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Chapter 1

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Western University
Psychology 2075
William Fisher

Chapter 1: Sexuality in Perspective CHAPTER OVERVIEW - “Sexual activity” is activity that produces arousal and increases the chance of orgasm - “Sex” (sexual behaviour and anatomy) is distinct from “gender” (being male/female) - Historically, religion was main source of information concerning sexuality - Important early sex researchers during Victorian era: Sigmund Freud, Havelock Ellis, Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Magnus Hirschfeld - Big change on well-conducted sex surveys during 1990s - Mass media (TV, magazines, Internet) has a very powerful influence on most people’s understanding of sexuality o May have an influence through cultivation, agenda-setting, and social learning - Evidence of enormous variations in human sexual behaviour throughout human cultures around the world o Frequency of intercourse may vary from once a week to 3-4 times a night in others o Attitudes regarding premarital and extramarital sex, masturbation, same-sex behaviour and gender roles also vary o All societies regulate sexual behaviour in some way - In Canada, sexual behaviours vary depending on one’s social class and ethnic and linguistic group o Typically ethno-cultural communities characterized by traditional gender roles and restrictions on female sexuality but not on males - Studies on sexual behaviour in animal species show that masturbation, mouth-genital stimulation and same- gender sexual behaviour are no means limited by humans o In many animal species, sexual behaviour used for variety of non-sexual purposes, such as expressing dominance - A new international movement is focusing on sexual health and principles of sexual rights Sex and Gender - “Sex” refers to the sexual anatomy and sexual behaviour - “Gender” refers to the state of being male or female - “Sexual behaviour” refers to behaviour that produces arousal and increases chance of orgasm Influences on Sexuality Religion - Ancient Greeks believed in heterosexuality and homosexuality though the explanation of a myth o Original humans were double creatures  heterosexual = half male, half female; gay both male; lesbian both female - Christian’s believed wet dreams came from intercourse with tiny spiritual creatures called incubi and succubi o Notion put into 1484 book called Malleus Maleficarum/”the Witch’s Hammer” - Muslims believed sex had two purposes: primary purpose was for pleasure; second purpose was for reproduction Science - Anton van Leeuwenhoek (1623-1723) first to discover sperm - Oskar Hertwig (1875) first to observe fertilization of the egg by sperm in sea urchins - Victorian Era  sex regarded as repressed (i.e., quote from Peter Gay) - Sigmund Freud - major advance in the scientific understanding of the psychological aspects of human sexuality - Dr. Clelia Mosher – sex survey of Victorian Era women (mostly-all stated that they craved intercourse and had orgasms) - Peter Gay – documented affair during Victorian Era to contradict Victorian Era norms (repression of sexual behaviour) - Havelock Ellis – believed women are sexual creatures and urged society their craving was harmless - Richard von Krafft-Ebing – interest in “pathological” sexuality; termed heterosexuality, homosexuality, sadism, masochism, pedophilia - Magnus Hirschfeld – first large-scale sex survey (destroyed by Nazi’s); interested in homosexuality; made important contributions as a pioneer sex researcher - Alfred Kinsey – surveys and interviews people (1940s) - Masters and Johnson – study physiology of sexual responses and sexual disorders - 1990s – significant increase in sex research The Media - Mass media in North America may play role that religion did previously on influencing the public towards sexual norms - References to having safer sex are increasing - Communications theorists believe the media has three [3] types of influence: cultivation, agenda-setting, social learning o Cultivation – exposure to the mass media makes people think it is normal in mainstream society o Agenda-setting – what the media reports is important and what they don’t is not important o Social Learning – media provides roles that we should imitate - The internet is a way for people to access sexual material and post stuff of their own and engage in sexual activities through virtual worlds Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Sexuality - Culture – traditional ideas and values passed down from generation to generation within a group and transmitted to members of the group by symbols (such as language) o These ideas and values serve as the basis for patterns of sexual behaviour observed by the group - Ethnocentrism – tendency to regard one’s own ethnic group and culture as superior to others and believe that its customs and way of life are the standards by which other cultures should be judged o Considering variations across cultures should help us to put our own sexual behaviour in perspective - Incest taboo – a regulation prohibiting sexual interaction between close blood relatives, such as brother-sister o Most societies also condemn forced sexual relations Variations in Sexual Techniques - Kissing is most common sexual techniques and amongst most other societies - Many various sexual techniques across cultures such as frequency of intercourse, time of intercourse, inflicting pain Masturbation – the self-stimulation of the genitals to produce sexual arousal (the norms vary across cultures) Premarital and Extramarital Sex - Societies differ considerably in rules regarding premarital sex (some permit it others think it’s shameful) - Extramarital sex ranks second to incest as the most strictly prohibited type of sexual contact Sex with Same-Sex Partners - Vary across cultures but three [3] general rules seem to emerge o No matter how a particular society views homosexuality the behaviour always occurs in at least some individuals o Males are more likely to engage in sa
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