WSTA01H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 13: Sex Education

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Published on 20 Apr 2013
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Chapter 13: Losing It: Similarities and Differences in First Intercourse Experiences of Men and Women
Introduction
- historically, a woman’s virginity was crucial to marriage in terms of both honour and value; women who were found not to be virgins on their wedding night were
seen as worthless in many cultures
- in contrast, ‘proof’ of male virginity is unavailable physically and less important culturally
- such differences in how virginity has been perceived in society have created an environment in which men and women may have different perceptions of first
intercourse and its meanings
- Burr argues that the contemporary construction of men’s sexuality as ‘active, dynamic, powerful, and, potentially uncontrollable’, also portrays women’s sexuality
as essentially passive
- in this construction, sex for women is not about active participation but about something that is received
- women may thus be seen as dependent on men for introducing them to the physical pleasure aspects of sexual activities because conventional femininity
demands that a women appear to be sexually unknowing, to desire not just sex but a relationship, to let sex ‘ happen’ without requesting it, to trust, to love, and to
make men happy
- traditional dating scenarios reinforced this perspective in that the women was expected to wait for the man to ask her out and the man was expected to handle
details of cost , transportation, and activity
- social discourses around sexuality, and particularly female sexuality, reflect and influence personal and educational perspectives on first intercourse
- the first discourse, sexuality as violence, instills fear of sex by focusing on abuse, incest, and other negative outcomes of sexual activity
- the second discourse, sexuality as victimization, identifies females as subject to the pressuring tendencies of male sexuality and focuses attention on the risk of
women ‘being used’ or coerced and thus on ways to avoid the physical, social, and emotional risks of sexual intimacy
- the third context, sexuality as individual morality, would value women’s choice about sexuality as long as the choice is premarital abstinence
- such discourses, lead to a construction of sexuality where the male is in search of desire and the female is in search of protection
- largely absent from public sexual education is a fourth discourse, sexuality as desire
Discussion
- gender differences in which men appear to have greater influence on sexual interactions in heterosexual relationships, at least when it comes to first intercourse
- the greater age differences between women and their first intercourse partners could result in men having more power and control in the sexual relationship
- on the other hand this could simply be a reflection of our society's tendency for younger women to be drawn to older partners and vice versa
- the fact that men had known their first intercourse partners for a shorter period of time than women report that men consider sexual intercourse acceptable earlier
in a dating relationship than do women
- men are more likely to take initiative with the sexual aspects of romantic relationships
- on average, women were more likely than men to believe that they were in love at first intercourse (men were more likely to be unsure)
- the greater tendency for women to believe they were in love at first intercourse may reflect greater internalization by women than men of feeling that sex is about
love
- the inclusion of romance in erotica can serve as a relationship buffer that make erotic material more acceptable to women
- similarly, the belief that they are 'in love' might be viewed as the relationship buffer necessary for some women to justify first intercourse
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