On the basis of the understanding that the shaping, experience, and meaning of sexual identities is informed by the social context, an exploratory study of sexual identities was done with a college sample in urban Turkey. Participants included 225 students taking an introductory psychology course at a private urban university in İstanbul (66.5% women, 33.5% men, age range: 18–30 years, M=20.1, SD=1.7, 98% heterosexual identified). A questionnaire was used to investigate how young people explain the development of their sexual identity and how it affects their lives. An overwhelming majority identified their sexual identity, feelings, and experiences as always having been the same and were quite confident that their sexual identity would remain the same into the future. Participants saw their heterosexuality as mostly having to do with ‘outside forces’ including general references to the role of society, culture, and social expectations and norms, family structure and socialization, peer relations, and modeling. Most perceived their sexual identity to have a positive effect on their lives. Results suggest some evidence of interest in and openness to considering issues of sexual identity among these young people, and are discussed in the context of previous research on heterosexual identity development, sociocultural factors, and with reference to the historical meanings of sexual identities and practices in Turkey.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 1, 2006
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