homosexuality

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From homosexual +‎ -ity, equivalent to homo- +‎ sexuality and after the model of German Homosexualität, coined by journalist K.M. Kertbeny in 1869, and French homosexualité, attested in 1891.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

homosexuality (usually uncountable, plural homosexualities)

  1. The state of being sexually attracted primarily or exclusively to persons of the same sex, sometimes (potentially offensive) restricted to same-sex attraction between males. [1892]
    • 1892, Charles Gilbert Chaddock translating Richard von Krafft-Ebing as Psychopathia Sexualis, p. 185:
      Great diminution or complete absence of sexual feeling for the opposite sex, with substitution of sexual feeling and instinct for the same sex. (Homo-sexuality, or contrary sexual instinct).
    • 1892 April 2, “Hereditary Insanity: This is What Dr. Comstock Says Alice Mitchell Has”, in Memphis Appeal-Avalanche[1], Memphis, Tenn., page 1:
      Some of the experts have gone into the question of homosexuality with great care, and advanced sundry learned and scientific theories in regard to that abnormal condition.
    • 2005, Mark Caldwell, New York Night, p. 133:
      Of the dozen or so surviving articles, squibs, and letters to the editor, the most remarkable appeared in the Whip and Satirist’s February 12, 1842, issue, and disclosed the existence of a cabal of gay men in New York's otherwise wholesome nightscape of brothels and riots. Moreover it identified the spider who minced so delicately along the wide-flung strands of the sodomitical web. "There is not one so degraded as this Captain Collins, the King of the Sodomites." He was a foreigner, an Englishman, in the long tradition of blaming homosexuality on the influence of aliens. Among the syndicate of perverts, the writer announced, "we find no Americans as yet—they are all Englishmen or French" (the English called homosexuality the French vice and the French the English vice; for the Whip it was the French and English vice).
  2. Sexual activity with a person of the same sex, sometimes (potentially offensive) restricted to same-sex sex between males. [1897]
    • 1897, Havelock Ellis & al., Sexual Inversion, p. 101:
      Bourneville believes that 75 per cent. of the inmates of the Parisian venereal hospitals have practised homosexuality.

Usage notes[edit]

As homosexuality in women is also known as lesbianism, the term homosexuality can be used with particular reference to male homosexuality, although such usage can be considered sexist. Different cultural constructions of same-sex love are collectively referred to as homosexualities.

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