Effect of Internalized Heterosexism on Sexual Affect
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The United States has a culture largely influenced by heteronormativity. Effects of heteronormativity include prejudice and systemic mistreatment toward individuals in the LGBT+ community. It also fuels internalized heterosexism. Internalized heterosexism has been associated with psychological distress (e.g., depression) (Szymanski, Chung, & Balsam, 2001), lower levels of self-disclosure as queer, and other feelings and behaviors such as the feeling of rejection, shame, and sexual guilt (Wayment & Aronson, 2002). The current study aims to see if there is a relationship between internalized heterosexism and a person’s sexual affect, or their overall negative or positive reactions toward external sexual materials and behaviors. To do so, surveys soliciting information about participants’ attitudes toward homosexuality and sexual affect were distributed to 254 undergrad students. The resulting data indicate that there is a relationship between shame, a facet of sexual affect, and the interaction of sexual orientation and internalized heterosexism, F (1, 250) = 4.48, p = .035. Further studies should be conducted with more LGBT+ identifying participants to determine if internalized heterosexism affects other facets of sexual affect.