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Psyc 391 ch 13.docx

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PSYC 391
Kim Bartholomew

Psyc 391- Ch 13 (Sexuality in the early years and adolescence) • Intro: o Historically children viewed as completely devoid of sexual nature/feelings  Any type of sexual behaviour (even involuntary response ie erection) see as indicated of evil character  Given highly negative beliefs about sexuality throughout western history (esp regarding children) researchers have avoided addressing childhood sexuality at all  Parent views affect research (concern w/contamination)  This belief of sexuality based on disease perspecteive where early exposure to anything sexual thought to corrupt and damage dev • And interest in sexuality of children by adults seen as Pedophilia (BAD)  Research on it- variable in parental refusal, so under some circumstances parents may have fewer misgivings o Also methodological issues for researching sexuality in kids (self report and cognitive immaturity, also observation impossible/unethical (also sexual behaviour private- this acknowleged at young age so hidden b/c it’s Taboo) o b/c of research issues most info from medical personnel and physicians (much from case histories)  also parental observation (tho relies on parents judging behaviour as sexual b/c children may not see it as sexual themselves when engaging in it) o reason for studying sexuality across lifespan is need for basic knowledge about human experience that’s accurate and complete o want to know normal behaviour perhaps see signs of abnormal so detect abuse • Development during infancy: o Prenatal erections in second half of prenatal period (can’t see female arousal but assume it’s highly likely)  Unsure of implications of such early dev, tho suggest early dev to lay foundation for layer sexual functioning? o Infancy- birth to 2 years old, b/c of negative attitudes virtually no research in sexuality of children this young  Tho most ppl report that masturbation, manipulation of genitals, is common in first year (potentially happening to point of almost orgasm like tension release?) • Self stim when upset/stressed for relief?  Breast feeding, oral stimulation, highly pleasurable and soothing for infants (positive for mother and baby) • For mother stimulation even causing uterine/vaginal contractiosn similar to orgasm (pleasure)  Parent attitudes toward sexuality affect how child self touching is dealt with (frown, command stopping, move childs hands, ignore) • Depends on if seen as sexual  Girls may be particularly prone to lack of knowledge and familiarity with their genitals possibly resulting in discomfort associated with them • F gentials less visible, cultural values tend to discourage F sexual expression  Serbin and Sprafkin proposed that for children issues highly relevant to sexuality are the formation of gender identity, recognition of gender constancy, mastery of knowledge about gender roles and sexuality and development of gender role identity • Gender identity- the indiv’s sense that they are male or female (or some combination) dnesn’t correspond perfectl y w/the gender of those whom one finds attraction o Indiv’s who feel that their gender doesn’t match the body in which they were bron may elect for surgery (transsexuals) • Development during childhood: o Social competence and involvement in peer networks during childhood may for mthe basis for he tendencies that adolescents develop regarding sexuality  Also determine adolescents’ ability to deal effectively w/attraction, dating and romantic rlnshp formation o The role of parent child interactions:  Temperament w/big effect on course of children’s lives, parents also influence on children above and beyond the tendencies due to children’s basic temperament  Attachment- relates to quality of rlnshps that children have later w/their peers • Major factor for secure attachment is sensitivity of caretaker to needs/feelings of child (also how caretaker adjusts their behaviour to accommodate the child’s behaviour and feelings • Kids w/secure attachments generally higher quality rlnshps and more effective in rlnshps w/peers  Paretns provide Direct advice (regarding peer rlnshps and friendships) that influences social dev of kids • Parental involvement linked to greater social lcompetence and greater acceptance by peers • In later childhood explicit advice from parents about routine interactions is less appropriate, direct involvement only for difficulties? • By middle childhood parental ctrl b/c influence opportunities children have to interact w/others and monitor friend choice o More monitoring, more likely delinquent and engage in antisocial, harmful behaviros o The preschool period (2-6):  Are children capable of experiencing passionate love? • Passionate love is desire for union w/another person, in adults is strongly related to desire for physical/sexual contact o Measured using adapted vversion of Passionate love scale for adults in Juvenile Love Scale (JLS) o Results show that passionate love is possible from early age (in form of intense interest) so see that passionate love not just driven by hormonal changes at puberty  Gender related to passionate love, girls higher o Other study showed tendency to experience anxiety w/passionate love in young ppl  What do children know about sexuality? • Hardly any research on children’s knowledge of sexuality outside studies looking at dev of gender identity and children’s understanding of pregnancy/birth • Names of sexual organs: generally use nicknames when toddler o Parents don’t generally attempt to inform kids of names, ok w/nongenital body parts (ie arm, leg) o Similar proportion of girls and boys can give label for male genitals, 4 times as many girls can give name for female genitals  When are children able to understand gender? • 2 year olds group by gender by can’t explain why, 3-4 year olds base groupings on nongenital things (ie hairstyle) and 5-6 year olds group w/more likely description of genitals • By age 3 most kids established gender identity  Do Children associate sex organs w/sexuality and reproduction? • Kids b/w 2-7 generally not aware of sexual functions associated w/genitals, mostly know in terms of body wastes o If aware is b/c of pregnancy/birth • Do children know how babies are made? o Ltd ability to understand concepts related to time and causality in preschool so unlikely that many will be able to accurately understand reproduction yet o Younger kids w/more advanced cognitive abilities understand vague