Inhabiting the Sexual Landscape: Toward an Interpretive Theory of the Development of Sexual Orientation and Identity

Liahna E. Gordon*, Tony J. Silva

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Building on Paula Rust’s (1996) concept of a sexual landscape, we propose an interpretive theory of the development of both sexual orientation and sexual identity. We seek to reconcile human agency with active and shifting influences in social context and to recognize the inherent complexity of environmental factors while acknowledging the role that biological potential plays. We ground our model in the insights of three compatible and related theoretical perspectives: social constructionism, symbolic interactionism, and scripting theory. Within this framework, we explain how sexual orientation and sexual identities develop and potentially change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-530
Number of pages36
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Volume62
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 3 2015

Keywords

  • bisexuality
  • changes to sexual orientation
  • development of sexual orientation
  • environmental influences on sexual orientation
  • homosexuality
  • reparative therapy
  • sexual fluidity
  • sexual identity
  • sexual orientation
  • social constructionism
  • sociological perspective

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Psychology(all)

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