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Family Relations and Human Development
FRHD 2100
Robin Milhausen

Infancy (Birth -2yrs) Infants engage in a variety of “sexual behaviours” • Boys have erections in the first few weeks of life • Lubrication and genital swelling in infant girls • Stimulation of the genital can produce pleasure • Masturbation is typical, may start at five months • Children‟s reflexes should not be interpreted according to adult concepts of sexuality • Reflexes of lubrication and erection don‟t signify an interest in sex • Children should learn proper names for body parts Early Childhood (2- 5yrs) play doctor – Hugging, kissing, climbing on others is not cause for concern – Rough-and-tumble play, including touching the – Children should learn the basic rules of privacy, that they have autonomy over their own bodies, and distinctions between good and bad touch • Middle Childhood (5-8yrs) – Crushes and “dating” may occur – Curiosity about the genitals increases, playing doctor common between ages 6 and 10 – Exploratory same-sex play more common than play with the other gender; does not foreshadow adult sexual orientation – Experiences aren‟t sexual in terms of desire or sexual gratification – more about curiosity – May ask, “Where do babies come from?” – Discuss these issues with factual information – Children may show curiosity about anatomy genitals, is common • Preadolescence (9-12 yrs) – Sex-segregated groups and friendships common – Increasing preoccupation and self-consciousness with their bodies – Feel pressure to conform with peers – Critical for children of this age to be educated about physical and emotional changes they‟ll experience in puberty – better informed means better able to accepted changes in a positive way – Masturbation primary means of achieving orgasm • 45% of males and 15% of females masturbated by age 13 (Kinsey and colleagues, 1948, 1953) • Most activities are single episodes or short-lived experiences – Interest in other sex develops in heterosexuals – Sex play with others is common and not harmful • Adolescent Sexuality – Four main developmental tasks of adolescent ssexuality 1)Adapt to the physical and emotional changes of puberty 2)Accept yourself as a sexual being 3)Explore romantic and sexual relationships 4)Learn to protect your sexual health – Parents, educators and society at large have focused on 1 and 4, but 2 and 3 are equally important • Puberty – Begins with the appearance of secondary sex characteristics and ends when the long bones make no further gains in length • Secondary Sex Characteristics – Physical characteristics which differentiate males and females, appearing at puberty, not directly related to reproduction (e.g., body hair) • Primary Sex Characteristics – Physical characteristics that differentiate males and females and are directly involved in reproduction – Girls experience menarche between 10 and 18 •• Average age has declined in Western countries – Female changes • Estrogen stimulates breast development; growth of the uterus, vagina, and labia; and growth of the fatty supporting tissue in the hips and buttocks • Once cyclical, estrogen regulates the menstrual cycle • May take two years for ovulation to occur = Small amounts of androgens stimulate development of pubic and underarm hair Male changes: scrotum, and penis; fosters differentiation of the secondary sex characteristics • Scrotal sac becomes larger and hangs loosely from the body; the penis widens and lengthens, pubic hair appears • By age 13 or 14, erections become frequent, first ejaculations occur, most often through masturbation – After about a year, may experience nocturnal emissions • Voice deepens at age 14 or 15 • Underarm hair begins at 15, facial hair at 17 or 18 • Boys grow taller and increase in muscle mass – Romantic and Sexual Relationships: • During teen years, most adolescents have first romantic and sexual relationships • Learning how to develop satisfying, mutually beneficial relationships is a process of trial and error • Communication about sex related to greater relationship satisfaction • First sex occurs around age 17, most in the context of a romantic relationship • More females report being in love with first sexual partner • Males find it more physically than emotionally satisfying; the reverse is true for females •Teens overestimate how much sex their peers are having • Inaccurate assumptions about the sex lives of others can negatively impact our assessments of our own lives Talking with your Children about Sex Parents who avoid discussing may teach children that sex is something to be ashamed of Some tips: • Give developmentally-appropriate answers • Be approachable • Use appropriate language • Give advice the child can use to make decisions • Share information in small doses • Encourage child to talk about sex • Respect the child‟s privacy rights Masturbation: •• Major sexual outlet in adolescence • Boys more likely to masturbate than girls– Stronger sex drive or societal constraints? • Cultural and religious norms impact frequency • Considerable variation in both sexes – some masturbate frequently and some not at all • Researchers find no links between adolescent masturbation and sexual adjustment in adulthood Sexual Touching (Petting) • Most adolescents experiment with sexual touching • Experience of touching “below the waist” increases with age – about 75% of grade 11‟s have done so • Mutual masturbation a primary activity for those who don‟t feel ready for oral sex or intercourse or who want to avoid pregnancy or STI infection Oral Sex • Oral sex has captured the public‟s attention recently • Media reports have led to a false assumption that oral sex among teens happens frequently and indiscriminately • Oral sex is about as common as intercourse and occurs at about the same age Intercourse • 1⁄4 of grade 10 boys and girls reported having experienced sexual intercourse • The percentage of girls who have experienced sexual intercourse has declined in the past decade, boys rates have remained stable • About 2/3 of Canadians have intercourse by age 19 • Most sexually active youth 15 to 17 have only one intercourse partner at a time Casual Sex • Boys more favourable of casual sex than girls • Girls judged more harshly than boys for engaging in casual sex • Rates increase when non-intercourse behaviours are included • New names for pre-existing sexual practices (hooking up, booty call, friends with benefits) • Challenges include one partner wanting a more committed romantic and conflict over sex Minority groups: LGBTQ youth continue to face discrimination, prejudice, and violence – Self-acceptance is difficult because society doesn‟t really accept them – We know comparatively little about the timing and context of sexual behaviour among sexual minority youth • More LGB youth report sex with opposite sex partners than heterosexual yo– Youth with same sex attractions • More likely to be sexually experienced • More likely to have had sex at a younger age • More likely to have been pressured into sex • More likely to have had STIs • More likely to have experienced sexual violence • More likely to feel emotionally distressed • More likely to report low self-esteem • More likely to perceive school as unwelcoming Sexual Health in Adolescence Adolescent sexual health is improving in many respects; but challenges remain • Condom use has increased in recent years • Teen pregnancy rates have declined over the past several decades Unintended pregnancy and STI infection are threats to health and well-being – Adolescents use a number of strategies to protect their sexual health (e.g., abstinence, low-risk activities, condoms) ADULT SEXUALITY • Developmental Tasks – Adults tend to seek more long-term, complete relationships (marriage is primary relationship) • Passion – relationship begins with this • Friendship – most important for satisfying relationship • Communication – direct, about likes and dislikes •• Sexual health – no less important in adulthood Being Single Singlehood is now the most common lifestyle among people in their 20‟s (used to be marriage) – More eligible women than men – Many young adults, esp. men, live with parents – Some choose to remain single, some do not – Many achieve intimacy through friendships – Online dating and social networking sites provide new avenues for connecting with others Cohabitation not legally married – 84% of Canadians approve of cohabitation – Cohabitators 2x more likely to get divorced Common-law Relationship – A relationship in which two people live together as a couple but are not legally married • Same or other sex relationships • Cultures differ in their acceptance of this practice Many single people are lonely The state whereby two people live together Marriage Most common lifestyle in Canada; 3⁄4 of Canadians in their 30‟s will marry at some point – Most see marriage as something they hope will be permanent Same-Sex Marriage • In July, 2002, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ordered governments to redefine the term “marriage” to include same-sex couples • In 2005, Canadian Parliament passed legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry partnerships increased by 11% over 5 years • Many benefits for same sex couples, e– Acceptance by friends and family – Legal rights – Found in all human societies Why do People Marry? • Meets personal and cultural needs • Legitimizes sexual relationships • Permits maintenance of a home life • Provides an institution in which children can be supported and socialized • Helps to assure paternity • Leads to orderly transmission of wealth from one generation to the next – Love is the most common reason for marriage Arranged Marriage Among recent immigrants to Canada from the Middle East and Asia arranged \arriage is fairly common –Parents in Western cultures rarely arrange Who We Marry – People who attract us – People who seem to meet our material, sexual, and psychological needs – People who are similar to us in social background and standing (homogamy) • Ethnic background, educational level, religion, age – Men tend to be romantics and women tend to be pragmatic in making mate choices Marital Sexuality Most adult Canadians report having sex once ortwice a week (common-law most often, then married, then single) -Sexual frequency declines with age and with years of marriage – Sexual satisfaction associated with • Perceiving many sexual rewards and few costs • Open communication • Commitment in relationship Sexual Conflict • 1⁄4 men agreed “I like to do things my partner does not • 1/3 of women agreed “My partner chooses inconvenient times for sex More than 1/3 of Canadians have conflict about sex more than once a month •Those in common-law relationships have more conflict than married couples Sexual Orientation and Relationship Satisfaction – Similar factors predict relationship satisfaction in heterosexual and homosexual couples – For heterosexual and homosexual women, sexual satisfaction is tied to relationship satisfaction • All couples(regardless of sexual orientation)aremore satisfied when they are supported by their partners, share power, fight fairly and perceive their partners to be committed to their relationship In a study of couples in New Brunswick • Extramarital Sex – Motivations for extramarital sex: • Variety, to break routine, to express hostility to their spouse, to retaliate for injustice, curiosity, desire for personal growth, to boost self-esteem, to prove they‟re still attractive, lack of satisfaction in marital relationships – Women are usually seeking “soulmates” while men are seeking “playmates” – Men more likely to separate love and sex, more approving of extramarital Copyright © 2013 Pearson Canada Inc. Human Sexuality in a World of Diversity, 4Ce Adult Sexuality • Extramarital Sex (continued) • Most married couples believe monogamy is critical • Many Canadians believe an affair would definitely (41%) or probably (27%) end of their relationship – Effects of Extramarital Sex • Emotions such as anger, jealousy, shame, feelings of inadequacy, insecurity • Perceived breach of trust and intimacy • May speed relationship dissolution or lead to renewed efforts and commitment Copyright © 2013 Pearson Canada Inc. 17 – Attitudes Towards Extramarital Sex 20/12/2012 Human Sexuality in a World of Diversity, 4Ce Adult Sexuality • Divorce – According to Statistics Canada projections, 337.9% of marriages that took place in 2004 will end in divorce • The average age for divorce will be 44 for men and 41.2 for women – Divorce rate peaked in 1987 in response to changes to the Divorce Act in 1985 which made it easier to obtain a divorce – Divorces are most likely to occur after three to four years of marriage Copyright © 2013 Pearson Canada Inc. Human Sexuality in a World of Diversity, 4Ce Adult Sexuality • Divorce (continued) – Divorce rates increasing because: • No-fault divorce laws allow divorces without findings of marital misconduct • Women‟s increased economic independence • More people today consider marriage to be an alterable stage • People have higher expectations for marriage Copyright © 2013 Pearson Canada Inc. 18 20/12/2012 Human Sexuality in a World of Diversity, 4Ce Senior Sexuality • More than 4.3 million people in Canada are senior citizens, and that number is growing twice as fast as the general population • Beliefs about sexuality in older persons: – Sexual activity is only appropriate for the young – Older people are sexless – Older people with sexual urges are abnormal – Older males with sexual interests are “dirty old men” Copyright © 2013 Pearson Canada Inc. Human Sexuality in a World of Diversity, 4Ce Senior Sexuality • Research doesn‟t support that individuals – Physical ability to function sexually diminishes somewhat –
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