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Measuring Sexual Orientation

Sexual orientation is a multifaceted construct, commonly defined in terms of the sex of individuals to whom one is affectionately and sexually attracted, one’s behaviors, and one’s sense and labeling of one’s own identity. Rather than reflecting an essential quality of humans (e.g., something that is biological, immutable, and the same across time and across all humans), sexual orientation is socially constructed. This means that definitions and categories used to label people as a particular sexual orientation are different across cultures and time. What are understood as common categories of sexual orientation (e.g., lesbian, gay, bisexual, heterosexual, asexual, queer) in the current context of the United States have not always existed in their current forms and do not exist across all cultures and geographic locations. ...

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