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DeLamater & Hasday Sociological Perspectives

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Many disciplines contribute to an understanding of human sexuality. While disciplines in the humanities address the range of behaviors thoughts and feelings associated !ith human sexuality it is the sciences that see" to create and assess overarching explanatory theories. #hese disciplines most of !hich have a long history of theory$based !or" include biology evolutionary psychology psychology anthropology !omen%s studies communications family studies and of course sociology. #heories regarding sexuality are some of the least conceptually developed and least empirically tested &Weis 1''(). *n a content analysis of articles published bet!een 1'+1 and 1'', in The Journal of Sex Research and Archives of Sexual Behavior &both multi$disciplinary -ournals) ./0 of articles in the former and 10 of articles in the latter !ere found to be primarily concerned !ith theory development. 2 full /30 of the articles in Archives and 310 of articles in The Journal of Sex Research !ere atheoretical. Weis concludes that 45ach of these studies depicts a tendency of the sexological -ournals to publish data reports !hich are descriptive and atheoretical6 and that 45ven !hen specific hypotheses are tested they are rarely derived from or designed to test theoretical propositions6 &1). #here have ho!ever been some notable recent improvements in efforts to expand the role of theory and metatheory in sex research including a special issue in 1''( of The Journal of Sex Research entitled 4#he 7se of #heory in 8esearch and 9cholarship on 9exuality 6 as !ell as an issue of :ualitative 9ociology published in .,,3 entitled 49ex and 9ociology; 9ociological 9tudies of 9exuality 1'1,$1'+(.6 #he history of empirical sociological research on sexuality can be traced to <insey%s &1'=( 1'/3) landmar" volumes for !hich <insey and his associates intervie!ed thousands of men and !omen about their sexual experiences. 2lthough he did not use representative sampling

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techni>ues he did attempt to produce a heterogeneous sample by intervie!ing members of diverse groups ranging from church groups to prisoners to union locals. #he first survey of representative samples of 1( to .3 year olds !as reported by DeLamater & Mac?or>uodale &1'+'). #he first survey of a representative sample of the 79 population ages 1( to /' !as reported in 1''= &Laumann et al. 1''=). @et!een 1''/ and .,,/ several surveys of representative samples of subpopulations have been carried out and the results analyAed most notably the 2dd Health survey of teens. #he first >ualitative study of sexual expression to achieve !ide recognition !as Humphrey%s Tearoom Trade &1'+,) an observational study of men !ho have sex in public restrooms. 5thnographic and intervie! studies have been conducted of a !ide variety of noninstitutional forms of sexuality including nudists commercial sex !or"ers s!ingers and participants in the bondage and discipline subculture to name a fe!. 8esearch combining >uantitative and >ualitative research such as Laumann and colleagues% study of four neighborhoods !ithin the city of ?hicago &.,,=) are beginning to appear and are especially valuable for the breadth of material they provide. #he history of the development of theory is less straightfor!ard. Li"e many other disciplines sociology relies heavily on broad conceptual frame!or"s as the basis for theoriAing about sexuality. *n doing so sociology has made important contributions to sexual theory. *rvine points out that 4sociology has an impressive history of denaturaliAing sex and theoriAing its social origins in a body of scholarship dating from the early t!entieth$century ?hicago 9chool6 &=3,). #he ?hicago school vie!ed noninstitutional forms of sexual expression as the result of a brea"do!n in informal controls such as family and neighborhood. #his and subse>uent conceptual developments led anthropologist Bayle 8ubin to note that 4the !or" of establishing a social science approach to sex C and challenging the privileged role of psychiatry in the study of

DeLamater & Hasday human sexuality !as mostly accomplished by sociologists6 &*rvine .,,3; =3,).

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2ll sociological theory including theories of sexuality is based on the fundamental assumption that human behavior is socially learned. #hese theories do not deny the existence of forces inherent in individuals. 9ociological perspectives merely assert that the specific thoughts and behaviors exhibited by individuals are a product of social rather than biological forces. #his position is !ell stated by <immel and DracherE 4#hat !e are sexual is determined by a biological imperative to!ard reproduction but ho! !e are sexualF!here !hen ho! often !ith !hom and !hyFhas to do !ith cultural learning !ith meanings transmitted in a cultural setting6 &Longmore 1''(; ==). *n fact current !or" in the emerging field of biosocial research &!hich is distinct from the earlier theory of sociobiology) is exploring relationships bet!een genes and sexual behaviors !hile also examining the complex interactions bet!een genes and the environment. Ho!ever sociologists do fundamentally believe that it is human societies that most strongly determine their members% sexualities and sociology is fundamentally incompatible !ith both biological and psychological essentialist vie!s. #!o sociological frame!or"s have influenced the study of human sexuality substantially symbolic interactionism and scripting theory. @oth fall !ithin the broad paradigm of social constructionism &@erger & Luc"mann 1'11). #he premise of social constructionism is that there is no ob-ective reality but rather that reality is socially constructed. 9uch social construction rests on language !hich enables humans to form shared meanings of experienced phenomena. #hese meanings in term shape subse>uent experience and behavior. Symbolic Interactionism 9ymbolic interaction theory is based on the !riting and teaching of Beorge Herbert Mead in the 1'3,s and 1'=,s. *t gradually replaced the ?hicago 9chool in the 1'/,s and 1'1,s. Dor symbolic

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interactionists ob-ects ac>uire meaning thus becoming symbols through communication. #he self is seen as not only sub-ect but also ob-ect and li"e other ob-ects it too becomes imbued !ith meaning through interaction. *mportantly the self is not seen only as an ob-ect to others but also to oneself. #hat is people have the ability to ta"e on the role of others and thus see the self as others see it ob-ectified. #his vie! of self as other contributes to behavioral decision ma"ing as people act in !ays intended to foster certain perceptions of themselves on the part of others. Within symbolic interactionism there are t!o schools of thought contributing to t!o methods of in>uiry. 9ituational symbolic interactionists 4focus on ho! individuals define situations and thereby construct the realities in !hich they live6 &Longmore 1''(; =1). 2ccordingly sociologists using this perspective study face$to$face interactions using predominately >ualitative methods li"e ethnography in$depth intervie! and participant observation to uncover the individual and interactional construction of situations. 9tructural symbolic interactionists on the other hand focus on the !ays in !hich location in the social structure influences the self and the self%s construction of reality and thus tend to use >uantitative methods li"e statistical survey analysis to examine the relationships bet!een individual behavior and perception and location !ithin the large institutions that comprise social structure. @oth the situational and the structural schools ho!ever are committed to the belief that reality is constructed in interaction. *n studying sexuality symbolic interactionists turn their gaAe on ho! people construct their sexual realities from !hich follo! their sexual beliefs and practices. Dor structuralists some of the ma-or social institutions thought to influence sexuality are religion family economy la! and medicine. 5ach institution is associated !ith a sexual ideology or discourse &Doucault 1''(). Most religions in the 7nited 9tates promulgate the Gudeo$?hristian ideology

Medicine has become increasingly important in the conceptualiAation and control of sexuality a trend referred to as the medicaliAation of sexuality &#iefer ....).. /1). *t is associated !ith a discourse that emphasiAes family functions of support and childrearing norms of fidelity and the incest taboo. 9ocially learned sexual scripts tell people !ho to have sex !ith &e. Scripting Theory #he premise of scripting theory is that sexual behavior &li"e almost all other human behavior) 4is the result of elaborate prior learning that teaches us an eti>uette of sexual behavior6 &Hyde and DeLamater . !hat the race gender and age of an appropriate sexual partner should be) !hen and !here it is appropriate to have sex and !hat . 7ltimately the legal system reflects the interests of dominant groups in the society...).DeLamater & Hasday Page / !hich emphasiAes marital relationships as the appropriate context for sexual intimacy. #he family has traditionally been a strong institution supported by both religion and the legal system.1..g. =. #he medical discourse defines certain aspects of sexual functioning in terms of health and illness and prescribes treatment for problems of sexual functioning. 9imon and Bagnon the developers of scripting theory in the 1'+. 8eligious leaders utiliAe this discourse in public statements and official documentsE clergy base interactions !ith parishioners on it. #he influence of this discourse has increased dramatically !ith the mar"eting and !idespread advertising of drugs to improve sexual functioning. 5conomic institutions promote capitalismE income re>uires employment and households &families) re>uire income.=). #hus the economy has profound effects on patterns of sexuality especially marriage and childbearing &#eachman #edro! & ?ro!der . Dinally there is the la! !hich defines certain sexual practices as illegal and creates procedures and institutions of social control that are used to enforce the la!.s explained that 4Without the proper elements of a script that defines the situation names the actors and plots the behavior little is li"ely to happen6 &Longmore 1''(.

