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Lecture 1

Psychology 2075 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Social Science History, Social Comparison Theory, Human Sexuality

Course Code
PSYCH 2075
William Fisher

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Lecture 1 Scientific Study of Sex: Introduction and History
Why the scientific study of sex?
sex research is core psychological science
o clinical psych
o biological psych
o personality psych - individual differences, how does one person differ from another in intelligence,
describing and discovering personality
o social psych
o developmental psych
Sex research is core social science
sociology social structure variables, rural vs urban education
economics bartering what we have for or against sex
Sex research is core medical science
All of these sub-topics discuss sexual behaviour from a different aspect
People want to know about sex: the social comparison motive
social comparison information ex, discussing courses with another individual likely a comparison will arise
we seldom discuss topics like sexuality or STI’s with people
we do not have very many resources to access information on sexuality other than the internet
people want to know about sex due to social comparison motive and lack of access to information
People NEED to know about sex
it is consequential
based on frequent questions that are very common but few people know the answer Sex leads to babies - it is very
easy for sex to lead to babies, and very difficult for it not to (.. discussing contraception with a partner, agreeing to
use it, using it properly etc.)
o almost 30% of couples have had unplanned pregnancies
o 42% of 15-17 year olds did not use contraception
o 24% of 18-24 year olds “
o 18% 25-29 year olds
Sex leads to abortions
Outcomes of unplanned pregnancies among married and unmarried women
o abortion 28% and 50%
o Miscarriage: 13% and 14%
o Kept baby: 63% and 40%
o adoption: 4% and 2%
38%-45% of Canadian and US abortions are repeats
currently/have a history of partner physical abuse do not want to have a baby in the place that they are in
have been sexually assaulted/presently being forced to have sex
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Sex leads to infections
Bacterial (chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis) curable!
Viral (HSV herpes, HPV human papilloma, HIV (AIDS)) not all curable, but manageable drug cocktails
we live in an area of high pathogen prevalence
o Chronic Carriage: carrier of a STI
o Acutely affected
females under 30 are given HPV DNA tests instead of pap smears
current HPV vaccine protects against two of the most common strains of cancer-causing HPV
Epidemiology: reason why pap tests have phased out to only being given when you are over the age of 21
Why aren’t men immunized against HPV?
o They should be: rates of anal and penile cancer are way higher in gay men than straight
o Is the risk of cancer the only side effect of HPV?
No, only a handful of people will actually develop cancer
most women will spontaneously clear the virus
Sexuality and Gender
Gender similarity hypothesis:
o there is a degree of similarity between what men and women do sexually
o our psychological gender matters to our sexuality a great deal
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
sexual orientation:
o how many of them/ us are there?
o binary or trinary?
orientation or preference? likely not a preference, you don’t determine it for yourself, how do you determine
peoples orientation?
behaviour or arousal
lifelong or changeable?
sex differences?
o this is gender identity that either matches or does not match the anatomic body
Sexual Function
Sexual disorders with distress in US women
o based on desire, arousal, orgasm, any disorders
o how did they develop? What is causing them?
Sexuality and Ageing
o people tend to dismiss sexuality in old age
Sexuality and Disability
o we also often fail to support sexuality within disabled individuals
Sexual Assault
o have to use our understanding of the cause to try and reduce sexual assault
o how best to assist with recovery
o psychology of deciding that you’ve been a victim
ex. If your situation fits the characteristics of assault, we are more likely to call it an assault than
if you just hear about it
o sexual coercion, assault, bribery
couldn’t really study this in high school
studied it from first year students
sexual assault from teachers? No never
but when asked about giving higher grades for sex, students responded with yes they did not see
this as assault
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