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Sexuality and Society Understanding Sexuality

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Suzanne Casimiro

SOC100 October 5 th Sexuality and Society Understanding Sexuality - sexuality is not simply a matter of biology o it is constructed by society and is an important part of everyday lives Sex: A Biological Issue - the biological distinction between men and women - sex and the body: o primary sex characteristics: the genitals o secondary sex characteristics: other bodily differences that distinguish mature males and females o intersexual people/hermaphrodites: people whose bodies, including genitals, have both male and female characteristics o transsexuals: people who feel they are one sex even though biologically they are the other Sex: A Cultural Issue - gender is an element of culture - refers to the personal traits and patterns of behaviour (including social opportunities and privileges) that culture attaches to being female or male - almost every sexual practise shows considerable variation from one society to another Cultural Variation - showing affection - sexual positions and practises - regulation of openness and timing of sexuality also varies - the incest taboo o the norm forbidding sexual relations or marriage between certain relatives o varies to a degree – cousins etc. The Sexual Revolution - Kinsey’s studies (1948, 1953) were bestsellers o no one talked about sex - youth culture (late 60’s) “If it feels good, do it” o hippies - the pill (1960) removed fear of pregnancy o sex became more convenient - new few remain abstinent till marriage - the new chastity movement The Sexual Counter-Revolution - in 1980s – lets return to the olden times - conservative call o for “family values” o against practises associated with the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV/AIDS  became more highlighted and fear broke out – lets abstain Premarital Sex - premarital sex, within Canada, has gained approval over the last 20 years - a high percentage of teens are active - the sexual double standard has been challenged in Canada - but male/female difference in the meaning attached to sex persist: o males are more likely to endorse the fun aspect and women the love aspect The New Chastity Movement “A key factor in this trend reversal may be growing concern over the risk of disease,” such as herpes and AIDS, the Center said in its report, although most respondents (83%) cited moral and religious reasons for their opinions. Among those from age 18 to 29, the proportion considering a premarital sex wrong had climbed from 18% to 27%. - idea of virginity is returning on high school campuses - girls and boys wear wedding bands/abstinence ring – married to their virginity - reversal of the 28 year trend - could be based on the growing education about disease - moral and religious reasons as well – 83% Sex Between Adults - Canadians more sexually active than US - frequency of sex in Canada o 24% rarely or never o 23% 1-3 times per month o 53% at least once a week Extramarital Sex - 85% condemn it - 33% of men and 35% of women report being cheated on by a partner - 53% of married people would forgive an affair - 63% of divorces can be attributed to affairs Sexual Orientation - person’s romantic and emotional attraction to another person - heterosexuality: sexual attraction to someone of the other sex - homosexuality: sexual attraction to someone of the same sex - bisexuality: s
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