1) and it is these cultural scripts that form the general basis for sexual conduct. #hese are the social exchange frame!or" !hich is based upon economic as !ell as sociological principles and 9exual 9trategies #heory !hich falls under the umbrella of evolutionary psychology. Laumann and his colleagues defined interpersonal scripts as 4the structured patterns of interaction in !hich individuals as actors engage in everyday interpersonal conduct 6 and intrapsychic scripts as 4the plans and fantasies by !hich individuals guide and reflect on their past current or future conduct6 &1).s focuses on the exchange of resources bet!een people and has thus been used extensively in the study of relationships. 2ll social . Ho!ever these cultural scripts are interpreted on both interpersonal and intrapsychic dimensions !hich accounts for both the range of sexual behaviors and the sense of individual expression inherent in many sexual encounters.DeLamater & Hasday acts are appropriate &and in !hat order) once sexual behavior is initiated. 2ccordingly scripting is theoriAed on three levels. 1''=. ?ultural sexual scripts can be defined as 4the instructions for sexual and other conduct that are embedded in the cultural narratives that are provided as guides or instructions for all conduct6 &Laumann et al. cultural interpersonal and intrapsychic. #hus the intrapsychic dimension of scripting allo!s individuals to derive personal meaning from cultural scripts !hile the interpersonal dimension opens the door for situational symbolic interactionism !here reality is defined by interacting people in a given situation. *n addition to these t!o uni>uely sociological frame!or"s sociologists studying sexuality also ma"e use of t!o additional frame!or"s. Social Exchange Theory #he social exchange frame!or" developed in the 1'1. Page 1 9exual scripts are not rigid or absoluteE individuals engaged in sexual behavior do not feel li"e they are simply performing a script they have memoriAed.

/) !hich focuses on the exchange of specifically sexual resources and conse>uences for sexual &as opposed to general relationship) satisfaction.DeLamater & Hasday Page + exchange theories share a number of basic principles centered on the concepts of re!ards costs and reciprocity &9precher 1''(). greater sexual success leading to more offspring and greater success in passing on one%s genes) in the early stages of human evolution resulted in the proliferation of certain traits in men and !omen that continue to be present today. Hf specific interest is the *nterpersonal 5xchange Model of 9exual 9atisfaction &@yers . *n studying sexuality these principles are applied to the exchange of sexual resources for other resources that can be sexual or non$sexual &li"e intimacy commitment social position or money). 5volutionary psychology specifically focuses on ho! psychological mechanisms &as opposed to physical or behavioral characteristics) became common through processes of sexual selection. 4&a) 9ocial behavior is a series of exchangesE &b) individuals attempt to maximiAe their re!ards and minimiAe their costsE and &c) !hen individuals receive re!ards from others they feel obligated to reciprocate6 &9precher 1''(. Sexual Strategies Theory Dinally a good deal of contemporary social research into human sexuality is conducted using 9exual 9trategies #heory &@uss 1''() !hich falls !ithin the evolutionary psychology frame!or". 3. #hese theories have been applied to understanding and predicting sexual behaviors including partner selection occurrence of premarital sex relationship longevity or dissolution and extradyadic sexual relationships.. 9pecifically social exchanges models share the follo!ing three basic assumptions. People are portrayed as entering staying in and leaving sexual relationships based on the re!ard$cost balance experienced in them..e.). 2n example of a thesis from . *n their most simple form evolutionary theories of sexuality argue that sexual selection &i.

9exual 9trategies #heory a blend of biological and psychological perspectives places desire at the foundation of human sexuality as"ing ho! desire has evolved to maximiAe reproductive success. 9pecifically it is based on the premise that not only do men and !omen have different problems to overcome to ensure mating success but also that men and !omen have to negotiate differing problems in short$term versus long$term mating. #he compatibility bet!een 9exual 9trategies #heory and various sociological theories of sexuality is based on the former%s emphasis on the importance of context in determining ho! sexual desire !ill manifest in mating decisions. Sexual Expression . Predictions based on this theory have included !hat sex differences there should be in the desire for sexual variety !hat sex differences can be expected in sexual -ealously and !hat contexts !ill trigger sexual conflict bet!een men and !omen &@uss 1''(). #hus !hile sexual strategies theory suggests that there are some universals in !hat men and !omen may loo" for in different types of mates it leaves a great deal of room for ho! social context influences everything from !hen and !hy they pursue particular strategies to ho! their desires might be shaped by social position. 2ccordingly the theory loo"s at !hat >ualities !ill be desired by men and !omen !hen pursuing short$term mates versus long$term mates as !ell as !hen and !hy each sex might desire one type of mate over the other.DeLamater & Hasday Page ( evolutionary psychologists !ould be that men are sexually -ealous because in the ancestral environment it !as more li"ely that !omen !ould bear the children of -ealous mates than non$ -ealous mates &because -ealous men !ould be more vigilant about ma"ing sure their female partners did not have sex !ith other men) and thus more li"ely that the trait of male -ealousy !ould be perpetuated in their &male) offspring.

DeLamater & Hasday Page ' #here is a great variety of !ays in !hich humans derive sexual gratification and satisfaction. We suggest that one continuum for sexual expression is the involvement of other persons ranging from asexuality &!here no one is involved sexually) through auto$erotic sexuality partnered sexuality and finally multi$partnered sexuality at the other extreme.. #he Iational Health and 9ocial Life 9urvey &Laumann et al. percent of !omen ages 1. 1''=) 1. months.. 9exual fantasy refers to sexual thoughts or images that alter the person%s emotions or . Autoeroticism 9exual self$stimulation can be produced by masturbation or by fantasy. 1''=) involved intervie!s !ith 3 =3./).. *n a national sample of 1( . 2mericans ages 1( to /'E = percent of male and 11 percent of female respondents reported having no sexual partner and engaging in little autoerotic activity in the preceding 1.=). to 1' reported masturbationE among both the principal correlate !as fre>uency of sexual desire &DeLamater Moorman & 9ill ..+ percent of men and ( percent of !omen reported masturbating at least once a !ee".. *t is li"ely that someJmany of these persons do not experience sexual desire or attraction to others.. @ritish residents about one percent reported no sexual attraction. percent of !omen reported masturbating in the past yearE . Masturbation is not a substitute for partnered activityE people !ho report more fre>uent masturbation report more fre>uent sex !ith a partner. *n the IH9L9 &Laumann et al. *n both studies those !ho reported little or no sexual activity !ere more li"ely to be single &including divorced !ido!ed) older and less educated.. percent of men and =. Asexuality 2sexuality refers to having no sexual attraction to a person of either sex &@ogaert . 2 survey of older adults in the 7nited 9tates found that 3/ percent of men and .

