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A New Paradigm for Understanding Women's Sexuality and Sexual Orientation

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Major scientific findings about women's sexuality and sexual orientation are reviewed. Sexual orientation is unrelated to mental health. There is no inherent association between gender conformity and women's sexual orientation; masculinity and femininity are linked to sexual orientation in some social contexts but not in others. Research has so far failed to identify major biological or childhood antecedents of women's sexual orientation. Women's sexuality and sexual orientation are potentially fluid, changeable over time, and variable across social contexts. Regardless of sexual orientation, there are important commonalities in women's sexuality. In particular, women tend to have a relational or partner-centered orientation to sexuality. Together, these findings provide the basis for a paradigm shift in the conceptualization of women's sexual orientation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of California, Los Angeles

Publication date: 01 June 2000

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