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PSYC 3480
James Check

Chapter 8 Love Relationships The Ideal Romantic Partner - North American Research o Sexual partners  Physical attractiveness o Marriage partners  Honesty  Personality  Intelligence o Personal Ads  Studies show men more likely than women to emphasize physical attractiveness in describing an ideal partner  Women more likely than men to emphasize financial status in describing ideal partner o Do nice guys finish last?  More women like “kind, attentive” male characteristics  Nice guys finish first - Cross Cultural Research o Cultural traditions  In general, women are more likely than men to believe that a partner should be well educated and have good financial prospects.  Men are more likely to believe that a partner should have physical attractiveness Explanation for Gender Differences in Preference Patterns - Evolutionary Psychology o Passing on genes to the next generation o Men should prefer young, attractive, healthy looking women o Women should look for commitment o Criticisms  Not supported by research  Highly speculative  No genetic mechanism  Same-gender relationships  Both men and women are interested in long-term relationships - Social Roles Approach o Social roles and socialization explain preference patterns o Men and women occupy different social roles, they experience different social opportunities and social disadvantages o Culture does have an effect on mate preferences o Women’s limited financial opportunities are related to preference patterns Characteristics of Heterosexual Love Relationships - Gender Comparisons o Friendship o Liking, commitment, satisfaction o Sadness, depression, hurt, loneliness o Trust, caring, honesty, respect o Strategies for maintaining a romantic relationship  Acting cheerful, expressing love for the person - Factors Related to Satisfaction with the Relationship o Friendship o Skill at expressing emotions o Feminist romantic partners  Women who had feminist romantic partners tended to report more stable relationships, as well as greater sexual satisfaction in comparison to those with nonfeminist partners - Breaking Up o Men and women report similar negative emotions o Women feel more joy and relief o Picking up the signals  Women are more sensitive to potential problems in a relationship and may anticipate a breakup, or worry about potential danger signs  A woman may be better at picking up signs of discontent and as a result are less shocked when a breakup occurs o Coping—blame, distractions  Men and women equally likely to blame themselves; equally likely to take drugs, alcohol  Men more likely to distract themselves; women more likely to blame partner for breakup o Expectations about getting married  Women significantly more than men to eagerly anticipate getting married o Average Ages of First Marriage  Canada: 28 for women, 30 for men  US: 25 for women, 27 for men o Marriage Rates and Ethnicity  As of 2003, 63% of US women were married  In Afganistan, more than half of women married before 16, ¾ of which are arranged Marital Satisfaction - Satisfaction During Various Periods of Marriage o Newlyweds  Young married couples happiest of all age groups o Expectations  A few years after wedding, many married people report feeling less romantic due to different expectations of marriage o Changes o Conflict  Couples married at least 35 years have less conflict in relationship  Reduced conflict over parenting issues as well as increase in economic resources - Gender Comparisons in Marital Satisfaction o Women more likely to wish for changes o Women more sensitive to problems in relationship o Gender similarities in marital satisfaction - Characteristics of Happy Marriages o Emotional stability o Good communication skills and understanding o More positive comments and expressions of affection, rather than negative comments and responses o Strong conflict-resolution skills o Trust in the other person o Mutual support o Belief that each spouse is genuinely concerned about the other’s well being o Flexibility o Equal sharing of household tasks o Equal sharing in decision making o Explanatory patterns  Happily married couples interpret their spouses actions in a more positive light than unhappily married couples Distribitution of Power in Marriages - Traditional Marriage o Husband more dominant than wife, and both partners maintain traditional gender roles o Wife can make decisions about household and child care, but man has ultimate authority in family decisions o Husband protects wife, and controls money o Especially common among people from a conservative religious background - Egalitarian Marriage o Both partners share power equally, without traditional gender roles o Wife and husband have equal responsibility for housework, child care, finances, and decision making. o Emphasize companionship and sharing Marriage and Women of Color - Latinas o Machismo  Belief that men must show their manhood by being strong, sexual, and even violent, clearly dominant over women in relationships (also men should not do housework) o Marianismo  Women must be chaste until marriage, must also be passive and long suffering, giving up their own needs to help their husbands and children  Based on Catholic representation of Virgin Mary o Most Latina/o couples do not adopt these extremely traditional patterns - Black Women o Economic differences  Most research done on economically poor