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Chapter 12

Chapter 12 - Development and Expression of Sexuality.docx

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Western University
Psychology 2035A/B
Doug Hazlewood

CHAPTER 12: DEVELOPMENT AND EXPRESSION OF SEXUALITY B ECOMING A S EXUAL P ERSON - note – sex research problems: - depend on interviews & questionnaires  volunteers are more liberal than in reality… - respondents may shade truth about sex lives b/c of shame, embarrassment, boasting, wishful thinking - participants overrepresented with white, middle-class volunteers Key Aspects of Sexual Identity - identity: clear, stable sense of who is one is in a larger society - sexual identity: complex set of personal qualities, self-perceptions, attitudes, values and preferences about one’s sexual behaviour 1. sexual orientation: individual’s preference for emotional and sexual relationships with genders - heterosexuals - homosexuals  LGB: lesbians, gays, bisexuals - bisexual - transgendered: when person’s biological identity doesn’t match mental sense of gender (i.e. woman in a man’s body) 2. body image: how you see yourself physically ( how you see yourself in sexual domain) - +ve body image  greater sexual activity | higher sexual satisfaction | fewer sexual problems 3. sexual values and ethics - Absolutism: No sex outside marriage - Relativism: Depends on the relationship - Hedonism: Anything goes - people taught what is “right” and “wrong”  culture specific; varies with gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status 4. erotic preferences (within limits imposed by sexual orientation and values) - one’s attitudes about sexual activities Physiological Influences Hormones and Sexual Differentiation - sexual differentiation: prenatal period, biological developments  male/female fetus - 3 months prenatally, hormonal secretions  gonads: sex glands  different sexual hormones: - Androgens: the principal class of male sex hormones (testosterone is one of them) - Estrogens: the principal class of female sex hormones - both hormones present in both sexes; sex depends on proportion (but testosterone is main determinant) - intersex individuals (hermaphrodites): born with ambiguous genitals, sex organs, sex chromosomes - result of incomplete sexual differentiation - typically have both testicular and ovarian tissue - might not be identified until puberty; difficult to determine “true” sexual identity - puberty  hormonal change  sexual development - primary sex characteristics: structures necessary for reproduction - secondary sex characteristics: physical features that distinguish genders, but not directly involved in reproduction - females – estrogen  breast development, widened hips, more rounded body contours - males – testosterone  facial hair, deeper voice, angular body contours - menarche: female puberty – the first occurrence of menstruation - begin 12-13  goes to 16 - pregnancy possible; most sterile for first 12-18 mos. - spermarche: the first ejaculation in males. - around age 13  complete maturation age 18 - early might contain only fluid Hormones and Sexual Behaviour (hormones regulate sex drive) - androgens influence sexual desire in both males and females (less strong in females); positive correlation - estrogen does not correlate with sexual interest - hormones have more influence on sexual anatomy then sexual Activity Psychosocial Influences Families - families: parents and home environment - before school age: children engage in sex play and exploration (i.e. play doctor, “where do babies come from?”) - parents who discourage  kids perceive sex = “dirty” - teens: often dissatisfied with sex info from parents - parents who can talk honestly about sex usually open family communication styles - if kids feel close, likely to adopt sexual attitudes similar to parents  delay sexual activities - those who don’t talk to kids  kids turn to other people to develop sexual identity… Peers - leading source of relationship and sexual health info  take perceptions of friends’ relationship/sexual - unfortunately peers can be a misleading/inaccurate source of information Schools - a vast majority of people cite school as their main source of sexual information  parents want this! - abstinence only: no info about contraceptive methods - abstinence plus: info about contraception and transmitted diseases) - comprehensive programs: EVERYTHING – contraception, STI, relationships, sexual orientation, decision making; best. Religion - “Don’t have sex until your married” - indirectly… abstinence pledges, chastity vows, purity rings… NOT USEFUL - change sexual attitudes (feel guilt) BUT don’t always influence behaviour - think of those who “sin” and just ask for forgiveness afterwards… The Media - TV heavily sexual these days… (double over 5-yr pd) - don’t address physical & emotional protection - -ve: adolescence view these?  increased sexual activity & intentions to engage in sexual behaviour in fx. - +ve: promote responsible sexual behaviour & tolerance of homosexuality - books & magazines… teens “learn a lot”… a lot of bullshit - gender stereotypes | sexual myths under pretence of offering ideas for “improvement” - music lyrics & music videos: pimps and hoes - cyberspace: a lot of sexually explicit [unwanted] material - BUT, can provide easy & private access to sexual topics… contraception, LGBT, etc. - those more sexually active will expose themselves more to sexual content - currently, media is unhealthy for sexuality Gender Differences in Sexual Socialization - 5 key differences 1. Men have more interest in sex 2. Women link intimacy more strongly with sex 3. Men are more often linked with sexual aggression. 