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Psychology 2075
Corey Isaacs

Chapter 1 – Sexuality in Perspective  People are curious about sex – may be because exchanging sexual info is taboo in our culture and this curiosity motivates us to study sex  Sex is an important force in many people’s lives so there are practical reasons for wanting to learn about it  Experience concerns about our sexual functioning – look to improve  Study of sexuality is multidisciplinary with various perspectives – effects of religion, science, media and culture on our understanding of the subject Sex & Gender  The term sex is ambiguous (could be referring to gender or sexual behaviour) depending on context  Sex – refers to sexual anatomy & sexual behaviour  Gender – refer to state of being male or female  Gender roles exert a powerful influence on the way people behave sexually  Biologist may define sexual behaviour as any behaviour that increases the likelihood of gametic union  definition emphasizes the reproduction function of sex  Medical advances such as birth control developed to separate reproduction from sex – may have sex for not only procreation but pleasure and intimacy  Kinsey defined sex as behaviour that leads to orgasm – problems with definition as there are situations in which orgasm is possible or not  Studies show that undergraduate students have a narrow definition of sex – everyone thought intercourse was considered sex but only ¼ thought that oral sex resulting in orgasm would be defined as sex  Sexual behaviour – behaviour that produces arousal & increases the chance of orgasm Influences on Sexuality Religion  Source of values and ethics regarding sexuality – powerful influence on the sexual attitudes and behaviour of many individuals  Moral code for each religion is different and each has different views on what is right and wrong with respect to sexuality  Religion provided most info on sexuality 100 yrs ago & in some cultures still does  Ancient Greeks openly acknowledged homosexuality and heterosexuality – had a myth explaining the existence of the two  Myth - Original humans were double creatures with 2x the limbs & organs, some were double males/females or half male and half female  Gods fearing the power of these creatures split them in half & now they search for their missing half  Heterosexuals – thought to result from splitting of half male and female, homo from double male or double female  15 century Christians – believed that wet dreams resulted from intercourse with tiny spiritual creatures called incubi and succubi  put forth in an official document (a papal bull) of 1484 & companion book, Malleus Maleficarum (witch’s hammer)  Malleus Maleficarum became the official manual of the inquisition in which people (mostly women) were tried as witches – wet dreams, sexual dysfunction & sexual lust were seen to be caused by witchcraft  Muslims – believed that sexual intercourse is one of the finest pleasures of life & secondarily as means of reproduction  laws of Quran vary from country to country  Influence of religion on Canadians is apparent in discussions of homosexuality and abortion – Ex/ conservative Christians justify opposition to homo through bible, while others say it is rather d/t phobia and prejudice In Focus 1.1 – Paul: The Story of a Gay Anglican Priest  Paul born in 1950 to conservative parents, realized he was gay at a young age, but Paul was drawn to religion especially the ritual, music and artistic form that were part of it  Paul felt lonely that he could not express his sexual orientation freely with his parents or priest – homosexuality was celibate, human rights do not enter issue (abstain from it )  First sexual experimentation occurred in university, fell in love three times and got engaged to a women at 37 but divorced her later on  Studied priesthood and became one at the age of 26, sexuality went underground but he continued to have unattached sex  Church was careful not to ask him of his sexual orientation but Paul felt that his career in the church was impeded – not given opportunity to move to other diocese, take on new challenges or assume positions of leadership  Heard reports of criticism on his orientation by the parishioners but complaints did not go anywhere due to lack of belief – secrecy and lack of acceptance turned Paul into an alcoholic  Taken on task to promote rights of non-heterosexuals within the church after his retirement at 44, wants to church to provide safe environment where people find spiritual sustenance and give support to each other without fear or reprisal Science  Began in the 19 century  Groundwork for understanding of biological aspects of sexuality have been laid by the research of physicians & biologists  Leeuwenhoek discovered semen swimming in human semen  Hertwig observed the actual fertilizationof the egg by the sperm in sea urchins  Human ovum was not directly observed until the 20 century  Freud, major advancement in the scientific understanding of psychological aspects of human sexuality ( founder of psychoanalysis & psychiatry)  Freud began work in the Victorian era (late 1800s) both in north America & Europe  Norms about sexuality were rigid and oppressive – but examples of discrepancies listed below (men kept mistresses & molested children)  Mosher conducted a survey of Victorian women in the US over a period of 30 years and found that 80% of women felt a desire for sexual intercourse, 72% indicated that they had experienced an orgasm  Gay documented story of Mrs. Loomis Todd who although married, carried on an affair with Mr. Dickinson and still did not become an outcast  Fur traders married aboriginal women until white women arrived knowing this would not be acceptable in Europe  Ellis, forerunner in modern sex research, a physician who compiled collection of info on sex including medical and anthro findings, published a series of volumes entitled “studies in the psychology of sex” – believed that women were sexual creatures like men, urged society to accept deviation from social norms th  Kraft-Ebing in the 19 century studied pathological sexuality and published psychopathia sexualis, and coined concepts of sadism, masochism and pedophilia, heterosexuality and homosexuality which entered English language in 1892 after translation of his book  Hirschfeld founded the first sex research institute and administered the first large scale survey, established the first journal devoted to study of sexuality, established marriage counselling service, worked for legal reforms and gave advice on contraception and sex problems, and was interested in homosexuality  Kinsey’s massive surveys on human sexual behaviour in the 1940s provided th major breakthroughs in scientific understanding of sex in the 20 century  Masters & Johnson’s investigation of sexual disorders and physiology of sexual response  Studies changed how