Psychology 2075 Chapter Notes - Chapter 15: Hormone Therapy, Sexual Intercourse, Operational Definition

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CH 15: VARIATIONS IN SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR
WHEN IS SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR ABNORMAL?
DEFINING ABNORMAL
Corresponding variation across cultures in what is considered to be “abnormal” sexual behaviour
Statistical definition
oAbnormal sexual behaviour: rare, or not practiced by many people
oDefn does not give us much insight into the psychological or social functioning of the person who
engages in the behaviour
Sociological approach
oSexual behaviour that violates the norms of society, deviant
oRecognizes 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
oARNOLD BUSS: “The three criteria of abnormality are discomfort, inefficiency, and bizarreness”
Medial approach
oFrom DSM-IV-TR
oRecognizes 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
oRecurrent, 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:
oA. The fantasies, urges, or behaviours have occurred over a period of at least 6 months,
oB. 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
oNo agreed upon definition of healthy sexuality behaviours that involve unusual sexual interests,
but not coercion, may be healthy expressions of sexuality for some individuals
oFact 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
oExceptions: laws against indecent exposure, voyeurism, indecent acts in a public place, and public
nudity
o+ one’s that involve exploitation and force
oIndecent 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
o1. Fantasies, urges, behaviors are intense
Emily Chan PSYCH 2075 | CH15 Variations in Sexual Behaviour | Page 1 February 2011
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o2. Persisted for 6 months+
o3. Resulted in significant impairment or distress in important areas of functioning
Emily Chan PSYCH 2075 | CH15 Variations in Sexual Behaviour | Page 2 February 2011
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THE NORMAL-ABNORMAL CONTINUUM
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
SEXUAL ADDICTIONS AND COMPULSIONS
Sexual addiction = Person has a pathological relationship to a sexual event or process, substituting it for a
healthy relationship with others
oBUT there are no withdrawal symptoms + the use of “addiction” may affect perceptions of these
behaviours and thus become an excuse for illegal, destructive behaviour
oBetter to use the terms: compulsive sexual behaviour instead of sexual addiction
COMPULSIVE SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR
Compulsive sexual behaviour: a disorder in which the person experiences intense sexually arousing
fantasies, urges, and associated sexual behaviour
oDisorder 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
oCompulsiveness, 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
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