American Sociological Association

Gender and Sexuality

Sociology offers a unique perspective on gender and sexuality and their importance in our social world. A sociological perspective transcends biological notions of sex and emphasizes the social and cultural bases of gender. Sociological research points to the ubiquity of gender’s influence in both private and public spheres, and it identifies differences—and similarities—in how genders are treated socially and factors that change this treatment.

The sociological study of gender is often combined with the study of sexuality. Like gender, sexuality is not just biologically constructed, but is shaped by social and cultural factors. Empirical research on sexual identity and behavior reveals such great variation that sociologists refer to multiple sexualities rather than a single sexuality.

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