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Psychosexual development refers to the biological, psychological, and sociocultural processes by which an individual develops sexually across the life span. It includes core sexual or gender identity—one’s sense of self as female or male; sexual orientation—erotic interests in the same, other, or both sexes; and gender role—behaviors typically associated with women or men in a particular society. This entry focuses on the development of sexual and gender identity.

What it means to be female or male and how one develops an identity as a woman or a man are topics of long-standing debate. This is particularly true when one’s gender role behaviors, sexual or gender identity, or sexual orientation are considered atypical for a specific culture. Simplistically, theories have emphasized biological (nature) or sociocultural (nurture) factors. ...

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