Sex Identity and Gender Identity

Sex Identity and Gender Identity


  • Sex identity: Sex identity simply refers to whether we are a male or female. There are obvious biological differences between a male and a female. In terms of chromosomes males are XY whereas females are XX. The male hormone is testosterone whereas the female hormone is oestrogen.
  • Gender identity: Gender identity is concerned with how males and females are expected to behave in a particular culture and how closely an individual matches these expectations. How an individual behaves, dresses, talks and thinks is his/her gender identity. Sometimes a person’s gender identity is at odds with how their gender is expected to behave. A man, for example, might be more comfortable wearing dresses and knitting than he does playing football and going to the pub. In some cultures the gender divide is far more fluid and far less stereotyped than probably you or I are used to.


Over the next few pages we will outline and discuss the main points about the Psychodynamic Theory of Gender Development, the Social Learning Theory of Gender Development and finally the Gender Schema Theory of Gender Development. As you work through these theories it will be crucial to bear in mind the physical differences between the male and female bodies and how these play a part in understanding the formation of people’s gender identities.