PSYC 5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Human Sexual Activity, Permissive Society, Human Sexuality

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30 Dec 2020
Jeff Koo
Psyc 5
Psychological Aspects of Human Sexuality
Summer 2018
4 Units
Cross-Cultural Perspectives
Interested in studying from an anthological and ethnological perspective what the sexual
norms are in different cultures.
Anthropological and ethnological studies in society look at what it is they believe, what
they do, their justifications, how their systems work, etc.
Why study sexual behaviours in different cultures?
Provides insight into the ways in which culture influences sexual behaviour.
o Ethnocentrism
Belief that your own culture is the norm and better than others. Use your own
culture a reference point when analyzing other cultures.
Topless beaches are the norm in Europe but not in Canada.
Polygamy is the norm in some cultures but is illegal in Canada.
Polygyny: one man multiple wives.
Polyandry: one woman multiple husbands.
Usually made for socioeconomic decisions.
Usually the husband/wife is chosen by the family not the individual.
In Canada, monogamy is the norm. However, around the world it is the minority.
o Diversity and universality of sexual norms
Illustrates the importance of learning in shaping human sexual behaviour. Anthropologist
will categorize using these 2 continuums.
o Permissive ----- Restrictive continuum
Permissive societies are characterized by positive and tolerant attitudes towards
freedom of sexual expression. There are not many rules. They see human sexuality
as a natural and integral part of the individual’s development.
No society has 100% freedom; some have many rules and others don’t.
Semi-restrictive societies have a few more rules than permissive societies.
Restrictive societies seek to restrain and control rigidly sexual expression/behaviour.
The role of certain aspects of sexuality in the development of the individual is either
unknown or judged negatively.
Canada is close in the center of permissive and semi-restrictive, but is closer to
In the majority of cultures, there’s more restrictions placed on woman’s sexuality.
o Low anxiety ------ High anxiety continuum
Anxiety: View sexuality as a taboo. They believe that if you talk about these things
something bad will happen. They have a fear of sexuality.
Demonstrates how sexual normalcy” is a relative concept.
o Depends on an individual’s environment.
Demonstrates how cultural attitudes, customs and beliefs about sex and sexuality assign
meaning to the individual’s sexual behaviour.
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