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 especially refers to male homosexuality,  but may be used in a broader sense to refer to all LGBT people.
In the context of sexuality, lesbian refers only to female homosexuality. The word lesbian is derived from the name of the Greek island Lesbos , where the poet Sappho wrote largely about her emotional relationships with young women.
The term homosocial 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 acceptable use for these terms depends on the context and speaker. LGBT history , Timeline of LGBT history , and History of homosexuality Societal attitudes towards same-sex relationships have varied over time and place, from expecting all males to engage in same-sex relationships, to casual integration, through acceptance, to seeing the practice as a minor sin, repressing it through law enforcement and judicial mechanisms, and to proscribing it under penalty of death.
The condemnation of anal sex between males, however, predates Christian belief. It was frequent in ancient Greece; "unnatural" can be traced back to Plato. The debate divides those who believe that terms such as "gay" and "straight" refer to objective, culturally invariant properties of persons from those who believe that the experiences they name are artifacts of unique cultural and social processes. Homosexuality in ancient Egypt The first record of possible homosexual couple in history is commonly regarded as Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum , an ancient Egyptian male couple, who lived around BCE.
The pair are portrayed in a nose-kissing position, the most intimate pose in Egyptian art , surrounded 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 intercrural sex with their older husbands.
George Catlin — ; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC Among indigenous peoples of the Americas prior to European colonization, a common form of same-sex sexuality centered around the figure of the Two-Spirit individual. Typically, this 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 shamans and were revered as having powers beyond those of ordinary shamans. Their sexual life was with the ordinary tribe members of the same sex. Hardwick that a state could criminalize sodomy. This court overturned this decision in In East Asia , same-sex love has been referred to since the earliest recorded history.
Homosexuality in China , known 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 literature. 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 present as do equivalent stories of romances between heterosexual people during the same period.
Confucianism , being primarily a social and political philosophy, focused little on sexuality, whether homosexual or heterosexual. On October 29, Singapore High Court dismissed a constitutional challenge against a statute against sodomy.
The statute provides a sentence of up to 2 years in jail. Homosexuality in ancient Greece , Homosexuality in ancient Rome , Timeline of LGBT history in Britain , and Homosexuality in Medieval Europe The earliest Western documents in 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 a world in which relationships with women and relationships with youths were the essential foundation 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 relationship between a free adult male and a free adolescent, was valued for its pedagogic benefits and as a means of population control, though occasionally blamed for causing disorder.
Plato praised its benefits in his early writings  but in his late works proposed its prohibition. Little is known of female homosexuality in antiquity. Sappho , born on the island of Lesbos , was included by later 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 Rome the 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 is renowned for his relationship with Antinous , but the Christian emperor Theodosius I decreed a law on 6 August , condemning passive 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 Justinian , towards the end of his reign, expanded the proscription to the active partner as well in , warning that such conduct can lead to the destruction of cities through the "wrath of God".
Renaissance During the Renaissance , wealthy 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 in most of Europe. Modern period See also: Wilson was published in in England and was presumed by some modern 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 in , the earliest extended and serious defense of homosexuality in English, Ancient and Modern Pederasty Investigated and Exemplified, written by Thomas Cannon , was 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.
In , he became the first self-proclaimed homosexual person to speak out publicly in defense of homosexuality when he pleaded at the Congress of German Jurists in Munich for a resolution urging the repeal of anti-homosexual laws.
Beginning in with Homogenic Love, Socialist 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.
In , Elisar von Kupffer published an anthology of homosexual literature from antiquity to his own time, Lieblingminne und Freundesliebe in der Weltliteratur. Middle East Further information: 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.
Homosexuality is illegal in almost all Muslim countries. However, the probable reason is that they keep their sexuality a secret for fear of government sanction or rejection by their families. By Muhammad Qasim Judaism and sexual orientation and Homosexuality in the bible In ancient Sumer , a set of priests known as gala worked in the temples of the goddess Inanna , where they performed elegies and lamentations. Some religious texts contain prayers for divine blessings on homosexual relationships.
In the early Safavid dynasty — , male houses of prostitution amrad khane were legally recognized and paid taxes. Some scholars argue that there are examples of homosexual love in ancient literature, like in the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh as well as in the Biblical story of David and Jonathan.
In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the relationship between the main protagonist Gilgamesh and the character Enkidu has been seen by some to be homosexual in nature. 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 puberty. Many Melanesian societies, however, have become hostile towards same-sex relationships since the introduction of Christianity by European missionaries.
Rather, one's sexual orientation defines the universe of persons with whom one is likely to find the satisfying and fulfilling relationships": 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 sex 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 others 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.
It uses a scale from 0, meaning exclusively heterosexual , to 6, meaning exclusively homosexual. In both the Male and Female volumes of the Kinsey Reports , an additional grade, listed as "X", has been interpreted by scholars to indicate asexuality. Among the male subjects, however, the straight men were turned on only by erotic films with women, the gay ones by those with men. The study's senior researcher said that women's sexual desire is less rigidly directed toward a particular sex, as compared with men's, and it is more changeable over time.
Sexual orientation identity and Sexual fluidity Often, sexual orientation and sexual orientation 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.
For men, a change occurred in 0. For women, a change occurred in 1. The researchers suggested that heterosexuality may be a more stable identity because of its normative status. Diamond on a sample of 80 non-heterosexual female adolescents age reported that half of the participants had changed sexual-minority identities more than once, one third of them during the 2-year follow-up. Diamond concluded that "although sexual attractions appear fairly stable, sexual identities and behaviors are more fluid.
Coming out 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.
The second phase involves one's decision to come out to others, e. The third phase more generally involves living openly as an LGBT person. At this age, they may not trust or ask for help from others, especially when their orientation is not accepted in society. Sometimes their own families are not even informed. According to Rosario, Schrimshaw, Hunter, Braun , "the development of a lesbian, gay, or bisexual LGB sexual identity is a complex and often difficult process.
Unlike members of other minority groups e. Rather, LGB individuals are often raised in communities that are either ignorant of or openly hostile toward homosexuality.
Many commentators oppose the practice altogether,  while some encourage outing public figures who use their positions of influence to harm other gay people. For information specific to female homosexuality, see Lesbian. This is the only major piece of research into female sexuality that has looked at how women understand being homosexual since Kinsey in The research yielded information about women's general understanding of lesbian relationships and their sexual orientation.
Women gave various reasons for preferring sexual relations with women to sexual relations with men, including finding women more sensitive to other people's needs. Julie Bindel , a UK journalist, reaffirmed that "political lesbianism continues to make intrinsic sense because it reinforces the idea that sexuality is a choice, and we are not destined to a particular fate because of our chromosomes.