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Ryerson University
SOC 603
Pamela Sugiman

SOC 603: Gender Relations: Sexuality and Intimacy Sexuality & Physical Intimacy • Humans sexuality, too, is a social construct – not necessarily biologically determined • Both biologically and social components How is human sexuality socially shaped? • Different standards for men and women when it comes to expressing their sexuality - If women are sexually active they are considered to be “promiscuous” whereas men are congratulated • Expressions of sexuality are narrowly defined: heterosexual bias • Compulsory heterosexuality (Adrienne Rich): as the ways in which our society promotes heterosexual relationships as natural and inevitable In What Ways do we Reveal a Heterosexual Bias? • Cultural opposition to same sex relationships • ‘Sexual’ vs. romantic same sex-relationships (Savins-Williams) – some people have participated in same-sex relationships based solely on sex and other have been in long-term same sex relationships • Sustained, long term relationship were found to be more likely to be regarded as ‘deviant’ and problematic – people are more accepting of same-sex relationships that involve emotions- with ‘just sex’ relationships we can rationalize that is experimentation and they will move on, get married, and have kids.) • Fear and ostracism in young gays and lesbians – there is a goal of conformity to be accepted by other people you are around (ex. highschool) • Heterosexual sex as proof of normality – gay or lesbian people may perform these actions as a way to fit in (may also enter into heterosexual relationship and may realize later on that they want to be in a same-sex relationships) • Many people in the study claimed that, even though they are now openly gay and lesbian, they had previously heterosexual relationships before coming out Homosexuality as Abnormal, Immoral and Criminal • Homosexuality was considered to be abnormal, immoral and criminal • Bill C-150 was an amendment to the Criminal Law of Canada, decriminalized ‘homosexuality’ (and legalized abortion and contraception) Trudeau 1968-1969 -- Statement that the government does not have a place in peoples bedrooms • Age of consent for anal sex (18) higher than for vaginal sex (16) • “Close in age” legislation • 14 to 15 years: many have sex with partner less than 5 years older • 12 to 13 years: may have sex with a partner who is less than 2 years older • One standard involving anal sex and another involving vaginal however the laws behind anal sex are much stricter Heterosexist Bias • Many of our knowledge of sexuality comes from the ideas of Sigmund Freud • Sexologist constitute what is considered “normal” sexual behavior • Primary of intercourse and male penetration (one person acts as the active agent and others acts as the passive receptor: men are often the active agent and women are often the receptors Considered to be the norm) • Relationships should ultimately revolve around sexual activity • Active male, passive female • Two categories of activity: foreplay and afterplay- situates intercourse in the middles, as the most important action • For
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