physiological state..=E <uttler and La Breca ..=)... Most men and !omen report having sexual fantasiesE men are more li"ely to fantasiAe about sexual activity !hereas !omen fantasiAe about playing a role in sexual interaction &Leitenberg & Henning 1''/). . ?asual dating most commonly begins in adolescence. .=E ?onnolly et al.. . #he precursor to dating is generally the mixed$gender group friendships that form in preadolescence.. . #hese choices may include being single celibate &unmarried) or chaste &abstaining from sexual intercourse) for some or all of one%s life.DeLamater & Hasday Page 1. . Dyadic Sexual Relationships 2dolescents and adults in developed countries and urban areas in many parts of the !orld have choices regarding sexual expression. *n general adolescent dating relationships do not lead to long$term committed relationships but rather serve as contexts for adolescents to develop and practice the intimacy and communication s"ills that their adult relationships !ill re>uire.). 2s teens move from mixed$gender friendship to group dating to couple dating their levels of intimacy commitment emotional maturity and sexual experience tend to increase &?onnolly et al.. 9exual fantasy may enhance one%s sense of attractiveness provide opportunities for rehearsing sexual scripts increase sexual arousal and facilitate orgasm... Driendship net!or"s often play important and varied roles in the dating process &Harper et al. #hese are follo!ed developmentally by group dating then by dyadic &or couple) dating of increasing levels of intimacy and commitment and finally by cohabitation andJor marriage. #he most common forms of adult sexuality ho!ever are those that occur !ithin dyadic relationships. Dantasies of gays and lesbians are similar to fantasies of heterosexual men and !omen. Casual relationships #here are t!o "inds of casual relationships that are most common and easily identifiable... #he first are casual dating relationships !hile the second are casual sexual relationships.=E Ballmeier et al.

. Most adult sexual behavior occurs in the context of marriage &Hyde and DeLamater .3... Pluralistic ignorance 4exists !hen !ithin a group of individuals each person believes his or her private attitudes beliefs or -udgments are discrepant from the norm displayed by the public behavior of others6 &Lambert et al.. '+). Lambert et al.3) offer another explanation for !hy !omen specifically may engage in casual sex citing a 1''' study by 8egan and Dreyer that found ==0 of their sample of female college students compared to only '0 of their sample of male college students 4engaged in KcasualL sex to increase the probability of a long$term commitment from their sexual partners6 &*mpett and Peplau .)..').1)...3). conclude that 4*t is li"ely that most students believe others engage in these hoo"ing$up behaviors primarily because they en-oy doing so !hile they see themselves engaging in these behaviors primarily due to peer pressure6 &13...).. . #here is good reason to believe that practices such as 4hoo"ing up6 have no! become normative in college settings &Lambert et al. 9pecifically Lambert et al. Pluralistic ignorance significantly affects the practice of casual sex &Lambert <ahn and 2pple ... #hus casual sex is most commonly the province of young adults ages 1'$../..3).. . 1. report that college !omen and men &though especially !omen) !ere less comfortable !ith many casual sexual behaviors than they thought their same$sex friends !ere and that !omen and men both believed that members of the opposite sex !ere more comfortable !ith such behaviors than they really !ere.DeLamater & Hasday Page 11 #here is evidence that the context of teen sexual behavior has shifted in the last decade and a half to relationships as opposed to casual sexual contexts &8isman and 9ch!artA .3. Committed relationships Many adolescents and adults form close or intimate . *n their article on sexual compliance &!hich is agreeing to have sex !ith someone !hen it is not genuinely desired) *mpett and Peplau &.

Hn the other hand many people believe that it is appropriate for t!o people !ho are committed to each other or 4in love6 to engage in sexual intimacy.. percent involved a heterosexual couple / percent involved t!o men and / percent involved t!o !omen &7.. *n the 7nited 9tates in .9. 2lthough there is an element of physical intimacy it need not be sexual. / percent of all households !ere comprised of unmarried partnersE '. 1''=). Hne$third of heterosexual . 2 common pattern among adolescents and adults in some societies is serial monogamy in !hich one person engages in a series of t!o or more intimate relationships often being faithful !hile in a relationship./).' in the 7nited 9tates =. *n some developed countries cohabitation is an alternative to marriage.. #he norms in most societies include homogamy in sexual relationships that the partner be of similar age raceJethnicity religion and social status. Dor some people this is a stage in development as the person moves from more casual relationships to a committed long$ term or lifelong relationship.DeLamater & Hasday relationships !ith others relationships characteriAed by affective cognitive and physical closeness or a sense thereof. ohabitation refers to an unmarried &heterosexual) couple living together. to . percent of the men and . creating a sense of a uni>ue relationship. @eliefs about the appropriateness of sexual activity !ith particular "inds of persons reflect social norms norms that are embedded in the groups one belongs to and enforced by friends and family. #here are varying levels of residential sharing from 4living together apart6 or maintaining separate residences to spending some nights at the partner%s residence to living together in one residence. *ntimacy often gro!s out of self$disclosure by each person Page 1.( percent of the !omen had t!o or more sexual partners prior to marriage &Laumann et al.. 2ccording to the IH9L9 among married persons . @ureau of the ?ensus .. #hese relationships represent commitment because the couple is ma"ing a public declaration of their sexual relationship..

9ixty percent lead to marriageE these marriages are more li"ely to end in divorce than marriages not preceded by cohabitation &9mith .3)...' to t!o times per month among couples ages 1. *n the 7nited 9tates a fe! states allo! such marriages but their legal status is unresolved in ./..).. percent of the men and !omen in almost every country in the !orld marry &7nited Iations . Men generally marry at older ages than !omen throughout the !orld..3) although the reasons for this association are not !ell understood.. #here is !ide variation in fre>uencyE there are young couples !ho never engage in intercourse and older couples !ho engage in it several times per !ee". #he fre>uency of and specific practices that ma"e up sexual expression reflect social norms. 2t least '.. *n the 7nited 9tates the fre>uency of vaginal intercourse !ithin marriage ranges from t!o times per !ee" among couples ages 1($. !arriage refers to a relationship bet!een t!o people based on a religious or legal compact.. 9ome societies no! provide for and recogniAe marital relationships involving t!o men or t!o !omen including @elgium ?anada Ietherlands and 9pain.DeLamater & Hasday Page 13 cohabiting relationships last less than one year. Marriage is the social relationship !ithin !hich sexual expression has the most &in some countries the only) legitimacy. Hther forms of sexual expression also occur in marriage including behaviors such as oral$genital sexuality anal intercourse and practices such as bondage and discipline. #he compact confers recognition and certain rights on partners in an intimate sexual relationship. Dor centuries most societies have had established procedures for and recogniAed marriages involving one man and one !oman.$1' &9mith . #he fre>uency of sexual intercourse in a long$term relationship reflects both biological &changes associated !ith aging illness) and social &habituation to partner >uality of the relationship) factors. Most married couples engage in sexual intercourse.. *t is li"ely that a similar decline occurs in most societies. ?ouples also report the use of sex toys and erotic materials to enhance .

