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Sociology of Sexuality

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Sociology of Sexuality

Rev. Tim Ralph claims that after three weeks of intensive counseling Rev. Ted Haggard is now “completely heterosexual.”

  1. In what ways does this claim reflect an “over-socialized” functionalist understanding of sexuality?

Rev. Ted Haggard was dismissed from the leadership of the church because of his homosexual conduct. The behavior is not acceptable by the church as such is deemed wayward. Sexual activities may affect people other than who are directly involved, or damage to the social organization as a whole.  According to Stein (1989), the functionalist’s assumptions hold that it is up to the society to generate the norms in order to keep wayward sexual impulses in check. Roles by institution such as churches determine direct dispositions and behavior of people with regard to sexual matters (p.5). Therefore, any instance where an individual is known to have had such relations is used in its entirety to claim that the person is homosexual. This is clearly seen when Rev. Ted is no longer in the leadership of the church and his behavior was not a constant thing.  In this case, Kinsey (1948) postulates that everywhere in our society there is a tendency to consider an individual a homosexual if he is known to have had a single experience with another individual of his own sex. Under the law, an individual may receive the same penalty for a single homosexual experience that he would for a continuous record of experiences. In penal and mental institutions, a male is likely to be considered a homosexual if he is discovered to have had a single contact with another male (p. 637).

  1. How would Kinsey respond to such a claim in light of his rating scale?Sociology of Sexuality

Kinsey would assert that Rev. Ted Haggard is still a homosexual as an individual is considered a homosexual if he is known to have had a single experience with another individual of his own sexual orientation. According to Kinsey, it is further implied that from birth one is fated to be either heterosexual or homosexual and that there is little chance for one to change his pattern in the course of a lifetime. Therefore, it is not possible that Rev. Ted would have changed his sexuality over three weeks of counseling because there is little chance that he may be changed entirely.