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What Does Sexual Orientation Orient? A Biobehavioral Model Distinguishing Romantic Love and Sexual Desire

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Abstract

Although it is typically presumed that heterosexual individuals only fall in love with other-gender partners and gay-lesbian individuals only fall in love with same-gender partners, this is not always so. The author develops a biobehavioral model of love and desire to explain why. The model specifies that (a) the evolved processes underlying sexual desire and affectional bonding are functionally independent; (b) the processes underlying affectional bonding are not intrinsically oriented toward other-gender or same-gender partners; (c) the biobehavioral links between love and desire are bidirectional, particularly among women. These claims are supported by social-psychological, historical, and cross-cultural research on human love and sexuality as well as by evidence regarding the evolved biobehavioral mechanisms underlying mammalian mating and social bonding.

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... Faculty of Psychology , Southwest University, No. 2, Tiansheng Road, Beibei District, Chongqing, 400715, China Supplemental data for this article can be accessed on the publisher's website THE JOURNAL OF SEX RESEARCH https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2022 revealed that sexual minority women with less same-sex behavior eventually relinquished their sexual minority identities, but their same-sex sexual attraction did not show a significant decline (Diamond, 2003). The findings indicate an inconsistent pattern between sexual attraction and sexual identity over time. ...
... Romantic orientation, which is not always theoretically consistent with sexual attraction, is an important component of sexual orientation (Diamond, 2003). Few studies have examined the stability of the romantic orientation. ...
... The stability of asexuality was lower than that of heterosexuality, as reported in previous studies (e.g., Cohen et al., 2020;Kinnish et al., 2005;Mock & Eibach, 2012). It should be noted that the heterosexual/homosexual/bisexual stabilities in the current study were significantly lower than those reported in previous findings (e.g., Cohen et al., 2020;Diamond, 2003;Kinnish et al., 2005;Mock & Eibach, 2012;Savin-Williams et al., 2012). Because the participants in the present study were recruited from asexual communities, the stability of non-asexual individuals cannot be assumed to represent the general population. ...
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This study examined the stability and change in asexuality in terms of sexual orientation identity, sexual/romantic attraction, and sexual desire. Data were collected in three waves at 12-month intervals (n = 168). In each wave, the participants completed measures of sexual/romantic orientation identity, sexual/romantic attraction, the Sexual Desire Inventory, and the Asexuality Identification Scale (AIS). Approximately 83% of asexual and gray-asexual individuals maintain their sexual orientation identity between two adjacent waves. The latent growth models indicated an increased tendency for sexual/romantic attraction and solitary sexual desire, while a decreased tendency for AIS over time was established. Only the sexual attraction slope significantly predicted asexual identity, indicating a longitudinal effect of sexual attraction on asexual identification. Initial levels of sexual attraction, and scores on the AIS and dyadic sexual desire (DSD) were associated with stability and changes in asexual identity. Asexual individuals who reported low sexual attraction, low DSD, and high AIS maintained their asexual identity, whereas those who reported high sexual attraction, high DSD, and low AIS were more likely to change their sexual orientation. The current findings indicate the relative stability of asexuality, which supports the notion that asexuality could be deemed a fourth sexual orientation.
... Asexuality has become a recognized sexual orientation and topic of research interest in several disciplines (e.g., Bogaert, 2015), yet less is known about how asexual people identify romantically, or what attitudes asexual people hold about engaging in sex, especially in comparison to allosexual individuals. Within the allosexual population (e.g., heterosexual, gay/lesbian, bisexual, pansexual), sexual and romantic orientations are often considered one and the same (Diamond, 2003;Thompson & Morgan, 2008), and personal attitudes about engaging in sexual behavior are assumed to be predominantly positive. However, as researchers are only beginning to document the variability within the asexual population, there is a need for research that addresses the concordance between sexual and romantic orientations for asexual people and how they negotiate aspects of sexuality and romantic partner relationships. ...
... A person's romantic orientation can be defined as whom they experience romantic attraction toward and is considered distinct from sexual orientation (Diamond, 2003). However, romantic and sexual orientations are commonly expected or assumed to be concordant, despite evidence that these constructs are separate (Diamond, 2003;Thompson & Morgan, 2008). ...
... A person's romantic orientation can be defined as whom they experience romantic attraction toward and is considered distinct from sexual orientation (Diamond, 2003). However, romantic and sexual orientations are commonly expected or assumed to be concordant, despite evidence that these constructs are separate (Diamond, 2003;Thompson & Morgan, 2008). For example, someone who identifies as heterosexual is expected to be romantically attracted exclusively to those of the opposite sex. ...
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Sexual and romantic orientations are often considered one and the same, and attitudes about engaging in sexual behavior are assumed to be predominantly positive. The current study explored the concordance between sexual and romantic orientations among allosexual and asexual adults as well as the frequency with which they identify as having a sex-positive, sex-neutral, or sex-averse attitude. As expected, allosexual adults were largely sex-positive (82%) and almost all (89%) had a romantic orientation that matched their sexual orientation. In contrast, we found that only 37% of asexual adults had concordant sexual and romantic orientations and that most asexual adults self-identify as either sex-neutral (41%) or sex-averse (54%). Further, we used a semantic differential task to assess sexual intimacy attitudes and how they varied for adults based on sexual attitude. Asexual adults, regardless of sexual attitude, had less positive attitudes overall than allosexual adults. Interestingly, aromantic asexual adults did not have more negative attitudes about sexual intimacy than romantic asexual participants. Although asexual adults held less positive attitudes about sex than allosexual adults, there was considerable heterogeneity within our asexual sample. The current study provides further insight into the concordance between romantic and sexual orientation, and the associations among sexual and intimacy attitudes for both allosexual and asexual adults. These findings will have implications for future research on how asexual adults navigate romantic relationships.
... However, in her biobehavioral model of sexual orientation, Diamond (2003) convincingly argues that while emotional affection (i.e., friendship-based intimacy) and sexual desire are distinct, the biobehavioral links between systems are bidirectional. Thus, even though sexual desire can precede and even nurture friendship-based intimacy, as the dating script prescribes, the opposite can also occur: Two people can become friends, develop a deep friendship-based intimacy and then begin to experience sexual desire at some future point in time. ...
... Thus, most friendships that eventually transition to romance must follow a different path. Indeed, as Diamond (2003) reviews, the friends-first pathway to romance is welldocumented among people who experience same-gender/sex 1 attractions, even among people who self-identify as heterosexual. Furthermore, Eastwick and colleagues (2019) note that the few studies examining the trajectory of early romance suggest that people often know one another for months or even years before they officially enter couplehood. ...
... Although it was not the primary focus of the research, two longitudinal studies of romantic relationships between men and women report that a meaningful proportion began as friendships (Eastwick et al., 2019;Hunt et al., 2015). Together with Diamond's (2003) research, these longitudinal studies suggest that romantic and sexual attraction can blossom within long-standing platonic friendships between people of all genders, and sometimes those feelings can lead to romantic couplehood. ...
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There is more than one pathway to romance, but relationship science does not reflect this reality. Our research reveals that relationship initiation studies published in popular journals (Study 1) and cited in popular textbooks (Study 2) overwhelmingly focus on romance that sparks between strangers and largely overlook romance that develops between friends. This limited focus might be justified if friends-first initiation was rare or undesirable, but our research reveals the opposite. In a meta-analysis of seven samples of university students and crowdsourced adults (Study 3; N = 1,897), two thirds reported friends-first initiation, and friends-first initiation was the preferred method of initiation among university students (Study 4). These studies affirm that friends-first initiation is a prevalent and preferred method of romantic relationship initiation that has been overlooked by relationship science. We discuss possible reasons for this oversight and consider the implications for dominant theories of relationship initiation.
... Sexologists have largely studied romantic and sexual orientation under the assumption that they are in complete agreement, and this conflation extends to the associated identity labels. While sexual and romantic orientation may substantially overlap for some people, this is not true for many other individuals (Diamond, 2003; van Anders, 2015). As noted above, the Kinsey model of sexual orientation fostered enhanced understanding of sexuality by increasing the available choice of labels (Diamond, 2003;Kinsey et al., 1948). ...
