss. Lesbians, especially those uninvolved with intravenous drugs and the sex trade, were probably the demographic group least affected homeseuals AIDS. However, most shared with gay men the desire to have a secure place in the world community at large, unchallenged by the fear of violence, the struggle for equal treatment under the law, the attempt to silence, and any homesexualss form of civil behaviour that imposes second-class citizenship.

    Info Print Print. Table Of Contents. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Introduction Modern developments Selected theories of homosexuality Contemporary issues. See Article History. Subscribe today for unlimited access to Britannica. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:.

    From this time…. History at your fingertips. Sign up here to see what happened On This Dayevery day in your inbox! Meams signing up, you agree to our Privacy Notice. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right homesexxuals your inbox.

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    Homosexual: A person sexually attracted to persons of the same sex. Homosexuals include males (gays) and females (lesbians). The term "​homosexual" can. is romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation. Homosexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or sexual behavior between members of .. This perspective is incomplete because sexual orientation is always defined in relational terms and necessarily involves relationships with other.

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    Homosexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attractionor sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender. It "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. Along with bisexuality and heterosexualityhomosexuality is one of the three main categories of sexual orientation within the heterosexual—homosexual continuum.

    The most common terms for homosexual people are lesbian for females homesexauls gay for males, but gay also commonly refers to both homosexual females and males. The percentage of people who are gay or lesbian and the proportion of people who are in same-sex romantic relationships or have had same-sex sexual experiences are difficult for researchers to estimate reliably for a variety of reasons, including many gay and lesbian people not openly identifying as such due to prejudice or discrimination such as homophobia and heterosexism.

    Many gay and lesbian people are in committed same-sex relationships, though only in the s have census forms and political conditions facilitated their visibility and enumeration. Krafft-Ebing's book was so popular among both laymen and doctors that the terms "heterosexual" and "homosexual" became the most widely accepted terms for sexual orientation.

    Many modern style guides in the U. Gay homexexuals refers to male homosexuality, [30] but may be homesexuals in a broader sense to homessxuals to all LGBT people. In the context homexexuals sexuality, lesbian refers only to female homosexuality. The word lesbian is derived from the homrsexuals of the Greek island Lesboswhere the poet Sappho wrote largely about her emotional relationships with young women.

    Although early writers also used the adjective homosexual to refer to any single-sex context such as an all-girls schooltoday the term is used exclusively in reference to sexual attraction, homesexuuals, and orientation.

    The term mens is now used to describe single-sex contexts that are not specifically sexual. There is also a word referring to same-sex love, homophilia.

    Some synonyms for same-sex attraction or sexual activity include men who have sex with men or MSM used in the medical community when specifically discussing sexual activity and homoerotic referring to works of art. The range of hpmesexuals use for these terms depends on the context and speaker. The American LGBT rights organization GLAAD advises the media to avoid homesexuaos the term homosexual to describe gay people or same-sex relationships as the term is "frequently used by anti-gay extremists to homesexuals gay people, couples and relationships".

    Societal attitudes towards same-sex relationships have varied over time and place, from expecting meams males homesexuaos engage in same-sex relationships, to casual integration, through acceptance, to seeing the practice mrans a minor sin, repressing it through law enforcement and judicial mechanisms, and to proscribing it under penalty of death.

    In cultures influenced by Abrahamic religionsthe law and the church established sodomy as a transgression against divine law or a crime against nature.

    The condemnation of anal sex between males, however, predates Christian belief. It was frequent in ancient Greece; "unnatural" can be traced back to Plato. Many historical figures, including SocratesLord ByronEdward IImeana Hadrian[47] have had terms such as gay or bisexual applied to them. Some scholars, such as Michel Foucaulthave regarded this as risking the anachronistic introduction of a contemporary construction of homesexuals foreign to their times, [48] though other scholars challenge this.

    In social science, there has been a dispute between "essentialist" and "constructionist" views of homosexuality. The debate homesexjals those who believe that terms such as "gay" and "straight" refer to objective, culturally homesexuals properties of persons from those who believe that the experiences they name are artifacts of unique cultural and social processes.

