Psychology 2035A/B Lecture Notes - Premarital Sex, Sexual Intercourse, Vaginal Lubrication

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Published on 18 Nov 2011
Western University
Psychology 2035A/B
The Development of Sexual Behaviour
Sexual behaviour is something that develops over time
Part 1: Infancy & Childhood
A. Sexual Responsiveness in Infants
1. Capacity for sexual arousal is present at birth - not exactly true -
present before birth -- ultrasounds will show that baby boys have
erections in the womb; baby girls are capable of vaginal lubrication within
24 hours of birth
2. Responses are “reflexive”. Result from:
physical stimulation (crying, full-bladder);
psychological stimulation (watching exciting things; fires, wild
3. Responses are indiscriminate (caused by a wide variety of things) -
reflexive indiscriminate behaviour
responses become much more selective as children get older
B. Sexual Behaviour in Childhood
sexual behaviour takes the form of “play”
1. if the child plays alone, it’s called “autoerotic play” -- emerges 6-12
months of age
random contact with genitals (pleasurable)
eventually, the contact is no longer random and the contact
becomes deliberate
2. Sociosexual play (emerges age 3):
reflects curiosity (about others’ bodies);
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expressed in games (e.g. “playing Doctor”)
games that allow children to take their clothes off and look at each
others bodies - exploration usually involves nothing more than
looking even though there may be signs of sexual arousal
3. How should parents respond?
Experts suggest there are two things they should keep in mind:
A) it’s natural (don’t over-react)
B) their response = the first step in the child’s sexual socialization
C. Sexual Socialization of Children
1. Cross-cultural studies: In some cultures, children are
allowed to watch adults have sex,
encouraged to imitate sexual intercourse when playing with friends,
taught how to masturbate; perform oral sex
if they don’t have these early experiences, they won’t become “fertile”
(capable of producing children on their own)
Important point: Children in all cultures much learn appropriate sexual
behaviour (every culture is different)
limited by what they are capable of learning (cognitive
limited by what society allows them to learn
2. The Role of Parents (in our society)
communication between parents and children is not always open and
see this most clearly when we look at the strategies that parents use for
controlling the information they give to their children
(a) Parents’ strategies for Information Control:
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