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Chapter 15

Chapter 15

14 Pages
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Department
Psychology
Course Code
Psychology 2075
Professor
William Fisher

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C H 15: V ARIATIONS IN S EXUAL B EHAVIOUR W HEN IS S EXUAL B EHAVIOUR A BNORMAL ? D EFINING A BNORMAL • Corresponding variation across cultures in what is considered to be “abnormal” sexual behaviour • Statistical definition o Abnormal sexual behaviour: rare, or not practiced by many people n o Def does not give us much insight into the psychological or social functioning of the person who engages in the behaviour • Sociological approach o Sexual behaviour that violates the norms of society, deviant o Recognizes the importance of the individual’s interaction with society and the problems people must face if their behaviour is labeled “deviant” in the culture in which they live • Psychological approach o ARNOLD BUSS: “The three criteria of abnormality are discomfort, inefficiency, and bizarreness” • Medial approach o From DSM-IV-TR o Recognizes 8 specific paraphilias: fetishism, transvestic fetishism, sexual sadism, sexual masochism, voyeurism, frotteurism, exhibitionism, and pedophilia (+ category for paraphilias that are not listed) • Paraphilia: recurring, unconventional sexual behaviour that is obsessive and compulsive o Recurrent, intense, sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviours involving non-human objects (Fetishism, Transvestic Fetishism), the suffering or humiliation of oneself or one’s partner (Sexual Sadism, Sexual Masochism), children (Pedophilia), or other non-consenting person (Voyeurism, Frotteruism, Exhibitionism) • Additional diagnostic criteria: o A. The fantasies, urges, or behaviours have occurred over a period of at least 6 months, o B. They cause “clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning • PEGGY KLEINPLATZ & CHARLES MOSER: sexual interests do not represent mental disorders and should therefore not be listed in the DSM IV TR o No agreed upon definition of healthy sexuality  behaviours that involve unusual sexual interests, but not coercion, may be healthy expressions of sexuality for some individuals o Fact that they are labeled as pathological is due to sociopolitical and historical factors + not support by research • Some paraphilias and most atypical sexual behaviours are not against the law, but may violate community standards of taste o Exceptions: laws against indecent exposure, voyeurism, indecent acts in a public place, and public nudity o + one’s that involve exploitation and force o Indecent exposure: showing one’s genitals in a public place to passerbys; exhibitionism • 7 behaviours occur along a continuum, simply need to meet the diagnostic criteria of o 1. Fantasies, urges, behaviors are intense Emily Chan PSYCH 2075 | CH15 Variations in Sexual Behaviour | February 2011 o 2. Persisted for 6 months+ o 3. Resulted in significant impairment or distress in important areas of functioning Emily Chan PSYCH 2075 | CH15 Variations in Sexual Behaviour | Page 2 February 2011 T HE N ORMAL -A BNORMAL C ONTINUUM • Many people have mild fetishes that is well within the range of normal behaviour; only when the fetish becomes extreme is it abnormal • Frottage = sexual rubbing against a woman in a crowd • When the fetish becomes a necessity, we have crossed the boundary into abnormal behaviour • When the fetish becomes an obsession, the fetish becomes an paraphilia Mild Preference Strong preference Necessity Substitute for Human partner Abnormal Paraphilia Fig. 15.2: Strength of preference for fetish objects S EXUAL A DDICTIONS AND C OMPULSIONS • Sexual addiction = Person has a pathological relationship to a sexual event or process, substituting it for a healthy relationship with others o BUT there are no withdrawal symptoms + the use of “addiction” may affect perceptions of these behaviours and thus become an excuse for illegal, destructive behaviour o Better to use the terms: compulsive sexual behaviour instead of sexual addiction C OMPULSIVE S EXUAL B EHAVIOUR • Compulsive sexual behaviour: a disorder in which the person experiences intense sexually arousing fantasies, urges, and associated sexual behaviour o Disorder in which the individual experiences intense sexually arousing fantasies, urges, and associated sexual behaviours that are intrusive, driven, and repetitive. Individuals with this disorder a) are lacking an impulse control, b) often incur social and legal sanctions, c) cause inference in interpersonal and occupational functioning, and d) create health risks • Can be paraphilic or non-paraphilic • This perspective differs from the addiction approach in emphasize that the person may experience social and legal sanctions and take health risks • Chief distinguishing feature: person has lost control of the behaviour o Compulsiveness, lack of control, obsession (constant thoughts of the sexual scenario), and the obliviousness to danger or harmful consequences • Minority that are anxious or depressed may experience increased sexual interest, when coupled with low sexual inhibition (self-control), the person may engage in compulsive sexual behaviour in an attempt to improve/escape from the negative mood • Likely to hold fault beliefs that can contribute to the problem because they involve denial or distortion of reality  allow people to justify their behaviour before