notions of babies being made somehow but seldom understand developmental process o Among young kids father seldom seen as having more than a helping role, older get more aware that sexual behaviour may be present o One perspective conceives of children’s understanding as progression across 3 levels of knowledge about roles of mothers and fathers  Nonsexual understanding, transitional sexual understanding and Overtly sexual understanding o Typically kids think of repro in terms of nonsexual M and F roles until about 11 years old • What do children know about sex? o Rarely do prescoholers have knowledge of penile-vaginal intercourse (if they do it’s very vague) o Younger children see mothers as more active in producing babies, older children see father as more active role • Are there differences among children in what they know? o Education by parenst related to greater sexual knowledge among 2-7 year olds w/respect to pregnancy and birth issues, but not knowledge of adult sexual behaviour  Cultural difs in what’s told, detail and age of knowledge (ie Sweden know birth process by about 5)  Less restrictive sexual attitudes by parents associated w/greater sexual knowledge of children overall • Parental attitudes related to SES, lower SES moms w/more restrictive attitudes/less info  Curiosity about one’s own and others’ gentials: • Curiosity- fundamental motivation and important in learning • Thru exploration of own body and that of others form Bodily representations for both sexies o Early on w/basic understanding where body parts are in relation to each other important for coordination (posture and movement) o Child’s understanding of their sexual organs evolves in the context of learning about the body in general o Genitals hidden and shrouded in mystery, children eventually come to realize they have big impact on lives (basis for gender stereotypes and gender roles) o Close physical contact essential for development of high quality attachments for children (and infants) basis of emotional security and trust formation  Perhaps also sensuality and sexual interest too? o Bath more w/parents, more likely to touch their genitals or breasts  If gets too “close” then parents discontinue bathing together/siblings together- influencing child knowledge of sexuality/protocol o Greater exposure to nudity and sleeping w/parents in childhood positively associated w/higher levels of sexual activity ,greater comfort w/physical closeness and affection and greater self esteem  Sexual activity during childhood also correlated w//greater nudity w/in family o Both girls and boys display degree of curiosity in others’ genitals, very young boyds more so in male gentials, girls interested in both F and M genitals  Older kids become more interested in genitals of others  Curiosity in genitals pretty normal for kids  Sexual behaviour: • Little research- many do, but probably not w/sexual intention • US vs Dutch cultures- similar on 3 dimensions (power distance- unequal vs equal, individualism-collectivism, and uncertainty avoidance- rigid vs flexible) o Tho dif on 4 dimension of Masculinity-feminisity (tough vs tender) w/Dutch society more tender minded (generally more permissive about sexuality then) o Grater proportions of girls talked flirtatiously in both countries than boys, whereas more boys showed their sexual parts to other children/adults, touched their sexual parts at home and masturbated with their hand • US study- greatest proportion of children were touches own sexual parts, touches breasts, interested in other gender, plays doctor, asks questiosn about sexuality and masturbates w/hand o Girls more likely play doctor and ask Qs, boys more likely touched own genitals/masturbated w/hand o Hardly any asked to watch explicit tv, imitate sexual behaviour w/dolls, ask to engage in sex acts, make sexual sounds, insert objects into vagina/anus, of talk about sex acts  Small rlnshp found b/w tendency to show physical intimacy (ie hug/snuggle) and higher levels of sexual behaviour, similarly small rlnshp w/greater openness of nudity • Elementary school period (5-10): o Increasing important and influence of peers, tho family still huge impact o Little research but average first experience of sexual attraction around age 10  By age 12 some sexual contact (touching) but not oral genital contact, insertion, penetration o More sexual activity occurs during elementary school period than would be expected if children enter a latency period in whic sexuality is dormant, as proposed w/in psychoanalytic theory  Evidence in this study refutes position that children become uninterested in sexual issues during this time  Variety of sexual behaviros occurs (arguing against notion of latency period)  Third preponderance of sexual arousal, exploration of other children’s bodies and sexual behaviour involves children outside the family  Fourth children engage in sexual lexploration in situatiosn taht avoid discovery and observation by adults  Children evaluate sexual behaviour based on emotiosn they experience and beliefs they’ve developed • Adolescence: o 10-20 years, tho boundaries somewhat issue of controversy o Early adolescence: 10-13, middle adolescence 14-18 and late adolescence 19-22 o Puberty:  Physical maturation of reproductive/sexual organs that leads to changes in wide range of bodily features and enables indiv to produce offspring  Ongoing process w/origins prenatally (androgens at dif levels whic hstructure reproductive system in specific way setting up for production of more hormones) • Those hormones suppressed after birth thru early childhood until repro organs “awakened”  How does the body change during puberty: • 5 categories: o Greater levels of hormones (endocrine system)- specifically androgens which intiaite changes in other areas of body  Age 6 in girls and 8 in boys from arenal glands  Beginning increase of androgens is adrenarche o Maturation of primary and secondary sex characteristics  Primary- genitals and internal reproductive organs  Secondary- not directly involved in repro but dev b/c of sex hormones • Breast maturation, facial hair in boys, pubic hair for both, breast budding in girls (first observable, 8-13)  Marshall and Tanner- stage 1 w/o breast dev, stage 2 breast budding, stage 3 breasts more distinct but no real separation yet, stage 4- distinction becomes noticeable and areolo forms definite mound on each breast, stage 5- mature stage, areola recedes back into general contour of each breast  In boys first observable dev
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