families, generalizing for all Black families o Women often working outside the home and being strong figures in the home o Egalitarian Decision-Making  Most families showed similarity to egalitarian model of decision making - Asian American Women o Role of ethnicity  Parents expect children to marry someone from their own ethnic group, and children typically do so  Conflict between traditional customs and contemporary gender roles when recently emigrating from Asia  Cultural influences Divorce - Cohabitation and Divorce o Couples who live together before marriage are more likely to get divorced o Cohabitation does not necessarily cause divorce - The Decision to Divorce o Wives initiate divorce more often than husbands do o Reasons for divorce  Physical or emotional abuse  Infidelity  Drug or alcohol abuse - Psychological Effects on Divorce o Transitions and separations o Stress, depression, anger o Positive feelings  Women who feel constrained by a relationship also feel relief - Financial Effects on Divorce o A woman’s financial situation is almost always worse following a divorce, especially if she has children o Many fathers fail to pay child support o Black mothers are even more likely than White mothers to face financial problems Terms: lesbian, sexual minority, heterosexism The Psychological Adjustment of Lesbians - Homosexuality is not a mental disorder - The average lesbian is as well adjusted as the average heterosexual woman - In some studies, lesbians higher in self-sufficiency, self-confidence, and ease of decision making - Those who have experienced hate crimes more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, substance abuse - Lesbians who accept their lesbian identity have higher self-esteem than those who have not accepted their lesbian identity. - Community & Faith o Many lesbians create their own communities, and warm, supportive networks develop from the “families” they choose Characteristics of a Lesbian Relationship - The Beginning of a Relationship o Dependability o Personality o Friendship o Emotional intimacy - Equality in Lesbian Relationships o Equal decision-making o Housework - Satisfaction o Satisfaction similar to heterosexual couples and gay male couples o Stronger relationship quality o Fewer conflicts o Relationship Commitment o Psychological Intimacy - Breaking Up o Similar to heterosexual breakup pattern o Same mix of emotions o Fewer factors preventing breakup o Less support for relationship o Lack of support after breakup (less devastating than heterosexual relationship) Lesbian Women of Color - Triple Barrier o Extra barrier because their culture has even more traditional views of women than mainstream European American culture - Intersectionality – consider several social categories together rather than independently - Cultural Barriers - Invisibility o Due to potential rejection colored lesbian women do not adopt strong lesbian identity - Community Support Legal Status of Lesbian Relationships - Marriage - Personal, Fairness, & Political Reasons - Practical Reasons - Countries & states permitting same-gender marriage o Permitted in Canada, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Argentina, Sweden, Belgium, Iceland, South Africa; limited partnership in Austria, Denmark, Hungary, Switzerland Bisexual Women - Characteristics of Bisexual Women o Flexible Identity o Adjustment & satisfaction o Role of ethnicity  Mixed heritage consistent with their bisexuality - Attitudes Toward Bisexual Women o Rejection by both heterosexual and lesbian communities o Violating categories  People with low tolerance for ambiguity feel uncomfortable around bisexuals - Fluidity of Female Sexual Orientation o Traditional Model—unhappiness, questioning identity o Diamond’s research—stable vs. fluid  Some women described a “classic” development of their lesbian identity. These stable lesbians had focused on girls and women during childhood, and the interest continued through adolescence  A larger number of women could be classified as fluid lesbians because they had questioned or changed their lesbian sexual adentity at some point. o “Unlabeled” women  Two thirds of the women considered themselves to be unlabeled women, disliking having to fit themselves into someone else’s labels or categories Theoretical Explanations About Sexual Orientation - Questions about Heterosexuality o Biological Explanations  Lack of research with lesbian women  Genetic factors  Hormonal factors  Brain structures  Twin studies o The Social Constructionist Approach  Culture creates sexual categories  We use these categories to organize our thoughts about our sexuality  Reject essentialist approach  Constructing heterosexual identity  Sexuality as fluid and flexible  Reevaluating our lives  Conscious choice o The Dynamic Systems Approach  Sexual orientation may change over time  Role of situations and interpretations  Changes may not occur in a systematic, linear fashion  Experiences fluid and complex  Combining approaches - Characteristics of Single Women o More likely to work outside the home o Choosing not to marry o Psychological distress, life span, independence  Single women score higher than married women in independence and have less psychological stress o Adjustment - Attitudes Toward Single Women o Singlism – bias against people who are not married  Single women receive poorer service and less respect at restaurants - Advantages & Disadvantages of being single o Freedom o