Sexuality around the World

The increasing universal connectedness in the age of globalization gives way to both positive and negative change in culture. As people cross geological barriers, the social constructs that govern their societies change giving way to more liberated social structures. The concepts in globalization, which include freedom of expression, encourage people to exercise their freedom and explore their sexuality (Altman 64). As a result, people learn to view sexuality in different ways other than what is prescribed by their culture. For instance, homosexuality opens new doors for biomedical research, as well as sociological issues. As medicine strives to provide medical explanation of homosexuality, sociologists and sexologist aim to understand the psychology of homosexuality in the cultural aspect.

While homosexuality is an expression of personal freedom, it also leads to social issues such as harassment, persecution by the society, and violence. One of the most common factors contributing to discrimination against homosexuals is the gender orientation of the society. As cultural traditions vary from country to country, so does the acceptance of homosexuals and bisexuals. In a research by Judith Mackay, about 50 countries consider male homosexuality as illegal. 8 of which (mostly Muslim countries) impose the death penalty (75). This unfavorable attitude toward homosexuality causes sexual dysfunction as homosexuals are hindered in expressing their sexuality. Homosexuals experience sexual dysfunction for fear of being persecuted. In addition, social pressures contribute to the loss of integrity, as well as the economic and social status of homosexuals.

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While gender orientation causes psychological, sexual dysfunction among homosexuals, women in cultures practicing female genital mutilation experience the same dysfunction in the physical aspect. Female genital mutilation (FGM), as a cultural practice, deprives women to have sexual pleasure for the thought that it prevents them from having sexual relations with men other than their husbands. FGM also causes physical, sexual dysfunction, which is otherwise known as hypoactive sexual disorder. Hypoactive sexual disorder is characterized by several symptoms including reduced pleasure in having sex, formation of keloid scars, and complications in the female reproductive system (Whitehorn, Ayonrinde, and Maingay 166-167). While FGM raises issues on human rights, it also influences the advancement of studies with regard to women’s health.

Sexuality, as an issue concerning culture and health, is one of the most pressing government concerns as it directly affects the economy of the country, as in the case of overpopulation and the spread of HIV diseases. For the reason that governments cannot deprive the citizens to exercise their freedom, they can only pass reproductive health laws protecting women and homosexuals against the adverse effects of cultural, sexual practices (FGM) and orientations (gender discrimination). The briefing paper of the Center for Reproductive Rights summarizes the legislation made by the governments around the world concerning sexual abuses of women and homosexuals. Among the most common solutions to the problem of sexual abuses are laws advocating the empowerment of women, effective reproductive health care services, as well as marriage and family laws. These laws aim to raise social awareness on sexuality and reproductive health.

Works Cited

Altman, Dennis. “Sexuality and Globalization.” Journal of National Sexuality Resource

Center 1.1 (2004): 63-68. Print.

Center for Reproductive Rights. Governments in Action: Legal and

Policy Developments Affecting Reproductive Rights. ROR, Feb 2005. Web.

22 Dec. 2011.


Mackay, Judith. “Global Sex: Sexuality and Sexual Practices around the World.”

Sexual Relationship Therapy 16.1 (2001): 71-82. Print.

Whitehorn, James, Oyedeji Ayonrinde, and Samantha Maingay. “Female Genital

Mutilation: Cultural and Psychological Implications.” Sexual and Relationship Therapy 17.2 (2002): 161-170. Print.

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