The Invention of “Heterosexuality”

The 1901 Dorland’s Medical Dictionary defined heterosexuality as an “abnormal or perverted appetite toward the opposite sex.” More than two decades later, in 1923, Merriam Webster’s dictionary similarly defined it as “morbid sexual passion for one of the opposite sex.” It wasn’t until 1934 that heterosexuality was graced with the meaning we’re familiar with today: “manifestation of sexual passion for one of the opposite sex; normal sexuality.”

If the above paragraph interests you, which it did me (thanks Susan for sending me this), then it’s well worth your while to read the whole article by Brandon Ambrosino. 

You can find the article here: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170315-the-invention-of-heterosexuality.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

One response to “The Invention of “Heterosexuality”

  • dan

    “I don’t think I was born gay. I don’t think I was born straight. I was born the way all of us are born: as a human being with a seemingly infinite capacity to announce myself, to re-announce myself, to try on new identities like spring raincoats, to play with limiting categories, to challenge them and topple them, to cultivate my tastes and preferences, and, most importantly, to love and to receive love.” http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160627-i-am-gay-but-i-wasnt-born-this-way

    Brandon Ambrosino, the Christian guy who thinks sexual orientation is like spring raincoats; a perennial favorite of Pence-style, right-wing homophobes who think conversion therapy is a thing, because logically, isn’t that the ultimate consequence of his line of reasoning, of his regressive brand of sexual liberation?

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