headlines Movies/Television People Advertising Crime & Punishment
diversity The U.S. compared with other nations Great variety within the U.S.: Ethnic/Racial Education/Economic Regional
A psychosocial approach It’s more than just biology Our views of our sexuality are strongly influenced by psychological and social conditioning factors
Two themes Two essential aspects of sexuality and what it really means to be a man or a woman have ebbed and flowed throughout the centuries Their evolution and current status tell us a lot about our conception of sexuality and ourselves
Sex for procreation The belief that sex’s only permissible use is reproduction. So, any other reason to engage in sex is either immoral or illegal, or both. But today, 60% of us think that oral sex is acceptable.
Male & female gender roles Real, physiological differences have been exaggerated Stereotypes: MEN should initiate, persist and be all- knowing. Women should be passive and careful or face the slut label.
We will look at these themes through a variety of perspectives as our “semester” unfolds.
Other cultures - Islam Based on Muhammad's Qur’an Premarital sex is frowned on, especially for women Marital sex is to be treasured Women viewed as more sexual Marriages arranged Female adulterers and male homosexuals are severely punished
China Sex initially promoted through Taoism A resurgence of Confucianism led to a much more conservative approach Wide-spread sexual illiteracy Slow loosening today
A Brief history Often parallels the sad story of how women became marginalized in our culture Western civilization has seen the conception of women (and their sexuality) change drastically over the millennia
The early Church St. Paul – advocated celibacy in response to temptation Viewed women as inferior to men St. Jerome (340-420) Too much lust for your wife?
The great synthesizer Saint Augustine (354-430) reformed party guy reconciled the Catholic faith with classical traditions once devoted to God, sneered at sex invented “Original Sin” thus forever vilifying Eve Missionary position
The intersection of faith and sexuality As the centuries rolled on, the church became increasingly institutionalized and male dominated Solidified in the context of the sexual excesses of the late Roman Empire Mary idealized, Mary Magdalene defamed Women’s sexual nature feared
St. Thomas Aquinas Meshed Catholic theology with Aristotle In his hugely influential Summa Theologica, briefly but effectively perpetrated the view of sex as sinful Any activity not aiming for procreation was a “crime against nature”
Consequences After Aquinas, homosexuals could “find neither refuge nor tolerance anywhere in the Western world.” As for women, witch hunts provided horrifying outlets for the fear of feminine sexuality
The Protestant Reformation Some softening of the prevailing, bleak view of sex John Calvin (1509-1564), said marital sex could, “ … lighten and ease the cares and sadness … or endear each other.”
The Victorian era 1837- 1901 Queen Victoria ruled over England, the world’s greatest power World-wide tone setter Sexes were cast in rigid roles: MEN – stern breadwinners; full of lust WOMEN – pure, asexual, delicate; sex was a “wifely duty”
More Victorian Views Sex viewed as a medical risk Due to strict gender-roles, great gulf between the sexes Surprise! - Prostitution flourished
But behind “closed doors” Celia Mosher, M.D. took a survey of her female clients Contrary to prevailing notions, they: 1) had sexual desire, 2) enjoyed sex, and 3) experienced orgasms
The Anti-Victorian Sir Richard Francis Burton Secret agent extraordinaire Explored 5 continents World’s greatest sex expert Wrote of sexual practices and oddities Translated the Kama Sutra Prudish wife burned his detailed diaries
The 20 th Century People, events and technology brought huge changes in attitudes and behaviors Freud (1900) women are innately as sexual as men the even more startling conception of “infantile sexuality”
Havelock Ellis (1921) women have inherent sexual rights anything goes as long as no one is hurt Suffrage (1920) women could vote but lacked real equality
World war i Soldiers encounter less conservative European women American women enter the depleted work force Society in transition – more flexibility
The Roaring 20’s Cars = mobility and freedom Movies = role models Fashion = “flappers” Behavior = petting
The Great Depression with economic hardship, progress slows World War II repeat of WWI freedoms and exposure The 50’s conservatism and strict gender roles return
The kinsey bombshell Surveys on men (1948) and women (1953) Claimed that our sexual behaviors were much more varied than previously assumed True? – It didn’t matter.
The Swinging 60’s & Beyond The quest for gender-role equity kicks in “The Pill” removes fear of unwanted pregnancies Laws against contraceptives fall, largely due to the controversial “Right to Privacy” Sex’s link to procreation is shattered Over population concerns surface
Maters & Johnson’s Human Sexual Response is published Self-help books appear Sex therapy emerges Gays “come out” – to both positive and negative responses AIDS erupts and further polarizes positions
The Explosion of Media/Sexuality Just 50 years ago, married couples had to be depicted in separate beds Now, television’s amazing access has had, good – gays & bad – depersonalization of women, effects on our attitudes towards sex. Anita Hill brought sexual harassment into everyone’s awareness on national TV.
TV’s mixed impact Does it help by presenting valuable info? or Does it hurt through trash TV’s daily, and exploitive, freak shows? The Media Project’s noble purpose But TV is filled with sexual content which stresses infidelity, revenge and exploitation. Sex in marriage is ignored.
The media’s rapid embrace of gay programming The American Family – first reality show first gay on TV Sit-coms like Rosanne and Friends follow Ellen – first gay lead, then first gay kiss Will and Grace Queer as Folk, Queer Eye for …. Now lesbian chic in advertising
Beyond television VCR’s, Cable, and DVD’s bring sex home Music videos often portray sexual coercion and females as mere objects Impulsivity rules; tenderness and commitment rarely appear
But SEX Doesn’t Always Sell Advertising relies on sex to sell but shows with strong sexual content leave viewers unable to focus on ads!
The Internet Whatever you want, whenever you want it. Forums unite people with all manner of tastes. Exhaustive source of helpful info? or Grave threat? Remember, you have no privacy.
In summary With all these resources – good and bad – we have the ability to define our personal sexuality, an opportunity unmatched in history
questions How much access should minors have to contraceptives? Should gay marriages be recognized? Should prostitution be legalized? Should women bear children after menopause? Abortion?