Chapter 4 Gender and Sexuality
David Reimer and Dr. John Moneys case
- The main criterion Dr. John Money used for deciding the childs sex was expected erotic
functioning as an adult.
- He believed that the gender identity gate-the time after which a child is locked into an
identity as a male or a female-closes at two years of age.
Defining Male and Female: sex and gender
- Your sex depends on whether you were born with distinct male or female genitalia and a genetic
program that released either male or female hormones to stimulate the development of your
- Sex refers to anatomical, chromosomal and hormonal features that typically make one male or
- At the point of conception, a newly formed zygote has 46 chromosomes.
- Around the 6 or 7 week of gestation, the gonads or sex glands begin to develop.
- Differences between the sex organs are noticeable by the 14 week after conception.
- Theres only 1 sex difference in the brain: the part of the brain known as the hypothalamus
makes the female brain sensitive to estrogen and is responsible for creating menstrual cycles in
- Summary of biological sex differences during typical fetal development
Variable Female Male
Chromosomal pattern XX XY
Gonadal Ovaries Testes
Hormonal More estrogens than More androgens than
Sex organs Uterus, fallopian tubes, Epididymis, vas deferens,
vagina, clitoris, labia seminal vesicles, prostate,
- Being male or female involves not just biology but also certain masculine and feminine
feelings, attitudes, and behaviours. Accordingly, biological sex must be distinguished from
- Gender consists of the feelings, attitudes and behaviours typically associated with being male or
- Gender identity is ones sense of belonging to a particular sex biologically, psychologically and
socially. - Adopting a gender role involves behaving according to widely shared expectations about how
males or females are supposed to act.
- Expectations about how men and women are supposed to act have changed only somewhat
since the 1960s.
- People are transgendered( ) when their gender identity does not exactly
match the sex assigned to them at birth. They blur widely accepted gender roles by eg,
cross-dressing. About 1 in every 5000-10000 people in North America is transgendered.
- Transsexuals() identify with the opposite sex from that assigned to them at birth, causing
them to change their appearance or resort to medical intervention. About 1 in every 30000
people in North America is a transsexual.
- The World Heal Organization classifies transgendered individuals as suffering from a psychiatric
Margrit Eichler points out, if our notions of masculinity and femininity were less rigid,
se-change operations would be unnecessary since someone with a gender identity problem
would not be defined as sick.
Transgendered individual represent a problem for most people only because our society
soes not recognize the validity of intermediate.
- Expectations about sexual behavior are arguably among the most rigid of our gender norms, yet
sexual behavior often departs widely from biological sex and sociological gender.
- Sexuality refers to activities that are intended to lead to erotic arousal and produce genital
- Sexual behavior is guided by a set of sexual scripts that tell us whom we should find attractive,
when and where it is appropriate to be aroused, what is permissible, and how to behave
Men are sexual aggressor, more experienced and promiscuous than women.
Women are to desire love before intimacy; passive, giving cues.
- Compulsory heterosexuality: the assumption that individuals should desire only members of
the opposite sex.
Discrimination on gays and lesbians.
Heterosexuality is based on unequal economic, political, legal and social relations between
women and men.
Adrienne Rich defines compulsory heterosexuality as the ideologically and materially
enforced insistence that women see themselves entirely as the complements of men and
live under male control or risk severe sanctions ranging from social stigma to death.
Rich says that the institutionalization of heterosexuality in marriage and the family is a way
of ensuring males rights to physical, economic, and emotional access to women.Sexual Attitudes and Behaviour
- Some departure from tradition and considerable diversity in sexual attitudes and behavior.
- 94% of Canadians agree that birth control information should be available to teenagers who
- Men are more willing than women to participate in unconventional sexual activities.
- In Canada, sexual activity declines with age.
- A considerable number of people over the age of 70 say they engage in sexual activity at least
once a week. This finding challenges the myth that the elderly are asexual.
- For nearly all age groups, men report more frequent intercourse than women, while women
more often report abstention than men.
- Men are more willing to exaggerate their virility to conform to gender stereotypes.
- Men and women differ in terms of the standards they use to justify sexual activity. (Hobart)
Love standard: sexual partners are in love.
Fun standard: sexual partners both want it.
In Canada, men and francophones are more likely than women and Anglophones to endorse
the fun standard.
- Hatfield similarly reports that men are somewhat more concerned than women with sex.
Women are somewhat more concerned than men with love.
The major reason for womens first intercourse experience: affection for partner, and
secondly curiosity/readiness for sex.
Men: curiosity and secondly affection