1''=). 8ecent research has broadened the study of 4cheating6 by loo"ing at couples !ho are cohabiting or in a committed relationship and in>uired about involvement !ith a third person./0 of married men and 1/0 of married !omen &Laumann et al.DeLamater & Hasday sexual pleasure.1). &=(0 married) found that . 9everal reasons have been suggested for extramarital relationships including perceived ine>uity &9precher 1''') dissatisfaction !ith marital sexual relationships dissatisfaction !ith or conflict !ithin the marriage and placing greater emphasis on personal gro!th and pleasure than fidelity &La!son 1'(()..(0 of men and .+0 of @lac"s report extramarital sexual activity compared !ith 1=0 of Whites &9mith 1''=). 8elationships can be centered around a primary relationship bet!een t!o people &one or both of !hom have secondary relationships) they can be hinged &!here one person has e>ual relationships !ith t!o or more other persons but the others do not have relationships !ith each other though they may have additional relationships) or they can be group relationships &!here three or more people are all involved !ith one another more or less e>ually). Hne study of such extradyadic relations !ith a sample of 3=' persons ages 1+ to +. . Page 1= 5xtramarital sexual activity is reported by . "on#dyadic sexual relationships $olyamory is emotional and &almost al!ays) sexual involvement !ith more than one person at a time !ith the informed consent of all parties. #ypically the spouse is una!are of the partner%s extramarital sexual activity. #he incidence varies by ethnicityE . Hispanics report the same incidence as Whites &Laumann et al. #here are a number of different structures for polyamory.'0 of !omen had cheated on a current partner &Hic"s & Leitenberg .. 1''=). Many men and !omen !ill engage in this activity only once !hile they are marriedE at the other end of the fre>uency continuum are those !ho engage in it throughout their marriages.

#hese characteristics tend to distinguish it from the more traditional and historically rooted practice of polygamy &Wi"ipedia). #hese factors li"ely both contribute to the fact that very little research has been performed on polyamorous sexual practices. Hf course it is not "no!n .DeLamater & Hasday 2dditionally they can be open !hich means that relationship partners are free to ta"e on Page 1/ additional lovers or closed !hich means members are restricted to established relationships. Polyamory also tends to be characteriAed by non$possessiveness acceptance of varied sexual practices and identities and high levels of gender e>uality. #his is especially true of people in open polyamorous relationships &8amey 1'+/). 2ccording to a broad survey by @lumstein and 9ch!artA fifteen percent of married couples and t!enty eight percent of cohabiting &heterosexual) couples had 4an understanding that allo!s non$monogamy under some circumstances6 &@lumstein & 9ch!artA 1'(3. /(/). Polyamorous people may live !ith none one or more than one of their relationship partners. 9ometimes t!o of the people in a polyamorous arrangement are legally married. #here has been very little scholarly attention given to polyamory. 2dditionally although there are no precise estimates of incidence there are some indications that polyamory may be practiced by a siAeable minority. Dor many practitioners polyamory is not simply a type of relationship but a !ay of life to !hich they are philosophically committed. While the instability of the monogamous nuclear family has been !idely discussed cohabitation and not polyamory has emerged as a common relationship alternative. #he possible variations are nearly limitlessE the main distinguishing features of all polyamorous relationships are more than one sexual partner &!hich distinguishes it from monogamy) an emotional connection to all partners &!hich distinguishes it from s!inging and other casual sexual arrangements) and complete honesty !ith all partners &!hich distinguishes it from cheating). 2dditionally polyamory has not leveraged the same degree of political visibility as homosexuality.

couples matched on presence of children age and socioeconomic variables &8ubin and 2dams 1'(1. 31. #his process is a biopsychosocial one influenced by biological maturationJaging progression through the socially defined stages of childhood adolescence adulthood and later life and by the person%s relationships !ith others including family members intimate partners . #he sexually open couples and sexually closed couples also sho!ed similar levels of sexual -ealousy and happiness in their relationships. #hese studies !ere conducted in the 1'(.s. 2dditionally although @lumstein and 9ch!artA recruited a large and highly diverse sample they did not ac>uire a random sample and may have some sampling bias in their results. We have no accurate sense of ho! many people practice polyamory currently ho! their practices are conducted and perceived or !hether there are significant differences in couple stability happiness and other characteristics of sexual relationships or personal development.DeLamater & Hasday !hich of these 4understandings6 are truly polyamorous as opposed to an allo!ance for Page 11 occasional one$night stands &for example). #he biggest difference bet!een the t!o groups of couples !as in the changeability of household ma"eup !ith sexually open couples being much more li"ely to have experienced a change in the number of people living in their household bet!een 1'+( and 1'(3. *n 1'(1 a study by 8ubin and 2dams compared failure rates of open marriages !ith those of closed &traditional) marriages. #his !as a small$scale study including (. #hey originally >uestioned couples in 1'+( and then again in 1'(3 and found no statistically significant difference in marriage failure rates. Sexuality through the Life-Course *n this section !e !ill outline the process of sexual development that occurs across a person%s life.).

*f this attachment is stable secure and satisfying positive emotional attachments in childhood are more li"ely &Boldberg Muir & <err 1''/). *n the 7nited 9tates children bet!een the ages of three and seven sho! a mar"ed increase in sexual interest and activity.. #hey form a conception of marriage or long$term relationships and of adult roles. *nfants have been observed fondling their genitalsE the rhythmic manipulation associated !ith adult masturbation appears at ages .. hildhood %Birth to & years' Page 1+ #he capacity for sexual response is present from birth. 1J. #hese appear to be natural behaviors but many cultures restrict or prohibit such activities. #hey learn that there are genital differences bet!een males and females &Boldman & Boldman 1'(. #hus such play becomes increasingly covert as the child ages &ages 1 to ' in the 7nited 9tates) and becomes a!are of cultural norms &8eynolds Herbeni" and @ancroft . ?hildren engage in a variety of sexual play experiences !hile very young. ?hildren may engage in heterosexual play e.6 #here is little .= hours after birth &Masters Gohnson & <olodny 1'(. Male infants have erections and vaginal lubrication has been found in female infants in the .) and may sho! interest in the genitals of other children and adults. #ypically an attachment or bond forms bet!een the infant and parent&s)E it is facilitated by positive physical contact. 5arly childhood is also the period during !hich each child forms a gender identity a sense of maleness or femaleness and begins to be socialiAed according to the gender$ role norms of the society &@ussey & @andura 1'''). #he >uality of relationships !ith parents is very important to the childMs capacity for sexual and emotional relationships later in life. 9uch gender identities eventually become vital components of adolescent and adult sexuality.DeLamater & Hasday and friends.).3).g. 4playing doctor. to 3 &Martinson 1''=).

*n response to such play parents may teach children not to touch the bodies of others or their o!n genitals and may restrict conversation about sex.. to 1. adolescents report that their first experience of sexual attraction occurred at ages 1. 7. &8osario et al. $readolescence %( to )* years' *n the 7nited 9tates as !ell as many other societies children at this age have a social organiAation that is homosocial that is the social division of males and females into separate groups &#horne 1''3). 2bout =. During this period more children gain experience !ith masturbation.0 of the !omen and 3(0 of the men in a sample of 7.. 1''1) !ith the first experience of sexual fantasies occurring several months to one year later. .9. Adolescence %)+ to ). college students recall masturbating before puberty &@ancroft Herbeni" & 8eynolds . 9uch experiences begin the process of developing the capacity to sustain intimate relationships.9.3)..3).DeLamater & Hasday Page 1( impact of childhood sex play on sexual ad-ustment at ages 1+ and 1( &H"ami Hlmstead & 2bramson 1''+). @odily changes during . many males begin masturbating bet!een ages 13 and 1/E the onset is more gradual among !omen &@ancroft et al. #his may lead children to rely on their peers for sexual information.. Hne result is that sexual exploration and learning at this stage is li"ely to involve persons of the same gender. 2mong urban youth in some societies group dating and heterosexual parties may emerge at the end of this period. *n some societies this separation continues throughout life. and as late as age 1= and include increases in levels of sex hormones !hich may produce sexual attractions and fantasies. years' #he biological changes associated !ith puberty the time during !hich there is sudden enlargement and maturation of the gonads other genitalia and development of secondary sex characteristics &#anner 1'1+) lead to a surge of sexual interest. #hese changes begin as early as age 1. *n the 7.9.

