Chapter 2- Human Sexuality.docx

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Published on 12 Apr 2013
Western University
Psychology 2075
Chapter 2: Theoretical Perspectives on Sexuality
Evolutionary Persepctives
o Sociobiology= some behaviours are a result of evolution
o Sociobiologists believe that sexual behaviour evolved because gave our
ancestors an evolutionary advantage
o How do we chose a mate?
o 1 criterion= physical attractiveness
o we evaluate the characteristics that indicate health and vigor and therefore
maybe related to reproductive potential
o sociobiologists view courting as a way to assess the other person‟s fitness
o ex: spending money on the date= ability to support a family
o family structure of man, women and children in every society because advantages of
biparental care of offspring and bonding
o pair-bond= between mother and father
o attachment= between infant and parent
o offspring have better chance of survival if parents love eachother and
emotional bonds
o parental investment= behaviour/resources invested in offspring
o divorced men will pay more money to support genetic kids then stepkids of a past
relationship but will spend equal if stepkids are from current relationship to cement
the pair-bond
o men show physio sex arousal with preffered partner but woman show arousal for
preferred and non preferred partners
o woman who respond with vaginal lubrication less likely to be injured during
unwanted sex or sex with someone they don‟t find attractive lessening the
chance of injury
o natural selection would have favoured woman who are aroused by a range of
o sexual selection= selection that results form differences in traits affecting access to
o 1. Competition among one gender for acces to members of other gender
(males usually)
o 2. (Females usually) prefer certain males and mate
o theory predicts that men should compete by displaying material resources that
should be attractive to women
o criticisms of sociobiology= sex just for reproduction which isn‟t true anymore today,
cant explain homosexuality
Evolutionary Psychology
o focuses on how natural selection has shaped psychological mechanisms and processes
rather than on hot it has shaped sex behaviour
o sexual strategies= females and males fae diff adaptive problems which lead to
different behaviours to solve the problem
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o ex: females may chose short-term someone who offers immediate resources
but for long-term chose a man who shows potential to provide for future
o men usually relax standards when looking for a short-term partner
o woman‟s preferences change less then mens
o both men and women prefer long-term mating strategies
Psychological Theories
Psychoanalytic Theory
o Sigmund Freud saw sex as key forces in huan life
o Coined the term libidosex drive
Id, Ego and Superego
o Human personality is divided into 3 parts
o Id= basic part of personality present at birth (pleasure principle/irrational) contains
o Ego= (reality principle) keeps the ID in line
o Superego= (conscience) contains values, ideals (idealism principle)
o Inhibits the impulses of Id and persuades ego to strive for moral goals rather
than realistic ones
o Id, ego and superego develop in sequence: first id at birth, then ego as a child and
lastly superego as child learns values
Erogenous Zones
o Parts of body that are sensitive to sexual stimulation
o Ex: llips and mouth, genitals, rectum and anus
Stages of Psychosexual Development
o in each stage there is a different erogenous zone as the focus
o 1. Oral stage= (birth-1 yr) pleasure from sucking and putting things in their mouth
o 2. Anal stage= (2 yrs old) interest focused on elimination
o 3. Phallic stage= (3-6) boys and girls focus on their genitals/masturbating
o development of Oedipus complex- littly boys sexual attraction to his mother
o in myth eventually boy fears that father will castrate him (castration anxiety) it
becomes so great that stops desiring mother and identifies with father
o Female Oedipus complex (electra)= little girl realizes after seeing her
father/brother that she doesn‟t have a penis (penis envy). Shifts her desire
form her mother to father. Switches zones from clitoris to vagina (give birth to
son to make up for no penis)
o freud says that females resolution isn‟t as complete as males so males have a
more developed superego
o 4. Latency stage= (til adolescence) impulses repressed, not much happens sexually
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o 5. Genital stage= (with puberty) sexual urges become specifically genital with the
other stages all fusing together
o some people don‟t mature from one stage to next as should and becom fixated
o ex: nail biting, smokingoral fixation\
Evaluation of Psychoanalytic Theory
o most of the concepts cant be evaluated scientifically
o most important forces are in the unconscious which cant be studied
o freud derived data from his patients so his view might not be of human personality
but of disturbances in personality
o feminists don‟t like his theory being male centered
o Karen Horney coined conept of womb envy that men may be jealous of
womans reproductive abilites
o Freud thought vaginal and clitoris orgasm were different and the former was more
mature but studies show that there is little difference and that most orgasms are
brought about directly or indirectly through clit stimulation
Learning Theory
o Much of human sexual behaviour is also learned
Classical Conditioning
o Ivan Pavlov= scientist
o Unconditioned stimulus (ex: appealing food) automatically elicits an unconditioned
response (salivation)
o Classical conditioning happens when a conditioned stimulus (sound of bell)
repeatedly is paired with the original unconditioned stimulus (food) and will evoke
the original response…now called the conditioned response (salivation)
o Example of classical conditioning for a sex response
o Nadia and her boyfriend get intimate and he is wearing Erotik cologne. One
day she enters an elevator and someone is wearing the cologne and she gets
aroused automatically.
o The sex was the US, arousal was the UR. The aroma of the cologne was the
CS repeatedly paired with US. Aroma by itself evoked arousal CR.
Operant Conditioning
o Concept associated with B.F. Skinner
o Person performs behaviour (operant) that may be followed with a reward (+
reinforcement) or punishment.
o If reward follows likely to repeat that behaviour and vice versa
o Primary Reinforcer= something intrinsically rewarding
o Ex: sex and food
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