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Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

  1. Milton Diamond

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0860

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Diamond, M. 2010. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. University of Hawaii

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Sexual orientation refers to the erotic-love-affectional partners a person prefers. In lay usage, one often speaks of a person as a homosexual or heterosexual, and indeed, people often refer to themselves the same way. Such usage, however, often links together those whose regular sexual partners are of the same sex with those whose same-sex encounters are rare. The terms heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual are better used as adjectives, not nouns, and are better applied to behaviors, not people. Diamond has encouraged using the terms androphilic, gynecophilic, and ambiphilic to describe the sexual-erotic partners one prefers (andro = male, gyneco = female, ambi = both, philic = to love). Such terms obviate the need to specify the subject and focus instead on the desired partner. This usage is particularly advantageous when discussing the partners of transsexual or intersexed individuals. These newer terms also do not carry the social weight of the former ones.


  • gender identity;
  • homosexuality;
  • identity;
  • lesbianism;
  • sexual orientation