4. Women sexuality is more often shaped by cultural and situational factors ( attitudes change  sexuality change) 5. Men usually initiate sex (take the lead) , wmn are “gatekeepers” (determine whether and when) - men (through socialization) - encouraged to experiment sexually - initial sexual acitivites - enjoy sex w/o emotional involvement - desire multiple partners - sex for physical reasons (sex for fun vs. sex with love) - females - view sex in context of loving relationship with one partner - romance, physical attractiveness, catching a mate - not encouraged to experiment with sex/have multiple partners - “easy” or “slut” if they do - socialization usually take longer for females ( ambivalent toward sex) - fear of pregnancy (; media portrays females of being responsible for becoming pregnant) - negative messages about sex and men (from mom, siblings, female peers; aware of rape/incest) - negative associations about genitals and sex (i.e. blood from menstruation) - sexual guilt - views of sexuality and relationships out of sync for men and women; communication is key - sexual satisfaction is related to relationship satisfaction - for gay couples, b/c socialized similarly, less likely to have incompatible expectations - lesbians: emotional attraction to partner  sexual feelings - gays: more importance on physical appearance & sexual compatibility Sexual Orientations Key Considerations - there is not always a clear line between hetero and homosexuality identity - components of sexual orientation: sexual attraction, romantic attraction, sexual behaviour and sexual identity Origins - no clear season why people are straight or gay - environmental explanations - Freud: Oedipus complex - learning theorists: early negative heterosexual encounters OR early positive homosexual experiences - sociologist: poor relationships with same-gene3r peers OR labelled homosexual sets up self-fulfilling prophecy - homosexual or heterosexually raised is NOT a reason - homosexual children usually don’t conform to gender in childhood - biological factors - hormonal secretions during prenatal development may - shape sexual development - organize brain in lasting manner - influence subsequent sexual orientation - genetic factors (MAY be genetic links to homosexuality - high concordance rates in identical twins Attitudes Toward Homosexuality - LGB rights have become huge politically  value: 1. allowed gay community to educate straight citizens about realities + diversity of same-gender couples and family relationships 2. raised nation’s awareness about facets of discrimination against gays and lesbians - homophobia (sexual prejudice): intense fear and intolerance of homosexuals - those who exert: - older, male, less educated, S/SW rural areas - authoritarian, traditional gender-role attitudes, conservative religious and political beliefs - -ve attitudes  hate crimes; 1/3 of LGB have been victims to hate crimes - explanations for being gay  attitudes  actions Disclosing One’s Sexual Orientation - disclosure harder in climate of prejudice for LGB (esp. if minority) - identity development – acknowledging, recognizing, labelling sexual orientation  disclosing to others - recent generations disclosing LGB identities earlier - pros: being honest, social support - cons: losing friends, victim to hate crimes, losing custody of children - rational outness: being as open as possible because it is healthy, but only telling a select few to avoid discrimination Adjustment - 1973: being gay was removed from the recognized list of psychological disorders. - due to social stresses, LGB more likely to experience anxiety, depression, self-injuries, substance dependence, suicide thoughts/execution - children of LGB couples are equally well adjusted as those to hetero couples. INTERACTION IN SEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS Motives in Engaging in Sex - ranging from purely physical to deeply emotional. - approach method: obtaining positive outcomes. 1. Pursuing ones own sexual pleasure 2. Feeling good about oneself 3. Pleasing ones partner 4. Promoting intimacy in a relationship 5. Expressing love for ones partner - avoidance method: evading negative outcomes 1. Avoiding relationship conflict 2. Avoiding hurting the partners feelings 3. Preventing a partners anger 4. Preventing a partner from losing interest. Communicating About Sex - [inexplicitly] negotiate whether, how often, when to have sex - expect disagreements - 4 common barriers 1. fear of appearing ignorant - people think they’re experts, but know they’re not  feel ashamed  avoid talking 2. Concern about your partners response - people usually aren’t completely honest with what they want sexually for fear of being judged 3. conflicting attitudes/beliefs about sex  stems from childhood socialization 4. Negative early sexual experiences - positive experiences will usually fixed this - if traumatic experience has occurred, seek counselling THE H UMAN SEXUAL R ESPONSE The Sexual Response Cycle 1. Excitement Phase - level of a
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