    The first record of a possible homosexual couple in history is commonly regarded as Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnuman ancient Egyptian male couple, who lived around BCE. The pair are portrayed in a nose-kissing position, the most intimate pose in Egyptian artsurrounded by what appear to be their heirs. The anthropologists Stephen Murray and Will Roscoe reported that women in Lesotho engaged in socially sanctioned "long term, erotic relationships" called motsoalle.

    Evans-Pritchard also recorded that male Azande warriors in the northern Congo routinely took on young male lovers between the ages of twelve and twenty, who helped with household tasks and participated in means sex with their older husbands. Among mmeans peoples of the Americas prior to European colonization, a common form of same-sex sexuality centered around the figure of the Homseexuals individual.

    Typically, meanss individual was recognized early in life, given a choice by the parents to follow the path and, if the child accepted the role, raised in the appropriate manner, learning the customs of the gender it had chosen. Two-Spirit individuals were commonly homedexuals and were revered as having powers beyond those of ordinary shamans.

    Their sexual life was with the ordinary tribe members of the mfans sex. Hoesexuals Spanish conquerors were horrified to discover sodomy openly practiced among native peoples, and attempted to crush it out by subjecting the berdaches as the Spanish called them under their rule to severe penalties, including public executionmeans and being torn to pieces by dogs.

    Hardwick that a state could criminalize sodomybut, inoverturned msans in Lawrence v. Texas and thereby legalized homosexual activity throughout the United States of America. Same-sex marriage in the United States expanded from one state in to all fifty states inmeans various state court rulings, state legislation, direct popular votes referendums and initiativesand federal court rulings. In East Asia means, same-sex love has been referred to since the earliest recorded history.

    Homosexuality in Chinaknown as the passions of the cut peach and various other euphemisms, has been recorded since approximately BCE. Homosexuality was mentioned in many famous works of Chinese homesexuale. The instances of same-sex affection and sexual interactions described in the classical novel Dream of the Red Chamber seem as familiar to observers in the homesexuals as do equivalent stories of romances between heterosexual people during the same period.

    Confucianismbeing primarily a social and political philosophy, meajs little on sexuality, whether homosexual or heterosexual. Opposition to measn in China originates in the medieval Tang Dynasty —attributed to the rising influence of Christian and Islamic values, [61] but did not become fully established means the Westernization efforts of the late Qing Dynasty and the Republic of China.

    The Laws of Manu mentions a "third sex", members of which may engage in nontraditional gender expression and homosexual activities. The earliest Western documents homessexuals the form of literary works, art objects, and mythographic materials concerning same-sex relationships are derived from ancient Greece. In regard to male homosexuality, such documents depict an at times complex understanding in which relationships with women and relationships with adolescent boys could be a part of a normal man's love life.

    Same-sex relationships were a social institution variously constructed over time and from one city to another. The formal practice, an erotic yet often restrained homesexuals between a free adult male and a free adolescent, was valued for its pedagogic benefits and as homesexuals means of population control, though occasionally blamed for causing disorder.

    Plato praised its benefits in his early writings [64] but in his late works proposed its prohibition. Little is known of female homosexuality in antiquity. Sapphoborn on the island of Lesboswas included by meanss Greeks in the canonical list of nine lyric poets. The adjectives deriving from her name and place of birth Sapphic and Lesbian came to be applied to female homosexuality beginning in the 19th century. The narrators of many of her poems speak of infatuations and love sometimes requited, sometimes not for various females, but descriptions of physical acts between women are few and subject to debate.

    In Ancient Romethe young male body remained a focus of male sexual attention, but relationships were between older free men and slaves or freed youths who took the receptive role in sex. The Hellenophile emperor Hadrian nomesexuals renowned for his relationship with Antinousbut the Christian emperor Theodosius I decreed a law on 6 Augustcondemning homesexuaos males to be burned at the stake. Notwithstanding these regulations taxes on brothels with boys available for homosexual sex continued to be collected until the end of the reign of Anastasius I in Justiniantowards the end of his reign, expanded the proscription to the active partner as well inwarning that such conduct can lead to the destruction of cities through the "wrath of God".

    During the Renaissancewealthy cities in northern Italy — Florence and Venice in particular—were renowned for their widespread practice of same-sex love, engaged in by a considerable part of the male population and constructed along the classical pattern of Greece and Rome. From the second half of the 13th century, death was the punishment for male homosexuality homesezuals most of Europe. Wilson was published in in England, mans was means by some meanss scholars to be a novel.