... While sexual and romantic orientation may substantially overlap for some people, this is not true for many other individuals (Diamond, 2003; van Anders, 2015). As noted above, the Kinsey model of sexual orientation fostered enhanced understanding of sexuality by increasing the available choice of labels (Diamond, 2003;Kinsey et al., 1948). However, while sexual orientation labels are parsimonious, they commonly fail to completely capture the experiences of an individual and largely do not account for the significant variations in attraction and behavior between people (Diamond, 2003(Diamond, , 2004. ...
... As noted above, the Kinsey model of sexual orientation fostered enhanced understanding of sexuality by increasing the available choice of labels (Diamond, 2003;Kinsey et al., 1948). However, while sexual orientation labels are parsimonious, they commonly fail to completely capture the experiences of an individual and largely do not account for the significant variations in attraction and behavior between people (Diamond, 2003(Diamond, , 2004. While the term "orientation" has been defined in many ways, the current manuscript defines orientation as an overall profile composed of the factors of attraction, behavior, and identity (Lehmiller, 2017; van Anders, 2015). ...
Article
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Models of sexuality have evolved substantially in the past several decades through the inclusion of new aspects which were previously overlooked. Components such as romantic attraction and behavior have also traditionally been included in models of sexuality. However, romantic and sexual orientations do not coincide for all individuals. A population for which this is true and one that has developed a robust language for discussing romantic orientation is the asexual community. The current study aimed to explore romantic and sexual orientation through patterns found within the factors of attraction, behavior, and identity in the asexual community. The current sample composed of individuals who identified as asexual (N = 306, Mage = 27.1) was 61% female, 13% non-binary, and 10% self-described or used multiple labels. Within this sample, aspects of sexual and romantic orientations and experiences were measured, including fluidity, the quantity and type of self-identified labels, desire for romance or sex, and the role of contextual influences on these experiences. These aspects were used as the primary characteristics to construct participant profiles, both complete profiles and factor specific (attraction, behavior, identity). t-distributed stochastic neighbor embedding (tSNE) was used to find patterns of similarity between individual participant profiles. Overall, it appeared that attraction was the factor most closely associated with overall experiences; however, substantial variability existed between participants. These findings provide a mechanism for better understanding of some nuances of romantic and sexual orientation and may be a useful first step toward future inquiry and hypothesis generation.
... When people describe themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual (LGB), or straight, many would conflate their romantic and different factors. Regarding sexual desire, the mainstream view is that it is oriented towards one or more genders by biological factors more than by sociocultural values (Bailey et al., 2016;Diamond, 2003). Supporting this perspective, researchers have found that sexual orientation-defined as sexual desire for the same gender, another gender, or more than one genders-is associated with biological factors in early developmental periods, such as prenatal exposure to gonadal hormones, genes, and (in males) maternal immune system (Bailey et al., 2016). ...
... First, the person with whom an individual has sexual activities is often the same person with whom that individual develops a romantic relationship, and vice versa (Furman & Collibee, 2014). Second, people may be unaware that romantic orientation and sexual orientation can be different (reviewed in Diamond, 2003), therefore biasing their reports. Hence, when reflecting on their own past romantic and sexual experiences, people tend to report overlapping romantic orientation and sexual orientation. ...
... Yet one more possibility arises from our findings that having more affirmative attitudes towards LGB individuals and putting a lower weight on family continuity may breed same-gender romantic love among people with othergender sexual desire. Considering the predominant role that sexual desire plays in romantic love (Diamond, 2003), the influence of sociocultural values on romantic orientation may be stronger in the absence of sexual desire, such as among asexual adults (Bogaert, 2015), or among children and young adolescents whose sexual desire remains low (McClintock & Herdt, 1996). Supporting this view, a prior study found that many heterosexual boys had same-gender passionate friendships in childhood and early adolescence, but such friendships gave way to other-gender romantic and sexual relationships beginning middle adolescence (Way, 2011). ...
Article
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Recent research has characterized romantic love as overlapping with but distinct from sexual desire. We explore whether romantic orientation—the preferred gender(s) of romantic partners—also relates to but differs from sexual orientation—the preferred gender(s) of sexual partners. We developed explicit and implicit measures of romantic orientation to examine their associations with explicit and implicit sexual orientation. Further, because sociocultural values have been suggested to influence people’s choice for romantic partners but less so on sexual orientation, we also explored the associations of romantic and sexual orientation with two theoretically related sociocultural values: negative attitudes towards lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals, and traditional Asian values on family continuity. We recruited an online sample of ethnic Chinese heterosexual, bisexual, and gay/lesbian adults and found that after accounting for the statistical overlap between the two explicit constructs, the unique component of each explicit measure related exclusively to its corresponding implicit measure, but not to the other implicit measure. Moreover, implicit romantic orientation linked more strongly to sociocultural values than did implicit sexual orientation. These findings urge for distinguishing romantic orientation from sexual orientation and implicit from explicit processes to fully understand people’s romantic and sexual experiences.
... According to sociocultural perspectives (see Murnen & Stockton, 1997;Rupp & Wallen, 2008), men have traditionally been allowed greater sexual freedom, while women have been socialized to value romantic relationships and to constrain their responses to sexual material. Furthermore, a biobehavioral model proposed by Diamond (2003) maintains that sexual desire and romantic love are not governed by the same sociobehavioral mechanisms; neurophysiological findings have showed that neural responses to sexual stimuli differ from those to romantic stimuli (e.g., Cacioppo et al., 2012;Flaisch et al., 2015;Hamann et al., 2004;Schubring & Schupp, 2019). The biobehavioral model and neurophysiological findings also suggest that there are sex differences in behavioral and neural responses to sexual and romantic stimuli. ...
... The assumption that women show faster and more accurate responses to cognitive tasks using romantic stimuli than men is based on the findings that, compared to men, women generally tend to engage in romantic fantasies in their daily lives (Leitenberg & Henning, 1995, for a review) and experience the romantic form of love more, without feeling sexual desire as frequently (Diamond, 2003, for a review). However, there have been inconsistent findings for the latter assumption (e.g., Flaisch et al., 2015;Kirsch-Rosenkrantz & Geer, 1991;McCall et al., 2007). ...
... This finding might attributable to the inequivalence in stimulus type in our sample, which is that women skip over sexual stimuli than romantic stimuli, the nature of sexual stimuli, and the characteristic of our sample. Women's sexuality, compared to men's, may be more fluid (Baumeister, 2000;Chivers, 2017;Chivers & Brotto, 2017;Diamond, 2003;Peplau, 2003)-for example, women respond strongly to women-made erotic films-and may be more sensitive to differences in cultural background (Ganesan et al., 2020). Asian women tend to avoid strong sexual stimuli, unlike White women (Ganesan et al., 2020). ...
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This study examined the effects of relationship status on response times to sexual and romantic stimuli during a memory task, which has not been studied before. Based on previous studies on sexual attitudes and behaviors, we hypothesized that response times to sexual stimuli would be faster in individuals who were in a relationship, compared to those who were not. We also hypothesized that the response times to sexual stimuli of individuals who were not in a relationship would be slower than their response time to romantic stimuli. A total of 348 college students memorized 27 sexual, romantic, and neutral sentences and were later asked to recognize them. The students’ response times to each sentence were recorded. The results of a 2 (gender) × 2 (stimulus type) × 2 (relationship status) ANOVA showed that response times to sexual sentences were faster in participants who were in a relationship, compared to those who were not. Furthermore, participants who were not in a relationship responded more slowly to sexual than to romantic sentences. Thus, our hypotheses were supported. Individuals’ relationship status influenced their response times to sexual and romantic stimuli even after controlling for the effects of gender.