engaging in it  self-justification • Leads to self-destructive behaviour (spend money they don’t have on sex workers, neglect family or work, or may risk arrest) Emily Chan PSYCH 2075 | CH15 Variations in Sexual Behaviour | Page 3 February 2011 • CARNE’s 4-step cycle of each episode of sexually compulsive behaviour, intensifies each time it is repeated o 1. Preoccupation: The person can think of nothing other than the sexual act to which he or she is addicted o 2. Rituals: The person enacts certain rituals that have become a prelude to the addictive act. o 3. Compulsive Sexual behaviour: The Sexual beavaiour is enacted and the person feels that he or she has no control over it. o 4. Despair: Rather than feeling good after the sexual act is completed, the addict falls into a feeling of hopelessness and despair • Sometimes there is a family history of the same compulsive sexual behaviour Emily Chan PSYCH 2075 | CH15 Variations in Sexual Behaviour | Page 4 February 2011 F ETISHISM • Fetishism: A person’s sexual fixation on some object other than another human being and attachment of great erotic significance to that object M EDIA F ETISHES AND F ORM F ETISHES • Media Fetish: A fetish whose object is anything made of a particular substance, such as leather o Hard media fetish: a hard substance (e.g. leather) usually associated with sadomasochism o Soft media fetish: substance Is hard (fur or silk) • Form fetish: A fetish whose object is a particular shape, such as high-heeled shoes W HY D O PEOPLE B ECOME FETISHISTS ? • Learning theory o Fetishes result from classical conditioning, in which a learned association is built between the fetish object and sexual arousal and orgasm • Cognitive theory o People with fetishes (or other paraphilias) have a strong cognitive distortion in that they perceive an unconventional stimulus as erotic o Their perception of arousal is distorted o Feel “driven” to the sexual behaviour when aroused, but the arousal may actually be caused by feelings of guilt and self-loathing o Thus, there is a chain in which there are initial feelings of guilt as thoughts of the unconventional behaviour, which produces arousal, which is misinterpreted as sexual arousal, which leads to feeling that the fetish rituals must be carried out o Orgasm and temporary feeling of relief, but the evaluation of the event is negative, leading to further feelings of guilt and self-loathing, which perpetuates the chain • Sexual addiction model T RANSVESTISM • Transvestism: the practice of deriving sexual gratification from dressing as a member of the other gender; transvestic fetishism • Transgender individuals cross-dress to express a more feminine or masculine side of themselves • Transsexuals live as the other gender as part of transitioning • Drag queen: a gay man who dresses in women’s clothing (drag king = lesbian women) • Female impersonator: A man who dresses up as a woman as part of a job in entertainment • Transvestite is a heterosexual man who dresses in female clothing to produce or enhance sexual arousal (TV) • Almost exclusively male sexual variation o Culture has tolerance of women who were masculine clothing and intolerance of men who wear feminine clothing • Usually start when they are young (8.5 years old) and in secrecy • One of the least harmless sexual variations but it is only a problem when it becomes so extreme that it is the person’s only source of erotic gratification, or when it becomes a compulsions the person cannot control and therefore causes distress in other areas of the person’s life Emily Chan PSYCH 2075 | CH15 Variations in Sexual Behaviour | Page 5February 2011 S ADISM AND M ASOCHISM D EFINITIONS • Sexual Sadist: a person who derives sexual satisfaction from inflicting pain, suffering, or humiliation on another person o “Sadism” derives from the name of the Marquis de Sade  practiced sexual sadism (some women even died from it), and wrote novels about these practices (Justine = best known) • Sexual Masochist: A person who derives sexual satisfaction from experiencing pain o Leopold von Sacher-Masoch  masochist and wrote novels expressing masochistic fantasies • S-D Usually referred to as a pair since the two behaviours or roles are complementary • Bondage and discipline (B-D): The use of physical or psychological restraint to enforce servitude, from which both participants derive sensual pleasure o These devices or commands may enforce obedience and servitude without inducing any physical pain • Dominance and submission (D-S): The use of power consensually given to control the sexual stimulation and behaviour of the other person S EXUAL S ADOMASOCHISTIC B EHAVIOUR • QUESTIONNAIRE: o Most respondent were heterosexual o Frequently report having been interested in such activity since childhood, women are more likely to report having been introduced to the subculture by someone else o Women prefer bondage, spanking, and master-and-slave role playing • QUESTIONNAIRE: researchers identified 29 individual sexual behaviours associated with S-M and administered to members of S-M clubs o Four themes identified:  Hypermasculinity  Administering and receiving pain  Physical restriction  Humiliation o Results suggest that S-M activities within each cluster are scripted, with the less intense behaviours being much more common • S-M is about plat (like a theatre production) o Sexual activities are organized into “scene” o One “plays” with one’s S-M partners o Roles, costumes, and