Ancient Greek- The dialogues of Plato, plays by Aristophanes, Greek artworks, and Vases suggest that ancient Greece has a wealth of resources related to issues of sexuality. However, they did not have a term or concept exactly related to homosexual or heterosexual. There were regional differences in Greek attitudes. For example, there was restriction for same sex in parts of Ionia and people from Elis and Boiotia had accepted and even celebrated same sex relations. Ancient Greek authors believed that beauty in either sex can be responded erotically.
Ancient Rome- In the Roman empire, due to social and economic conflicts, Roman society had become negative in their views on sexuality. However, ancient Romans shared similar understanding of same sex attraction to ancient Greece.
Christianity- Same sex acts were defined as unnatural, rather immoral. Early Christian Church fathers used to believe any kind of sex was a horrifying act. However, sometime later there was an ease in their views on sex and they permitted only procreative sex within marriage.
12th and 14th Centuries- Because of the Gregorian reform movement and increase in class conflict, there was rising intolerance towards same-sex. The Catholic Church influenced people to forbid homosexual sex by making conception of nature as the standard of morality. 18th and 19th Centuries- During this time, secular arguments, discussions, and interpretations on same-sex became common especially in the branch of medicine and psychology. Medieval view on sodomite (any sexual act committed against nature- extramarital sex, masturbation, nonprocreative sex within marriage and homosexual sex used to get punished. They were more focussed on the act and not on a type of person) matches with the idea of homosexual. Medicine defined homosexuality under biological nature- that it was not something anyone chose, rather a person may have a disease or pathological mental state and needed medical intervention. Psychiatrists started putting their efforts in developing techniques to prevent homosexuality by arguing that childhood masturbation was the cause of homosexuality and children should be safeguarded from it.
20th and 21st Centuries- Sexual roles became much liberal and premarital intercourse eventually became more acceptable. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) erased homosexuality from the list of mental disorders. Democratic clubs, large gay urban communities and increased visibility of gays and lesbians has become a normal feature of American Life. In the 21st century, same-sex marriage got legal recognition.
Theories & Research
Natural Law Theory- Thomas Aquinas (13th century) proposed the most influential creation of Natural Laws theory where he integrated Aristotelian approach with Christian theology. He focused more on certain human goods which includes marriage and sex for procreation. He listed many sexual acts as sin and did not mention anything specifically on same sex relations. Basic human good is the central point in natural law theory, it allows the moral evaluation of sexuality.
Queer Theory- This theory was developed in the early 1990s. This theory focuses on the social construction of sexuality and argues that sexuality is not natural. All sexual understandings are formed by culture and society just like our identities in the form of gender.
Richard von Krafft-Ebing (1886)- described â€˜Psychopathia Sexualisâ€™. In his list of sexual perversions, he included sadomasochism, masturbation, and lust-murder. He believed that these disorders were originated in heredity.
Sigmund Freud- described homosexuality as identification with the opposite sex parent and conflicts of psychosexual development.
Research by Alfred Kinsey (1948)- He observed in his research that instead of categorizing people as homosexual or heterosexual extremes, most people can be identified as situated somewhere in the middle. He also found that situational homosexual activities take place in the environment where no access of heterosexual contact is possible such as prisons.
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