2nother tas" in adolescence is learning ho! to manage physical and emotional intimacy in relationships !ith others &?ollins & 9roufe 1'''). to 1/ most fre>uently name the mass media including movies #N magaAines and music as their source of information about sex and intimacy. Bender identity is a very important aspect of identityE in later adolescence the young person may emerge !ith a stable self$confident sense of manhood or !omanhood or alternatively may be in conflict about gender roles. *n the 7nited 9tates youth ages 1. Hne is developing a stable identity.DeLamater & Hasday Page 1' puberty include physical gro!th gro!th in genitals and girlsM breasts and development of facial and pubic hair. #hese changes signal to the youth and to others that she or he is becoming sexually mature. . 2n important influence is the cultural norms regarding gender roles and sexual identities. 2 sexual identity also emerges $ a sense that one is bisexual heterosexual homosexual or transgendered and a sense of oneMs attractiveness to others. 9maller percentages name parents peers sexuality education programs and professionals as sources &<aiser Damily Doundation 1''+). While biological changes especially increases in testosterone levels create the possibility of adult sexual interactions social factors interact !ith them either facilitating or inhibiting sexual expression &7dry 1'((). Permissive attitudes regarding sexual behavior !ill be associated !ith increased masturbation and the onset of partnered sexual activity !hereas restrictive attitudes and participation in religious institutions !ill be associated !ith lo!er levels of sexual activity. 9everal psychosocial developmental tas"s face adolescents. Oouth learn different relationship and sexual scripts depending on !hich source&s) is most influential.

first marriages occurred at &median) age . to 1/ years today. #hese variations reflect differences bet!een these groups in family structure church attendance and socioeconomic opportunities in the larger society &Day 1''.th century.. Ho!ever from 1''1 to 1''' the rate of teen pregnancy declined .( for menE in ..3 it !as .+ years Whites at 11... #o!ard the middle and the end of adolescence in the 7. 1''(). #he average age is 1. Dirst the age of menarche has been falling steadily since the beginning of the .3 years for !omen and . *n the 7nited 9tates patterns of premarital intercourse vary by ethnic group. to 1''1.DeLamater & Hasday Page . 2mong @lac"s and Hispanics men begin having intercourse at younger ages than !omen &7pchurch et al.).9. 2frican 2mericans have intercourse for the first time on average at 1/..3 for !omen and . #he effect is a substantial lengthening of the time bet!een biological readiness and marriageE that gap is typically 1..=).1 years Hispanics at 1+ and 2sian 2merican men at 1(. more young people engage in heterosexual intercourse. @ureau of the ?ensus ..+ years for Whites &Hofferth 1''.9. *n the 7nited 9tates many sexually active teenage persons do not use contraception !hich led to a corresponding rise in pregnancy rates among single adolescents from 1'+.. #hus many more young adults are having sex before they get married than in 1'1..1 years for men &7. *n the 7nited 9tates in 1'1../ years for 2frican 2mericans and 1. #his recent decline in teenage pregnancy rates reflects increased attention to the importance of pregnancy prevention increased access to birth control and increased economic .). 9econd the age of first marriage has been rising./..1..+. *t is li"ely that similar differences are characteristic of other developed multiracial societies./0.. ?hanging rates of premarital intercourse are associated !ith t!o long$term trends in !estern societies. Women are engaging in sexual intercourse for the first time at younger ages compared !ith young !omen 3/ years ago &#russel & Naughn 1''1).

..1 opportunities for teenagers &Nentura et al.3). #hey suggest first sexual intercourse happens most often !ithin the context of relationships...) girls% greater control of sexual intercourse &as evidenced by boys 4!aiting6 for them) !ould certainly help account for trends of decreasing teen pregnancy...) emphasiAe the steadily decreasing percentages of sexually active teens throughout the 1''..DeLamater & Hasday Page . #hese adolescents usually report that their first experience !as !ith another adolescent.... Ho!ever in examining teen sexual behavior trends more closely 8isman and 9ch!artA &. Dor blac"s and Hispanics boys are still more li"ely to report sexual intercourse but the gaps are closing. #o explain these trends 8isman and 9ch!artA hypothesiAe that as cultural norms for female sexuality have changed to allo! and even expect premarital sexual activityF but only in the context of relationshipsFpatterns of teen sexual behavior have shifted as !ell. *n some cases the person has only one or a fe! such experiences partly out of curiosity and the behavior is discontinued. Adulthood Hur discussion of forms of sexual expression identified several sexual lifestyle options that are available to adults. Within this context the process of achieving sexual maturity continues in adulthood. *n fact 8isman and 9ch!artA report that for !hites girls are more li"ely to be sexually active by age 1+ than boys. 2nd as there is evidence suggesting that !omen are more responsible regarding ris"s of disease and pregnancy &8isman and 9ch!artA . Hne tas" in this life stage is learning to communicate effectively !ith partners in . #he age at first intercourse has been decreasing for !omen !hile the average age at first intercourse for men has been increasing.0 of adolescent males report having sexual experiences !ith someone of the same gender compared !ith 10 of adolescent females &@ancroft et al.1).s as documented by reliable and !ell$sampled studies. *n the 7nited 9tates 1. ..

1''... Sexual transitions 2nother challenge facing adults particularly those !ho have chosen to enter long$term dyadic relationships is the changes most !ill eventually experience. and 1''1 !ith representative samples of heterosexual men and !omen ages 1( to =' found a significant increase in condom use &?atania et al. Many gay men reduced the number of their sexual partners had fe!er anonymous sexual encounters and engaged in anal intercourse less fre>uently or used condoms. #hese changes may result from developing greater understanding of self or partner changes in the nature and content of communication accidents or illnesses that alter one%s sexual responsiveness or ma-or stressors associated !ith family or career roles. #he largest increases !ere among 2frican 2mericans and Hispanics. intimate relationships.1). *n the decade from 1'(/ to 1''/ gay men sho!ed substantial behavior change.. *n spite of these positive changes the number of ne! cases of H*N infection and 2*D9 per year remains large. 9everal studies suggest that some men and !omen !ho are diagnosed !ith H*NJ2*D9 become celibate &9iegel & 9crimsha! .. *n many countries there has been substantial publicity about these ris"s and the implementation of programs designed to promote safer sex. 2 second tas" is developing the ability to ma"e informed decisions about reproduction and prevention of sexually transmitted infections. 5xamples of such behaviors include engaging in vaginal or anal intercourse !ithout using condoms engaging in sexual activity !ith casual partners and engaging in sexual activity !ith multiple partners.. . Responsible Sexual Behavior 9ome adults engage in sexual activities that involve ris"s to their physical health such as 9#*s and H*N infection. Have adults changed their sexual behavior in response to these health ris"sP *n the 7nited 9tates a revie! of three surveys conducted in 1''.3). #his reduces the li"elihood of transmission to uninfected persons. 2gain !e see the .DeLamater & Hasday Page .

(0 of divorced !omen and (10 of the !ido!ed report being sexually abstinent in the preceding year &9mith . #he decline in estrogen causes the vaginal !alls to become thin and inelastic and the vagina itself to shrin" in !idth and length.. @y gender =10 of divorced and !ido!ed men and /(0 of divorced and !ido!ed !omen reported engaging in sexual intercourse a fe! times or not at all in the preceding year &Laumann et al...).DeLamater & Hasday combined effects of biological psychological and social influences on sexuality. @y / years after menopause the amount of vaginal lubrication often decreases noticeably.). Persons !ho lose their partner through divorce or death have the option of ne! sexual relationships. *n the 7nited 9tates most divorced !omen but fe!er !ido!s develop an active sexual lifeE ...1). #hese problems may include reduced income lo!er &perceived) standard of living the demands of single parenthood and reduced availability of social support &2mato . #hese problems may increase the motivation to >uic"ly reestablish a relationship though at the same time they may ma"e it difficult to do so. #here is a higher probability of being sexually active postmaritally for those !ho are under 3/ and have no children at home &9tac" & Bundlach 1''. 1''=). and 1. Page .3). Sexuality and aging @iology a ma-or influence in childhood and adolescence again becomes a significant influence on sexuality at midlife &ages /. Men and !omen !ith lo! incomes report relatively higher rates of partner ac>uisition after dissolution of a cohabiting or marital relationship &Wade & DeLamater . *n !omen menopause is associated !ith a decline in the production of estrogenE this occurs on the average over a t!o$year period beginning bet!een the ages of =... #hese changes ma"e penile insertion . to 1.).3 #he dissolution of a long$term relationship is a ma-or life stage transition and persons !ho experience it especially !omen face complex problems of ad-ustment..

