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Chapter 12 Development and Expression of Human Sexuality.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 12 Development and Expression of Human Sexuality."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 12 Development and Expression of Human Sexuality

2 Becoming a Sexual Person, continued Key aspects of sexual identity –Sexual identity – refers to “the complex personal qualities, self-perceptions, attitudes, values and preferences that guide one’s sexual behavior”.

3 Becoming a Sexual Person, continued Key aspects of sexual identity, continued Sexual identity includes four key features. 1.Sexual orientation – Heterosexuals “seek emotional-sexual relationships with members of the other gender”. – Homosexuals “seek emotional-sexual relationships with members of same gender”. – Bisexuals “seek emotional-sexual relationships with members of both genders”.

4 Becoming a Sexual Person, continued Key aspects of sexual identity, continued Sexual identity’s four key features, continued 2.Body image 3.Sexual values and ethics 4.Erotic preferences

5 Becoming a Sexual Person, continued Physiological influences –Hormones and sexual differentiation During pregnancy, levels of androgens (the male hormone, testosterone) cause differentiation of the genitals in the fetus. –High levels result in male genitals, and low levels result in female genitals. At puberty, hormones (estrogens in females, androgens in males) trigger maturation of sexual traits and organs.

6 Becoming a Sexual Person, continued Physiological influences, continued –Hormones and sexual behavior Hormone levels affect sex drive in many animals. In humans, for both men and women, androgens affect sexual motivation. Higher levels of testosterone in women are also linked with higher rates of sexual activity.

7 Becoming a Sexual Person, continued Psychosocial influences –Families Parents who punish innocent sexual exploration can socialize children who associate guilt and shame with sex. Children benefit from having positive and open conversations about sex with their parents. They have sex at a later age, less often, and have fewer partners.

8 Becoming a Sexual Person, continued Psychosocial influences, continued –Peers Peers are often the primary source of information for teens regarding sex. Unfortunately, they can be a highly misleading source of information and often promote unhealthy sexual values.

9 Becoming a Sexual Person, continued Psychosocial influences, continued –Schools 90% of schools offer some form of sex education. Most offer “abstinence only” education, which does not seem to deter teens from having sex. In contrast, comprehensive programs are associated with increased use of contraception, reduced pregnancies, and reduced high-risk behaviors.

10 Becoming a Sexual Person, continued Psychosocial influences, continued –Religion Religious teachings can dictate what is seen as sexually “natural”. Data from three national surveys show the main message teens get is “Don’t have sex until marriage”. Data also show that “virginity pledges” are largely ineffective.

11 Becoming a Sexual Person, continued Psychosocial influences, continued –The media TV, films, books, magazines, and the Internet are all media sources that contain a large volume of sexual material – some extremely explicit. Among 10- to 17-yr-olds, 25% were subjected to unwanted pornography. However, some sources do provide valuable information on sexual topics. Thus, it is crucial to be highly selective in what one views.

12 Becoming a Sexual Person, continued Gender differences in sexual socialization –Five key differences 1.Men have more interest in sex. 2.The connection between sex and intimacy is more important for women. 3.Aggression is more often linked to sexuality for men.

13 Becoming a Sexual Person, continued Gender differences in sexual socialization, continued –Five key differences, continued 4.Women’s sexuality is more easily shaped by culture and situational factors. 5.Men more often take the lead, while women act as “gate keepers”.

14 Becoming a Sexual Person, continued Gender differences, continued Socialization may affect these differences by –Encouraging males to experiment sexually, to initiate sex, and to enjoy sex without emotional connection. –Teaching girls to view sex in the context of a loving relationship. –Emphasizing negative associations girls have with sex: pain; guilt and shame; fear of pregnancy.

15 Becoming a Sexual Person, continued Sexual orientation –Key considerations Most people view heterosexuality and homosexuality as two distinct categories. However, it is more accurate to view them as endpoints on a seven-point scale (see Figure 12.4). Approximately 5-8% of the population reports being homosexual.

16 Figure Heterosexuality and homosexuality as endpoints on a continuum. Kinsey and other sex researchers view heterosexuality and homosexuality as ends of a continuum rather than as all-or-none distinctions. Kinsey created this seven-point scale (from 0 to 6) for describing sexual orientation.

17 Becoming a Sexual Person, continued Sexual orientation, continued Origins –Freud attributed homosexuality to an unresolved Oedipus complex in which the child identifies with the parent of the opposite gender. –Sociologists suggest it is caused by poor relationships with same-gender peers or from childhood labels of “homosexual”. –There is little support for any of these views.

18 Becoming a Sexual Person, continued Sexual orientation, continued Origins, continued –There is also no evidence that sexual orientation is affected by the orientation of a child’s parents. –Many gay men and women trace homosexual leanings to early childhood. –Thus, many theorists propose that sexual orientation is more likely caused by biological factors.

19 Becoming a Sexual Person, continued Sexual orientation, continued Origins, continued –One prominent biological explanation attributes homosexuality to prenatal exposure to sex hormones that alter the organization of the fetal brain. –Genetic factors are also potential contributors and are supported, in part, by twin studies (see Figure 12.5). –However, the fact is, it is still largely unknown which factors determine sexual orientation.

