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Chapter 8

Chapter 8 - Sexuality and Society.docx

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University of Guelph
SOC 1100
Linda Gerber

Chapter 8 Sexuality and Society Understanding Sexuality  Sex: Biological Issue: - SEX IS BIOLOGICAL - (def) Sex – biological distinction between males and female - mother contributes the X - father contributes X or Y - XX = girl - XY = boy - Testicular tissue produces testosterone  triggers male genitalia - (def) primary sex characteristics – the genitals, organs used for reproduction - (def) secondary sex characteristics – bodily development, apart from genitals, that distinguishes males from females  Females  wider hips, breasts etc..  Males  muscular - Sex is NOT Gender - Gender is an element of culture that refers to personal traits etc.. - (def) Intersexual People – people whose bodies, have both female & male characteristics  i.e hermaphrodites  has an ovary and testis - culture demands sex to be clear cut  it ISN’T - (def) Transsexuals – people who feel they are one sex even though biologically they are another  i.e David Reimer who lost his penis during circumcision and was raised as a girl - (def) gender reassignment – surgical alterations of their genitals - the social construct of gender identity is malleable  Sex: A Cultural Issue - GENDER IS CULTURAL - Sexuality is a cultural issue - Cultural variation:  Sex positions vary around the world  Affection varies:  Chinese kiss in private  French kiss publicly – 1 on each cheek  Belgians kiss publicly – 3 times  Modesty varies:  Islamic women covers face  Laotian women covers breast  Samoan woman covers navel  Sumatran women covers knees  European women covers breasts & genitals Page 1 Chapter 8  Norms regulate sexuality  i.e no sex before marriage - Incest Taboo  Example of cultural universal  (def) cultural universal – an element found in every society around the world  (def) Incest Taboo – a norm forbidding sexual relations or marriage between certain relatives  REASONS for Incest Taboo:  Biology  produces birth defects  Controlling sex between relatives  element of social organization  Limits sexual competition in families  Can confuse kinship  It can integrate families with larger societies as they look for mates beyond close kin Sexual Attitudes  European immigrants  limit sex to marriage  Early Puritan Settlers  imposed severe penalties for sexual misconduct  1969 in Canada  birth control & homosexuality removed from criminal code  Canadians are both restrictive and permissive when it comes to sex - Premarital sex  permissive - Homosexuality  permissive - Extramarital affair  restrictive  Sexual Revolution: - Experience sexual freedom during the “roaring twenties” - 1960  if it feels good do it - 1960  ‘sex, drugs, and rock n roll’ - baby boom generation  first to grow up with ‘sex being a part of life’ - 1960  birth control pill made sex more convenient - double standard  men can, women can’t - sexual revolution:  increased sexuality overall  changed behavior of women more than men  Sexual COUNTER-Revolution: - Some criticized the moral decline  counter-revolution began - Critics object to:  Premarital sex  Children out of wedlock - Counter-revolution did not change societies sexual ideas - More people limiting sex due to:  STDs Page 2 Chapter 8  Morality  Premarital Sex: - 57% believe premarital sex is NOT wrong - ¾ of men, 2/3 of women had sex by senior year  Sex Between Adults: - Sexual activity varies  ¼ have sex a few times a yr or none  ¼  1-3x a month  ½  1-2x a week - Canadians are more sexually active than Americans - Extramarital sex  85-90% believe it is WRONG  cultural ideas differ from real life  extramarital sex is probably more common than it should be Sexual Orientation  (def) sexual orientation – person’s romantic and emotional attraction to another person  (def) heterosexuality – attraction to opposite sex  (def) homosexuality – attraction to same sex  (def) bisexuality – attraction to both sexes  (def) asexuality – no attraction to either sex  sexual attraction DIFFERENT than sexual behavior - can be attracted to same sex but doesn’t mean you’ll engage in that behavior  HETEROSEXUAL = NORM - Due to biology – permits reproduction  HOMOSEXUAL = TOLERATED - Ancient Greece – homo highest form of relation bc looked down on women  Sexual Orientation: Constructed by Society - Patterns of sexuality differ from one society to the next - i.e man dresses like female and does women’s work - ie. Young boys give BJs to older men to drink semen to become more masculine - DIVERSE PATTERNS = SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED  Sexual Orientation: Product of Biology - Sex orientation linked to  size of hypothalamus - Genetics  ‘gay’ gen
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