people thought about sex and led to more open public discussion of sexuality  Mead and Malinowski began to collect data on sex behaviour in other cultures – 90s saw a increase in research on sexuality in close relationships  Never been a major national survey of sexual behaviour of Canada but have included some questions in many surveys and small investigations  Scientific study has not emerged as a separate unified academic discipline and is interdisciplinary (joint effort by biologists, psychologists, sociologists, anthro & phys) Media  Canadians are influenced by Canadian programs & more so by American prime time TV  A typical week in 2005 - 35% of programs showed some sexual behaviour, was 23% in 1998  References to safer sex are rare (STI or pregnancy) – only 2% portray sex precautions, but are increasing  Many think that there is too much sexually explicit programming on prime time TV  Much more likely to be influenced by mass media than scientific findings  Three types of influence: cultivation, agenda setting & social learning  Cultivation: people begin to think that what they see on TV represents the mainstream of what happens in our culture, Ex/ students who watch soap operas are more likely to overestimate incidence of divorce  Agenda setting: new reporters select what to report, what to ignore and what to emphasize, tells us what we should pay attention to  Social learning: characters can serve as models whom we imitate, perhaps without realizing, Ex/ teens who watch sexy TV more likely to engage in intercourse earlier  Internet is the newest and most powerful mass media influence – usage is spreading, in 2009, 80% of Canadian adults were online for personal purposes  86% of male students and 39% of female students had viewed erotic pictures or videos on the internet, 25% of men and 13% of women had engaged in sex activity with a partner online  Internet has potential for positive and negative effects on sexual health – can provide info about sexuality and promote health  20% of youths indicated that they had received at least one sexual solicitation or approach over the internet in the last year, and 3% had received an aggressive sexual solicitation in which they were asked to meet the recipient somewhere or were given money or gifts Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Sexuality  Culture – refers to traditional ideas & values transmitted to members of the groups by symbols  serve as basis for patterns of behaviours observed in the group  Ethnocentrism influences people’s understanding of human sexual behaviour as most of us have experience of sexuality in only one culture  tend to view our sex behaviour as the only pattern in existence & certainly as the only natural pattern  Canadians tend to have more permissive attitudes toward sexuality than Americans  Major generalization is that all societies regulate sexual behaviour in some way, though the exact regulations vary  Incest taboos are universal – sex is regulated in that intercourse between blood relatives is prohibited  Forced sexual relations are also condemned Variations in Sexual Techniques  Kissing is one of the most common sexual techniques in our culture – also common in other societies  But there are some societies in which kissing is unknown, such as the Thonga people of Africa & also variations in the techniques of kissing (Kwakiutl & Trobriand Islanders – consists of sucking the lips & tongues of the partner)  Cunnilingus – mouth stimulation of the female genitals, is fairly common in our society, & occurs in a few other societies, especially in South Pacific (island of Ponape – man places fish in the woman’s vulva & licks it out prior to sexual intercourse)  Inflicting pain on the partner is also a part of the sexual technique in some societies – Apinaye woman may bite off her partner’s eyebrows, Ponapean men tug at the woman’s eyebrows, bite their partners to the point of drawing blood & leaving scars and many mutually inflict pain on each other  Frequency of intercourse varies from culture in married couples – lowest frequency among the Inis Beag, highest among the Mangaians and Santals  Canada’s sexuality is in the middle as stated by a survey done in the 1990s  Most groups have restrictions that forbid intercourse at certain times or in certain situations - Ex/ post partum sex taboo  prohibition for sexual intercourse for a period of time after a women has given birth (can last a few days to more than a year) Masturbation  Sexual self stimulation of the genitals varies widely across cultures - some tolerate & encourage it during childhood & adolescence while others condemn the practice at any age  Almost all express some disapproval of adult masturbation – range from mild ridicule to severe punishment – but some adults in all societies practice it  Female masturbation occurs in other societies – African Azande woman use a pahlus made of wooden root but if husband catches her, he may beat her  Lesu society expresses no disapproval of adult female masturbation – heel presses against genital, does not use hands for manipulation Premarital & Extramarital Sex  Societies differ considerably in their rules – Marquesans’ boy and girls participate in a wide range of sexual experienced before puberty, first experience is with a heterosexual partner who is 30 to 40 years old, mothers are proud if daughters have many lovers, marriage occurs later  Egyptians of Siwa, remove the girl’s clitoris at 7 or 8 to decrease her potential for sexual excitement & intercourse, premarital intercourse brings shame on the family, marriage occurs around 12 or 13  One study suggests that 90% of Pacific Island, 88% African & 82% Eurasian societies permit premarital sex, 73% of Mediterranean prohibit it  Extramarital sex is more complex & conflicted for most cultures – ranks second to incest as the most strictly prohibited type of sexual contact  Study found that 74% of cultures, it was forbidden for one or both partners  Even when permitted, subjected to regulations – most common is to allow it for husbands but not wives Sex with Same-Sex Partners  Wide range of attitudes across cultures  One end societies may strongly disapprove, some may approve of it in children but disapprove of it in adults, others actively encourage all male members to engage in same sex behaviour, in conjunction with puberty rites  Few have a formalized role for adult gay man that gives him status and dignity  Three general rules emerge: 1) Homosexuality is found universally in all societies 2) Males more likely than females to engage in homosexual activity 3) Homosexual activity is never the predominant form of sexual behaviour in any society  In Canada and other Western nations hold an unquestioned assumption that people have a sexual identity but in some cultures is unknown or rare, such as in Indon
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