20 Figure 12.5 Genetics and sexual orientation. A concordance rate indicates the percentage of twin pairs or other pairs of relatives that exhibit the same characteristic. If relatives who share more genetic relatedness show higher concordance rates than relatives who share less genetic overlap, this evidence suggests a genetic predisposition to the characteristic. Recent studies of both gay men and lesbian women have found higher concordance rates among identical twins than fraternal twins, who, in turn, exhibit more concordance than adoptive siblings. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that genetic factors influence sexual orientation. If only genetic factors were responsible for sexual orientation, the identical twin concordance rates would push 100%; because they are much lower, environmental factors must also play a role. (Data from Bailey & Pillard, 1991; Bailey et al., 1993)

21 Becoming a Sexual Person, continued Sexual orientation, continued Attitudes toward homosexuality –Although much of the public is opposed to legalizing gay marriage, most are more accepting of other aspects of homosexuality (see Figure 12.6). –However, some people do display homophobia, or “the intense fear and intolerance of homosexuals”.

22 Figure 12.6 Attitudes toward homosexuals. Americans’ attitudes toward gays are highly variable, depending on the specific issue. Women generally have more accepting attitudes than men.

23 Becoming a Sexual Person, continued Sexual orientation, continued –This type of sexual prejudice is associated with Being older. Being male. Lower education level. Living in the South or Midwest, and in rural areas. Having conservative religious and political beliefs.

24 Becoming a Sexual Person, continued Sexual orientation, continued Disclosing one’s sexual orientation –Sexual identify development involves acknowledging, recognizing, and labeling one’s sexual orientation. –One must also conceptualize it in positive terms. –Recent generations are becoming aware of and are disclosing gay, lesbian, and bisexual identities earlier in life.

25 Becoming a Sexual Person, continued Sexual orientation, continued In deciding to disclose, one must weigh the psychological benefits. –Being honest. –Social support. Against the potential costs. –Losing friends. –Being fired. –Falling victim to hate crimes. –Losing custody of children.

26 Becoming a Sexual Person, continued Sexual orientation, continued Adjustment –Gays and straights do not differ on overall measures of psychological adjustment, and being gay is not associated with psychopathology. –However, homosexuals are more likely to be exposed to sexual prejudice and discrimination and are at greater risk for anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and suicide attempts.

27 Interaction in Sexual Relationships, continued Motives for engaging in sex 1.Pursuing one’s own sexual pleasure. 2.Feeling good about oneself. 3.Pleasuring one’s partner. 4.Promoting intimacy in the relationship. 5.Expressing love for one’s partner.

28 Interaction in Sexual Relationships, continued “Avoidance” motives: some have sex to avoid other problems, such as 1.Avoiding relationship conflict. 2.Avoiding hurting a partner’s feelings. 3.Preventing a partner’s anger. 4.Preventing a partner from losing interest.

29 Interaction in Sexual Relationships, continued Communicating about sex –Although it is important, people are often reluctant to talk about sex because 1.They are afraid of appearing ignorant. 2.They are concerned about their partner’s response. 3.They have conflicting attitudes about sex. 4.They had early, negative, sexual experiences.

30 Sexual Expression, continued People experience sexual pleasure in many ways. Erogenous zones are “areas of the body that are sexually sensitive or responsive”. Even the mind can be an erogenous zone, as evidenced by the power of sexual fantasies. –Fantasizing about having sex with another partner is the most common fantasy, but there are myriad other.

31 Patterns of Sexual Behavior, continued Sexuality today –The recent “sexual revolution” has created more positive, liberal attitudes toward sex. –Unfortunately, it has also been accompanied by an increase in STDs and teen pregnancies. –However, more teens are aware of HIV, and the number of sexually active teens has decreased somewhat.

32 Patterns of Sexual Behavior, continued Sex outside of a committed relationship –Hooking up – involves “two strangers or briefly acquainted people having a single sexual encounter”. The majority of college students have experienced this at least once. Men are more comfortable with it than women, however (see Figure 12.13). –Friends-with-benefits refers to friends who have sex, but are not romantically involved.

33 Figure Gender differences in comfort level with hooking-up behaviors. College men and women were asked to rate their comfort level with four hooking-up behaviors. The ratings were made on an 11-point scale (11 = Very comfortable; 1 – Not at all comfortable). As you can see from the mean ratings shown here, men’s comfort levels significantly exceeded women’s for all four behaviors. From Lambert, T. A., Kahn, A. S., Apple, K.J. (2003). Pluralistic ignorance and hooking up. The Journal of Sex Research, 40(2) (Table 2 on p. 132)

34 Patterns of Sexual Behavior, continued Sex in committed relationships –Sex between dating partners For men, sexual satisfaction is correlated with relationship stability. For women, however, relationship satisfaction is a better predictor of relationship stability.

35 Patterns of Sexual Behavior, continued Sex in committed relationships, continued –Marital sex Frequency of sex varies greatly in married couples, with those in their 20s and 30s reporting having sex about two to three times per week. Frequency tends to decrease as couples age for various reasons, but older couples remain capable of having enjoyable sex.

