Sexuality and Sexual Expression throughout Life

Chapter 7

Sexuality and Human Development  

Sexual identity is our awareness of ourselves as male or female and the ways we express our sexual values, attitudes, feelings and beliefs. Sexuality is multidimensional and includes   

Sexual desire, a psychological component that refers to the sexual drive that makes us receptive to sexual activity. Sexual response, which encompasses the biological aspects of sexuality. Gender roles are a sociological component that reflects the behavior men and women enact according to culturally prescribed expectations.

Sexual Orientation  Sexual Orientation includes     Homosexuals: sexual attraction to same sex Heterosexuals: sexual attraction to opposite sex Bisexuals: sexual attraction to both sexes Asexuals: no sexual attraction.  Heterosexism is a belief that heterosexuality is superior to and more ³natural´ than homosexuality. .

 Intersexuals are people whose medical diagnosis at birth is not clearly male or female. Transgendered people include  gays  heterosexuals  bisexuals  men and women who do not identify with any specific gender category  .  Transvestites are people who cross-dress at times but don¶t consider themselves members of the opposite sex. either by consistently cross-dressing or by surgically altering their sex.Sexual Orientation  Transgendered people encompass several categories:  Transsexuals are people born with the biological characteristics of one sex but who choose to live their lives as another sex.

No study has shown conclusively that there is a ³gay gene´ or that the environment ³causes´ sexual orientation.What Determines Sexual Orientation?     Biological theories maintain sexual orientation has a strong genetic basis. Researchers speculate that a combination of genetic and cultural factors shape sexual orientation. . Cultural theories suggest sexual orientation is the result of social and environmental factors.

love and sex usually go hand-inhand for women. while men often separate emotional intimacy from sex.    There seem to be more similarities between straight and gay men than there are between lesbians and gays. Regardless of orientation. Regardless of orientation.Gender and Sexual Orientation  Gender may be more powerful than sexual orientation. men are more likely than women to ³cruise´ for partners. .

 The sexual double standard has eroded somewhat since the early 1960s.Sexual Scripts  A sexual script specifies the formal or informal norms for    legitimate or unacceptable sexual activity the eligibility of sexual partners the boundaries of sexual behavior. and ethnicity shape sexual scripts. race.   Gender. . The sexual double standard is a script that refers to sexual intercourse outside of marriage being acceptable for men but not for women.

in cohabiting households with little adult authority. including conflict before or during a divorce for black teen girls: living with single parents who are sexually active.Why We Have Sex  The reasons we have sex for the first time include   interpersonal reasons  affection girls may have trouble saying no one partner may fear losing the other¶s interest teens with close parental relationships are more likely to delay sexual intercourse family turbulence. or in neighborhoods where adult role models bear children out of wedlock. peer pressure    parental inputs   structural factors   .

Why We Have Sex  In both short and long term relationships. sex can:     be an expression of love and affection increase intimacy encourage self-disclosure provide an exchange of resources help maintain the relationship foster interdependence fulfill desire to have children  In long term relationships. sex can also    .

How We Learn about Sex     From Parents From Peers From Siblings From the Media and Popular Culture     Magazines Movies Television The Internet  From Sex Education .

Sexual Behaviors  Autoeroticism is sexual gratification obtained solely by stimulating one¶s own body. stroking. Masturbation is sexual self pleasuring through direct physical stimulation. and fondling various parts of the body. Men and women often have different types of sexual fantasies. mutual masturbation. Petting includes touching.   .

and cunnilingus.Sexual Behaviors  Oral Sex includes fellatio. Sexual Intercourse is usually defined as coitus or vaginal-penile intercourse. or the oral stimulation of a man¶s penis. which is oral stimulation of a woman¶s genitals. Masters & Johnson describe four phases of a sexual response cycle:       Desire Excitement Climax Resolution .

which includes religious and medical groups that advocate chastity. Sex education programs Engaging in ³outercourse´ or oral sex Family dynamics  Reasons adults abstain from sexual intercourse include    lack of a partner divorce widowhood .Virginity and Abstinence  Four factors contribute to teenagers abstaining from sexual intercourse     The abstinence movement.