... Human pair bonds are also studied in the context of romantic love, a construct characterized by compassion, intimacy, and caregiving (for a discussion of the robustness of this three-factor structure, see Fletcher et al., 2015). However, the term "romantic love" has been used somewhat inconsistently across the fields of social and evolutionary psychology, with some using the term "romantic love" as an equivalent to "pair bonding" (Carter and Perkeybile, 2018), and others describing "romantic love" as a separate process that is related to human pair bonding and has potential parallels in other animal species (Diamond, 2003). In this article, we consider romantic love and pair bonding as related and largely overlapping constructs. ...
... Relatively few studies have assessed whether the neural processes that support longer-term bonding and attachment differ between samesex and opposite-sex contexts (Diamond, 2004;Fisher et al., 2006Fisher et al., , 2002. Diamond (2003) proposed that few differences should be expected, based on the premise that human pair bonding likely co-opted the already evolved circuits supporting infant-to-caregiver attachment, which operate independently of the caregiver's sex. In line with this prediction, one study found that OT modulated trust and attraction towards female faces (in heterosexual men) and male faces (in gay men); however, the study also showed that gay men were more sensitive to the effects of OT across a wider range of emotional facial expressions than were heterosexual men (Thienel et al., 2014). ...
Article
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Pair bonding is a psychological construct that we attempt to operationalize via behavioral and physiological measurements. Yet, pair bonding has been both defined differently in various taxonomic groups as well as used loosely to describe not just a psychological and affective phenomenon, but also a social structure or mating system (either social monogamy or just pair living). In this review, we ask the questions: What has been the historical definition of a pair bond? Has this definition differed across taxonomic groups? What behavioral evidence do we see of pair bonding in these groups? Does this observed evidence alter the definition of pair bonding? Does the observed neurobiology underlying these behaviors affect this definition as well? And finally, what are the upcoming directions in which the study of pair bonding needs to head?
... Because romance is typically thought of as including the being sexual with the partnr--at least eventually (Dawson et al., 2016), studying asexual individuals with romantic inclinations can challenge some conventional assumptions. Some scholars have argued that romantic and sexual attractions function independently (Diamond, 2003;Sherrer, 2010), especially for asexual adults (Clark & Zimmerman, 2022). Some asexual individuals report having romantic attraction toward persons of the same sex while others report attraction toward persons of a different sex (Ginoza et al., 2014). ...
... Some asexual individuals report having romantic attraction toward persons of the same sex while others report attraction toward persons of a different sex (Ginoza et al., 2014). Similarly, some asexual individuals report sexual attraction with the same sex but romantic attraction with a different sex (Diamond, 2003;Hammack et all, 2018). Yet, sexual and romantic desires seem inherently linked at times, like for those who identify as demisexual-only experiencing sexual attraction when they experience romantic attraction to and involvement with someone (Hammack et al., 2018). ...
Article
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This research compares the relationship experiences, beliefs, and intentions related to love and romantic relationships of 75 individuals who indicated they were asexual (from a sample of 2,665 young adults) with subsamples of individuals who indicated they were either heterosexual, bisexual, or gay/lesbian. Identifying as asexual generally associated with having generally less-romantic beliefs and less interest in marriage and parenthood. The asexual group also tended to have more in common with other sexual minority groups than with the heterosexual group. Multivariate analyses revealed that asexuality was especially associated with being single and with seeing oneself living with one’s parents after college.
... Sexual orientation encompasses attraction, behavior, and often identities related to romantic and sexual relationships (Diamond, 2003;Rosario & Schrimshaw, 2014). These dimensions of sexual orientation, however, may not necessarily align with one another nor are they fixed throughout the life course (Bailey et al., 2016;Laumann, Gagnon, Michael, & Michaels, 2000). ...
Article
Societal beliefs about various aspects of sexual orientation have been shown to influence whether people have discriminatory or supportive attitudes toward diverse sexual orientations. The overall aim of this study is to measure the beliefs about sexual orientation among a diverse sample of university students from two institutions in Canada and the United States of America. Specifically, we explored how beliefs varied among individuals with differing sexual orientations and gender identities, while controlling for cultural differences. A total of 475 participants completed an online survey comprising of the Sexual Orientations Beliefs Scale (SOBS). ANCOVAs revealed that sexual orientation was a significant factor for all four subscales of the SOBS (naturalness, homogeneity, informativeness, and discreteness). Sexual orientation was the most significant predictor of endorsing different sexual orientation beliefs. We found a significant interaction between gender and sexual orientation, revealing that perceptions of sexual orientation differ between straight-identified men and straight women.
... Much of the research into sexual excitation transfer is quite dated; yet, these studies indicate that sexual arousal can indeed transfer to or from other emotions. For example, it is generally accepted that there is a bidirectional relation between feelings of affection or love and sexual desire (Diamond, 2003). Furthermore, some studies found that emotional arousal induced by, for instance, rollercoaster rides (Meston & Frohlich, 2003), exciting sports films (Staley & Prause, 2013;White et al., 1981), or arousing music (Marin et al., 2017) transferred to feelings of affection or increased attractiveness of (potential) partners. ...
Article
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Excitation transfer, the transfer of arousal from one emotion to another, might be a mechanism in the development of unusual sexual interests. In this pilot study, we investigated whether we could induce excitation transfer between various emotions and sexual arousal in a laboratory setting with 30 male volunteers. We induced low-level sexual arousal in four different emotional states (aggression/dominance, endearment, fear, disgust) and a neutral state. Sexual arousal was measured using penile plethysmography and self-report. Although there was no mean group effect, possibly due to large interindividual variations, 60% of the subjects showed more sexual arousal in response to sexual stimulation in at least one of the emotional states than in the neutral state. Excitation transfer was most prominent with aggression/dominance and least prominent with disgust. Genital excitation transfer was strongly related to lower penile reactivity and to higher self-reported erotophilia. This pilot study paves the way for further research into excitation transfer as a mechanism to increase the salience of stimuli that otherwise would not have been sexual in nature.
... 62 Furthermore, romantic attraction is different from sexual orientation. 1 Therefore, the influence of sexual orientation on psychological distress must be investigated in future studies to achieve findings generalizable to the wider population of sexual minority people in Japan. ...
Article
Purpose: Evidence is scarce regarding the associations of romantic orientation with mental health and personality. The aims of the present study, therefore, were to examine psychological distress among homoromantic, biromantic, and heteroromantic adults and to investigate how personality dimensions influence their distress. Methods: A cross-sectional survey study was conducted between August 2018 and January 2021. Psychological distress, personality, and romantic orientation were assessed with the 6-item Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K6), the Ten-Item Personality Inventory (TIPI), and a question about romantic orientation, respectively, in a web-based survey distributed to 11,922 participants. Saliva samples were collected for DNA extraction. After excluding those who did not cluster with Japanese ancestry and those whose genotypic sex did not match their reported sex, 11,662 individuals were included in further analyses. Results: The prevalence of being homoromantic or biromantic was 1.0% and 2.0% for females and 1.5% and 1.2% for males, respectively. Homoromantic males, but not females, had significantly higher K6 scores than their heteroromantic counterparts. Both male and female biromantic participants had significantly higher K6 scores than their heteroromantic counterparts. Furthermore, a significant association was found between romantic orientation and TIPI scores. Accounting for personality profiles did not alter the observed association between romantic orientation and psychological distress. Conclusion: Biromantic adults and homoromantic male adults of genetically confirmed Japanese ancestry living in Japan experienced higher psychological distress than heteroromantic individuals. The mental health disparities of the romantic minority individuals were irrespective of their personality profiles, suggesting the involvement of other factors such as minority stress in Japan.
... According to Jankowiak and Fischer (1992), love is abstract phenomenon. Researchers have increasingly documented the existence of romantic love across many different cultures, giving credence to the belief that romantic love is a universal experience (Buss, 2006;Diamond, 2003). The existence of metaphors in the phenomenon of love is premised on the postulation of Kövecses (2010), who, working on the language and conceptualization of emotion, observes that "emotion concepts such as anger, fear, love, happiness, sadness, shame, pride, and so on are primarily understood by means of conceptual metaphors" (p. ...
