Is Sexual Difference a Construct of Society?

A common idea floating around our culture today is that sexual differences between men and women are a construct of society, i.e., determined by social norms, expectations and experiences. The idea purports that sexual and gender traits are what society makes them to be and are malleable (subjected to changes). Because of these ideas, many people think the differences between men and women are for all intents and purposes meaningless or even oppressive.

But is sexual and gender differences what we make of them? Are they caused by social experiences or is there a contribution from nature? The lived experiences of so many people certainly suggest at least that sexual differences have something to do with one’s body and that society has less influence on one’s authentic sexual identity than is often assumed. While the interconnection between biology and developmental experiences are difficult to understand, there is something more at the root of one’s sexual identity than the dictate of society.

Sexual differences between men and women form the basis for the complementarity that is fundamental to a marital relationship. This foundation is a necessary condition for the uniqueness of the marital bond. The differences lie not only in personality and psychology, but are enfleshed in a physical complementarity without which a relationship is incapable of entering into a marriage.

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About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
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