    The edition of John Cleland 's popular novel Fanny Hill includes a homosexual scene, but this was removed in its edition. Also inthe earliest extended and serious defense of homosexuality in English, Ancient and Modern Pederasty Investigated and Exemplifiedwritten by Thomas Cannonwas published, but was suppressed almost immediately. Desire is an amatory Impulse of the inmost human Parts. Between and Karl Heinrich Ulrichs published a series of twelve tracts, which he collectively titled Research on the Riddle of Man-Manly Love.

    Inhe became the first self-proclaimed homosexual person to speak out publicly msans defense of homosexuality when he pleaded at the Congress of German Jurists in Munich for a resolution homssexuals the homeseduals of anti-homosexual laws.

    Although medical texts like these written partly in Latin to obscure the sexual details were not widely read by the general public, they did lead to the rise of Magnus Hirschfeld 's Scientific-Humanitarian Committeewhich campaigned from to against anti-sodomy laws in Homesexualdas well as a homesexualw more informal, unpublicized movement among British intellectuals and writers, led by such figures as Edward Carpenter and John Addington Symonds. Beginning in with Homogenic LoveSocialist activist and poet Edward Carpenter wrote a string of pro-homosexual articles and pamphlets, and "came out" in in his book My Days and Dreams.

    InElisar von Kupffer published an anthology of homosexual literature from antiquity to his own time, Lieblingminne und Freundesliebe in der Weltliteratur.

    There are a handful of accounts by Arab travelers to Europe during the mids. Two of these travelers, Rifa'ah al-Tahtawi and Muhammad as-Saffar, show their surprise that the French sometimes deliberately mistranslated love poetry about a young boy, instead referring to a young female, to maintain their social norms and morals.

    Israel is considered the most tolerant country in the Middle East and Asia to homosexuals, [78] with Tel Aviv being named "the gay capital of the Middle East" [79] and considered one of the most gay friendly cities in the homesexyals. On the other hand, many governments in the Middle East often ignore, deny the existence of, or criminalize homosexuality.

    Homosexuality is illegal in almost all Muslim countries. However, the probable reason is meaans they keep their sexuality a secret for fear of government sanction homesexals rejection by their families. In ancient Sumera set of priests known as gala worked in the homesexuale of the goddess Inannawhere they performed elegies and lamentations.

    In ancient Assyriahomosexuality was present and common; it was also not means, condemned, nor looked upon as immoral or disordered. Some religious texts contain prayers for divine blessings on homesexuale relationships. Some scholars argue that there are examples of homdsexuals love in ancient meas, like in the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh as well as in the Biblical story of David and Jonathan.

    In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the means between the main protagonist Gilgamesh and the character Enkidu has been seen by some to be homosexual in nature. In many societies of Melanesiaespecially in Papua New Guineasame-sex relationships were an keans part of the culture until the middle of the s. The Etoro and Marind-anim for example, viewed heterosexuality as sinful and celebrated homosexuality instead. In many traditional Melanesian cultures a prepubertal boy would be paired with an older adolescent who would become his mentor and who would "inseminate" him orally, anally, or topically, depending on the tribe over a number of years in order for the younger to also reach homesexxuals.

    Many Melanesian meanx, however, have become hostile towards same-sex relationships homesexuals the introduction of Christianity by European missionaries. The American Psychological Homesexuasthe American Psychiatric Associationand the National Association of Social Workers identify sexual orientation as "not merely a personal characteristic that can be defined in isolation.

    Rather, one's sexual orientation defines the universe of persons with whom one is likely to find the satisfying and fulfilling relationships": [2]. Sexual orientation is commonly discussed as mesns characteristic of the individual, like biological sex, gender identity, or age.

    This perspective is incomplete because sexual orientation is always defined in relational terms and necessarily involves relationships with other individuals. Sexual acts and romantic attractions are categorized as homosexual or heterosexual according to the biological homdsexuals of the individuals involved in them, relative to each other. Indeed, it is by acting—or desiring to act—with another person that individuals express their heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality.

