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Chapter 15

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Western University
Psychology 2075

HUMAN SEXUALITY Chapter 15 Variations in Sexual Behaviour Summary Notes WHEN IS SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR ABNORMAL? ▫ Behaviour is usually classified as normal or abnormal ▫ Terms for abnormal sexual behaviour  sexual deviance, perversion, sexual variance and paraphilias  the text refers to it as sexual variations Defining Abnormal  Statistical definition – an abnormal sexual behaviour is one that is rare, or not practiced by many people – this does not give us insight into the psychological or social functioning of a person who engages in the behaviour  Sociological approach – a sexual behaviour that violates the norms of society – cultural dependence  Psychological approach – Arnold Buss’ Psychopathology: 3 criteria for abnormality  discomfort, inefficiency (unhappiness) and bizarreness – but bizarreness is culturally defined  Medical approach – 8 paraphilias in the DSM-IV-TR …  Non-human objects  fetishism, transvestic fetishism  Suffering and humiliation  sexual sadism, sexual masochism  Non-consenting persons  voyeurism, frotteurism, exhibitionism, and pedophilia  Paraphilia: recurring, unconventional sexual behaviour that is obsessive and compulsive  Additional criteria for each category: a) the fantasies, urges or behaviours have occurred for at least 6 months b) They cause “clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning” (you can’t participate normally in society b/c you are obsessed and preoccupied)  Kleinplatz and Moser argue that paraphilias involving two consenting adults don’t represent mental disorders  Believe that behaviours involving unusual sexual interests, but not coercion may be healthy expressions of sexuality for some people  Some paraphilias and most atypical sexual behaviour (i.e. fetishism and masochism) are not against the law  There are laws against indecent exposure (showing one’s genitals in a public place to passersby – exhibitionism), voyeurism, indecent acts in a public place, public nudity  violate community standards  Community standards of taste can impact on laws regulating sex crimes (ex/ Gwen Jacobs was charged for indecent exposure when walking topless, but in 1996, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled it ok as long as it was not for commercial gain or sexual purposes)  72% of Canadians think it should be illegal for women to be topless on streets, 48% think beaches The Normal-Abnormal Continuum  Many people have mild fetishes that is w/in the range of normal behaviour, only when the fetish becomes extreme it is abnormal (i.e. lingerie wearing is a fetish which is normal but it can become abnormal)  There is a normal-abnormal behaviour continuum  A sexual behaviour is likely to fall on the abnormal end when it interferes with having healthy relationships or completing day to day activities and/or causes harm to others ---------|----------------------------|------------------------------------|-----------------------------------|----------- Mild preference strong preference necessity substitute for human partner  The red writing is where abnormal paraphilic behaviour starts SEXUAL ADDICTIONS AND COMPULSIONS ▫ Some sexual variations are actually a result of an addictive process (like alcoholism) – Patrick Carnes ▫ The person has a pathological relationship to a sexual event or process, substituting it for a healthy relationship w/ others ▫ Criticism of the addiction comparison: (a) no physiological withdrawal symptoms when abstaining for an addictive sexual behaviour (b) using the term “addiction” may affect perceptions of these behaviours and thus become an excuse for illegal behaviour ▫ Instead use the term compulsive sexual behaviour rather than sexual addiction Compulsive Sexual Behaviour  Compulsive sexual behaviour: (CSB) a disorder in which the person experiences intense sexually arousing fantasies, urges, and associated sexual behaviour ▫ These people A) Lack impulse control. B) Incur social and legal sanctions. C) Cause interference in interpersonal and occupational functioning. D) Create health risks  MEN > WOMEN suffer from CSB  Chief distinguishing feature is that the person has lost control over the behaviour (i.e. man who leaves his desk at work to run to supply office to jerk off because he cant resist the compulsion)  “Sex addicts” use sex to cheer themselves up from a bad mood  Study of NY sexually compulsive gay/bi men found that depression, low self-esteem, a need for validation and affection, and stress release were associated with their behaviour; child sexual abuse also BIG factor  The key to distinguish an addiction/compulsion – the compulsiveness, the lack of control, the obsession (constant thoughts of the sexual scenario) and the obliviousness (to danger or harmful consequences)  Hold faulty beliefs involving denial or distortion of reality in order to “justify” their behaviour  CSB leads to many self-destructive behaviours – spend lots of $, neglect work/family, risk arrest  Each episode of the sexually compulsive behaviour proceeds through a 4-step cycle, which intensifies each time it is repeated … i) Preoccupation: the person can think of nothing other than the sexual act to which he/she is addicted ii) Rituals: the person enacts certain rituals that have become a prelude to the addictive act iii)CSB: the sexual behaviour is enacted and the person feels that he/she has no control over it iv) Despair: rather than feeling good after the sexual act is completed, the addict falls into a feeling of hopelessness and despair (b/c they know the act is not normal)  Sometimes there is a history of CSB in the family, or other addictions FETISHISM ▫ Fetishism: a person’s sexual fixation on some object other than another human being and attachment of great erotic significance to that object ▫ Sexual partners may or may not be involved ▫ In extreme cases, the person is incapable of becoming aroused and having an orgasm unless the fetish object is present Media Fetishes and Form Fetishes  Media fetish: the material out of which an object is made is the source of arousal (i.e. leather)  Hard media fetish: the fetish is for a hard substance (i.e. leather or rubber) – may be associated w/ sadomasochism  Soft media fetish: the substance is soft (i.e. fur or silk)  Form fetish: it is the object and its shape that is the source of arousal (i.e. high-heeled shoes) – this fetish may be associated w/ sadomasochism (ex/ a woman wears the high-heeled shoes and walks on a man) Why Do People Become Fetishists?  3 theoretical explanations …  Learning theory: fetishes result from classical conditioning – learned association is built btwn the fetish object and sexual arousal and orgasm  Cognitive psych theory: fetishists have a serious cognitive distortion – they perceive an unconventional stimulus as erotic – their perception of arousal is also distorted – a chain of events occurs …  Initial feelings of guilt at thoughts of unconventional behaviour  leads to arousal  misinterpreted as sexual arousal  leads to feelings that the fetish ritual must be carried out  orgasm and temp feelings of relief  evaluation of event is neg  leads to further guilt  Sexual addiction theory: described earlier in notes  Fetishism typically develops early in life In Focus 16.1: A Case of a Shoe Fetishist ­ Case X, aged 24 y/o ­ His servant used to touch his penis w/ her shoe and then he would masturbate ­ An associated was established and merely the sight of a woman’s shoe and then merely the idea of a woman’s shoe sufficed to induce sexual excitement and erection ­ Later, to increase the pleasure, he used shoes to masturbate ­ He was not interested in sex w/ women or men ­ He started having epileptic attacks while he was aroused by shoes and wanted to stop his fetish … w/ help from a doctor his sexual excitation by women’s shoes was less TRANSVESTISM ▫ Transvestism: cross-dressing – wearing clothes stereotypically associated w/ the other gender – for erotic purposes (“trans” = cross, vest = “dressing”) – often conducted in secrecy  A transvestite is a heterosexual man who dresses in female clothing to produce or enhance sexual arousal  If his fantasies, urges, or behaviours meet the DSM-IV criteria for paraphilia, the man is said to have a transvestic fetish ▫ Transvestic fetishism is almost exclusively a male sexual variation – maybe b/c of society’s intolerance for males dressing femininely ▫ Transgender ppl cross-dress to express a more feminine/masculine side of themselves, also done as part of transitioning ▫ Drag queen: a gay male who dresses in women’s clothing (drag king = lesbian woman dressing in male clothing) ▫ Female impersonators: a man who dresses up as a woman as part of a job in entertainment ▫ Most sexual variations are practiced mainly by men (b/c ppl are tolerant of women dressing masculine-ly) ▫ Majority of males begin cross-dressing before the age of 10 (some grow out of it) ▫ Their partner’s reaction to cross-dressing  accepting, supportive, help them dress and apply makeup, or have problems with it (if they didn’t know about it before hand, but most partners know) ▫ Their children’s reactions to cross-dressing  relationship unchanged, tolerant and understanding ▫ Transvestism occurs on a continuum. Can be harmless, victimless sexual variation – if it becomes extreme and uncontrollable that is when it causes distress in areas of their lives SADISM AND MASOCHISM Definitions  Sexual sadist: a person who derives sexual satisfaction from inflicting pain, suffering or humiliation on another person  The term “sadism” comes from the name Marquis de Sade, lived during French Revolution, practiced