... There are, however, a number of additional parameters of sexual orientation that have been raised in the literature. For example, these other parameters include: age groups that one is attracted toward (Seto, 2017); the degree to which sexual orientation toward different categories of people is "fluid" or varies over time (Diamond et al., 2020); romantic attractions (e.g., Diamond, 2003;Savin-Williams, 2016); gender role presentation (Maybach & Gold, 1994;Petterson & Vasey, 2021;Schudson et al., 2018); the degree to which attractions are directed toward others versus oneself (Hsu & Bailey, 2021) or toward others versus no one (Brotto & Milani, 2021); and one's interest in monogamous versus nonmonogamous relationships (Hamilton & Winward, 2021). Each of these parameters might be biodevelopmentally dissociable from the dimension of androphilia-gynephilia and, thus, identifying if and how would help carve the nature of sexual orientation at its joints. ...
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Sexual orientation is a core aspect of human experience and understanding its development is fundamental to psychology as a scientific discipline. Biological perspectives have played an important role in uncovering the processes that contribute to sexual orientation development. Research in this field has relied on a variety of populations, including community, clinical, and cross-cultural samples, and has commonly focused on female gynephilia (i.e., female sexual attraction to adult females) and male androphilia (i.e., male sexual attraction to adult males). Genetic, hormonal, and immunological processes all appear to influence sexual orientation. Consistent with biological perspectives, there are sexual orientation differences in brain development and evidence indicates that similar biological influences apply across cultures. An outstanding question in the field is whether the hypothesized biological influences are all part of the same process or represent different developmental pathways leading to same-sex sexual orientation. Some studies indicate that same-sex sexually oriented people can be divided into subgroups who likely experienced different biological influences. Consideration of gender expression in addition to sexual orientation might help delineate such subgroups. Thus, future research on the possible existence of such subgroups could prove to be valuable for uncovering the biological development of sexual orientation. Recommendations for such future research are discussed.
... Insecure attachment behavioral systems can hyperactivate or inhibit the sexual behavioral system in order to fulfill attachment needs (Birnbaum et al., 2014) and subsequently affect sexual desire (Shaver & Mikulincer, 2008). In fact, the sexual behavioral system evolved to ensure the reproduction of the species by controlling the arousal of sexual desire (Buss & Kenrick, 1998;Diamond, 2003); this control over sexual desire is similar to the concepts sexual excitatory and sexual inhibitory from Bancroft and Janssen's (2000) dual model of control. Anxious attachment can lead to hyperactivation of the sexual behavioral system that can keep the sexual behavioral system "chronically activated by maintaining an intense desire for sex" (Birnbaum et al., 2014, p. 823). ...
Article
We explored longitudinal associations between attachment, differentiation, relational satisfaction, and sexual satisfaction and desire among 286 married couples to see which of the two differing domains of attachment and differentiation of self best predict couple relationship outcomes. We observed that baseline attachment variables did not significantly predict couple sexual outcomes a year later while differentiation variables did. Specifically, husbands’ emotional cutoff predicted decreased husbands’ sexual desire and wives’ emotional reactivity predicted decreased wives’ sexual desire. Additionally, wives’ emotional cutoff predicted increased wives’ avoidant attachment and husbands’ avoidant attachment predicted decreased wives’ emotional cutoff. Implications for practitioners are discussed. Lay Summary: We explored how attachment to a partner and one’s sense of self/autonomy while in a relationship predict change in couples’ relational and sexual satisfaction and sexual desire. Only a poorer sense of self predicted changes, specifically decreases in sexual desire. Nurturing a sense of self may strengthen couple sexual relationships.
... A particular form of pride is naches; an emotion that is experienced for a parent/ caregiver, or teacher, when witnessing the achievement of their offspring (Ekman & Cordaro, 2011). Sexual desire Emotional response to the opportunity presented by a high-quality potential sex partner (Diamond, 2003;Wallen, 1995). ...
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Autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity is a fundamental component of emotional responding. It is not clear, however, whether positive emotional states are associated with differential ANS reactivity. To address this issue, we conducted a meta-analytic review of 120 articles (686 effect sizes, total N = 6,546), measuring ANS activity during 11 elicited positive emotions, namely amusement, attachment love, awe, contentment, craving, excitement, gratitude, joy, nurturant love, pride, and sexual desire. We identified a widely dispersed collection of studies. Univariate results indicated that positive emotions produce no or weak and highly variable increases in ANS reactivity. However, the limitations of work to date – which we discuss – mean that our conclusions should be treated as empirically grounded hypotheses that future research should validate.
... According to Anton (2012), as "these categories become more popularly used, research has also suggested that sexual orientation does not always appear in such definable categories but instead occurs on a continuum". In addition, some studies indicate that sexual preference is fluid for some people and could be especially true for women (Diamond, 2003;Golden, 1987;Peplau & Garnets, 2000). This group of people nowadays is commonly known as the LGBT (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders). ...
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Despite the increase in the acceptance of LGBT communities across the globe, there are still countries that the acceptance is low. In this paper, we argue that acceptance of LGBTs is determined by levels of religiosity and well-being indices across countries. With this, we aim to explore whether religiosity and well-being index determine acceptance of LGBTs. In particular, using fractal statistics, we explore the fractality or ruggedness of religiosity and well-being index and whether such fractality induces corresponding fractality on LGBTs acceptance across 39 selected countries. Indeed, the independent variables (religiosity and well-being index) showed considerable ruggedness or fractality and such ruggedness induced ruggedness on LGBTs acceptance. Religiosity discourages LGBTs acceptance, while high well-being index increases the acceptance. Hence, acceptance of gender preference is particularly prevalent in countries where there is favourable social conditions and where religion is less central in people's lives.
... Romantic love and sexual desire have been of interest to scholars across disciplines ranging from psychology (Basson 2002;Beck et al. 1991), sexuality (Sprecher 2002;Vowels and Mark 2020), and neuroscience (Cacioppo et al. 2012;Diamond and Dickenson 2012). Some researchers argue that romantic love and sexual desire are two separate constructs with separate goals, motivations, and experiences (e.g., Diamond 2003;Gonzaga et al. 2006). Others claim that love and desire are interconnected with shared goals and experiences (e.g., Regan 1998). ...
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Recent research has focused on the connection between romantic love and sexual desire from psychological, neurological, and sexual health perspectives. However, studies examining this connection are varied, often are limited to heterosexual reports and rarely include women’s lived experiences. Therefore, the current study aimed to examine perspectives on the link between romantic love and sexual desire from a sample of heterosexual, bisexual, and lesbian women. Interviews were conducted to assess perceptions of the connection between love and desire with 31 women (10 bisexual, 8 lesbian, and 13 heterosexual) from the United States ranging in age from 20 to 69 years old. Utilizing thematic analysis, interview transcripts were coded into themes. Four main themes were identified in which participants described the connection between love and desire as (1) separate experiences, (2) fueling one another, (3) intertwined experiences, and (4) love encompassing desire. The current study offers exploratory findings and supports future research incorporating diverse women’s perspectives in research on romantic love and sexual desire.
... One implication of this nurturant streaming is neurobiological. Building off of a broad literature on social bonds and hormones (Carter, 1998;Diamond, 2003;Fernandez-Duque et al., 2009;Fisher, 1992), the "steroid/peptide theory of social bonds" (S/P Theory) describes a nurturant system in humans and other species that evolved to promote care of offspring 10 Though research has shown no gender/sex differences in time to orgasm from masturbation (Paterson, Jin, Amsel, & Binik, 2014). This fact alone should be enough to convince any critical thinker that the difficulty women experience in arousal or orgasm with men partners cannot be located in the women's bodies but in their sexual relations with men or the men themselves; that it is not is telling. ...
