Morality and Respectability

The notion of morality encapsulates ideas of how positive or negative value judgments are assigned to particular sexual behaviors. These judgments are then used to label individuals as moral or immoral. The idea of “respectability” emerges when individuals conform to behaviors that are attached to positive value judgments. In order for behaviors to have positive or negative value judgments, a society has to declare these behaviors as either moral or immoral. Sexual morality in contemporary Western society has largely been shaped by Judeo-Christian values of purity and chastity. As a result, homosexuality, declared as impure and lustful, was marginalized and categorized as “immoral.”

The United States was heavily influenced by its early Puritan settlers. Much of Puritan ideals of sexuality derived from biblical interpretations. This included ...

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