. 13% of female and 6% of male high school students say they have had sex against their will. By the 12th grade almost 50% of both sexes have had intercourse. Reasons for adolescents becoming sexually active include:  Peer pressure  Parental factors  Environmental variables  Cultural attitudes and expectations Nationwide.Sex and Adolescents     By age 15. 25% of girls and 30% of boys report having had sexual intercourse.

  1980: 50% of college students said casual sex was ok.Sexuality across Life  Sex and Singles   Who initiates sexual contact?  Traditional sexual scripts dictate that the man should initiate sexual contact. 2005: 45% (58% of men and 34% of women) said this.  Women are becoming more assertive. Will you still love me tomorrow?  Young people view casual sex less favorably than a generation ago. .

Married people are happier with their sex lives than either single people or cohabitants.6). about double the % of single people (Figure 7. . About 40% of married people have sex with their partner two or more times a week. People¶s happiness with their sex lives tends to increase the longer people are married.Sexuality across Life  Sex in Marriage     Frequency of sex tends to decrease over time.

It is unclear if there is a male climacteric (change of life or midlife crisis) analogous to female menopause.Sexuality across Life  The Middle Years    Menopause (the cessation of the menstrual cycle for women) can lead to increased sexual enjoyment because women are no longer bothered by menstruation. and privacy for intimacy and sex. . energy. Couples with no children living at home and who do not have to care for elderly parents may have more time. the need for contraception. or the fear of pregnancy.

  Lowered activity isn¶t a problem if both partners have a loving and committed relationship. The % having sexual intercourse at least once a week is:     50-59 year olds: men (50%). Aging tends to produce a different kind of ³double standard´ where men are seen as more attractive (³distinguished´) and women as less so (³old´). women (34%) 70 and older: men (22%).Sexuality across Life  Sex and Later Life   Sexual activity declines but is still present. . women (43%) 60-69 year olds: men (36%). women (14%) Poor health is usually the reason for the decline in sexual activity.

betrayal of a relationship. Infidelity is not always physical. adultery. or breaking of an agreement. it includes emotional and online infidelity. unfaithful. Sexual Infidelity is referred to as an affair.   . and/or extramarital sex.Sexual Infidelity  Infidelity is a breach of trust.

29% of both married AND unmarried people were unfaithful at some time (Covel. 2003) 16% of married people said they had ever had extramarital sex (21% of men. 2004)   . 1994) Including both married and unmarried committed relationships. 13% of women) (Morin.Sexual Infidelity  Research information on infidelity is scare and relies on self report data. 16% of partners admit to having cheated..   Only about 10% of adulterous relationships end in marriage. but the numbers are higher for men than for women (Langer et al.

Greater longevity (and thus longer marriages) increases chances for conflict. and infidelity.Why are spouses and partners unfaithful?  Macro Reasons      Micro Reasons        Economic recessions place strains on families. New technology increases opportunities for cyberinfidelity. Need for emotional satisfaction Loneliness Ego enhancement Social exchange may benefit partner(s) Revenge or retaliation against a spouse May provide a way out of marriage . Anonymity of urban life provides opportunity. Purpose of marriage changes. dissatisfaction.

8% of Americans identify themselves as homosexual or bisexual 18% have had same-sex sexual contact Gay. and bisexual people engage in the same types of sexual activities and behaviors as heterosexuals. U. Lesbian.S. lesbian. and bisexual people are in the U. etc.S. lesbian. Societies vary in their responses to homosexuality: punitive. tolerant. and Bisexual Sex       It is uncertain how many gay. inclusive. attitudes range from homophobia to growing acceptance.Gay. .

Nearly half of STIs occur among people under the age of 25.S. . sexual or nonsexual. There are about 15 million new cases of STIs in the U. with body parts or fluids that contain specific microorganisms. and death. birth defects. every year. Untreated STIs can cause cancer. Minority groups tend to be at higher risk for STIs. miscarriages.Sexually Transmitted Infections      Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are diseases spread by contact.

   . 525. including pneumonia and cancer. sharing needles. AIDS attacks the immune system and renders it unable to fight diseases. HIV spreads through sexual contact. and drug use.HIV and AIDS  The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). Heterosexual women are especially vulnerable: women are more than twice as likely as men to become infected.000 Americans died from AIDS between 1981 and 2004.

HIV and AIDS .

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