CHAPTER 11 GENDER, SEX AND SEXUALITY

Section 1 Defining Sex and Gender
Sex and its Biological Components
  • Sex refers to the properties of a person that determine his or her classification as male or female.
  • Sex Chromosomes found in humans are the pair of genes that differ between the sexes and determines a persons sex as male or female.
  • Gonads, a part of the endocrine system, are glands that produce sex hormones and generate the ova (egg) in females and sperm in males. They are called gametes.
  • Male and Females have 23 pairs of chromosomes. Women have all XX pairs of chromosomes, Men have one pair of XY chromosomes.
  • In puberty, people develop secondary sex characteristics. These are traits that differ between the two sexes but are not part of the reproductive system, such as breasts in females and facial hair in males.

Gender
  • Gender is the social and psychological aspect of being male or female. Gender goes beyond biological sex to include a persons understanding of the meaning of his or her own life of being male or female.
  • Gender Identity is an individuals multifaceted sense of belonging to the male or female sex.
  • Instrumentality is the term psychologists use to describe more masculine traits, while expressiveness is more feminine traits.
  • Androgynous is having attributes that are typically associated with both genders.

Disorders of Sexual Development
DSD are congenital conditions in which the development of chromosomal, gonadal, or anatomical sex is atypical. This disorder was formerly known as intersex conditions or hermaphroditism.

When Genetic Sex and Gender Conflict: Transgender Experience
  • Transgender is experiencing ones psychological gender as different from ones physical sex, as is the case of biological males who identify as female and biological females who identify as male.
  • Gender Identity Disorder is a strong, persistent cross sex identification and a continuing discomfort with, or sense of inappropriateness of, ones assigned sex.

Section 2 Theories of Gender Development

Sexual selection
  • Sexual selection, according to Darwins theory of evolution, the differentiation between the male and female members of a species because of the difference between the two in competition and choice.
  • Competition occurs among members of the same sex as they vie for the opportunity to mate with members of the opposite sex.
  • Choice is the when the opposite sex selects the one with which they will mate.

Social Cognitive Approaches - Social cognitive theories of gender development focus on how children learn about gender and how they come to occupy a particulate identity.

Social Role Theory - to understand gender, we must recognize the larger social and cultural institutions surrounding the psychological phenomenon of gender identity.
  • Gender Roles - Expectations for how females and males should think, act and feel.
  • Gender Stereotypes - Overly general beliefs and expectations about what women and men are like.

Major Theoretical Approaches to Gender and Gender Development

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Section 3 The Psychology of Gender Differences
In this section we will review the research of gender differences in three main areas: cognitive ability, aggression, and sexuality. As we do, keep in mind that because gender cannon be manipulated, research comparing men and women is by definition correlation, so that casual claims are not justified.

Terms to Know:
  • Gender Similarities Hypothesis- Hyde’s proposition that men and women (and boys and girls) are much more similar than they are different.
  • Aggression- Behaviors that are intended to harm another person.
  • Overt Aggression- Physically or verbally harming another person directly.
  • Conduct Disorder- A pattern of offensive behavior that violates the basic rights of others.
  • Relational Aggression- Behavior that is meant to harm the social standing of another person.
  • Sexuality- The ways people experience and express themselves as sexual beings

Important Links

Cognitive Differences
  • Data points to no gender differences in general intellectual ability. Further, research shows that in terms of academic performance, girls tend to get better grades in school than boys regardless of the topic. However, more boys tend to peruse careers in math and science topics than girls.
  • Girls are more likely to outperform boys on tasks of verbal ability; and second, boys are more likely to outperform girls on tasks requiring a certain type of cognitive skills--visuospatial ability. For example, research has probed the verbal performance of fourth-graders in 33 different countries. In every country, the average performance of girls is higher than the average performance of boys. In turn, research has revealed that, at least by preschool age, boys show greater accuracy in performing tasks requiring mental rotation of objects in space.

Gender Differences in Aggression
  • Males tend to be higher on overt aggression than females. As children, boys are more likely to get In fights in which they are physically aggressive. As adolescents, males are more likely to join gangs and commit violent acts. Children who are diagnosed with conduct disorder are three time more likely to be boys than girls. As adults, men are more likely to be chronically hostile and commit violent crimes.
  • Women are more likely to be relationally aggressive because of their smaller physique. Relational aggression differs from overt aggression in the way that the aggressor must have a considerable level of social skill.
Gender Differences in Sexuality
  • Women tend to be more selective than men when it comes to casual sex and tend to have less lifetime partners than men.
  • Men report more feelings of sexual arousal, are more prone to lust, have more frequent sexual fantasies, and rate the strength of their own sex drive higher than do women. Men are also more likely to masturbate, to have premarital sex and have a more difficult time adhering to their vows of sexual fidelity when married.
  • Women are more likely than men to have experiences with same and opposite-sex partners, even if they identify themselves as strongly as strongly heterosexual or strongly homosexual.


