Lesbianism , also called sapphism or female homosexuality , the quality or state of intense emotional and usually erotic attraction of a human female to another female. As it was first used in the late 16th century, the word Lesbian was the capitalized adjectival term referring to the Greek island of Lesbos. The history of lesbianism to the present has been largely reconstructed by European and American theorists starting in the late 20th century. Perceptions from other cultures are not readily available. Just as heterosexual orientation produces a great variety of behaviours, so, too, lesbianism presents no unified face.
A lesbian is a homosexual woman. The concept of "lesbian" to differentiate women with a shared sexual orientation evolved in the 20th century. Throughout history, women have not had the same freedom or independence as men to pursue homosexual relationships, but neither have they met the same harsh punishment as homosexual men in some societies. Instead, lesbian relationships have often been regarded as harmless and incomparable to heterosexual ones, unless the participants attempted to assert privileges traditionally enjoyed by men. As a result, little in history was documented to give an accurate description of how female homosexuality was expressed. When early sexologists in the late 19th century began to categorize and describe homosexual behavior, hampered by a lack of knowledge about homosexuality or women's sexuality, they distinguished lesbians as women who did not adhere to female gender roles and incorrectly designated them mentally ill—a designation which has been reversed in the global scientific community. Women in homosexual relationships responded to this designation either by hiding their personal lives or accepting the label of outcast and creating a subculture and identity that developed in Europe and the United States.
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The word sapphist is a less common word for lesbian. When talking about historical figures, one does not talk about the Sappho. She is known to be the lesbian lyricist born between B. E and B. E in the Island of Lesbos near modern day Turkey.