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POLS 3470 Study Guide - Secondary Sex Characteristic, Sex Education, Sexual Orientation

Political Science
Course Code
POLS 3470
Tim Mau

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Chapter 8 Sociology Review:
This review includes a large chunk of everything from chapter eight including all the key
terms. Instead of me deciding what I think is important to study, I’ll let you make the
Understanding Sexuality:
Right from birth, the two sexes have different primary sex characteristics
namely the genitals, organs used for reproduction.
At puberty, as people reach sexual maturity, additional sex differentiation takes
place. At this point, people develop secondary sex characteristics, bodily
development, apart from the genitals, that distinguishes biologically mature
females and males.
Intersexual people are people whose bodies, including genitals, have both female
and male characteristics (hermaphrodite)
Transsexual and transgendered people are individuals who feel they are one
sex even though biologically they are the other.
Sexual orientation refers to a person’s romantic and sexual attraction to another
Heterosexuality means sexual attraction to someone of the other sex, whereas
homosexuality means sexual attraction to someone of the same sex.
The idea that sexual orientation is not clear-cut is confirmed by a third category:
bisexuality, meaning sexual attraction to people of either sex.
Finally, asexuality refers to a lack of sexual attraction to people of either sex.
What gives us sexual orientation?
The argument cluster into two general positions:
Sexual orientation as a product of society and
Sexual orientation as a product of biology.
Sexual Issues and Controversies:
Sexuality lies at the heart of a number of controversies in North America today. Here we
take a look at four key issues: teen pregnancy, pornography, prostitution, and sexual
Teen Pregnancy:
Teenagers who may be biologically, but not socially, mature might fail to
appreciate the consequences of their actions.
Teen pregnancies led to sexual education in schools.
Over half of teen pregnancies end in abortion.
Pornography is criticized on moral grounds today
Pornography may cause:
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oDepictments of women being playthings for men
oViolence against women
oMen to think women are objects rather than people
oEncourage people to commit assault or rape.
Prostitutes are subjected to abuse and violence
Plays a part in spreading sexuality-transmitted diseases.
Sexual Assault:
Not necessarily perpetrated by strangers; often, it occurs in situations
characterized by trust.
Theories of Sexuality:
Structural-Functional Analysis: The structural-functional approach highlights the
contribution of any social pattern to the overall operation of society. Because sexuality
can have such important consequences, it is regulated by society.
The Need To Regulate Sexuality:
Most societies condemn for extramarital sex, it would affect family life, especially
The social control of sexuality was strong because sex led to childbirth
Now with contraceptives, sexuality moves beyond just reproduction.
It becomes accepted as a form of intimacy and even recreational.
Latent Functions: The Case of Prostitution:
It is easy to say prostitution is bad because it exploits women and spreads disease.
But some see prostitution in a positive way.
Reason being is:
oAllows people to meet their sexual needs
oPeople who don’t have ready access to sex (soldiers, travellers,
unattractive or poor people) can easily have sex.
**** The structural-function approach helps us see the important part that sexuality plays
in the organization of society. ****
Symbolic-interaction Analysis: The symbolic-interaction approach highlights the
construction of everyday reality because people construct very different realities
regarding sexuality; they vary from context to context and change over time.
The Social Construction of Sexuality:
A century ago women were expected to be virgins mainly due to a lack of birth
Today, with sex largely separated from reproduction, the virginity norm was
Another examples is a century ago, children were innocent to sexual matters
Now, children are educated to make intelligent choices, as they grow older.
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