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Psyc 391 ch 12.docx

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PSYC 391
Kim Bartholomew

Psyc 391- Ch 12 (pg 380- 398) • The role of sex hormones following puberty: o Avg age of puberty- 10.5 for girls and 11.5 for boys o Primary sex characteristics= cuased by surge in sex hormones causing the maturation/growth of internal and external sexual organs (eventually results in ability to produce eggs/sperm/offspring) o Secondary sex characteristics= enlarged breasts, muscle dev in men, body hair o Outcome of central importance is dev of interest in sexuality and heightening of sexual desire following puberty onset o Women: evidence for association b/w hormone levels and sexual bbehavior is far less consistent for women than it is for men (ie greatest sexual behaviour around ovulation)  Sexual interest apparently reaches peak immediately before or after menstruation  Androgens consistently identified as hormone related to increased sexual interest in women as well as men (tho at highest lvel in middle 1/3 of menstrual cycle so confusing) • Perhaps lag in adrogens? Supported by research on men receiving androgen replacement therapy  Sexual desire and fantasy increase around midpoint of cycle (ovulation and androgen peaks) according to one study, other study found peak of sexual desire after menstruation  No one reliable pattern of increased sxual desire in women, could be b/c of emotional reactions to menstruation (as created by society/religious beliefs) o The complicating role of social factors in the influence of hormones:  Levels of testosterone related to sexual desire in girls, but also degree of adult feminization on body (also higher correlation of father in household absence for testosterone and sexual desire) • Father’s suppress female sexuality • Male religious commitment to reduce effects of testosterone on sexual interest • F may be more likely to initiate sexual activity in LT rlnshps (greater familiarity and comfort w/rlnshp and sexual intimacy, more egalitarian rlnshp) o Men:  Overwhelming rlnshp b/w androgen and sexual functioning • Androgens responsible for nighttime erections (sponateous) but not in rln to the response to erotic stimuli • Minimum threshold for testosterone, once passed, additional testosterone doesn’t have greater effect o A theoretical view of sexual desire:  Tolman and Diamond: • More complex view of sexual desire needed for a more complete understanding of rlnshp b/w hormones and sexual deires o Sexual desire in form of Spontaneous Sexual Urges related to hormone levels for M and F (refers to feelings of interest in sexual expression that are unprompted by obvious arousing stimuli in environment) o Sexual desire may be 2 distinct aspects: Internal sexual motivation and Arousability (tendency to become sexually aroused by aspects of the environment in response to arousing stimuli)  Link b/w internal sexual motivation and hormone levels been supported by research- estrogen levels in menstrual cycle relating to changes in sexual interest (not behavior tho, that’s influenced by social and interpersonal factors) • And Sexual desire for women may be based more on the nature of specific situations and psychological scripts available to them than is the case for men  Eveidence for direct rlnshp b/w sexual feelings and increases in androgen produced by gonads (internal experiences of sexual desire tho)  Arousability unrelated to hormone levels, maybe more important for F than M (adrenal glands for Androgens in F and in testicles for M) and M w/ceiling of internal sexual motivation b/c of continually high levels of circulating androgens • So women also have sufficient androgens circulating to experience arousability on ongoing basis (so stimulated when environment is right) and most likely spontaneous sexual urges when ovulating whereas Men continually high  Dif between men and women in internally generated sexual interest, but not in arousability, provides the basis for the second aspect of Tolman and Diamond’s proposal • The second aspect of their proposal is that sexual desire for women may be based more on what happens in the environment than on internal urges (in comparison to men) o Nature of specific situations, psychological scripts available have a large role in sexual desire o M and F don’t differ in overall strength of interest in initiating sexual activity  Women more likely to experience such interest at initiating at particular times (ie peak androgen levels)  Gender dif not in strength or interest in initiating sexual activity, rather is in Frequency w/in specific time period o For women, largest proportion of sexual desire experienced is strongly linked to situational factors (stimuli and events that are most prominent in a given setting that influence the behaviour of indivs)  Female sexual plasticity (fluctuation of F sexual interest)  Baumeister said women “put up” with sex when sexual interest is low  Tolman and Diamond disagree with this idea of changes during menstrual cycle • Say it doesn’t take account F situational arousal • Say biological factors in combo w/environmental and cultural factors affect sexual interest (hormones affect how envrionemtnal factors are related to sexual desire) o Biological factors involved in sexual orientation:  Inversion hypothesis= men who are attracted to men have developed feminine tendencies and vice versa for women and masculine tendencies  Neurohormonal theories: • Propose that exposure to certain types of hormones prenatally leads to greater sexual attraction for women (androgens structure brain in a way that leads indivs to find women sexually attractive) o Lack of exposure to androgrens leads to attraction to women o Inconsistent results for these hypotheses • Evidence from intersexual infants: o Sex reassignment surgery of intersex infants not good info b/c the indiv’s aren’t “normal” in the first place o Do see that brain is structured significantly from exposure to prenatal hormones o Intersexuality= developing sexual organs different from one’s genetic sex  Ie Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia= doesn’t allow for normal production of Cortisol from Adrenal glands, so instead have hormone from adrenal glands that’s converted into testosterone and DHT which masculinise the body • Still internal female ovaries but external masculine appearance  Ie Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome where cells of XY male are insensitive to androgen and therefore aren’t masculinised even w/high testosterone levels • Internal testicles but externally female so typically raised as girls but assessment of effect of androgens possible o Results for CAH women provide clearest support for rlnshp b/w prenatal androgen exposure and attraction to women (raised as girls but tendency for same sex attraction occurred in spite of environmental/social pressures o Attraction for men by AIS indivs is less convincing evidence for the role of lack of androgen in attraction toward men (b/c indivs raised as females) • Evidence from indiv’s exposure to synthetic estrogen: o DES (synthetic estrogen) capable of crossing placental barrier which is converted into testosterone metabolically in developing
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