Section 4 Sexual Orientation
Sexual orientation does not mean simply sexual behavior. A man who has sex with other men while in prison may not think of himself as a homosexual, and once released may never engage in such behavior again. A woman might always find herself attracted to other women but never act on those feelings. When we talk about sexual orientation, we mean a whole range of human experiences that interest psychologists, including not only behaviors but also desires, feelings, fantasies, and a person’s sense of identity.
Terms to Know:
  • Sexual Orientation- The direction of an individual’s erotic interests.
  • Heterosexual- Referring to a sexual orientation in which the individual is generally sexually attracted to members of the opposite sex.
  • Homosexual- Referring to a sexual orientation in which the individual is generally attracted to members of the same sex.
  • Bisexual- Referring to a sexual orientation in which the individual is sexually attracted to people of both sexes.
Defining Sexual Orientation
  • Some believe that a person’s sexuality is flexible as opposed to the western view where a person’s sexual orientation is a stable constant throughout life.
  • Diamond did a study that revealed Bisexual women would rarely become a strict lesbian or heterosexual but a lesbian or a heterosexual had a greater probability of becoming bisexual.

Occurrence of Different Sexual Orientations
  • Homosexual behavior is relatively common in nature, having been observed in 1,5000 different species, including rats, nonhuman primates, giraffes, ostriches, guppies, cats, bison, dolphins and fruit flies.
  • In humans homosexuality occurs in every culture, regardless of the culture’s acceptance or not. Obviously, the majority of people, regardless of culture, are heterosexual.
Origins of Sexual Orientation: A Scientific Puzzle
  • These are two factors that do not predict a child to grow up as gay or lesbian. One being reared by a gay parent or parents. Another is having a having a homosexual experience as a child.
  • The genetic influence of male’s sexual orientation is about 35 percent and in women it is about 19 percent.
  • The corpus callosum is larger in homosexual males than in heterosexual males. This is largely genetic.
  • In lesbian and gay people the right hemisphere of the brain is larger relative to the left hemisphere.
  • It is still not fully understood how a person’s sexual orientation emerges or why people are homosexual, bisexual, or heterosexual.
Gay and Lesbian Functioning
  • Gay and lesbian couples find themselves happier than heterosexual married couples. But they are also more likely to end the relationship.
  • One reason they believe heterosexual couples will stay together is because they have children and they are more likely to have children.


Section 5 Sexual Behaviors and Practices

Sexual Behaviors

· What is sex?
o vaginal intercourse?
o anal sex?
o oral sex?
o sexting?
o activities that are involved in reproduction and fertilization?
o arousal and sexual response that occur when the behavior is performed?
o behaviors that are specific to each individual and that are pleasurable in a particular way – one that is usually intimate and personal?
· many individuals under age 20 do not view oral sex as sex, they believe that it is a safe alternative to intercourse; oral sex exposes individuals to the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections

Sexual Practices

· Alfred Kinsey considered the father of sexology; a pioneer who brought scientific attention to sexual behavior
· When people in the United States engage in sexual behavior, what do they do, and how often?
· The Kinsey Reports:
o frequency of bisexuality = men (12%) and women (7%)
o 50% of married men had been sexually unfaithful
o his work was limed by the lack of representative samples
· Robert Michael and his colleges (1994) interviewed 3,500 randomly selected people from 18-50 years of age
o 17% of men and 3% of women said they had sex with at least 21 partners
o marriage and monogamy rule sexual behavior
§ married couples reported having sex most often and were the most likely to have orgasms when they did
§ nearly 75% of the married men and 85% of the married women indicated that they had never been unfaithful
· ABC news poll (2004)
o individuals in committed relationships had more sex than singles, and the vast majority reported themselves as sexually faithful
· Centers for Disease Control conducted a study of sexual behaviors in the U.S. (2002)
o age 15-44: 10% men and 8% women had never had sex (including vaginal intercourse, oral sex, and anal sex)
o age 25-44: 97% had vaginal intercourse; 90% had oral sex; 40% men and 35% women had anal sex
· 3,00 Swedes frequency of different sexual behaviors in the previous month (vaginal intercourse, masturbation, oral sex, and anal sex)
o vaginal intercourse: men (5 times), women (5 times)
o masturbation: men (4.5), women (2)
o oral sex: men (2), women (2)
o anal sex: men (1), women (1)
· gay men engage in mutual masturbation, oral sex, and anal sex
· lesbian women engage in genital-to-genital contact (body rubbing), mutual fondling and masturbation, penetration with the hands or other objects, and oral sex

