SOC100H5 Chapter Notes - Chapter 8: Secondary Sex Characteristic, Cultural Universal, Bisexuality

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10 Feb 2011

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Chapter Eight: Sexuality and Society
Understanding Sexuality
Sex: a biological issue
Sex refers to the biological distinction between females and males
Way that humans reproduce
Female ovum and male sperm (containing 23 pairs of chromosomes) combine to form
fertilized embryo
Mother contributes X chromosomes and father contributes Y chromosomes
X from the father produces female (XX), Y from the father produces male (XY)
Childs sex is determined biologically at the moment of conception
Sex and the Body
Primary sex characteristics: genitals, organs used for reproduction
Secondary sex characteristics: bodily development apart from genitals that
distinguishes biologically mature females and males
Mature female- wider hips for giving birth, milk-producing, deposits of soft fatty
tissue that provide reserve supply of nutrition during pregnancy and breastfeeding
Mature males- more muscles in upper body, extensive body hair, deeper voice
Gender: element of culture that refers to personal traits and patterns of behaviour
including responsibilities, opportunities, and privileges that culture attaches to
being male or female
Intersexual People/Hermaphrodite
Defn: people whose bodies (including genitals) have both male and female
Transsexuals: people who feel they are one sex even thought biologically they are the
Transgendered: means that they begin to disregard conventional ideas about how
females or males should look and behave
Gender reassignment: surgical alteration of genitals usually accompanied by
hormone treatments
Sex: cultural issue
Incest taboo
Defn: norm forbidding sexual relations or marriage between certain relatives
Cultural universal- element found in every society around the world
Sexual Attitudes
many of us believe that we should be free to do what we wish as long as we cause no
direct harm to others
sex is a matter of individual freedom and personal choice
Canadians became more accepting of non-marital sex and homosexuality over time
Increasing view that extramarital sex is wrong
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The Sexual Revolution
20th century: profound changes in sexual attitudes and practices
Americans on average less conventional in sexual matters
Late 1960s, Sexual Revolution
oYouth culture dominated public life
odo it if it feels good
oSex, drugs and rock n roll
oFreer attitude towards sex
oBaby boom generation first to grow up with the idea that sex is part of life
*with or without marriage*
oBirth control pill- prevented pregnancy and made sex more convenient
Sexual revolution increased sexual activity overall, but changed behaviour of women
more than that of men
Openness about sexuality develops as societies become richer and opportunities for
women increases
Sexual Counter-revolution
Moral decline
Conservative call for return to family values and change from sexual freedom back
to what critics saw as sexual responsibility valued by earlier generations
Criticized idea of free love, cohabitation *living together* and child bearing by
unmarried couples
People under most circumstances decide when and with whom to have sex
Premarital Sex
Gained approval in Canada in last 20 years
General public attitudes remain divided on premarital sex, it is widely practiced
among young people
Sexual double standard: guys should, girls shouldnt
Males are more likely than females to endorse the recreational or fun aspect of sex
Women adhere to love aspect
Sex between Adults
Laumann and colleagues- largest study of sexuality found that frequency of sexual
activity varies widely among Americans
Appears that Canadian adults are more sexually active than Americans
Extramarital sex
More common than it should be
Almost 85-90% consider it to be wrong
Sexual Orientation
Defn: persons romantic and emotional attraction to another person
Norm is that everyone is heterosexual(sexual attraction to the other sex)
Homosexuality: sexual attraction to someone of the same sex
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