Privacy o Self-knowledge o Lonliness o Social networks - Single Women of Color o Little research o Unmarried-daughter role o Lack of appropriate partner o Supportive friendships & family o Pursuing advanced education Chapter 9 SEXUALITY Background on Women’s Sexuality Theoretical Perspectives - Biases o Androcentric emphasis o Heterosexist bias o Biological framework o Essentialism  Argues that gender is a basic, stable characteristic that resides within an individual - Social Constructionist Approach o Argues that individuals and cultures construct or invent their own versions of reality based on prior experiences, social interactions and beliefs  Eg. North American female sexual desires rarely mentioned, where other cultures consider women very sexual - Female Sexual Anatomy o Mons pubis o Labia majora  Large lips o Labia minora  Small lips o Clitoral hood o Clitoris o Vagina - Sexual Responses o General Phases o Masters & Johnson  Excitement phase • Sexually aroused by touching and erotic thoughts; blood rushes to the genital area, causing vastocongestion (swelling caused by accumulation of blood)  Plateau Phase • Clitoris shortens and draws back under the hood; clit now extremely sensitive • Clitoral hood is moved by thrusting of the penis or other touching  Orgasmic phase • Uterus and outer part of vagina contract strongly, at intervals roughly a second apart • Women typically experience 3 to 10 contractions during orgasm  Resolution phase • Sexual organs return to their earlier unstimulated state o Gender Comparisons in Sexual Responses  Similar phases  Similar psychological reactions  Men reach orgasm more quickly than women  Women do not consider “faster” to be “better” - Sexual Desire o Hormones  Estrogen, testosterone o Social Factors o Cultural Factors o Gender Differences  Compared to women, men: • Think about sex more frequently • Masturbate more often • Want sexual activities more frequently • Initiate sexual activities more frequently • Are more interested in sexual activities without a romantic commitment • Prefer a greater number of sexual partners o Explaining Gender Differences  Physiology  Concern about pregnancy  Male-normative standards  Different motives for sexual activity - Attitudes About Female and Male Sexuality o Nonmarital Intercourse o Men typically have more permissive attitudes than women do o Sexual Double Standard (gender as stimulus variable)  Direct ratings vs. more subtle measures • Direct ratings harder to see evidence of double standard • Subtle measure—people have more positive view of sexually active male than female o Cultural Differences  Honor killings in some cultures (inappropriate sexual acts by a woman) - Sexual Scripts o Men as Initiators o Women resist or comply o Varying the script  Egalitarian relationships o Violating the Script  Men resist when women violate traditional script  Sexual assault & rape - Sex Education o Parents an Sex education  Mothers give “the talk”  Certain topics never discussed • 1% of parents mentioned word clitoris  Mixed messages  Ethnic differences o Schools and Sex Education  “organ recital” • Only focus on reproductive system  “Abstinence Only Until Marriage” (AOUM) Programs • These programs do not decrease teenagers’ sexual activity • These programs do not decrease the rate of STD’s  Comprehensive model • Accurate information • Values, attitudes, and emotions • Strategies for informed choices • Contraceptives • Teenagers who participate in these comprehensive programs typically postpone sexual relationships until they are older and have a lower pregnancy rate, compared to those in the abstinence-only programs  Most parents agree with the comprehensive approach o The Media and Sexual Information  Magazines • Narrowly defined sexual scripts • Many images, not very accurate • Mixed messages  Television • Network vs. cable programming • Adolescents who watch many hours of TV shows with sexual content are less likely to believe that sexual intercourse can have negative consequences such as pregnancy or STDs o Sexual Behaviour in Heterosexual Adolescents  Age at Puberty • More likely to have early heterosexual experience if reach puberty before most peers  Other indicators of early experience are: • low self-esteem • poor academic performance • poor parent-child relationships • low family income • extended exposure to sexually explicit media • early use of drugs and alcohol • Ethnicity o Black females likely to have first sexual experience 1 to 2 years before European American women • Peer Pressure o Hooking up • Personal Values • Negative First Experiences o Many women have negative first experience; physical or emotional distress • Coercion o 10% of high school females say they were forced into intercourse o Sexual Behaviour in Heterosexual Adults  Problems with Surveys •  Meta-Analyses • Men report greater number of sexual partners • Masturbation more common for men  Communication About Sexuality • Uncomfortable talking about sex • Ambivalent Messages • Nonverbal Communication • Consent o 65% of women prefer a partner ask for consent, 53% for men • Ambiguous Sexual Scenarios o Men more likely to perceive scenario as acceptable and consentual • Women’s sexual assertiveness • Sexual self-disclosure o Lesbians and Sexuality  Defining Sexual Activity  Nongenital Physical Contact  Genital Sexual Activity & Communication • Lesbians have more orgasms when engaging in sexual activity  Mapping Unknown Territory o Older