props are important part of each scene  Slave and master, maid and mistress, teacher and pupil • In S-M clubs, there are often rules governing the social and S-M interaction, particularly the creation and enactment of scenes o No touch of another person’s body without consent o Not intruding physically and verbally on a scene in progress o Sometimes, no sexual penetration • Pain is arousing for such people only when it is part of a carefully scripted ritual Emily Chan PSYCH 2075 | CH15 Variations in Sexual Behaviour | Page 6 February 2011 C AUSES OF S EXUAL S ADOMASOCHISM • Learning theory, cognitive theory, sexual addiction model also applies • Psychological theory to explain sexual masochism specifically o Masochist is motivated by a desire to escape from self-awareness o The masochistic behaviour helps the individual escape from being conscious of the self in the same way that drunkenness and some form of meditation do o Male role is especially burdensome because of the heavy pressures for autonomy, separateness, and individual achievements  Sexual masochism accomplishes an escape from these aspects of the male role  more common among males and females B ONDAGE AND D ISCIPLINE • BDSM munch is an informal gathering of people who are interested in BDSM • STUDY: downloaded msgs about BD mailed to an international computer discussion group o 75% male o Most heterosexual o What person found sexually arousing about B-D  Play  Exchange of power  Intensified sexual pleasure, tactile stimulation, associated with the use of ropes and cuffs, and the visual enjoyment experienced by the dominant person o Marked imbalance in preferences for the active (“top”) and passive (“bottom”) roles  most men and women prefer to be “bottom” D OMINANCE AND S UBMISSION • Key to S-M is not pain, but rather dominance and submission o Thus it is not an individual phenomenon, but rather a social behaviour embedded in a subculture and controlled by elaborate scripts • To understand D-S one must understand the social processes that create and sustain it • There is a distinct D-S subculture, involving magazines, clubs, and bars  creates a culturally defined meaning for D-S acts o D-S act is not a wild outbreak of violence, but rather a carefully controlled performance with a script • Social control over risk taking that exists in the D-S subculture  with some acts, one could be seriously injured or even murdered (outcomes are rare though) • Complex social arrangements are made in order to reduce the risk o Initial contacts are usually made in protected territories that are inhabited by other people involved in D-S who play by the same rules o The basic scripts are widely shared so that everyone understands what will and will not occur  When the participants are strangers, the scenario may be negotiated before it is enacted o As the activity unfolds, very subtle non-verbal signals are used to control the interaction  By using these signals, the person playing the submissive role can influence what occurs  Thus one is not in complete control and the other is not powerless  So it is the illusion of control, not actual control, that is central to D-S activity for both master and the slave V OYEURISM Emily Chan PSYCH 2075 | CH15 Variations in Sexual Behaviour | Page 7 February 2011 • Voyeur: a person who becomes sexually aroused form secretly viewing nudes (“Peeping Tom”) • Scoptophilia: sexual variation in which the person becomes sexually aroused by observing others sexual acts and genitals • Voyeurs are typically men who want the woman they view to be a stranger and do not want her to know what they are doing • Element of risk is important + forbiddenness • STUDY: arrested (male) voyeurs o Likely to be the youngest child in their family and have a good relationships with their parents but poor ones with their peers o Have few females and few sisters o Few were married • Peeping Tom comes from the story of Lady Godiva E XHIBITIONISM • Exhibitionist: A person who derives sexual gratification from exposing his genitals to others in situations in which this is inapprorpriate (“flashing”) • Criminal code = indecent exposure • More male exclusive • Exhibitionists generally recall their childhoods as being characterized by inconsistent discipline, lack of affection, and little training in appropriate forms of social behaviour o Found that sexual offenders possess fewer social skills than non-offenders • Social learning-theory explanation o Parents might have subtly (or perhaps obviously) modeled such behaviour to the person when he was a child o In adulthood, there may be reinforcements for the exhibitionistic behaviour because the man gets attention when he performs it o Man may lack the social skills to form intimate adult relationships  receives little reinforcement from interpersonal sex • Therapy programs o Shown photos of scenes in which they typically engaged in exhibitionism; while experiencing arousal to the scene, an unpleasant-smelling substance is placed at their nostrils o Cognitive techniques help the man identify and alter these cognitions as one focus of therapy • Most women are alarmed by exhibitionists  but since the exhibitionist’s goal is to produce shock or some other strong emotional response, the woman becomes extremely upset Is gratifying him • Best strategy for a woman to use in this situation is to remain calm and make some remark indicating her coolness
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