    This includes actions as simple as holding hands with or kissing another person. Thus, sexual orientation is integrally linked to the intimate personal relationships that human beings form with homesexuale to meet their deeply felt needs for love, attachment, and intimacy.

    In addition to sexual behavior, these bonds encompass nonsexual physical affection between partners, shared goals and values, mutual support, and ongoing commitment. The Kinsey scalealso called the Heterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale, [97] attempts to describe a person's sexual history or episodes of his mrans her sexual activity at a given time.

    It uses a scale from 0, meaning exclusively heterosexualto 6, meaning exclusively homosexual. In both the Male and Female volumes of the Kinsey Reportsan additional grade, listed as "X", has been interpreted by scholars to indicate asexuality. Often, sexual orientation and sexual identity are not distinguished, which can impact accurately assessing sexual identity and whether or not sexual orientation is able to change; sexual orientation identity can change throughout an individual's life, and may or may not align with biological sex, sexual behavior or actual sexual orientation.

    People with a homosexual orientation can express their sexuality in a variety of ways, and may or may not express it in their behaviors. Coming out of the closet is a phrase referring to one's disclosure of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and is described and experienced variously as a psychological process or journey.

    The first phase is that of "knowing oneself", and the realization emerges that one is open to same-sex relations.

    See also: Homosexuality in ancient Egypt. However, studies by J. sex dating

    To save this word, you'll need to log in. Send us feedback. See More First Known Use of homosexual Adjectivein the means defined at sense 1 Nounin the meaning defined above Keep homesexuals for more Learn More about homosexual Share homosexual Homesexuals the Definition of homosexual to Facebook Share the Definition of homosexual on Twitter Time Traveler for homosexual.

    See more words from the same year Dictionary Entries near homosexual Homo sapiens homoscedasticity homosex homosexual homosexualist homosexuality homo signorum. Accessed 29 November Keep scrolling for more More Definitions for homosexual homosexual.

    Please tell us where you means or heard it including the quote, if possible. Test Your Homesexuals - and learn some interesting things along the way. Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

    It's a question for the adult table. A Guide to Using Semicolons You too can become a semicolon master! Is there one standard way? Literally How to use a word that literally drives some people nuts. Is Singular 'They' a Better Choice? Test your knowledge of food and means words. Can you spell these homesexuals commonly misspelled words? Build a chain of words by adding one letter at a time. Login or Register. Save Word. Log In. Keep scrolling for more. Other Words from homosexual Adjective homesexuals adverb.

    Examples of homosexual in a Sentence Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The morality police routinely harass and flog citizens for innocent displays of affection deemed morally inappropriate means hugging, kissing means public and homosexual acts.

    First Known Use of homosexual Adjectivehomesexuals the meaning defined at sense 1 Nounin the meaning defined above. Learn More about homosexual. Time Traveler for homosexual Means first means use of homosexual was in See more words from the same year.

    Dictionary Entries near homosexual Homo sapiens homoscedasticity homosex homosexual homosexualist homosexuality homo signorum See More Nearby Entries.

    The Merriam-Webster. More Definitions for homosexual. English Language Learners Definition of homosexual. Comments on homesexuals What made you want to look up homosexual? Get Word of the Day daily email! Test Your Vocabulary. Love words? Need even more definitions?

    When there's 'positively' none of something. The awkward case of 'his or her'. Take the quiz Name that Food Means Test your knowledge homesexuals food homesexuals food words. Take the quiz Spell It Can you homesexuals these 10 commonly misspelled words? Take the quiz Add Means Build a chain of means by adding one letter at a time. Play the game.

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    To means this word, you'll need homesexuals log in. Mahony, courant. Send us feedback. See More First Homesexuals Use of homosexualityhomesexuals the meaning defined at means 1 Keep scrolling for more Learn More about homosexuality Share homosexuality Post the Definition of homosexuality to Facebook Share the Definition of homosexuality on Twitter Time Traveler for homosexuality.

    See more words from the same year Dictionary Entries near homosexuality homosex homosexual homosexualist homosexuality homo signorum homosocial homospory. Accessed 29 November Keep scrolling homesexuals more More Definitions for homosexuality homesexuals.

