Lecture Eight: Sexuality
HistoricalAttitudes: NorthAmerican view of sex was shaped by Puritan and Victorian inﬂuences, which viewed sex as a weakness of the ﬂesh.
It was not something to be enjoyed, and seen more as a duty to procreate.
1950s → sex of any kind, even implied (ie. kissing), was banned from television.
1960s → sexual revolution did little to change the perception of sex by the media, despite the fact that people’s views were increasingly more
1990s-Present → much of the media encourages artists to provide clean versions of songs, the notion of mentioning sex will be detrimental to
Alfred Kinsey: In the 1940s he was asked to do a guest lecture on human sexuality but realized that there was no research on the topic. He
conducted in depth interviews and published The Kinsey Report → 2 prominent books, one on females and one on males.
- he discovered that 50% of individuals cheated
- most of his studies relied on self-selected samples but because there were so many people Kinsey felt justiﬁed as using this as a measure of
the general population
- male motivation for sex was much higher
- men wanted higher frequency of sex, think about it more, have more intense fantasies, masturbate more, and are more likely to make
sacriﬁces for sex
women’s sexual motivation was more inﬂuenced by situational, social, and cultural factors, sexual motivation was usually paired with one
Publishing the report:
- did not cause that much of an uproar
- minimal changes have been made when the constructs were retested in 1994
people ﬁnd partners who are similar to themselves in age, sex, race, ect.
- most people met their signiﬁcant others at social events (ie. church)
Gender Differences In Sexuality: look at frequency of sex on a 1-5 scale
- majority of people was a few times a month to 2-3 times per week
- smallest proportion of people was 4+ times a week
shows a normal distraction, the “4 times a week” group did not increase drastically after Kinsey report so it did not produce the anticipated
negative consequences of publishing an article on sexuality → there was an initial fear that people would start to have more sex
SexualActivity Studies: Canada
Total Findings: individuals who had sex between the ages of 15 and 19 dropped from 47% of individuals to 43% of individuals.
Males: relatively stable
Females: drop from 51% to 43%
Ages 15-17: decrease from 32% to 29%
Ages 18-19: drop from 70% to 65%
Quebec: highest rates because of a different French-inﬂuenced mentality
Ontario: dropping and one of the lowest rates
Globally: survey conduced by Laumann et al (2006)
- woman have a lower degree of sexual satisfaction than men
31% of women had low interest in sex, 22% were unable to orgasm, 21% unable to enjoy sex, 20% had difﬁculty lubricating 14% had painful
Individualist vs. Collectivist cultures had an inﬂuence on sexual satisfaction. More individualistic cultures are often more predisposed for gender
equality which leads to higher sexual satisfaction. More collectivist cultures have a larger male-centred gender gap which leads to lower sexual
satisfaction. This is not always the case as some collectivist cultures such as Egypt, Italy and Thailand have higher levels of sexual satisfaction
the expected by this binary.
Meston and Buss (2007) identiﬁed 237 reasons for why people have sex. Eventually, this was narrowed down to four reasons: (1) positive
affectionate behaviour and communication, (2) arousal and receptivity, (3) obligation, (4) circumstantial.
these could be independent processes or a combination could be responsible for an individual experience
- women cite affection for partner as a primary reason for having sex
- men are more likely to initiate sex
- people already engaging in sex focus more on arousal-related factors rather than affection-related factors → perhaps because this message has
already been communicated
How soon into dating do couples have sex (Christopher and Cates1985)?
1. Rapid: 7%
2. Gradual: 31% (ie. a few dates)
3. Delayed 44% (ie. not until the relationship has been deﬁned)
4. Low 17% (waiting or general low interest in sex)
Communication: discussing past sexual experience, voicing interest,
- verbal expressions are almost always preceded by non-verbal communication such as decreasing proximity, maintaining eye contact,
maintaining touch, etc. -
men almost always view these signals as “sexy” but women can sometimes see them as creepy if she is not interested
Two ways to disengage: (1) avoiding prospectively: ignoring unwanted advances, (2) incomplete rejection: not right now, next time, maybe later.
- all of these can lead to conﬂict or hurt feelings
Sexual frequency decreases over time with age, however this is not due to health problems.
This could be due to impediments (such as jobs, children, etc.): when these factors decrease, sexual frequency increases. Studies show that older
adults have a lot more sex than younger counterparts when looking at impediments.
Extra-Dyadic Sexual Relations
- different reports show a higher than expected rate of extramarital intercourse
50% of men and 26% of women, according to some reports in the USA
Blumstien and Schwartz (1983) surveyed for extra dyadic sex but not necessarily extra-marital and found:
- 33% of straight men, 20% of straight women, 28% of lesbian women, and 82% of gay men had participated in extra-dyadic sexual relations
- women seek affairs around the time of ovulation
- men are more likely to seek affairs
men usually seek extra-dyadic sex for physical/pleasure, women for emotional relations
- however, these factors do not explain rates among homosexual couples
- numbers are likely lower now due to
Sexual Orientation: (social construct, biology, EBE theory)
1. Social Construct: argue that concept of sexual orientation was designed to categorize people. Prior to ~100 years ago, people were grouped
into two binary categories: (1) normal, (2) sexual inverts which could include everything from the suffragettes to trans individual