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PSY240H1 Lecture Notes - Masturbation, Sexual Stimulation, Vagus Nerve

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Lecture #7: Sexual Disorders & Dysfunction (Chapter 16)
Changing views of sexual behaviour
-Change over time (permissive vs. restrictive/conservative)
In different cultures, different genders have a dominant role in sex
-Views toward sexual preferences vary across cultures
Homosexuality was previously considered an abnormal behaviour
Can differ across different countries/cultures or even regions/societies across a
country (Toronto vs. Calgary)
-Diversity of sexual practices in human societies (e.g. swinging, bigamy, strip
Gay, lesbian, and bisexual orientations
Homosexual behaviour
-Defined as sexual behaviour with members of one’s own sex
-Is NOT a DSM diagnosis
-On a continuum – no discrete patterns
Homosexual orientation
-Individuals who prefer to engage in sexual activity with members of their own sex
over an extended period of time
-Used to be considered a diagnosis in DSM-III, but not now in DSM-IV, obviously
-Freud thought it was caused by early arrest in the psychosexual stages
Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Orientations
Homosexual Experiences
Total reporting some
same-sex desires or
Felt desire for sex with
person of same sex
Had sex with person of
same sex at least once
since puberty
1.4%2.8 %
Self-identified as
homosexual or bisexual

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- Bisexual behaviour
Preferred partners are sometimes the same sex, sometimes the opposite sex
Again, NOT a DSM diagnosis
- Identifying oneself as gay, lesbian, or bisexual is associated with stigmas
- Associated with potentially serious psychological problems (depression, anxiety, etc.)
- High suicide rate (highest among bisexuals, maybe because they don’t have a specific
‘group’ to identify with… they don’t quite fit in with either hetero- or homosexuals)
There are many theories on how to classify sexual orientations
- One way is to look at brain function/structure – some homosexual men have parts of
their brains that are more similar to women than heterosexual men
- Also an environmental influence
- For most people who aren’t heterosexual, the point at which they realize it takes place
relatively early in life
DSM disorders
-Sexual disorders
- Gender identity disorder – psychological dissatisfaction with one’s biological
- Paraphilias – sexual arousal occurs primarily in response to inappropriate
objects or individuals non-human or children or non-consenting adults
-Sexual dysfunctions
- Disturbance in the process that characterizes the sexual response cycle or by
pain associated with sexual intercourse
Normal Sexual Function
-Many problems regarding what is normal sexual behaviour
-Research has led to a better understanding of sexual practices and physiology in
males and females
- Masters and Johnson – examined sexual physiology in the laboratory
(scientific study of sexual phenomena)
Overall, they found that people go through the same 5 phases in sex
People’s sexual cycle for sexual intercourse and masturbation were very
Physiological response had no correlation between physical anatomy and
- Kinsey was the first who looked at views/preferences in sex
Surveys about sexual practices vary depending on method/ages/cultures/political
orientation/region… really any demographic orientation (probably quite related to
views of sex in society)
Sex/Porn Addiction
According to a large survey

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-15% of population visit ‘sexually oriented websites’ (with some regularity)
-Males prefer visual erotica, women prefer chat rooms (women like having some
type of ‘relationship’ with men)
-92% spend < 11 hours/week
-The 8% who spend > 11 hours per week reported more psychological distress and
interference with other activities (they spend their time looking at these websites
instead of engaging in relationships, for example or some compulsive quality is
attached to it)
-61% of people admitted to lying about their age in the chat rooms
-75% of people admitted to lying about the amount of time spent on these types of
sites (so the survey results are invalid???)
According to another survey…
80% of males looked at porn recently, and 20% look at it daily
~20% masturbate every day, and 33% at least 3 times a week
Sexual Response Cycle Stages
-Desire – sexual urges occur in response of sexual cures or fantasies
-Arousal/Excitement – subjective sense of sexual excitement and physiological
signs of sexual arousal (body getting ready for sex)
-Plateau – brief period of time before orgasm
-Orgasm – peak of sexual pleasure, inevitability of ejaculation, contractions of the
walls of the vagina, release of sexual tension
-Resolution – return to normal conditions following attainment of orgasm (added
onto the four stages from Masters and Johnson – experiences muscle relaxation
and subjective sense of well-being)
Does not look at psychological/emotional factors during sex
Male and Female Sexual Response Cycles
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