Women and Sexuality  Estrogen • Levels drop, vagina loses elasticity, and less moisture  Frequency of Genital Sexual Activity  Importance of Closeness and Intimacy  Sexual Inactivity  Cultural Expectations & Biases • Asexual o Sexual Disorders  Low Sexual Desire  Female Orgasmic Disorder • Cannot reach orgasm  How Gender Roles Contribute to Sexual Disorders • Many people believe that a man should be sexual and aggressive, whereas a women doesn’t need to enjoy sexual activity • Our culture emphasizes the length, strength, and endurance of a man’s penis. When a man focuses on these issues, he probably won’t think about how to make the interactions pleasurable for his partner • Physical attractiveness is emphasized more for females than for males, so a woman may focus on her physical appearance, rather than on her own sexual pleasure • Self-objectification  Therapy for Sexual Disorders • Cognitive restructuring o Change people’s inappropriately negative thoughts about some aspect of sexuality o Reduce thoughts that interfere with sexual activity and pleasure • Feminist approach o Move beyond focus on biological aspects o Incorporate gender equality, tenderness, emotional closeness, and communication Adolescent Birth Rates & Abortion Rates Outcomes & Decisions - Birth Control Methods o Abstinence o Tubal Ligation (sterilization)  Surgical risk, not reversible, possible negative emotional reaction o Vasectomy  Surgical risk, not reversible, negative emotional reaction o Oral contraceptive  Risk of blood clotting disorders, other medical side effects  o Condom  Must be applied before intercourse, may decrease pleasure for male, can break o Diaphragm & Spermicidal Cream  Must be applied before intercourse, may irritate genital area o Withdrawal & Rhythm Methods  NOT reliably effective - Emergency Contraception: A new option o Hormone pills that prevent pregnancy o Must be taken as soon as possible after intercourse o Available without a prescription - Who Uses birth control o Factors related to women’s birth control use  Social Class • Middle and upper class more likely to use BC  Ethnicity • Higher among European American and Asian  Level of Education • Higher education higher rate  Feminist Beliefs • More likely than nonfeminists to use  Personality Characteristics • Higher self-esteem o Obstacles of Using birth control  Parents and educators often avoid discussing birth control with young people because they “don’t want to give them ideas”  Some young women cannot obtain contraceptive services, so they use less reliable forms of birth control  Many young women have sexual intercourse without much planning  People may not think rationally about the consequences of sexual activity  Traditionally women believe that if they were to obtain contraception, they would be admitting to themselves that they planned to have intercourse and are therefore not ‘nice girls”.  People often believe that birth control devices will interrupt the lovemaking mood, because they are not considered erotic or romantic  Many young women are pressured to have sexual intercourse, often with a much older man o Contraception and Family Planning in Developing Countries  Fertility Rates • 2 in US, 1.5 in Canada  Female Literacy • Higher literacy lower fertility rate  Family Planning • Well educated more likely to plan  Contraception • 50-60% of couples practice contraception  Lack of Access to Family Planning  Unwanted Pregnancies • 950 every 5 minutes o Abortion and Other Alternatives  Before 1973 • Many performed illegally  Roe v. Wade • People have legal right to choose abortion  Abortion Rates • 25% of pregnancies in Canada and US are aborted • 50 million anually  Safety o Women’s Psychological Reactions to Abortion  Relief  Negative feelings  Individual differences  No long-term effects  Factors related to Psychological Adjustment • Early abortion • Self-efficacy (self-competence) • Support o Children Born to women who were denied abortions  Fewer friends  Respond poorly to stress  Marital difficulties  Drug problems  Work conflicts  Trouble with the legal system  Mothers report negative emotions and lack of concern o Alternatives to Abortion  Adoption  Motherhood Chapter 12 Women and Psychological Disorders Terminology - Psychological disorders o Emotions, thoughts, behaviours that are typically maladaptive, distressing to themselves, and different from the social norm - Antisocial personality disorders o Behaviours that clearly violate the rights of other people; these behaviours include excessive aggressiveness, impulsiveness, and lying - Incidence of psychological disorder roughly similar among men and women Major Depressive Disorder Gender Differences in adults are substantial across ethnic groups and cross-culturally - Characteristics of Depression o Emotional symptons  Feeling sad, gloomy, tearful, apathetic, irritable, and unable to experience pleasure o Cognitive symptoms  Depressed thoughts interfere with normal functioning  Trouble concentrating and making decisions  Remember negative information more accurately than positive information o Physical symptoms  Illnesses such as headaches, dizzy spells, fatigue, indigestion, and generalized pain  Some people gain weight, other people lose weight o Behavioral Symptoms  Decreased ability to do ordinary tasks  Decreased productivity at work  Neglected personal appearance  Decreased social interactions and
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