The Origins of Sexual Orientation

  • Rusi JaspalEmail author


In this chapter, the concept of sexual orientation is defined and methods of operationalising and measuring it are discussed. Empirical research into the origins of sexual orientation is outlined, beginning with the psychosocial paradigm, consisting of psychoanalysis and social learning theories, and then the psychobiological paradigm, which includes the theories of hormonal influences on the brain and of genetic underpinnings of sexual orientation. In the final section of this chapter, the social psychological implications of these distinct, opposing paradigms are discussed with a particular focus on the social representations of homosexuality and gay men that they may generate.


Sexual orientation Social learning theory Psychoanalysis Genetics Hormones 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.De Montfort UniversityLeicesterUK

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