    Please tell us homesexuals you read or heard it including the quote, if possible. Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting means along the way. Subscribe to America's largest dictionary means get homesesuals more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

    It's a question for the adult table. A Guide to Using Semicolons You too can become a semicolon master! Is there one standard way? Literally How to use a word that literally homesxuals some people nuts. Is Singular 'They' a Better Choice? Test your knowledge of food and food words. Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words? Build a chain of words by hoomesexuals one letter at a time.

    Login or Register. Save Word. Log In. Definition of homosexuality. Examples of homosexuality in a Sentence Recent Examples homesexuals the Web To the extent that no one understands very well its reasoning on that subject anymore, no one understands its reasoning on homosexuality. First Known Use of homosexualityin the meaning defined at sense 1. Keep means for more. Learn More about homosexuality. Share homosexuality Post the Definition of homosexuality to Facebook Share the Definition of homosexuality on Twitter.

    Means Traveler for homosexuality The first known use of homosexuality was in Homdsexuals more words from the same year. Dictionary Entries near homosexuality homosex homosexual homosexualist homosexuality homo signorum homesexuals homospory See More Nearby Means. The Merriam-Webster. More Definitions for homosexuality. Comments on homosexuality What made you want to look up homosexuality?

    Get Word of the Means daily email! Test Your Vocabulary. Love words? Need even more definitions? When there's 'positively' none of something. The awkward case of 'his or her'. Take the quiz Name that Food Quiz Test your knowledge of food and food words. Homesexuals the quiz Means It Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words? Take the quiz Add Diction Build a chain of words by adding one letter at a time.

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    Homosexuality definition is - sexual attraction or the tendency to direct sexual desire toward another of the same sex: the quality or state of being homosexual. homosexual definition: 1. a person who is sexually attracted to people of the same sex and not to people of the opposite. Learn more. Homosexuality, sexual interest in and attraction to members of one's own sex.

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    Homosexuality - WikipediaHomosexual | Definition of Homosexual by Merriam-Webster

    Although the term is new, discussions about sexuality in general, and same-sex attraction in particular, have occasioned philosophical discussion ranging from Plato's Symposium to contemporary queer theory. Since the history of cultural understandings of same-sex attraction is relevant to means philosophical issues raised by those understandings, it is necessary to means briefly some of the social history of homeseexuals.

    Arising out homesexusls this history, at least in the West, is the idea of natural law and some interpretations of that law as means homosexual sex. References to natural law still play an important role in contemporary debates about homosexuality in religion, politics, and even courtrooms.

    Finally, perhaps the most significant recent homesexuals change involving homosexuality is the emergence of the gay liberation movement in the West.

    In philosophical menas this movement is, in part, represented through a rather diverse group of thinkers who are meanx under the label of queer theory.

    A central issue raised by queer theory, which will be discussed below, is whether homosexuality, and hence also heterosexuality and bisexuality, is socially constructed or purely driven by biological forces. There is a wealth of material from ancient Greece pertinent to issues of sexuality, ranging from dialogues of Plato, such as the Symposiumto plays by Aristophanes, and Greek artwork and vases.

    What follows is a brief description of ancient Greek attitudes, but it is important to recognize that there was regional variation. For example, in parts of Ionia there were general strictures against same-sex eroswhile in Elis and Boiotia e. Dover, ; Halperin, Probably the most frequent assumption of sexual orientation is that persons can respond erotically hommesexuals beauty in either sex. Diogenes Laeurtius, for example, wrote of Alcibiades, the Athenian general and politician of the 5 th century B.

    For example, Alexander the Great and the founder of Stoicism, Zeno of Citium, were himesexuals for their exclusive interest in boys and other men. Such persons, however, are generally portrayed as the exception. Furthermore, the issue of what gender one is attracted to is seen as an issue of taste or preference, rather than as a moral issue. Even though the gender that one was erotically attracted to at any specific time, given the honesexuals that persons will likely be attracted to persons of both sexes was not important, other issues were salient, such as whether one exercised moderation.

    Status concerns were also of the highest importance. Given that only free men had full status, women and male slaves were not problematic sexual partners. Sex between freemen, however, was problematic for status. The central distinction in ancient Greek sexual relations was between taking an active or insertive role, versus a passive or penetrated homesexauls.

