Although the terms sex and gender are sometimes used interchangeably and do in fact complement each other, they nonetheless refer to different aspects of what it means to be a woman or man in any society. Sex refers to the anatomical and other biological differences between females and males that are determined at the moment of conception and develop in the womb and throughout childhood and adolescence. Females, of course, have two X chromosomes, while males have one X chromosome and one Y chromosome. From this basic genetic difference spring other biological differences. The genitalia are called primary sex characteristics , while the other differences that develop during puberty are called secondary sex characteristics and stem from hormonal differences between the two sexes. Girls develop breasts and wider hips and begin menstruating as nature prepares them for possible pregnancy and childbirth.
Sociology of gender - Wikipedia
While the biological differences between males and females are fairly straightforward, the social and cultural aspects of being a man or woman can be complicated. When filling out a document such as a job application or school registration form you are often asked to provide your name, address, phone number, birth date, and sex or gender. But have you ever been asked to provide your sex and your gender? Like most people, you may not have realized that sex and gender are not the same. However, sociologists and most other social scientists view them as conceptually distinct. Sex refers to physical or physiological differences between males and females, including both primary sex characteristics the reproductive system and secondary characteristics such as height and muscularity.
Sociology of Sexuality
Sexual practices can differ greatly among groups. Recent trends include the finding that married couples have sex more frequently than do singles and that 27 percent of married couples in their 30s have sex at least twice a week NSSHB Photo courtesy of epSos.
Just as gender is a social construction, so too is sexuality. Queen Victoria wanted to stop male aristocrats from having sex with other men, something that was not openly talked about, but still practised. There was no word for men having sex with other men, and Queen Victoria charged her physicians with studying this phenomenon. This history shows that by its very invention of the word, homosexuality was set up as the Other of heterosexuality. This history stays with our laws in the present day, and it explains why homosexuality is largely outlawed in British colonial states it is illegal in 41 of 53 Commonwealth nations.