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Low sexual desire in women partnered with men is typically presumed to be a problem—one that exists in women and encourages a research agenda on causation and treatment targeting women. In this paper, we present a distinct way forward for research on low sexual desire in women partnered with men that attends to a more structural explanation: heteronormativity. A heteronormative worldview assumes that relationships and structures are heterosexual, gender (usually conflated with sex) is binary and complementary, and gender roles fit within narrow bounds including nurturant labor for women. We propose the heteronormativity theory of low sexual desire in women partnered with men, arguing that heteronormative gender inequities are contributing factors. We outline four hypotheses and their predictions related to: inequitable divisions of household labor, blurring of partner and mother roles, objectification of women, and gender norms surrounding sexual initiation. We discuss some mechanisms—social, physiological, and otherwise—for the heteronormativity theory, especially related to stress, objectification, and nurturance. We close by noting some limitations of our paper and the ways that the heteronormativity theory of low sexual desire in women partnered with men provides a rigorous, generative, and empirical way forward.
... Indeed, some studies have revealed a stronger association between sexual satisfaction and subsequent relationship satisfaction for men than women (Cao et al., 2019;Fallis et al., 2016;Kisler & Christopher, 2008;McNulty et al., 2016;Peck et al., 2004;Sánchez-Fuentes & Santos-Iglesias, 2016;Sprecher, 2002). At the same time, other perspectives suggest women/females rely more heavily on contextual factors when evaluating their sexual experiences (Baumeister, 2000;Diamond, 2003), which suggests relationship satisfaction may more strongly impact sexual satisfaction among women/females compared to men/males. ...
Article
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Prior research provides mixed evidence regarding the direction of the association between sexual and marital satisfaction. Whereas some studies suggest a bidirectional association, other studies fail to document one direction or the other. The current investigation used a 12-day diary study of 287 married individuals to clarify the nature of this association. Results from time-lagged mixed modeling revealed a significant positive bidirectional association. Both higher global sexual satisfaction one day and satisfaction with sex that occurred that day predicted higher marital satisfaction the next day; likewise, higher marital satisfaction one day significantly predicted higher global sexual satisfaction the next day and higher satisfaction with sex that occurred the next day. Both associations remained significant after controlling for participant’s gender/sex, neuroticism, attachment insecurity, self-esteem, stress, perceived childhood unpredictability and harshness, age of first intercourse, construal level, age, and length of marriage. We also explored whether these covariates moderated either direction of the association. Daily stress was the most reliable moderator, with three of the four interactions tested remaining significant after Bonferroni corrections. The bidirectional association between global sexual and marital satisfaction and the positive association between satisfaction with sex that occurred that day and marital satisfaction the next day were significantly stronger when individuals experienced high versus low stress. Although the exploratory nature of all moderation analyses suggests they should be replicated before drawing strong conclusions, these findings highlight the importance of sexual satisfaction to marital satisfaction and vice versa and point to the power of stress in strengthening these associations.
... Gatchel et al.'s (2007) biopsychosocial model is a heuristic approach to the assessment, prevention, and treatment of chronic pain that prescribes attention to the biological, psychological, emotional, cognitive, and relational dimensions of the chronic pain experience. Diamond's (2003) biobehavioral model of romantic love explains that romantic love and sexual desire are functionally independent and that the processes underlying romantic love and affection are not intrinsically tied to gender. The risk regulation model was proposed by Murray et al. (2006) to explain how individuals balance the competing goals of seeking closeness to a romantic partner and minimizing the likelihood of rejection. ...
Article
A robust body of research attests to the mental and physical health correlates and consequences of affectionate communication. Like much research on personal relationships, however, this work may overrepresent certain portions of the population, may underrepresent others, and may not effectively account for intersections of identities. We define intersectionality as comprising the unique effects of two or more social identities interacting with each other. To assess this literature with an eye toward intersectionality and representation, the present article reports a systematic review of 86 individual empirical studies representing 26,013 participants. The review concludes that there is no explicit or implicit attention to intersectionality in the existing research on affectionate communication and health, and that U.S. Americans, women, younger individuals, white individuals, and students are overrepresented in research samples. The review ends with future directions to encourage more inclusive research on this topic.
... Data are typically gathered through self-report questionnaires or interviews (Furman et al., 2007). Self-reported sexual orientation is another aspect of involvement that is measured and may differ from actual sexual or romantic behavior (Diamond, 2003;Savin-Williams, 2006). For example, youth that identify as homosexual may or may not be involved with a partner of the same gender (Petersen & Hyde, 2010;Savin-Williams, 2006). ...
Article
The present research aimed to better understand the associations among romantic involvement, co-rumination with friends, and depressive symptom development in a sample of 338 adolescents (ages 14-19 years). Using a multi-method, longitudinal study design, the present study examined whether co-rumination (self-reported and observed) mediated the relationship between romantic involvement and depressive symptoms over time. Next, analyses separately tested whether this process was further moderated by positive friendship quality, whether youth discuss romantic experiences during problem talk with friends, and/or gender. Analyses also tested whether romantic relationship quality among romantically involved youth influenced depressive symptoms over time via co-rumination. Results supported an indirect effect of romantic involvement on later depressive symptoms via self-reported (but not observed) co-rumination, suggesting that romantically-involved youth who self-report engaging in co-rumination may be more prone to depressive symptom development. There was little support for the association being further moderated by discussing romantic problems, friendship quality, and/or gender. Moreover, results did not support hypotheses that co-rumination would mediate the link between romantic relationship quality and depressive symptoms over time. Future studies should assess the content of romantic co-rumination more specifically to better understand its impact on the link between romantic involvement and depression. Future research also could recruit larger and more diverse samples of youth to obtain sufficient variability in romantic involvement, gender identity, and friendship composition (e.g., same gender, gender diverse). Potential contributions of this research for the development of evidence-based interventions for youth with depressive symptoms are explored.
... These school-level cultural factors shape sexual minority youths' school experiences (Wilkinson & Pearson, 2009;Pearson & Wilkinson, 2018), which may extend to their experiences of dating and romantic relationships. This study also only assessed sexual orientation identity, so we were not able to explore differences by attraction or romantic/sexual behavior, although sexual orientation is a complex construct comprised of all these domains (Diamond, 2003b). ...
Article
This study examined differences by sexual orientation in romantic relationship and marriage attitudes, and relationship skills, among a large, diverse sample of high school youth. The romantic relationships of sexual minority youth have been understudied, particularly factors related to their relationship quality, such as attitudes and skills. Sweeping changes in social and legal equality (e.g., same‐sex marriage) have promoted a paradigm shift in relationship possibilities for sexual minority youth. Data were drawn from the baseline survey of a study of school‐based relationship education for adolescents. Adolescents (N = 979) completed a self‐report survey of their demographics, attitudes regarding romantic relationships and marriage, and their romantic relationship skills. Regression models examined differences by sexual orientation identity in relationship outcomes, controlling for relevant demographics. Sixteen percent of youth identified as sexual minority. Sexual minority youth, relative to heterosexual youth, did not differ in their attitudes regarding qualities of healthy romantic relationships. However, sexual minority youth endorsed less traditional views of marriage and held less traditional expectations of marriage for themselves. They also perceived themselves to have fewer romantic relationship skills than heterosexual youth. Today's sexual minority youth hold less traditional views of marriage as a future for themselves, although legalized same‐sex marriage is now available. They perceived themselves as less skilled in romantic relationships, which are critical in adolescence for social and emotional development. Scientific efforts are needed to understand contributors to these differences and inform evidence‐based practices to support strong, healthy romantic bonds for all teens.
... O comportamento sexual não preferido pode se manifestar, por exemplo, sob condições sem acesso a parceiros sexuais preferidos; pode ser feito por motivos financeiros ou simplesmente para satisfazer o parceiro. Da mesma forma, a afeição romântica pode ser amplamente desconectada dos desejos sexuais(Diamond 2003). Por exemplo, uma pessoa pode se apaixonar repetidamente apenas por indivíduos do mesmo sexo, mas preferir e procurar ativamente parceiros sexuais casuais de ambos os sexos. ...