36 Patterns of Sexual Behavior, continued Sex in committed relationships, continued –Sex in homosexual relationships There are three patterns of sexual frequency: 1.There is a general decline in the frequency of sexual behavior over time. 2.Early in the relationship, gay males engage in sex more frequently than do other couples. 3.Lesbian couples have sex less often than other couples.

37 Patterns of Sexual Behavior, continued Infidelity in committed relationships –In married couples, infidelity is termed “adultery” or “extramarital sex”, whereas in unmarried, committed couples, it is referred to as “extradyadic sex”. –Most people view extramarital sex as wrong. –However, sometimes couples have consensual extramarital sex, as with “open marriages”, in which couples exchange partners or have sex with a third party.

38 Patterns of Sexual Behavior, continued Infidelity, continued –Prevalence Recent surveys suggest that approximately 25% of married men and about 10% of married women have had an extramarital affair. One-third of cohabitating men and women have had extradyadic sex. Extradyadic sex is most common of all among committed gay male relationships, however.

39 Patterns of Sexual Behavior, continued Infidelity, continued –Motivations: Why are people unfaithful? –Dissatisfaction with a relationship or anger toward a partner. –Boredom. –Need to confirm that one is still desirable. –Strong attraction to another person. –Men are usually motivated by sexual variety, while women seek an emotional connection.

40 Patterns of Sexual Behavior, continued Infidelity, continued –Impact Approximately 20% of divorces are caused by infidelity. In addition, people who engage in extramarital sex may experience –Loss of self-respect. –Guilt. –Stress. –Complications from STDs.

41 Figure A comparison of widely used contraceptive techniques. Couples can choose from a variety of contraceptive methods. This chart summarizes the advantages and disadvantages of each method. Note that the typical failure rate is much higher than the ideal failure rate for all methods, because couples do not use contraceptive techniques consistently and correctly. (Based on Carroll, 2007; Crooks & Baur, 2008; Hatcher et al., 2004)

42 Figure Overview of common sexually transmitted disease (STDs). This chart summarizes the symptoms and modes of transmission of nine STDs. Note that intercourse is not required to transmit all STDs—many STDs can be contracted through oral- genital contact or other forms of physical intimacy. (Adapted from Carroll, 2007; Crooks & Baur, 2008; Hatcher et al., 2004)

43 Practical Issues, continued Sexually transmitted diseases, continued Prevalence and transmission –Most infections occur in people under age 25 (25% of people contract an STD by age 21). –Of special concern is the increase in HIV infections in heterosexual women of color. –HIV infections are also increasing in young gay and bisexual men of color.

44 Practical Issues, continued STDs, continued –Women are more likely to acquire an STD from any sexual encounter and are more likely to suffer more long-term consequences such as Chronic pelvic pain. Infertility. Cervical cancer.

45 Practical Issues, continued STDs, continued –Prevention points to remember 1.If not in a sexually exclusive relationship, always use latex condoms with spermicide. 2.People can be carriers of STDs without knowing it and may not have any symptoms. 3.The more sexual partners you have, the higher your risk of contracting an STD.

46 Practical Issues, continued STDs, continued Prevention points, continued 4.Avoid sex with individuals who have had many previous partners. 5.Don’t assume that labels people attach to themselves (e.g., heterosexual) accurately describe all of their sexual experiences. 6.Any activity that exposes you to blood or bodily fluids is risky.

47 Practical Issues, continued STDs, continued Prevention points, continued 7.Oral-genital sex may also transmit HIV. 8.Wash your genitals before and after sexual contact. 9.Urinate shortly after intercourse. 10.Watch for sores, rashes, or discharge. If you have cold sores, avoid kissing and oral sex.

48 Application: Enhancing Sexual Relationships, continued General suggestions 1.Pursue adequate sex education. 2.Review your sexual values system. 3.Communicate about sex. 4.Avoid goal setting. 5.Enjoy your sexual fantasies. 6.Be selective about sex.

49 Application: Enhancing Sexual Relationships, continued: Understanding sexual dysfunction –Sexual dysfunctions are “impairments in sexual functioning that cause subjective distress” (see Figure 12.18). –Common culprits can include Physical factors (illness, medication, alcohol and drugs). Psychological factors (excessive guilt or anxiety). Interpersonal factors (unresolved relationship issues).

50 Figure Sexual dysfunction in normal couples. This graph shows the prevalence of various sexual dysfunctions during a year in a probability sample of American men and women. The most common problems among men are premature ejaculation and anxiety about performance; in women, they are lack of interest in sex and orgasmic difficulties. From Laumann, E. O., Gagnon, J. H., Michael, R. T., & Michaels, S. (1994). The social organization of sexuality: Sexual practices in the United States. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Copyright © 1994 by University of Chicago Press. Reprinted by permission.

51 Application: Enhancing Sexual Relationships, continued Coping with specific problems –Sex therapy – “involves the professional treatment of sexual dysfunctions”. –Therapies may include medication or counseling on specific techniques from a qualified sex therapist.


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