= more difficult and vaginal intercourse uncomfortable or even painful. #hese attitudes are particularly obvious in residential care facilities !here rules prohibit or staff members fro!n upon sexual activity among the residents.DeLamater & Hasday Page . 2s men age they experience andropause &Lamberts van den @eld & van der Lely 1''+) a gradual decline in the production of testosteroneE this may begin as early as age =. 5rections occur more slo!ly... *t seems inappropriate for t!o +/$year$old people to engage in sexual intimacy and especially to masturbate.. #he refractory period the period follo!ing orgasm during !hich the man cannot be sexually aroused lengthens. . 2s persons age they may lose the partner through deathE in some cultures including the 7nited 9tates !omen in heterosexual relationships are much more li"ely to experience this than men. persons age =/ and older found that negative attitudes to!ard sex for older persons !as associated !ith reduced sexual desire &DeLamater & 9ill ./). *n the 7nited 9tates there is a negative attitude to!ard sexual expression among the elderly.. *n the 7nited 9tates analysis of survey data from a representative sample of more than 1 3. #his is especially evident !ith regard to older persons. *n addition to such biological changes an important influence on sexuality is the attitudes held by others and derived from the culture especially those attitudes that define specific behaviors as acceptable or unacceptable. #hese attitudes affect the !ay the elderly are treated and the attitudes of the elderly themselves. 2nother ma-or influence on sexual behavior is the presence of a healthy partner. #hese changes may be experienced as a problemE on the other hand they may be experienced as giving the man greater control over orgasm. #hese attitudes may be a more important reason !hy many elderly are not sexually active than the biological changes they experience. #here are a number of !ays to deal !ith these changes successfully including estrogen replacement therapy supplemental testosterone and use of a sterile lubricant.

Dollo!ing the loss of a partner especially to death !omen are less li"ely to resume sexual activity.DeLamater & Hasday Page . Men in some racialJethnic groups report engaging in intercourse for the first time at younger ages than !omen. 9ome cultural groups are more accepting of sexual behavior and sexual exploration by men than by !omen. Women are more li"ely to report little or no sexual activity in the preceding year./ The Effects of Social roup !embership on Sexuality 9exuality varies as a function of the history and experience of the individual and is influenced by cultural norms. *n the 7nited 9tates sexual behavior and attitudes vary systematically by gender social class ethnicity and religion. Hne emphasiAes the role of cultural factors particularly differing norms for male and female sexual behavior often referred to as the double standard. #he traditional sexual script specifies the male as the initiator of sexual activity and the female as the ob-ect of male advancesE thus males engage in more sexual activity. Ho!ever it is also influenced by membership in certain social categories. 2nother explanation relies on the concept of sexual scripts. -ender #hroughout this chapter !e have noted research that has documented the variations in sexual expression by gender in the 7nited 9tates. 2dditionally !omen tend to place more importance on the interpersonal as opposed to sexual aspect of relationships !hich has been offered as an . 9everal explanations for these differences have been offered. De!er !omen than men report masturbating in the past year or the past month. #here may be several reasons including the fact that !omen carry pregnancies and give birth and that society &men) !ants to control !omen%s sexuality in order to ensure paternity of any children. Women are less approving of and less li"ely to report sexual activity !ith casual partners.

DeLamater & Hasday explanation for research sho!ing !omen to be less permissive regarding premarital and extramarital sex but more tolerant of homosexuality than men &#reas .. 5ducation is positively related to both fre>uency of masturbation and fre>uency of orgasm from masturbation among both men and !omen. #here is a !ea"er relationship bet!een education and participation in anal intercourse. 1''=). 2 revie! of 3....Ethnicity *n the 7nited 9tates as in many other societies raceJethnicity is associated !ith social class. studies found that the double standard still exists but is influenced by situational and interpersonal factors and that it differs across ethnic and cultural groups &?ra!ford & Popp .. Page . Race.. People of both sexes especially those !ho are younger and more educated are becoming more accepting of premarital sex for !omen &#reas . *t is also associated !ith greater acceptance of varieties of sexual behavior in others although the gap bet!een those !ith less education and those !ith more has declined bet!een 1'+. and 1''( as the less educated become less disapproving of minority sexual practices li"e homosexuality &#reas .). 5ducation is also positively associated !ith !hether persons engage in active and receptive oral sexE men and !omen !ith advanced degrees are much more li"ely to have engaged in both than men and !omen !ho did not finish high school. 2ccording to 8isman and 9ch!artA 2merican college !omen find premarital sex e>ually acceptable for men and !omen in the context of relationships and e>ually unacceptable for both sexes outside of relationships...3).. Social lass 7sing education as the measure of class research in the 7nited 9tates reports differences in sexuality by class &Laumann et al.1 8ecent trends ho!ever suggest that traditional norms of female sexuality are changing... . #hus greater education is associated !ith greater variety of sexual practices.).).

+ Members of racial and ethnic minority groups disproportionately are found among the poorer and less educated members of society. #hus it is difficult to clearly attribute the source of observed differences. 9outhto!n is an 2frican 2merican neighborhood !ith high unemploymentE one$fifth of the households are belo! the poverty lineE the churches are the social center of the community. . . #hese may reflect differences in religious traditions. Latinos *n the 7nited 9tates Latino is used to refer to persons from several different cultural bac"grounds including ?uban 2mericans Mexican 2mericans and Puerto 8icans.. #hey are also less li"ely to report having engaged in active oral sex. 7sing a combination of sample surveys "ey informant intervie!s and ethnographic data a nuanced analysis is provided of four neighborhoods. @lac" men and !omen are t!ice as li"ely as !hites to remain single at ages 3.DeLamater & Hasday Page .. *nteresting data on differences in sexual expression by raceJethnicity are reported from the ?hicago Health and 9ocial Life 9urvey &Laumann et al. "frican "mericans @lac" men and !omen are much less li"ely to report masturbation in the past year compared to members of other groups. #here is a high incidence of multi$partneringE almost half report t!o or more sexual partners in the last year and =. *t also reflects the obstacles that @lac" men encounter in see"ing and "eeping employment that provides enough income to support a family.=). percent of the men report having t!o partners concurrently. Nariations in sexual behavior across these groups are the result of differing cultural heritages as !ell as differences in current economic and social conditions. Dinally @lac"s are t!ice as li"ely as !hites to report t!o sexual partners in the preceding year !hich may reflect the larger percent !ho are single.. #his reflects in part the gender ratio among 2frican 2mericansE there are only (= men for every 1. to 3=. !omen. 8esidents have relatively nonpermissive attitudes to!ard homosexuality and abortion but are relatively accepting of premarital sex cohabitation and divorce.