Book
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Este livro foi pensado para ser um primeiro texto introdutório às bases ecológicas e evolutivas do comportamento humano, voltado para o ensino ao nível de graduação. Embora cada capítulo possa ser lido em qualquer ordem, organizamos de modo que a sequência sugerida permita ao aprofundamento paulatino dos diferentes conceitos e disciplinas dedi- cadas aos estudos do comportamento humano.
... There is an assumption that romantic and sexual attraction are congruent. However, research has detailed many accounts of this assumption not being an accurate representation of attraction, particularly with plurisexual people (Diamond, 2003b;Lund, Thomas, Sias, & Bradley, 2016). Specifically, for plurisexual people there may be differing gender preferences between romantic attraction and sexual attraction, and attraction to different genders may shift across time (Diamond, 2000). ...
Thesis
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Bisexuality is becoming increasingly visible as the diversity of sexual identities is becoming more recognised in mainstream Anglo-Western societies. At the same time, rigid categorisations that views sexual identity as a heterosexual-homosexual binary remains entrenched in our social and academic contexts. As a result, bisexual people face suppression and erasure of their sexual identity. Further, recent movements within queer spaces have led to a shift in the languaging around bisexuality and attraction to multiple genders; bisexuality being only one identity under the plurisexual umbrella. However, little research has explored bisexuality alongside new plurisexual identities and the lives of people who identify with them. This thesis identifies large gaps in psychological literature surrounding the intersecting identities of plurisexual women and examines how discourses of sexual identity – and more specifically bisexuality and plurisexuality – shape plurisexual women’s social and intimate lives, and constructions of their sexual identity. Using a social constructionist epistemology, and underpinned by intersectionality theory and critical feminism, an exploratory mixed-method approach was taken. Data were collected from a community-based sample through interviews (n = 20) and a quantitative online survey (n = 994) with women who identified as attracted to multiple genders. This thesis uses descriptive statistics and a critical thematic analysis to critically explore the ways plurisexual women talk about their experiences and identities related to their plurisexuality and how this is informed by, or contravenes, dominant discourses around plurisexuality. The data indicated that bisexuality and other plurisexualities are fraught and contradictory. Plurisexual women experienced their sexual identities as spaces for political action and as sites for both community and empowerment, and alienation and marginalisation. Dominant and counter discourses were drawn on by plurisexual women to understand their sexual identities. These findings are placed in the context of how new knowledges can lead to changes in how plurisexuality is experienced, to better deconstruct the marginalisation of plurisexual women.
... Understanding the similarities and differences between sexual orientation rumination and sexual orientation obsessions first requires some context around sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is conceptualized as an internal mechanism that directs both sexual and romantic interests (Diamond, 2003;Rosario & Schrimshaw, 2014). As a multi-dimensional concept, sexual orientation encompasses three primary components-identity, attraction, and behavior-that do not always predictably align (Bailey et al., 2016;Bauer & Brennan, 2013;Laumann et al., 1994;Wolff et al., 2017). ...
Article
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Two concepts that describe repetitive thoughts regarding an individual’s sexual orientation—sexual orientation rumination and sexual orientation obsessions—have been introduced into the research literature. Despite the fact that these concepts have similarities, important distinctions exist with regard to their theoretical underpinnings, development, and catalyst of stress. As these concepts have never been teased apart in the research literature, understanding how these concepts are similar and different is particularly important. To this end, the present overview synthesizes the current literature regarding these concepts with the purpose of providing a decisional framework for differentiating sexual orientation rumination and sexual orientation obsessions and suggesting areas of future research.
... One specific, biologically based mechanism that may motivate pro-relationship decisions is infatuation. The early stages of a relationship are typically characterized by intense feelings of passion, or infatuation (Tennov, 1979); relationship researchers have long theorized that the evolutionary purpose of these feelings is to motivate people to dedicate enough time and energy to the new relationship to allow a long-term attachment to form (Diamond, 2003;Fletcher et al., 2015;Hazan & Diamond, 2000;Zeifman & Hazan, 1997). That is, once an attractive potential partner has been identified, the attachment and sexual systems powerfully drive people to become closer to that person, both psychologically and physically (Aron & Aron, 1991;Gonzaga et al., 2001). ...
Article
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Dating is widely thought of as a test phase for romantic relationships, during which new romantic partners carefully evaluate each other for long-term fit. However, this cultural narrative assumes that people are well equipped to reject poorly suited partners. In this article, we argue that humans are biased toward pro-relationship decisions—decisions that favor the initiation, advancement, and maintenance of romantic relationships. We first review evidence for a progression bias in the context of relationship initiation, investment, and breakup decisions. We next consider possible theoretical underpinnings—both evolutionary and cultural—that may explain why getting into a relationship is often easier than getting out of one, and why being in a less desirable relationship is often preferred over being in no relationship at all. We discuss potential boundary conditions that the phenomenon may have, as well as its implications for existing theoretical models of mate selection and relationship development.
... Though the underlying mechanisms remain unclear, this is precisely what is observed: most individuals report primarily heterosexual orientations, but a substantial minority of individuals also report homosexual and bisexual attractions and orientations (Chandra et al., 2011;Santtila et al., 2008). Although the term sexual orientation is sometimes used to indicate individuals' self-defined sexual identities, sexual orientation is herein defined as an enduring pattern of sexual desire, which is often (but not necessarily) motivated by sexual arousal (Bailey, 2009;Diamond, 2003a;Laumann et al., 1994;Reiter, 1989). Sexual preference, in contrast, is defined as motivation for particular types of sexual experiences, regardless of whether this motivation is driven by sexual desire, and irrespective of duration or stability. ...
Chapter
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Is sexual orientation an evolutionary adaptation or social construct? With respect to sexual preferences, to what extent are we “born that way” and to what extent does learning matter? This chapter discusses how nature and nurture may interact to shape sexual motivation by reviewing existing literature on sexual preferences and orientations, as well as by considering sex/gender differences in erotic plasticity, sexual fluidity, and the specificity of sexual arousal. We describe how these phenomena might be accounted for by processes in which mind-body feedback loops amplify some sexual responses over others on multiple levels, which we refer to as the Reward Competition Feedback (RCF) model. With respect to sex/gender differences, we describe how these positive feedback processes might be amplified in men compared with women, potentially substantially driven by differences in the constraints and affordances of female and male anatomy. More specifically, we argue that the well-known female-male difference in the concordance of genital and subjective arousal may contribute to well-known differences in sexual specificity and plasticity/fluidity. We further provide convergent support for RCF by reviewing preexisting theories of sexual learning. Finally, we consider some of the ethical implications of models in which sexual orientation might be shaped by experiences over the course of development.KeywordsSexual preferenceSexual orientationSexGenderDevelopmentLearning
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We examined whether heterosexual individuals’ self-reported sexual orientation could be influenced experimentally by manipulating their knowledge of the nature of sexual orientation. In Study 1 (180 university students, 66% female) participants read summaries describing evidence for sexual orientation existing on a continuum versus discrete categories or a control manipulation, and in Study 2 (460 participants in a nationally representative Qualtrics panel, 50% female) additionally read summaries describing sexual orientation as fluid versus stable across the life-course. After reading summaries, participants answered various questions about their sexual orientation. In Study 1, political moderates and progressives (but not conservatives) who read the continuous manipulation subsequently reported being less exclusively heterosexual, and regardless of political alignment, participants reported less certainty about their sexual orientation, relative to controls. In Study 2, after exposure to fluid or continuous manipulations heterosexual participants were up to five times more likely than controls to rate themselves as non-exclusively heterosexual. Additionally, those in the continuous condition reported less certainty about their sexual orientation and were more willing to engage in future same-sex sexual experiences, than those in the control condition. These results suggest that non-traditional theories of sexual orientation can lead heterosexuals to embrace less exclusive heterosexual orientations.
