Social Model of Sexuality

Updated: DECEMBER 23, 2019

A social model of sexuality is a way of approaching sexuality that considers many aspects of an individual's life and how they may inform their own sexuality rather than focusing exclusively on the anatomical and/or physiological components of sex. In this model, a sexual complaint is addressed by looking at the individual's experiences of sexuality involving friends, family, social networks or larger societal structures. Messages that the individual has received and internalized can be key to understanding sexual complaints that present as physical.

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The benefits of a social model of sexuality include that this approach does not declare any specific type of body or kind of sexuality to be correct or better, and it allows for diversity by setting people up in relation to other people, rather than in relation to a medical norm. It also allows space for individuals to dictate the parameters of their sexuality, rather than having to fit into a pre-determined category. This is a holistic model, and, as such, it can be problematic if medical advice is excluded from it entirely.


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