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Human Sexuality Love and Communication in Intimate Relationships.

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Presentation on theme: "Human Sexuality Love and Communication in Intimate Relationships."— Presentation transcript:

1 Human Sexuality Love and Communication in Intimate Relationships

2 Love Considerable attention across disciplines What is the nature of love? Love has been highly conceptualized and made very abstract (Gage, 1976)

3 What Love is NOT NOT (Firestone, Firestone & Catlett, 2006): Selfish Possessive Demanding Proprietary right over others Submissive/dominant Coercive or manipulative

4 Sexuality and Love Not addressed in Kinseys research Currently: Numerous studies on love and sex

5 Love A complex emotion The paradox of love: encompasses opposites

6 Love and Sexuality Often intertwined For many, love legitimates sex outside of marriage Sex as an expression of love; to deepen the relationship (Cupach, 1990; Henderson-King, 1994)

7 Gender Differences: Sex and Love Men: sex and love can be separated (Carroll, Volk, & Hyde, 1985) Women: less likely to engage in casual sex: love and sex are more closely linked

8 Sex and Love Gay men: Especially likely to separate sex and love Intrinsic value to sex Heterosexual men: similar? Not as many willing partners (Blum, 1997)

9 Sex and Love Lesbian relationships: Sex is less frequent among lesbian couples, comparatively (Schureurs, 1993) More likely to postpone sex until emotional intimacy is developed

10 Celibacy Abstaining from sexual activity Religious/spiritual dimensions, situational, personal, etc. Enhanced appreciation of friendship functions of relationships

11 Asexuality Absence of sexual attraction to others, or no desire to act on attractions 1% of the population Underrepresented in research and movements Capable of intimate relationships, free of sexuality; some prefer not to have relationships

12 Asexuality An orientation Research: asexuality exists in the animal kingdom; sheep studies The question of pathology

13 Asexuality Prause, 2003 Asexual people report: Low sexual desire Low arousal/excitation Many engage in masturbation

14 Styles of Love John Lee- sociologist 6 basic styles of love: reflect relationship styles Assumption: It is best when we share a relationship style with our partner

15 Styles of Love Mania: obsessive/possessive love; roller-coaster Ludus: playful love: love is a game, not a deep emotion

16 Styles of Love Storge: love between companions: from friendship to romance Agape: chaste, patient, undemanding love; the love of saints/martyrs

17 Styles of Love Pragma: practical/logical love; businesslike; looking for someone with specific characteristics Hendrick & Hendrick: men are more ludic, women are more storgic/pragmatic

18 Triangular Theory of Love Robert Sternberg: 3 elements of love Each will increase/diminish over the course of a relationship Intimacy, Passion, and Commitment

19 Kinds of Love: Sternberg Liking (intimacy only) Infatuation (passion only) Romantic love (intimacy and passion)

20 Kinds of Love Companionate love (intimacy and commitment) Empty love (commitment only) Non love (absence of all three)

21 Attachment Theory (Pistole, Clark & Tubbs, 1995) Adults with: Secure attachments: trusting, accepting, supportive; 56% of adults

22 Attachment Theory Anxious/Ambivalent attachments: afraid their partners would leave, want to commit prematurely; 19-20% of adults Avoidant attachments: discomfort in close relationships; distrustful, fear dependence; 23-25% of adults

23 Jealousy Often confused with love Jealousy is associated with immaturity and insecurity (Pistole, 1995) Is jealousy ever beneficial?

24 Jealousy Often linked to relationship violence (Buss, 1999; Puente & Cohen, 2003) Jealous aggression is often directed toward a partner (Paul & Galloway, 1994) 31% of women and 17% of men had intentionally elicited jealousy in a relationship (Buss, 2000)

25 Jealousy Why do we become/want to make others jealous (Buss, 2000)? Self esteem Revenge To increase a partners commitment Test the strength of the relationship

26 Jealousy Generated by: Personal insecurities/anxieties Boundary violations in an relationship

27 Lasting love Intimate love: lasting love; counting on the other partner; both partners have individual and relationship goals Consists of: Commitment Caring Self-disclosure

28 Communication Active Listening: Open postures/leaning in Eye contact Nodding Reflection of content Reflection of feelings

29 Factors impacting communication Personality Relationship context Culture Subject matter

30 Non-verbal communication Most communication of feeling is nonverbal (Guffey, 1999) Body posture and movements

31 Nonverbal Communication Eye contact and facial expressions Interpersonal distance Touching Often overrides the verbal message

32 Gender and Communication Women- More sensitive/responsive during conversation and conflicts Set the emotional tone- escalate or deescalate conflicts with verbal and nonverbal messages Use of emotional appeals and threats Use of qualifying statements (Gottman & Carre, 2000; Klintetob & Smith, 1996, Noller & Fitzpatrick, 1991)

33 Gender and Communication Men- more likely to send negative messages, neutral messages, or to withdraw Fewer words, more profanity

34 Deborah Tannen Gendered Communication:

35 Deborah Tannen Basic Premise: There are gender differences in communication styles These differences start in early childhood

36 Boys/Girls Boys: play in groups; activity-driven Girls: best friends; relationship-driven

37 Status and Connection Men: power hierarchies: discourse is used to one-up or one-down each other Women: collaborative: discourse to bring people closer or farther apart

38 Meta-message Meta-message: what messages do we take away from what we hear?

39 Competitive/Cooperative Both men/women are competitive and cooperative, but conversational rituals differ

40 Im Sorry… Women are more likely to use this phrase Sorry it happened, not taking blame Men- more likely to ascribe blame when sorry is uttered

41 Directness/Indirectness Varies by gender based on context: Women indirect when giving orders Men indirect when describing emotional content

42 Public/Private Discourse Women: likely to try to engage men in private discourses Men: more likely to dominate conversation publicly

43 Qualifying Statements…. Based on CONTEXT Gender is one of many factors; Ethnicity/culture Age Situation/context Power

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