Chapter 7: Personal Relationships and Sexuality
Communicating with others
- Communication stems from a desire to know and a decision to tell
- By opening up to others we increase our self-knowledge and understanding
- Good communication skills &building relationships supports the social health dimension
- Friendships &intimate relationships always demand emotional investment
- Important to sharpen communication skills as a relationship evolves
- Self-revelation is especially important for females while dating the opposite sex
- Authenticity is very important for happiness and proper functioning of a relationship
- Listening is an active process of trying to understand a person’s feelings and motivation
- More than 90% of communication may be nonverbal
- Most common: space/proximity, touch, eye contact, facial expression, gestures, posture, physical
appearance, & para-verbal language (um, uh-huh, etc.).
- Understanding nonverbal is one of the best tools for good communication in life, personal &
professional; it’s one of the most practical skills you can develop
- Nonverbal messages come from your own sense of self-esteem – very personal
- People with good self-esteem & self-respect have a more relaxed way of talking and moving
- Self-esteem provides a positive foundation for relationships
- We can’t love or accept others until we love & accept ourselves, however imperfect we may be
- People with lack of self-esteem…
- Tend to seek friends/partners who are critical/rejecting &confirm their low opinion of themselves.
- tend to have higher levels alcohol consumption, more sexual partners &risk taking behaviours
- Friendship > the bond of society >transcends all boundaries of distance and differences
- Friendships of adolescence/young adulthood are the closest; ease the transition to independence
- Qualities in a good friend: honesty, acceptance, dependability, empathy &loyalty
- Male/female friendships: unique problems such as distinguishing between friendship /romantic
attraction, & dealing with sexual tension
- Men benefit from friendship with women by getting support &nurturance. They like talking/relating
with each other
-Women enjoy the casualness, with more joking/less fear if hurt feelings & like gaining insight into what
men really think
- FWB (friends with benefits): no commitment for romance, provides comfort &trust. In these
relationships, people often evaded clear relational rules. - Hooking up: sexual activity with a casual partner; may be a friend or stranger.
- Common aspect: doesn’t involve commitment/exclusivity
- Studies show sexual behaviour in college is much lower than perceived
- Because of the difference in psycho social development, many young women find comfort in
connection but fearful of separation, and many young men value independence and are hesitant to
- Low condom use leading to higher levels of STIs; when untreated, causes women to become infertile
- Internet dating raises issues of negotiation and trust. Many of the same problems as traditional dating
- Dating teaches you how to converse with others, opportunity to share feelings/opinions/interests/
explore sexual identity
- LDDR (long distance dating relationship): living apart for not less than 3 months and being 321 km
away. 1 in 5 LLDR’s end.
- Infidelity: defined in a broad way; any form of emotional or sexual intimacy with someone other than
your primary partner, from flirtation to intercourse.
- More excusable if the relationship was in trouble. The most common reaction to infidelity is jealousy.
- Emotional infidelity is most upsetting in general for both genders (gay or straight) but especially so for
- Dating violence is common on college campuses – psychological most common
- Most important reasons of attraction: warmth, kindness, desirable personality, something specific
- Signs of romantic love: longing for attention from the person, fear of rejection, mood swings, growth of
passion, & intrusive thinking.
- Two “waves” of passion - 1 wave think of person 30% of the time. 2 wave think of person 100% of
the time. Average life span of romantic attraction lasts about 2 years, secretive affairs a bit longer.
- Intimacy: open, trusting, sharing of close confidential thoughts and feelings. Requires time &nurturing
- Romantic love: intimacy and passion
- Companionate love: intimacy and commitment
- Fatuous love: passion and commitment
- Sternberg’s Love Triangle: 3 components > Intimacy, commitment, passion. Consummate (mature) love
requires all 3 (Pg 171 of textbook)
- mature love in intimacy is unique, passion is sexual and psychological, commitment is based on
personal values ðics.
- The person who ends a relationship feels greater guilt, uncertainty &discomfort than the rejected one,
unless they have higher levels of jealousy.
- People usually end their relationships due to dissatisfaction/unhappiness which may cause love to stop
growing - Dr. Chapman’s five love languages:
- Words of affirmation: verbal compliments, words of appreciation/that help someone feel loved
- Quality time: focused and full attention, quality conversation and activities together
- Giving gifts: purchased or handmade, being present for an event, a lasting tribute, etc.