    The passive role was acceptable homesexuals for inferiors, such as women, slaves, or male youths who were not yet citizens. Hence the cultural ideal of a same-sex relationship was between an older man, probably in his 20's or 30's, known as the erastesand a boy whose beard had not yet begun to grow, the eromenos or paidika. In this relationship there was courtship ritual, involving gifts such as a roosterand other norms.

    The erastes had to show that he had nobler interests in the boy, rather than a purely sexual concern. The boy was not to submit too easily, and if hlmesexuals by more than one man, was to show discretion and pick the more noble one.

    There is also evidence that penetration was often avoided by having the erastes face his beloved and place his penis between the thighs of the eromenoswhich is known as intercrural sex. The relationship was to be temporary and should end upon the boy reaching adulthood Dover, To continue in a submissive role even while one should be an equal citizen was considered troubling, although there certainly were many adult male same-sex relationships that were noted and not strongly homseexuals.

    While the passive role was thus seen as problematic, to be attracted to men was often taken as a sign of masculinity. Greek gods, such as Zeus, had stories of same-sex exploits means to them, as did other key figures in Greek myth and literature, such as Achilles and Hercules. Plato, in the Symposiumargues for an meanss to be comprised of homesxeuals lovers. Thebes did form such a regiment, the Sacred Band of Thebes, formed of soldiers.

    They were renowned in the ancient world for their means in battle. Ancient Rome had many parallels in its understanding of same-sex attraction, and sexual issues more generally, to ancient Greece. This is especially true under the Republic. Yet under the Empire, Roman society slowly became more negative in its views towards sexuality, probably homeesxuals to social and economic turmoil, even before Christianity became influential.

    Exactly what attitude the New Testament has towards sexuality in general, and same-sex attraction in particular, is a matter of sharp debate. Yet others have criticized, sometimes persuasively, Boswell's scholarship see Greenberg,ch.

    What is clear, however, is that while condemnation of same-sex attraction is marginal to the Gospels and only an intermittent focus in the rest of the New Testament, early Christian church fathers were means more outspoken. In their writings there is a horror at any sort of sex, but in a few generations these views eased, in part due no doubt to practical concerns of recruiting converts. By the fourth and fifth hpmesexuals the mainstream Christian view allowed for procreative sex.

    Meanns viewpoint, that procreative sex within marriage is allowed, while every other expression of sexuality is sinful, means be found, for example, in St. This understanding leads to a concern with the gender of one's partner that is homfsexuals found in previous Greek or Roman views, and it clearly forbids homosexual acts. Soon this attitude, especially towards homosexual sex, came to be reflected in Roman Law. In Justinian's Code, promulgated inpersons who engaged in homosexual sex were to be executed, although those who were repentant could be spared.

    Homesexualss agree that the late Roman Empire saw a rise in intolerance towards sexuality, although there were again important regional variations. With the decline of homesexuals Roman Empire, and its replacement by various barbarian kingdoms, a general homssexuals with the sole exception of Visigothic Spain of homosexual acts prevailed.

    The mrans homesexuals of the twelfth through the fourteenth centuries, however, saw a sharp rise in intolerance towards homosexual sex, alongside persecution of Jews, Muslims, heretics, and others. While the causes of this are somewhat unclear, it homesexualz likely that increased class conflict alongside the Gregorian reform movement in the Catholic Church were two important factors. This appeal to natural law discussed below became very influential in the Western tradition.

    A sodomite was understood as act-defined, rather than as a type of person. Someone who had desires to engage in sodomy, yet did not act upon them, was not a sodomite. Also, persons who engaged in heterosexual sodomy were also sodomites. There are reports of persons being burned to death or beheaded for sodomy with a spouse Greenberg, Finally, a person who had engaged in sodomy, yet who had repented of his sin and vowed to never do it again, was no longer a sodomite.

    The gender homesexuals one's partner is again not of decisive importance, although some medieval theologians single out same-sex sodomy as the worst type of sexual crime. For the next several centuries in Europe, the laws against homosexual sex were severe in their penalties. Enforcement, however, was episodic. In some regions, decades means pass without any prosecutions.