E 8ostos"y et al. De! &1= percent) residents had had more than one partner in the past yearE and more than half had never had a one$night stand &Laumann et al. *nterestingly . #he ?hicago Health and 9ocial Life 9urvey provides an analysis of the &primarily Mexican$2merican) Westside neighborhood in ?hicago in !hich neighborhood residents !ere found to have very strict attitudes about sexuality and there !as strong social disapproval of premarital sex and homosexuality.) found that more fre>uent attendance at religious services predicts the li"elihood of condemning homosexual behaviors.=). *n general 2sian cultures have had repressive attitudes to!ard sexuality.=).. .. ?ore 2sian values include collectivism placing priority on family over individual conformity to norms and emotional control... 8esearch findings have sho!n that the primary influence on maintenance of female virginity is religious and moral values &Marsiglio 9canAoni and @road .. 2s a result 2sian 2mericans are sexually conservative.=). @oys are given greater freedom than girlsE !e noted earlier that Hispanic men begin having intercourse at younger ages than !omen.. .... 9uch roles are emphasiAed in childhood socialiAation.. Due to such strong religious influence Latino culture can be relatively conservative sexually. Religion 8eligious affiliation and religiosity have been sho!n to be correlated !ith sexual practices and attitudes. 2lso in traditional Latin 2merican cultures gender roles are rigidly defined &8affaelli & Hntai . #hey have the lo!est incidence of multiple sexual partners and of same$gender sexual experience.. "sian "mericans #his category also includes several different cultural groups such as ?hinese 2mericans and Gapanese 2mericans and ne!comers such as Nietnamese 2mericans. to 1''( #reas &.DeLamater & Hasday Page . 7sing B99 data from 1'+..( Despite many differences these groups have a distinct cultural heritage heavily influenced by the 8oman ?atholic religious tradition.

..) and agenda setting !hich refers to the ability of media to shape !hat people come to see as important based on !hat they choose to depict and ho! they depict it.. *n a study by the <aiser Damily Doundation &1''+) youth ages 1.. Media influence people via cultivation the phenomenon !hereby people come to believe that media depictions are accurate representations of mainstream culture &Berbner et al. 9ocial learning theory is premised on the idea that people learn appropriate behavior based on !hether behavior is re!arded or punished and recogniAes the importance of observational learning. 9cripting theory implies that 4young people can easily learn scripts through !atching television that establish !hen it is appropriate to have sex !ith someone or !hat outcomes one can expect from sexual encounters6 &Darrar et al. !edia and Sexuality #he potential for media to affect socialiAation is !ell supported by many theoretical frame!or"s. While socialiAation effects are difficult to measure influence of media as a source of information has been documented.. to 1/ most fre>uently named mass media as an information source about sexuality.=).' #reas did find that all but those attending services more than once a !ee" sho!ed declines in their disapproval over those three decades and that those attending more than !ee"ly did not increase in disapproval.3. . 9uch frame!or"s are especially applicable to movies and television !hich are the most similar to 4real6 human interaction...DeLamater & Hasday Page . . '). . Ho!ever text images and lyrics are also !ays of depicting human interaction and can thus have similar effects. . #here have been fe! studies examining the relationship bet!een religiosity and sexual practices other than intercourse the interactions bet!een religiosity and romantic involvement in sexual behavior and the effects of religiosity on racial minorities and men &8ostos"y et al.

) found a 3.. #his statement has been supported by multiple studies &Darrar et al. percent increase in the number and explicitness of sexual portrayals during prime time bet!een 1'(' and 1'''.3) found statistically significant . . 8esearchers have performed a number of studies of sexual content during prime time. *n .. @road analyses of content are particularly important in realms li"e media !here 4influences on social beliefs attitudes and behaviors generally KoccurL through a gradual and cumulative process that develops !ith repeated exposure over time to common and consistent messages6 &Darrar et al... 2dditionally in terms of sexual behavior specifically &as opposed to all sexual content) Darrar and colleagues &..... sho!s most fre>uently vie!ed by adolescents !ere broadcast during prime time hours in ... *nterest in !hat young people may be learning from the media is the motivation for content analysis !hich is used to form a clearer picture of !hat messages are actually being presented by the mass media.DeLamater & Hasday Page 3.3. .... Darrar et al....3). claim that 4*n the realm of sexual socialiAation television is thought to contribute to young people%s "no!ledge about sexual relationships their -udgments about social norms regarding sexual activity and their attitudes about sexual behavior among other influences6 &. #he Parents #elevision ?ouncil &. '). Iielsen Media 8esearch confirmed that prime time &(pm to 11pm) attracts the largest audience of any time of day. . &Darrar et al.... 9eventeen of the . +).. 2ll television content analyses identify trends of increasing numbers of sexual behaviors and references &!hile references continue to be more common than behavior) increasing explicitness in sexual behaviors and references and very fe! references to sexual ris" or responsibility. '). Television 2nalyses of sexual content in television are >uite remar"able for the similarity in findings across different researchers and different genres..3.3.

1).. 2nalyses of television content outside prime time hours have included studies of soap operas cable movie net!or"s and music videos.DeLamater & Hasday Page 31 increases in both percentage of programs including sexual behavior and the average number of scenes per hour containing sexual behavior bet!een 1''+ and .. 9ummariAing t!o decades of research on sex in music videos 2ndsager and 8oe &.=) found that cable movie net!or"s have the highest proportion of programs !ith sexual content and that the most fre>uent portrayals are unmarried heterosexual intercourse. /ther Research .3) found that sexual innuendo !as very common &though explicit sex !as not) that !omen !ere presented in revealing clothing or positions of implied nudity five to seven times more fre>uently than men that !omen tended to be portrayed as subordinate sexual ob-ects in traditionally female roles that !ere often overtly sexual &including prostitutes and erotic performers) and that even !hen !omen !ere portrayed as po!erful and independent &!hich !as rare) they !ere still generally highly sexualiAed. Hther studies have confirmed the significant lac" of messages regarding the more dangerous aspects of sex li"e un!anted pregnancy and 9#D transmission &Hyde and DeLamater .. 2gain the messages are consistent. Disher et al.. &.. #!elve percent of all instances of sexual intercourse during prime time happen bet!een characters !ho have -ust met !hich is one of the ris"ier sexual practices. #hey also found that cable movie net!or" programs often contained intercourse occurring in the context of alcohol and drug use.1 sexual interludes per episode &in 1''=) and that sexual safety !as mentioned infre>uently. Breenberg and @usselle &1''1) found that the most fre>uent sexual activity depicted in soap operas !as sex bet!een unmarried people that soap operas contained an average of 1. #hey also found that only '0 of sho!s !ith sexual content incorporated any messages of ris" or responsibility..1...

.. *n a small >ualitative study 9teele &1''') loo"sed at the influence of family friends and school on ho! teens interpret and relate to the media they consume. Last but certainly not least magaAines are responsible for a great deal of exposure to sexual content.... &./). Page 3. 2nalyses performed by 9oley and <urAbard &1'(1) and 8eichert &.. 2nalyses of men%s lifestyle magaAines have sho!ed an overall trend of depicting a narro! male sexuality oriented to!ard sexual variety &#aylor ./ depictions of sexual behavior per hour and that these depictions are significantly more explicit than sex during prime time. *n addition to content analysis sociologists studying sexuality and the media often loo" at media practice !hich refers to the social contexts in !hich audiences vie! and process media &9teele 1''').. 1''').....3)..3).) found correlations bet!een adolescent females% reading of !omen%s beauty and fashion magaAines and their practice of certain pathological dieting techni>ues. 2 study of t!o globally top$selling !omen%s magaAines found that sex is the primary content &Mc?leneghan . 2 closer loo" at osmopolitan sho!ed that sex is portrayed as the source of female po!er in relationships as !ell as the !or"place &Machin & #hornborro! .1). 2nd in one of the fe! sociological studies addressing effects #homsen et al..DeLamater & Hasday Many of the same trends seen in television have been found in analyses of other media. Hne central theme of !omen%s magaAines specifically is appearance as it relates to the ac>uisition of sexual partners &Hyde and DeLamater . Breenberg and @usselle &1''1) found that 8$rated movies contain an average of 1+..) sho! trends of increasing proportions of advertisements !ith sexual content increasing nudity and partial nudity in sexual content &especially for !omen) and increasing explicitness in depictions of sexual behavior in advertisements across multiple mediums. *n the recent decades comparable men%s lifestyle magaAines have emerged garnering a readership rivaling that of their female counterparts &Gac"son et al. 9pecifically she .

