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|This article only describes one highly specialized aspect of its associated subject. (April 2014)|
Human male sexuality covers physiological, psychological, social, cultural, and political aspects of the human male sexual response and related phenomenon. It encompasses a broad range of issues, including male sexual desires and behaviors which as a part of human sexuality, have also been addressed by principles of ethics, morality, and religion.
|This section requires expansion. (December 2013)|
The Western "homosexual" category has been related to the non-Western "third gender" category. It has been cast as a redefinition and expansion of the third gender category to include all biological males who acknowledge having same-sex attractions (instead of only effeminate males). This extension of the third gender is due to various factors that were unique to the Western world, including widespread influence of Christianity and, as a result, encouragement of opposite-sex relationships. Before the concept of sexual orientation was developed in the modern West, only the effeminate males who sought receptive sex from men were seen as a different gender category. The Western equivalents to the third genders, and not men with same-sex attractions, are the ones who started and propagated the Western concept of a homosexual identity. While many non-Western societies show hostility towards the concept of homosexuality, they do accept both men who have sex with men and third genders who have sex with men within the indigenous cultural parameters, just not as "homosexuals." Thus, there is a strong link between what the West calls "sexual orientation" and the non-West calls "gender orientation," what the West calls "homosexual" and the non-West calls "third gender," and what the West calls "straight" and the non-West calls "masculine men." In the West, a man often cannot acknowledge or display sexual attraction for another man without the homosexual or bisexual label being attached to him. The same pattern of shunning the homosexual identity, while still having sex with men, is quite prevalent in the non-West. In fact, in some sense, sexual attraction between men is seen or sometimes practised—either quietly or openly—as a universal male phenomenon, even if held morally wrong in the larger society, and, in the men's spaces, sexual attraction between men is seen as a universal male quality, not something limited to a minority.
In the 1860s, German third gender Karl Heinrich Ulrichs coined a new terminology for third genders that he called "urnings," which was supposed to mean "men who like men." These urnings were the "females inside male bodies" who were emotionally or sexually attracted to men. Ulrichs thought, as did most members of the third sex who popularized the term "homosexual" for themselves, that masculine men can never have sexual desires for other men, and a male necessarily had to be feminine gendered or had to have a female inside him to be attracted to men. This was supported by his own experience as well as the fact that men had sex with men only secretively, due to the cultural climate. Ulrichs also defined the men (as opposed to third genders) as "diones," meaning "men who like women."
Later, Austrian third gender and human rights activist Karl Maria Kertbeny coined the terms "homosexual" and "heterosexual." For most of this period, these terms were popular only amongst the third gender and scientific communities, the latter of which was developing the concept of homosexuality as a mental disorder.
Thus, the idea of "men who like men" being different from "men who like women", as well as the idea of differentiating male sexuality between "heterosexuality" and "homosexuality," was born. The underlying factor for division, however, remained gender orientation (masculinity and femininity). Mainstream men, who were now decidedly "heterosexual," however, rarely related with these terms, as they saw themselves as neither heterosexual or homosexual for a long time. Even in 2010, "straight" men in the West, quite like men in the East, seldom relate strongly with sexual identities. These identities, however, remain a strong focus within the LGBT community.