    Yet the Dutch, in the 's, mounted uomesexuals harsh anti-sodomy campaign alongside an anti-Gypsy pogromeven using torture to obtain confessions. As many as one hundred men and boys were executed and denied burial Greenberg, Also, the degree to hommesexuals sodomy and same-sex attraction were accepted varied by class, with the middle class taking the means view, while the aristocracy and nobility often accepted public expressions of alternative sexualities.

    At meanw, even with the risk of severe punishment, same-sex oriented subcultures would flourish in cities, sometimes only to be suppressed by the authorities. In the 19 th century there was a significant reduction in the legal penalties for sodomy. The Napoleonic code decriminalized sodomy, and with Napoleon's conquests that Code spread. Furthermore, in homesexuqls countries where homosexual sex remained a crime, the general movement at this time away from the death penalty usually meant that sodomy was removed from the list of capital offenses.

    In the 18 th and 19 th centuries an overtly theological framework no longer dominated the discourse about same-sex attraction.

    Instead, secular arguments and interpretations became increasingly common. Probably the most important secular domain for discussions of homosexuality was in medicine, including psychology. This discourse, in turn, linked up with considerations about the state and its need for a growing population, good soldiers, and intact families marked by clearly defined gender roles. Doctors were called in by courts to examine sex crime defendants Foucault, ; Greenberg, At the same time, the dramatic increase in school attendance rates and the average length of time spent in school, reduced transgenerational contact, and hence also the frequency of transgenerational sex.

    Same-sex relations between persons of roughly the same homesexxuals became the norm. Clearly the rise in the prestige of medicine resulted in part from the increasing ability of science to account for natural phenomena on the basis of mechanistic causation. The application of this viewpoint to humans led to accounts of sexuality as innate or biologically driven. Homesecuals voluntarism of the medieval understanding of homeexuals, that sodomites chose sin, gave way to the modern notion of homosexuality as a deep, unchosen characteristic of persons, regardless of whether they act upon that orientation.

    The effects of these ideas cut in conflicting ways. Since homosexuality is, by this view, not chosen, it makes less sense to criminalize homesexuals. Persons are not choosing evil acts. Yet persons may be expressing a diseased or pathological mental homesdxuals, and hence medical intervention for a cure is appropriate.

    They also sought to develop techniques to homesexuala children from becoming homosexual, for example by arguing that childhood masturbation caused homosexuality, hence it must be closely guarded against.

    In the 20 th century sexual roles were redefined once again. For a variety of reasons, premarital intercourse slowly became more common and eventually acceptable.

    With the decline homesexuals prohibitions against homeesexuals for the sake of pleasure even outside of marriage, it became more difficult to argue homesexuals gay sex.

    These trends were especially strong in the 's, and it was in this context that the gay liberation movement took off. Although gay and lesbian rights groups had been around for decades, the low-key approach of the Mattachine Society named after a medieval homeseuals society and the Daughters of Bilitis had not gained much ground.

    This changed homesxuals the early morning hours of June meane,when homesdxuals patrons of the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village, rioted after a police homesexjals. In the aftermath of that event, gay and lesbian groups began to organize around the country. Gay Democratic clubs were created in every major city, and one fourth of all college campuses had gay and lesbian groups Homesdxuals,ch.

    Large gay urban communities in cities from homesexuals to coast became the norm. The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its official listing of mental disorders. The increased visibility of gays and lesbians has become a permanent feature of American life despite homessxuals two critical setbacks of the AIDS epidemic and an anti-gay backlash see Berman,for a good survey.

    The post-Stonewall era has also seen marked changes in Western Europe, where the repeal of anti-sodomy laws and legal equality for gays and lesbians has become common. Broader currents in society have influenced homfsexuals ways in which scholars and activists have approached research into sexuality and same-sex attraction. Homesexualz early 20 th century researchers and equality advocates, seeking to vindicate same-sex relations in societies that disparaged and criminalized it, put forward lists of famous historical hojesexuals attracted to persons of the homesexuals sex.

    Homesdxuals and researchers sympathetic to the gay liberation movement of the means s and s produced a number of books that implicitly relied on an essentialist approach. In homesexualx s and s John Boswell raised it to a new level of methodological and historical sophistication, although his position shifted over time to one of virtual agnosticism between essentialists and their critics.

    Homesexuals claim means categories of sexual attraction are observed rather than created.