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Human male sexuality encompasses a broad range of issues, behavior and processes, including male sexual desires and sexual behavior, the physiological, psychological, social, cultural, political, and spiritual or religious aspects of sex. Various aspects and dimensions of male sexuality, as a part of human sexuality, have also been addressed by principles of ethics, morality, and theology. In almost any historical era and culture, the arts, including literary and visual arts, as well as popular culture, present a substantial portion of a given society's views on human sexuality, which also include implicitly or explicitly male sexuality. In most societies and legal jurisdictions, there are legal bounds on what sexual behavior is permitted. Sexuality varies across the cultures and regions of the world, and has continually changed throughout history, and this applies equally to male sexuality. Aspects of male sexuality include issues pertaining to biological sex, body image, self-esteem, personality, values and attitudes, gender roles, relationships, activity options, and communication.

Views regarding the concept of sexual orientation

The universal applicability of modern Western concepts of sexual orientation has been questioned by such scholars as twentieth-century French philosopher Michel Foucault. The debate here is an instance of a broader conversation in social theory between social constructionists and essentialists.

Essentialists maintain that people across time and cultures, can be neatly divided into sexual identities determined on the basis of the sex of the partner desired as heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual, claiming these identities represent natural divisions. Thus, they also deem it valid to use these categories or descriptions on animals. Social constructionists argue that sexual identities, especially those based on the sex of the partner, have been socially constructed, and are thus culturally specific. While essentialists claim that there have always been equivalents of 'homosexual' identity in all times and all cultures, social constructionists claim that in all times and cultures, only passive sex by effeminate/ transgendered males was identified as a separate category, and rather than a sexual identity, these were gender identities. Social constructionists assert that these identities are specific to certain cultures and historical periods. Historian David Greenberg, for instance, argues that the concept of homosexuality did not exist prior to the mid-nineteenth century. He argues that "the production and dissemination of a medical discourse in the recent past ... gave birth not just to the concept of a homosexual person, but also to homosexuals themselves, and at the same time, to their antitwins, heterosexual persons.". Thus according to social constructionists, it is misleading to judge past relationships of men, with men, women and the third gender, through the concepts of 'sexual orientation'.

Other scholars have suggested that even when there has emerged a 'homosexual identity' for one class of males, the corresponding 'heterosexual identity' is either not present or is undeveloped.

Ideas of gender and sexual orientation are closely linked. (The putatively homosexual identity exhibits some continuity with third sex identities and is more closely associated by some modern Western stereotypes with putative femininity in males. Gender provides a lens through which cross-cultural (and intracultural) differences regarding male sexuality may appear particularly clear.

Cultural differences related to male gender and sexuality

Strong men's spaces

As evidenced from published references from different parts of the traditional (non-westernised) non-western world (Indiamarker, Indonesiamarker, and certain countries in the Arab world)), the society is often divided into men's, women's and third gender spaces.

The men's spaces are very strong in the sense that they guard against the process of heterosexualization —- which has the effect of isolating and removing male-male sexuality from these spaces into a separate ghetto—and also provides men a lot of relief from pressures of social manhood (such as exaggerating one's sexual need for women, and suppressing one's sexual need for men). The strength of men's spaces can also be seen by the fact that these spaces resist the imposition of the western practice of isolation of same-sex male sexual bonds from these spaces, through the concept of homosexuality. Men's spaces refer to spaces which are exclusively for men, and where women are either not allowed or their entry is highly restricted. These spaces are extremely important for men and their manhood and very congenial to bonds between men, including sexual bonds. These sexual bonds are very open if the formal society is accepting, otherwise hidden to various degrees, depending upon how hostile the formal society is.

It is said that before the heterosexualization of the West, more openness about intimacy existed amongst who are today known as 'straight' men in the West.

Perceptions of men’s sexual desires for other men as universal

Some anthropological research has suggested that in Afghanistanmarker (especially Kandaharmarker), Indiamarker, Pakistanmarker, Bangladeshmarker, Sri Lankamarker, Moroccomarker and elsewhere, men's sexual desires for other men is understood as universal, and not the characteristic of one or more sexual minorities. According to this research, a man's display of sexual interest in another man in social environments in which this understanding is shared may not be seen as a sign of difference from the societal mainstream. Belief in the ordinariness and ubiquity of male same-sex desire may be freely acknowledged, as it apparently is in Kandahar. In other cultural settings, same-sex desire may be openly acknowledged in spaces socially defined as male but denied in formal or mixed gender spaces (e.g., in India).

Similar conceptions of the universality of sexual attraction between masculine males are documented in ancient Greece—popularly considered the precursor of modern Western culture—and in more recent Western sources that predate the construction of modern Western notions of gender and sexuality.

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