Psychology 2075 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Erogenous Zone, Penis Envy, Human Sexual Activity

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Psychology 2075 – Chapter 2: Theoretical Perspectives on Sexuality
Evolutionary Perspectives
Sociobiology: some behaviours are a result of evolution
In terms of evolution, what counts is producing lots of healthy, viable offspring who will
carry on our genes
Evolution occurs via natural selection (the process by which the individuals who are best
adapted to their environment are more likely to survive, reproduce, and pass on their
genes to the next generation)
How do humans choose mates?
oPhysical attractiveness of the person
Physique and complexion indicate the health and vigour of the individual;
thus related to the person’s reproductive potential
Once a man and a woman mate, there are several obstacles to reproductive success:
infant vulnerability and maternal death
oInfant vulnerability is reduced if the mother provides continuous physical care,
including breast-feeding; further reduced if father provides resources and
security from attack for mother and infant
oTwo mechanisms that facilitate these conditions are: pair-bond between mother
and father, and attachment between infant and parent
Parents are most interested in the survival and reproductive success of their genetic
oParental investment: the behaviour and resources invested in offspring to
achieve this end
oFathers have been found to invest the most money in the genetic children of
their current union and the least money in stepchildren from a past relationship
oThey spend an equal amount on their genetic children and the stepchildren of
their current relationship, perhaps to cement the pair-bond with their current
In men, physiological sexual arousal is specific to stimuli depicting their preferred sexual
partner; women show physiological arousal to stimuli depicting both their preferred and
non-preferred sex partners, and even to stimuli of animals
Sexual selection: selection that results from differences in traits affecting access to
mates. It consists of two processes:
o1. Competition among members of one gender (usually males) for mating access
to members of the other gender
o2. Preferential choice by members of one gender (usually females) for certain
members of the other gender
omales compete among themselves for the right to mate with females, and
females prefer certain males and mate with them while refusing to mate with
other males
Evaluation of Sociobiology
Sociobiologists assume that the central function of sex is reproduction; this may have
been true in our evolutionary past, but it probably is not true today
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Evolutionary Psychology
Evolutionary psychology: how natural selection has shaped psychological mechanisms
and processes
Sexual strategies – women and men face different adaptive problems in short-term, or
casual, mating and in long-term mating and reproduction
oIn short-term mating, a woman may choose a partner who offers her immediate
resources, such as food or money
oIn long-term mating, a woman may choose a partner who appears able and
willing to provide resources for the indefinite future
oA man may choose a sexually available woman for a shirt-term liaison, but avoid
such women when looking for a long-term mate
Men and women are very similar in their stated mating preferences. Both prefer long-
term mating strategies and few or no short-term partners
Psychological Trauma
Psychoanalytic Theory
Psychoanalytic theory: contains a basic assumption that part of human personality is
Id, Ego, and Superego
Freud described the human personality as being divided into three major parts:
oId: the basic part of personality and is present at birth, it operates on the
pleasure principle (the instinct to seek pleasure and avoid pain to satisfy basic
oEgo: operates on the reality principle and tries to keep the id in line, functions to
make the person have realistic, rational interactions with others
oSuperego: the conscience, it contains the values and ideals of society that we
learn, and it operates on idealism
Erogenous Zones
Erogenous zone: part of the skin or mucous membrane that is extremely sensitive to
stimulation; touching it in certain ways produces feelings of pleasure (eg. The lips and
mouth, the genitals, and the rectum and anus)
Stages of Psychosexual Development
Stage One (Birth – 1) – oral stage: child’s chief pleasure is derived from sucking and
otherwise stimulating the lips and mouth
Stage Two (2) – anal stage: child’s interest is focused on elimination
Stage Three (3 – 5/6) – phallic stage: interest is focused on the genital area, and boy on
his phallus (penis) and girl on her clitoris; most important occurrence in this stage is
development of the Oedipus complex
oOedipus complex: Boy loves his mother and desires her sexually, he hates his
father and hostility towards his father grows. Boy feels castration anxiety so
stops desiring his mother. Takes on the father’s gender role and acquires the
characteristics expected of males by society
oFemale Oedipus complex: girl realizes she has no penis and feels envious so she
suffers from penis envy. Shifts her desire from her mother to her father and
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