Chapter
Social categorization, the process of mentally placing others into a group, is a universal aspect of daily life. Researchers have long been interested in understanding the consequences of social categorization and have more recently turned their attention to determining the processes of how people categorize others into social groups. In this chapter, I present the efficient categorization framework (ECF), which integrates research in social cognition and political psychology to understand the role of a perceiver's political ideology (i.e., whether a person is more liberal or conservative) in social categorization processes. The ECF proposes that political conservatives prioritize efficient categorization—expending few cognitive resources to make a correct judgment—more so than do liberals. Drawing from this framework, I review evidence indicating that liberals and conservatives diverge in their beliefs about which strategies contribute to accurate social category judgments, as well as how they process available cues during social categorization. I also outline findings that highlight how ideological differences in the social categorization process contribute to evaluations, policy attitudes, and political behaviors. I discuss how the ECF gives novel insight into variability in social categorization processes and offers unique perspective into why liberals and conservatives commonly fail to see “eye-to-eye” in their perceptions of the world.
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In an integrative review, we examine four theories and models of romantic passion to determine what causes feelings of romantic passion. Although a growing consensus has emerged for the definition of romantic passion, we suggest that this is largely not the case for the source of romantic passion. We outline how four different perspectives—Limerence Theory, the Rate of Change in Intimacy Model, the Self‐Expansion Model, and the Triangular Theory of Love—propose four different potential sources of romantic passion and review empirical support in favor and against each. For each of these perspectives, we additionally outline the predicted trajectory of passion that follows from each theorized source of passion, as well as each perspective's view on the ability for passion to be controlled and up‐regulated. In identifying ways in which these theories and models offer conflicting predictions about the source of romantic passion, this review points to ways in which a more comprehensive model may be developed that integrates across these four perspectives.
Article
This study aimed to investigate the identity development and internalization of an asexual orientation and how asexual individuals attempt to reject and resist societal attitudes held towards their orientation. Participants were recruited through the online community the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) and included five women between the ages of 18 and 40. Data were gathered using semi-structured interviews and analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Five themes emerged from the data: The Asexual Self, Discovering Asexuality, Disclosure, Navigating Relationships and Barriers to Accepting Asexuality. The development of an asexual identity was initiated through an awareness of the self as different within society and supported by external resources such as the online asexual community. Although all participants described a sense of pride surrounding their asexual identity, some participants at times attempted to minimize the importance of asexuality to their self-concepts. Social norms and the values of a heteronormative society influenced participants’ abilities to accept their orientation, as well as their coming-out processes. There were notable discrepancies between participants’ accounts that were specific to their romantic orientation and age. The theoretical implications of each theme within the development of an asexual identity and internalization of an asexual orientation are discussed.
Article
Objective: We sought to describe the LGBTQ + related education, training, and clinical practice of independently licensed neuropsychologists in the United States and to identify factors that predict affirmative neuropsychological practices. We hypothesized that LGBTQ + identity, female gender, more recent training, and extent of LGBTQ + education/training would predict use of LGBTQ + practice guidelines. Method: A workgroup of clinical psychologists with experience in LGBTQ + psychology and neuropsychology developed a survey to identify personal and professional factors that predict affirmative neuropsychological testing practices. The survey was distributed through professional organizations and listservs between August and September 2021 with 118 responses meeting inclusionary criteria. Results: The majority of participants identified as heterosexual (70.3%) and cisgender (97.5%), and most (48-63%) received LGBTQ + training post-licensure. Between 19% and 32% of participants reported never completing LGBTQ + specific education. Consistent with our hypotheses, factors predicting affirmative clinical practice behaviors were LGBTQ + education/training, and personal background (sexual minority status, female/feminine gender, and years since degree). Other significant factors included prior experience with LGBTQ + patients and primary patient population (child vs. adult). Qualitative responses indicated varying values, attitudes, and knowledge regarding collection of LGBTQ + information and modification of clinical practice. Conclusions: Neuropsychologists underutilize affirming practices as evidenced by low rates of querying pronouns, knowing whether LGBTQ + health information is available at their institutions, and adjusting evaluation and feedback approaches. We provide specific training and education recommendations to increase knowledge and skills and to address beliefs about LGBTQ + health that can serve to promote affirmative neuropsychological practice.
Article
Despite recent progress in society’s understanding of sexuality as a nuanced, highly individualised concept, asexuality is a continually under-researched and misunderstood sexual identity and community. Via content analysis, the authors examined 41 publications in nine leading journals in the sex therapy field to assess how asexuality has been represented in literature over the past decade. The purpose of the review was to determine if this literature acknowledges the spectrum of asexual identities, whether asexuality and aromanticism are conflated terms, and whether asexuality is pathologized. The review determined that 41.5% of publications did not note the heterogeneity of identities under the asexuality umbrella, 12.2% conflated the terms asexuality and aromanticism, and 0% pathologized asexuality. Implications are discussed.
Chapter
This chapter “Models of romantic love” describes one of the most scholarly visible forms of love, yet frequently misunderstood in its content and features. Some of its characteristics are shared with other models, while the others are unique. Several salient attributes of romantic love, such as its sexual and passionate nature, are reviewed in comprehensive and cross-cultural perspectives. The specific romantic beliefs and perceptions, especially idealization, which make romantic love “romantic,” received special emphasis in the chapter. Parasocial and narcissistic models of love are elucidated in light of the romantic features.KeywordsConcept of romantic loveFeatures of romantic loveDiversity of romantic loveComplexity of romantic loveCultural complexity of romantic lovePsychological complexity of romantic loveSexuality of romantic loveIdealization in romantic lovePassion of romantic loveAffection of romantic loveRomantic beliefsRomantic beliefs across culturesIrrationality of romantic beliefsRomantic love as a destinyRelations between romantic beliefs and real lifeRelations of romantic love with other models of loveAdmiration in romantic loveAdoration in romantic loveParasocial romantic loveIdolizing romantic loveFanatic romantic loveRomantic self-loveNarcissistic romantic love
Chapter
Emerging adulthood - the period between the late teens and mid-twenties - is a unique and important developmental period during which people gain relationship experience before settling on someone to partner with. Romantic Relationships in Emerging Adulthood presents a synthesis of research and theory on this topic. Leading scholars from demography, sociology, family studies, and psychology provide original data and theoretical analyses that address the formation, nature, and significance of romantic relationships in emerging adults. Until recently, it was assumed that romantic relationships in emerging adults were not particularly important or formative. The material presented allows this assumption to be thoroughly evaluated. This volume is intended to be a resource for anyone interested in understanding romantic relationships in emerging adulthood. It is especially appropriate for classroom use in upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses in the fields of family sociology, human development and family studies, clinical and developmental psychology, and social work.
Article
Bisexual behavior is an order of magnitude more common than exclusive homosexuality in women. Many evolutionary hypotheses on sexual orientation have focused on homosexuality, particularly in men, yet there has recently been a growing recognition that male and female homosexuality may have different evolutionary origins, and that the various forms of nonheterosexuality in the female sexual orientation spectrum may arise via discrete evolutionary–developmental mechanisms. Evolutionarily informed sex research therefore has the fascinating task of understanding the whole spectrum of female sexual orientation – from heterosexual, mostly heterosexual, and bisexual women through to exclusively homosexual women, and from feminine femmes to masculine butches – including the proximate mechanisms and ultimate functions that underlie that variation. Here, we address that task by applying Tinbergen’s four questions to analyze female bisexuality, synthesizing existing research on proximate mechanisms, ontogeny, phylogeny, and ultimate functions. Research in psychology and behavioral sciences indicates that bisexual women comprise a group distinct from heterosexual women and, on some metrics, even from lesbian women: bisexual women have more male-typical personality traits, more unrestricted sociosexual attitudes and behaviors, higher sexual responsiveness, earlier reproduction, higher substance use, higher incarceration rates, and worse health outcomes than heterosexual women. There is broad evidence from across mammalian species that indicates that individual differences in prenatal exposure to sex hormones creates individual differences in brain morphology, cognition, behavioral predispositions, and even life outcomes. They are typically studied in a sex differences framework, but there is now enough evidence to suggest that sexual orientation differences along these parameters can also be robust and informative. We review ten ultimate-level hypotheses on the evolution of female bisexuality and conclude that four hypotheses – balanced polymorphism of masculinity, sexually antagonistic selection, hormonally mediated fast life history strategy, and by-product – are currently best supported by evidence. These hypotheses are also consilient with the wealth of neurodevelopmental evidence on the masculinization of the brain and behavior, which is thought to underlie variation in female sexual orientation. By synthesizing ultimate functions with proximate mechanisms – combined with powerful mid-level frameworks such as life history theory – evolutionary scientists are in a stronger position to provide a comprehensive account of the phenotypic variation observed in the female sexual orientation spectrum.