. (). 9ocial scientists have generated a number of hypotheses about the potential effects of *nternet dating services. Li"e #yler !ho refers to the use of personal advertisements and dating services as 4the rational pursuit of the self as an entrepreneurial pro-ect6 &. 2s *nternet use becomes more and more integrated into people%s daily lives one !ould expect its use to find partners to continue increasing as !ell. Ho!ever others are excited about the possibilities of *nternet use in dating by helping people !ith compatible &and sometimes atypical) interests lifestyles relationship desires and sexual practices find one another. While 4Personals6 sections in ne!spapers have long been a means for people to actively use media to find relationship and sexual partners the emergence of the *nternet has truly normaliAed media use in the search for sex and love.=. 2ccording to Hyde and DeLamater 4?omputer and *nternet use is spreading more rapidly than any previous technology6 &. (1) some are critical of this ne! phenomenon..DeLamater & Hasday Page 33 examined the experiences of marginaliAed and minority teens !ho don%t often see people 4li"e them6 depicted in mediaE she suggests that such teens may be more influenced by depictions they can relate to than teens !ho see media images resembling their lives fre>uently.. #yler &..=) explores ho! sexual advice in lifestyle magaAines has been shaped by a broader societal trend of rationaliAation and efficiency and !hat repercussions such framing may have for sexual intimacy and exploration. #here has also been hope that online matching !ould encourage 4deeper6 interpersonal connections based on ideas feelings beliefs and other fundamental aspects of individual character by mitigating the role of appearance &Gedlic"a 1'(1) although the realiAation of this hope must be called into >uestion !ith the proliferation of pictures on dating sites...1. The Internet #he role of media in sexuality is not limited to purveyor of messages about sexuality..

. $ornography Dinally a discussion of the role of media in the social dimension of sexuality cannot responsibly omit the highly charged and controversial topic of pornography.e.. percent had been sexually solicited over the *nternet in the past year.. *nternet chat rooms and message boards have provided a ne! &and immediate) !ay for those interested in casual sex to locate one another... #he *nternet has also been sho!n to be one !ay people establish and maintain extramarital sexual relationships &Hyde and DeLamater . &...1. casual sex) has also been significantly affected.. #he ma-ority of research that has been done on the effects of pornography use is experimental as opposed to sociological probably o!ing both to the suitability of experiments for exploring causality and the lac" of reliable and representative data on pornography use !ith !hich to conduct statistical analysis.) conducted an analysis comparing the content of magaAine video and . to 1+ year old regular *nternet users Din"elhor et al. 3. #he *nternet is the ne!est means of disseminating pornography and also the one offering the greatest &and in many cases least expensive) access to pornography. #hus sociological in>uiry has focused predominately on the content of pornographic material. With the recent proliferation of *nternet and computer use sociologists have begun examining the role of changing media technologies in patterns of pornography access and use.. #hese uses of the *nternet in mediating sexuality and facilitating sexual communication and interaction ho!ever are more controversial than dating services. 2c"no!ledging the increase of !idely available pornographic media over the decades @arron & <immel &.). *n a sample of 1.) discovered that approximately .. #he *nternet has also made possible &one could even say created) the ne! sexual practice of cybersex.DeLamater & Hasday While dating relationships are one forum for sexuality that has been affected by Page 3= computers sex outside the confines of a relationship &i.

Bossett & @yrne &. #his contrasts !ith other forms of media they claim !here both the 4rape myth6 &!here !omen en-oy being raped) and the depiction of promiscuous !omen !ho 4deserve6 !hat they get are common. &1''') found that the only correlate to men%s use of sexually explicit *nternet sites !as their past experience !ith sexually explicit media so ease of . 2lthough this pattern !as also seen in videos &though not magaAines) unli"e both videos and magaAines !here the vast ma-ority of violence occurred in the context of consensual relationships the violence on the 7senet !as primarily nonconsensual or coercive..) focusing on the content of rape$themed *nternet pornography specifically found the most common theme to be graphic depictions of pain inflicted by anonymous men on exposed po!erless and usually innocent !omen..) discuss ho! the unprecedented access to such sites as !ell as the prevalent practice of violent sites providing lin"s to other violent sites ma"es the relatively small proportion of violent pornography to nonviolent pornography on the *nternet potentially meaningless...DeLamater & Hasday Page 3/ *nternet &specifically *nternet ne!sgroup or 7senet) pornography finding a highly significant and large increase in violent content on the 7senet compared to magaAines and videos. Dinally Bossett & @yrne &.. #hey found that more than a >uarter of 7senet scenes contained coercive or nonconsensual sex &compared to under five percent for both magaAines and videos).. @ara" et al. *n 7senet scenes men !ere disproportionately the perpetrators of violence and !omen the victims. 2dditionally they explore the medium itself positing that the interactive features of many rape sites &!hich offer a choice of the race of the !oman to be raped and the location of the rape act among others) add a sense of control for the pornography user that has not been present in other mediums. #he ease of access to pornographic materials that the *nternet has made possible is particularly provocative.

. to 1+ had experienced un!anted and unintentional exposure to pornographic material online. #echnological developments and the availability of detailed census and other geographical data ma"e it possible to locate concentrations of people by age race ethnicity social class and sexual orientation in order to conduct research on representative samples of relevant groups.. *n that vein !e hope to see a continuation of several recent trends.. #hird !e hope to see greater integration of theory and research. 9econd !e hope to see a greater proportion of the published research relying on representative instead of convenience and volunteer samples.DeLamater & Hasday Page 31 access may be very effective in encouraging greater use both in terms of fre>uency and numbers of users.) or sexual orientation &Diamond . #hus the *nternet medium has created a hitherto unseen problem as pornography formerly had to be sought out for use. #his may re>uire the development of more mid$range theories focusing on specific phenomena such as sexual desire &#olman . Dirst !e hope to see more research involving both >uantitative and >ualitative methods. #his combination holds the promise of illuminating the broad picture !ith generaliAable results and capturing the detailed experience of the phenomenon being studied.. Dinally !e hope to see the further development and testing of biopsychosocial theoretical models of human sexual expression &DeLamater & 9till ..3) found that .. *n particular researchers need to abandon their reliance on readily available samples of college students. 2lthough they identified some ris" factors associated !ith un!anted exposure a full =/0 of their sample members had no ris" factors. The #uture *t is haAardous to predict the future unless one elects the safe course and predicts more of the same./) and designing research to test propositions dra!n from such theories./ percent of youth ages 1.. Durthermore Mitchell Din"elhor & Wola" &.

Drom the targeting of four federally$funded pro-ects in .. to the 4hit list6 compiled by the #raditional Nalues ?oalition naming more than 1'../) many observers predict an increasingly hostile atmosphere and fe!er resources for research on human sexuality.... Biven that several of our pressing social problems involve sexual expression and that sexual health is or should be the right of every person &W29 .. #here is ho!ever cause for concern about the future of such research.. .3). 2s for ne! directions recent advances in genetics may allo! the incorporation of genetic alleles as explanatory variables in other!ise traditionally sociological models.DeLamater & Hasday Page 3+ . 9ince the election of Beorge @ush in the 7nited 9tates in .1 persons and groups hostile to sex research have become increasingly emboldened./) this !ould be a giant step bac"!ard. researchers &DeLamater ... ...../E Lindau et al.

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