- Acts of service: housework, cooking dinner, anything your partner has asked you to do in past month
- Physical touch: simple as touch on the shoulder or a hug, handholding, or passionate sex
- If breaking up is on your mind, determine a different love language you/your partner may need
- As relationships break down women usually feel fear and mean feel shame
- cheap forgiveness: superficial and undeserved >often used to preserve a relationship
- refusing to forgive: may make you feel in control, but often deepens regret &revenge
- acceptance: when the person who hurt you can’t/won’t participate in healing. Self-care/opting for an
incomplete relationship or no relationship.
- genuine forgiveness: the person who’s hurt must all forgiveness, while the person who hurt the other
must earn forgiveness or help the “hurt party” deal
- Dysfunctional relationship: ones which do not promote healthy communication, honesty and intimacy
- Occurs in all economic and social groups
- In some cases, they use their partners as mood-altering drugs to make their life okay.
- Begin to isolate themselves from eachother, friends, family
- Symptoms like headaches, digestive troubles &inability to sleep >signs of destructive relationship
- Emotional abuse: constant berating, belittling, and criticism. Reduces self-confidence, belief in ourself.
-Signs of emotional abuse:
- attempting to control various aspects of your life: what you say/wear
-frequently humiliating you
-wanting to know where you are: and who you’re with at all times
-threating to harm you
- trying to coerce you: into doing anything that makes you uncomfortable (i.e. unwanted sexual activity)
-Monogamy: committed relationships with exclusive sexual involvement
- social monogamy: perception of being monogamous by others
- Serial monogamy: entering monogamous relationships one right after another
- Open relationship: agree to sexual involvement outside their primary relationship
- Polyamory: having more than more intimate relationships at a time when everyone has
- Cohabitation: common-law relationship
- In Canada courts determine cohabitation (unmarried) with 7 factors:
1) Shelter: do they live together 2) Sexual and personal behaviour: do they maintain intimate/ interdependent relationship &are they
perceived by others to do so?
3) Services: do they share traditional functions of a family?
4) Social: do they portray themselves as a couple to the outside world?
5) Societal: how are they treated by their community?
6) Children: do they see children as part of their home and interact parentally with each other’s children
if there are any?
- If partners have lived together for 12 consecutive months a division of CPP benefits can be attained
- The same income-tax rules apply to married and unmarried couples of 12 months.
- In Ontario, family law says you must cohabit for 3 years for common-law relationship status
- Not long ago marriage was like a contract made by parents for economic/political reasons
- Choice of marriage partners in Canada tends to be the norm.
- 33% of first marriages end in divorce
- Generally, men and women marry people from the same geographical location and from the same
social background, but as society becomes more culturally diverse, interracial, cross-cultural and same
sex marriage is becoming more common &accepted
- Some studies show odds of failure for long term, racially/culturally blended relationships are higher
- Crucial ingredients for commitment are:
- willingness to change in response to each other
- a willingness to tolerate flaws
- a match in religious beliefs
- and the ability to communicate effectively
- There are scientific ways of predicting marital happiness; assessments that identify strengths
- Common predictors of relationship discord, unhappiness, and separation are: high levels of arousal
during a discussion, or defensive behaviours (making excuses/denial of responsibility) in disagreements
- Most Canadians form a “census” family – living with other people, usually spouse/partner/parent/child
- Lone parents families have increased – lone father families rose twice as fast as lone-mother families
- Less census family couples have children as 20 years ago
- People in their 20s are delaying couple union, yet more young people are living common-law
- 1 in 12 Canadians live in separate homes from their partners for work availability/family responsibilities
- Same-sex, common-law couples increasing. More male same-sex common-law than female
- Canada legalized same-sex marriage in 2005. Other countries: Belgium, Netherlands, Spain & U.S.
- Quebec was the first province to include sexual orientation in its Human Rights Code
What is Sexual and Gender Identity?
- Sexual Identity: defined in two ways > biology, and self-identification perspective
- Biology: begins at conception. All eggs are X, sperm are X or Y. XX = female, XY = male. - Gonads: testes in males, ovaries in females, 8 days after c