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Sexual orientation is conceptualized as an integral part of an individual’s identity. Issues involving sexual orientation have affected society throughout history. Psychological understanding of sexual orientation is steadily on the increase, and previous notions of this construct are currently being challenged as scientific research on sexual orientation issues broadens in scope. This entry provides a general overview of sexual orientation, including basic definitions, measurement and categorization issues, developmental issues, cultural considerations, and research implications.

Sexual Orientation Defined

Sexual orientation is often defined as an enduring part of identity that is characterized by emotional, physical, romantic, or sexual attractions to others. In addition to a sense of identity, sexual orientation can also describe the quality of an individual’s behavioral interactions and membership in a community based on similarity ...

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