Definitions and Distinctions
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines homosexuality as:
1 : the quality or state of being homosexual
2 : erotic activity with another of the same sex 1
1 : of, relating to, or characterized by a tendency to direct sexual desire toward another of the same sex
2 : of, relating to, or involving sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex
: a homosexual person and especially a male 2
1 a : happily excited : MERRY b : keenly alive and exuberant : having or inducing high spirits
2 a : BRIGHT, LIVELY
3 : given to social pleasures; also : LICENTIOUS
4 a : HOMOSEXUAL b : of, relating to, or used by homosexuals
: HOMOSEXUAL 3
Also, the term “gay” may be accurately used in place of the term “homosexual” (whether used as an adjective or as a noun).
The terms “gay” and “homosexual” have been used interchangeably throughout this website.
When discussing homosexuality, it is vital to distinguish between attraction and behavior. Being gay is characterized by a sexual attraction to others of the same sex. No assumptions may be made about the activities (sexual or otherwise) of a gay person.
Gay and Lesbian
Unless otherwise indicated, whenever this website uses the term “gay”, it is used inclusively to refer to both men and women.
Unfortunately, the term “sodomites” is sometimes used in ignorance to refer to homosexuals.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a sodomite as:
: one who practices sodomy 4
1 : copulation with a member of the same sex or with an animal
2 : noncoital and especially anal or oral copulation with a member of the opposite sex 5
Interestingly, the definition of sodomy includes oral sex between heterosexuals so the term “sodomite” would be more correctly applied to a heterosexual who engages in such behavior rather than a homosexual who does not engage in any sodomitic behavior. Of course, using this term at all is not recommended since many people find it offensive.
1 Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary www.m-w.com/dictionary/homosexuality
2 Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary www.m-w.com/dictionary/homosexual
3 Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary www.m-w.com/dictionary/gay
4 Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary www.m-w.com/dictionary/sodomite
5 Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary www.m-w.com/dictionary/sodomy
©2007 Informed Conscience