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SOC 633 (31)
Lecture

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC 633
Professor
Amrita Ahluwalia
Semester
Summer

Description
Sex and sexuality Biological sex: sex is defined scientifically with regard to biological parameters of maleness or femaleness Gender: it is a social construct. It is the psychological aspects of psycho sexual development. Differences between men and women that are culturally, rather than biologically based. Culturally variable, changes over time. It is very subjective. Gender identity: basic sense of self as being a male or female, a boy or a girl. It is the largest sex difference. Most biological males feel like boys or men and most biological females feel like girls or women. It is not biological, it is what you see, whats around you. Develops at the age of 2-4 years, having a sense of gender identity. Sexuality Sexuality: refers to not only reproduction and the pursuit of sexual pleasure, but also our need for love and personal fulfillment. Sexuality is socially constructed trough the sex/gender system on both personal level of individual consciousness and inter-personal relationships and the social structural level of social institutions (Foucault, 1980) Reflects the need of given historical moment such that social construction of sexuality change in tandem with changing social conditions. It incorporates many biological, psychological and cultural factors. It includes our awareness of and reaction to our maleness or femaleness. Examples: feelings such as feminity, masculinity, desire, satisfaction, love, loss, intimacy Sexual orientation: not just who we have sex with but who we are attracted to (just sexual attraction). Intersexed: a person who is born between (inter) sexes, having partially or fully developed pairs of female and male sex organs. Intersexed is preferred over the word hermaphrodite. Transgendered: an umbrella term used to describe people whose gender identity (sense of themselves as male or female) or gender expression differs from that usually associated with their birth sex. Broadly speaking, anyone whose identity, appearance, or behavior falls outside of conventional gender norms can be described as transgender. Two-spirited: usually used to indicate a person whose body simultaneously houses a masculine spirit and a feminine spirit. Two spirits might have relationships with people of either sex. Normative diagram of sex, gender and attraction. Sexuality Biological Factors - Begin exerting their influence early in embryonic development as the sex organs differentiate into either male or female form. - Our ultimate sexuality maybe influenced even before we are born - Throughout the life cycle, our sexuality continues to be molded by biological factors. Psychological Factors: - There is our own concept of ourselves as either male or female and our notions of what form of behaviors are appropriate for our particular sex, or gender. - Our sexual feelings and behaviors are influenced by a lifetime of experiences - Self - esteem, our sense of personal value impacts our sexual feelings and behaviors. Cultural factors: - Our feelings and perception are strongly influenced by our culture and sexuality is a matter of feelings. - Concept of sexuality varies from place to place and varies from era to era. Sexuality Research 1890 1930s: Moralistic social problem Research took moralistic social problem approach to study sexual behavior The Church was involved, morality was decided by the society. 1940 1960s: Modern sex research 1940s: Alfred Kinsey and other behavioral scientists Deviance researchers qualitative analyses: Humphries (1961); Weinberg (1958); Reiss (1961); Heyl (1979). Deviance: describe actions or behaviors that violate social norms. Similarity: Both treated sexuality as completely apart from social processes shaping it. Late 1970s onwards: Sexuality as outgrowth of areas of gender, feminist and womens studies. Biological sex (male or female) was crucial source of differentiation, omnipresent in social relations and the fabric of society. Before, religion and the church claim your sexuality and your behaviors, later on, people use biology to describe your behaviors and sexuality. Analyses demonstrated that differentiation by sex was essential in shaping distribution of social goods and services. Being male or female influenced by opportunities, responsibilities, and behaviors considered appropriate for each sex. Differences between men and women are culturally, rather than biologically based. Questions left unanswered about the social context: - Impact of social forces and diversity of sexual behaviors. Deviance research did not explore: Why ideas about normal or typical sexuality were determined? Whose interests did these definitions serve? Video: Psychologists use to believe that people are homosexual because of nurture, these days they learn toward to nature. There are studies on the behaviors of a mix of straight + gay people to identify who are straight or gay. Not completely because of genetic because there are twins, and one gay while other one is not. It could be because of hormones, genres and environment. Psychologists believe that between twins, the chance of the older brother to be gay is 1/3.
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