heterosexuality

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heterosexuality

[¦hed·ə·rō‚sek·shə′wal·əd·ē]
(psychology)
Having sexual feeling toward members of the opposite sex.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

heterosexuality

  1. (common usage) the desire for sexual relationships with persons of the ‘other’ or ‘opposite’ sex.
  2. (sociological usage) the privileged and dominant expression of sexuality in most known societies, which is often regarded as the ‘natural’ form of human sexual desire. In Western culture, heterosexuality has been normalized and prioritized over all other forms of human sexuality via institutional practices, including the law and social policy. Traditionally, sociologists have tended to take its ‘normality’ for granted, although, recently, sociologists such as MacIntosh have argued that heterosexuality should be regarded as sociologically problematic. Thus sociological theory should be directed at accounting for both the specific forms heterosexuality assumes in different cultures and its prevalence as the norm.
  3. (usage in feminist sociology) a primarily political institution which has served to further the subordination of women to men. Rich (1980) has used the term compulsory hetero sexuality to denote the social practices and prescriptions which ensure the continuance of heterosexuality as the privileged form of sexual orientation. Such practices penalize those who fail to conform, whilst ensuring the inferiorization of those women who abide by the norms. Dworkin (1976) has defined heterosexuality as one of the major means whereby the sexual and social dominance of men over women is legitimated and reinforced. This view of heterosexuality has given rise to the growth of separatism within the feminist movement, and is challenged by those feminists who identify themselves as heterosexual. From this latter perspective, heterosexuality is a sexual preference which does not necessarily reinforce the imbalance of power between women and men.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in periodicals archive ?
Finally, almost all respondents (97%) claimed they were hetrosexual and 3% claimed they were either homosexual or bisexual.
WITH reference ''Pride is our day afraid or ashamed,' (ECHO can someone please explain gays who do not put on clothes, who aren''t effeminate who work nine till five any hetrosexual, who Mcllravey and Lady Sean our views or way of life?
The hetrosexual married dad-of-two, from Wester Ross in the Highlands, said: "The march of the poofs continues.
Perhaps someone who might like to make love to her or, at the very least, someone of the hetrosexual population.
I realise that this will no doubt brand me a deviant hetrosexual and after such an admittance I accept that my workmates and neighbours are sure to shun me.
Around 40-50 cases of HIV are found each year in Wales with increasing numbers among hetrosexual partners.