Article
The attachment and sexual-mating behavioral systems operate jointly within romantic relationships and their reciprocal influences shape relationship quality and longevity. In line with evolutionary models and social perspectives, substantial evidence indicates that men and women differ in the sex-attachment linkage, such that men are more permissive in their sexual attitudes, adopt a more individualistic and pleasure-centered orientation toward sexuality, and are less likely to connect sexual encounters with emotional bonding relative to women. Men's higher sexual urges may also be related to common beliefs which assume that they are constantly interested in having sex, regardless of contextual cues. However, in the context of ongoing relationships, men's sexual motivations may be attuned to relationship goals and shaped by contextual factors such as their partner's responsiveness, attachment-related insecurities, and relationship duration. In this chapter, I present a more complex and nuanced picture of the sex-attachment linkage in men and discuss the multifaceted nature of their sexual desire within the relationship context. I review findings that demonstrate the role of men's sexual desire in the formation and maintenance of intimate relationships and challenge the common notion of the disconnect between men's sexual motivations and attachment needs. I also discuss the ways in which women's perceived responsiveness may shape men's sexual desire and felt security, especially among insecurely attached men. Furthermore, I review findings on the effect of women's displays of desire on men's attachment-related worries and dilemmas. Finally, I present findings on changes over relationship duration in men's sexual desire in committed, long-term relationships and discuss the importance of considering men's age when examining longitudinal effects of their desire and the extent to which men endorse emotional connection in sexual interactions. I conclude by discussing how men may satisfy relationship-related needs within the sexual arena in different relationship stages.
Article
Compared to the body of literature on male homosexuality, the continuum of bisexual orientations between the exclusively homosexual and heterosexual poles has been largely overlooked in the scientific and evolutionary literature. Possibly, male bisexuality is not as hard a puzzle to evolutionary thinking because it does not reduce individual direct reproductive success as much as exclusive male homosexuality. Or, bisexual men are expected to fall in between the exclusive poles of sexual orientation, and they thus would not differ from them in the studied characteristics. Moreover, the existence of bisexual men has sometimes been doubted or denied in scientific and lay literature. Despite recent Western biphobia (and homophobia) aimed specifically at men, we show that different forms of male sexuality aimed at both men and women are common among different human populations and non-human species, making it a viable candidate for evolutionary analysis. We first outline the concept and measurements of male bisexuality, its prevalence, and after reviewing the proximate socio-biological factors associated with male bisexuality, we outline evolutionary hypotheses on male bisexuality. We show that several hypotheses originally designed to explain exclusive homosexuality apply also to bisexuality, although most of them deal with the more feminine form of male non-heterosexuals. Finally, we outline the importance of studies on bisexuality for evolutionary psychological science.
Chapter
In a fast-changing world, what impact does social change have on our everyday relationships? How do modernisation processes influence our broader values, and how might these then affect our desires to marry, have a family and develop our social networks? And how do sudden events in a society - invasions, civil conflict, terrorist attacks, collapse of a political system - influence our relationship decisions and processes. In this book Goodwin critically reviews the literature on modernisation and contemporary relationships, challenging simplistic conclusions about the 'end of intimacy' and the inevitable decline of personal commitment. Reviewing work from across the globe, he also contends that adaptation to rapid change is moderated by individual, social class and cultural variations, with consequently differing impacts on everyday relations. In doing so he brings together contemporary debates in psychology, sociology and the political sciences on coping with social change and its impact on personal relations.
Chapter
In the past decade, human asexuality has garnered much attention and emerged as an empirically documented sexual orientation. Asexuality is generally defined as an absence of sexual attraction and approximately 1% of the general population report not feeling sexually attracted anyone. In this chapter, we examine the evolving definition of asexuality and diversification of individuals who identify as asexual. We provide an overview of gender differences and review the extant literature on human asexuality, which has mainly focused on exploring how to best conceptualize asexuality. Various theories have been proposed to classify asexuality as a mental disorder, a sexual dysfunction, or a paraphilia. However, we challenge these speculations and pose that asexuality may best be thought of as a sexual orientation as it is likely a normal variation in the experience of human sexuality. We discuss factors that make the study of asexuality challenging and propose possible solutions for researchers to consider. Future research into asexuality is necessary and might inform our understanding of sexuality in general. Researchers need to examine and understand the biological correlates of asexuality and directly test asexuality as a sexual orientation.KeywordsAsexualitySexual attractionSexual desireSexual orientationRomantic attraction
Chapter
This chapter provides the groundwork for understanding what friendship is: how it is created, maintained, and terminated. It examines this mostly through the exchange of material, economic, or socio-emotional goods; suggesting that both the psychological and sociological views of friendship highlight the importance of exchange. It also examines how friendship and love are not easily disentangled or measured. The authors highlight that the type of male friendships that they describe as bromances are more akin to what scholars would call love, and that love need not be sexual.
Chapter
Sexual orientation is a core aspect of human experience and understanding its development is fundamental to psychology as a scientific discipline. Biological perspectives have played an important role in helping to uncover the processes that contribute to sexual orientation development. Research in this field has relied on a variety of populations, including community, clinical, and cross-cultural samples, and has commonly focused on female gynephilia (i.e., female sexual attraction to adult females) and male androphilia (i.e., male sexual attraction to adult males). Genetic, hormonal, and immunological processes all appear to influence sexual orientation. Consistent with biological perspectives, there are sexual orientation differences in brain development and evidence indicates that similar biological influences apply across cultures. An outstanding question in the field is whether the hypothesized biological influences are all part of the same process or represent different developmental pathways leading to same-sex sexual orientation. Some studies indicate that same-sex sexually oriented people can be divided into subgroups who likely experienced different biological influences. Consideration of gender expression in addition to sexual orientation might help delineate such subgroups. Thus, future research on the possible existence of such subgroups could prove to be valuable for uncovering the biological development of sexual orientation. Recommendations for such future research are discussed.KeywordsSexual orientationDevelopmentGeneticsSex hormonesMaternal immune hypothesisGender expression
Article
Many actors report, anecdotally, a phenomenon known as a “showmance,” whereby actors develop romantic and/or sexual feelings for acting partners, often in the process of portraying romance onstage together. Because acting partners spend so much time together and may be engaging in several activities that facilitate emotional and physical closeness, it is possible that performing intimacy may influence feelings of actual intimacy. In this study, we aimed to understand the association between the type of onstage relationship that an actor portrays with their acting partner and the degree of intimacy—specifically nurturance and eroticism—that they feel toward this partner. We surveyed actors (amateur and professional) about their past theatrical experiences performing with a romantic acting partner ( romantic/intimate), a non-romantic but still intimate partner ( non-romantic/intimate; e.g., friendship, parent-child), and a non-romantic and non-intimate partner ( non-romantic/non-intimate; e.g., strangers, colleagues). We found that actors reported significantly higher levels of nurturance when recalling romantic and non-romantic/intimate onstage roles, compared to non-romantic/non-intimate roles. We also found that actors reported significantly higher levels of eroticism when recalling romantic onstage roles compared to other roles. Finally, we found that actors reported having experienced a significantly greater proportion of romantic/sexual feelings across their acting careers toward romantic acting partners, compared to other acting partners. The findings of this study provide a better understanding of the bidirectional relationship between behaviour and affect, as well as the predictors of intimacy, through a theatrical lens.
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