sexual sadism  Sexual masochist: a person who derives sexual satisfaction from experiencing pain (being beaten, humiliated, bound or tortured)  Named after Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, a masochist  These 2 terms [sadism-masochism (S-M)] are referred to as a pair b/c giving and receiving pain is complementary  Bondage and discipline: (B-D) the use of physical or psych’al restraining commands to enforce servitude and obedience, from which both participants derive sensual pleasure (no physical pain)  Dominance and submission: (D-S) the use of power consensually given to control the sexual stimulation and behaviour of the other person  Both B-D and D-S encompass a variety of specific interactions that range from atypical to paraphilic Sexual Sadomasochistic Behaviour  S-M is a rare form of sexual behaviour – in it’s milder forms it is very common (i.e. spanking, hand-cuffs)  Sadist or masochist sexual fantasies are more common  Majority are heterosexual, educated, and interested in both dominant and submissive roles  Humiliation, bondage, spanking, whipping, fetish behaviour, tying up w/ ropes and master-slave role playing are most common  Women prefer bondage, spanking, and master-slave role playing  4 clusters of themes identified … o Hyper-masculinity = dildo, enema o Administering and receiving pain = clothespins attached to nipples, caning, hot wax o Physical restriction = handcuffs, straitjackets o Humiliation = verbal humiliation, face slapping Each cluster of activities range on a continuum from less intense to very intense behaviours (the less intense behaviours in each cluster are the more common ones) Roles, costumes, and props are important to S-M role play (it’s viewed as scenes in a theatre) In S-M clubs, there are rules governing the social and S-M interaction Most of these people aren’t aroused by pain alone. They are only aroused by it when in carefully scripted ritual (sexual) Causes of Sexual Sadomasochism The theories on causes are the same as those of fetishes (yet still somewhat unknown) Learning theory – conditioning – associated pain w/ sexual arousal (ex/ being spanked as a little boy, and having the penis rub against parent’s knee, causing erection) Another psychological theory to explain masochism – sexual masochist activity allows the person to escape being an autonomous, separate individual – it allows them to escape from high levels of self-awareness and anxiety (this explains why it is more common among males – escaping the male role)  some men cross dress while engaging in it, supporting theory Bondage and Discipline Sexual bondage = in sexual behaviour – the use of restraining devices that have sexual significance BDSM play parties or munches where people with the same interests gather, eat, socialize, meet people Scripted and consensual, rules intact for safety reasons, may or may not involve touching of genitals or climaxing “Sex is funny, and sex is lovely, and sex is PLAY” – cause of B-D is b/c sex is play Another cause is that there is intensified sexual pleasure, as well as enjoyment in power trips Most M and W prefer to be “bottom” (submissive/passive), regardless of sexual orientation Dominance and Submission The key to S-M is not pain, rather, D-S There is a distinct D-S subculture – including magazines, clubs, and bars A D-S act is a carefully controlled performance w/ a script, NOT a wild violent outbreak Ppl take on roles such as master, slave, naughty child Males can play submissive roles even though they contradict the male role – it’s just acting Scripted and consensual, rules intact for safety reasons, may or may not involve touching of genitals or climaxing There are complex social arrangements made to ensure minimal risk … o Initial contacts are made in protected territories o Basic scripts are widely shared so everyone understands what will and will not occur o In the act, very subtle non-verbal signals are used to control the interaction If 2 ppl enact the master-slave script, the master is not in complete control and the slave is not completely powerless It is the illusion of control that is central to D-S activity (not actual control) VOYEURISM ▫Voyeur: a person who becomes sexually aroused from secretly (covertly) viewing nudes (peeping tom) – usually includes masturbatory behaviours ▫Scoptophilia: a sexual variation in which the person becomes sexually aroused by observing others’ sexual acts and genitals ▫Strategy of a voyeur: install small cameras to observe using washroom or changing clothes ▫If arrested, voyeurs are charged w/ trespassing or with invasion of privacy ▫ Voyeurism is another example of the normal-abnormal behaviour continuum – many people are aroused by people undressing, but it can lead to paraphilia  it becomes an issue when the other person is an unwilling particip
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