The Human Sexual Response Pattern

· William Maters and Virginia Johnson (1966) carefully observed and measured the physiological responses of 382 female and 312 male volunteers as they masturbated or had vaginal intercourse
· human sexual response pattern = Masters Johnson’s model of human sexual response, consisting of four phases – excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution
1. Excitement Phase
§ begins the process of erotic excitement
§ last from several minutes to several hours (depending on the nature of the sex play involved)
§ engorgements of blood vessels, increased blood flow in genital area, and muscle tension
§ lubrication of the vagina and partial erection of the penis
2. Plateau Phase
§ continuation and heightening of the arousal begun in the excitement phase
§ increase in breathing, pulse rate, and blood pressure that occurred during excitement phase become more intense
§ penile erection and vaginal lubrication are more complete, and orgasm is closer
3. Orgasm
§ orgasm lasts for 3 to 15 seconds
§ involves an explosive discharge of neuromuscular tension and an intensely pleasurable feeling
§ release of the neurotransmitter oxytocin, which plays a role in social bonding
4. Resolution Phase
§ blood vessels return to their normal state
§ females may be stimulated to orgasm again without delay
§ males enter a refractory period during which they cannot have another orgasm)
· Helen Singer Kaplan (1974) talked with individuals in her clinical practice about theur sexual experiences
o added a key initial stage: desire
§ sexual desire was sometimes lacking in her clients
§ highlighted the very important role of motivation in sexual activities
§ without the desire to have sex, the stages described by Masters and Johnson may never get started

Cognition and Other Factors in Sexual Behaviors

· Sexual behavior is influenced by a variety of factors, ranging from sensation and perception to the ways we think about sexuality
· finding someone attractive may involve seeing the person, getting to know him or her, and feeling emotionally attached
· thoughts play an important role in our sexuality
o we might be sexually attracted to someone but understand that we must inhibit our sexual urges until the relationship has time to develop
o we have the cognitive resources to generate sexual images (to become sexually aroused just by thinking about something erotic)
· sexuality is influenced by sexual scripts, patterns of expectancies for how people should behave sexually
· for men, sex may center more on what’s going on in the genitals, with orgasm being a crucial aspect
· for men sex may be more an expression of intimacy, with orgasm an optional feature
· cognitive interpretation of sexual activity also involves out perceptions of the individual with whom we having sex, and his or her perceptions of us
o Is this sexual encounter a symbol of a more enduring relationship or simply a hook-up?

The Influence of Culture

· John Messenger (1971) analyzed the people living on the small island of Inis Beag off the coast of Ireland
o they knew nothing of tongue kissing or hand stimulation of the penis, and detested nudity
o premarital sex was out the question
o men avoided most sexual experiences because they believed that sexual intercourse reduced their energy level and was bad for the health
o intercourse occurred only at night, taking place as quickly as possible; female orgasm was rare in this culture
· Donald Marshall (1971) conducted research on the Mangain culture in the South Pacific
o young boys were taught about masturbation and were encouraged to engage in it as much as they liked
o at age 13, the boys underwent a ritual initiating them into sexual manhood
§ their elders instructed them about sexual strategies, including how to aid their female partner in having orgasms
§ 2 weeks later, the boy had intercourse with an experienced woman who helped him hold back from ejaculation until she experienced orgasm with him
§ Mangaians had sex pretty much every day; women reported a high frequency of orgasm
· Americans fall somewhere in the middle of a continuum going from repressive to liberal
· culture influences not only attitudes about sexual behavior but also ideas about sexual orientation

Sex Education

· Most people concerned with sex education share two simple and relatively uncontroversial goals: to encourage the very young to delay sexual activity and to reduce teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections
· abstinence-only approach
o emphasize that any sexual behavior outside of marriage is harmful to individuals of any age
o instructors can present contraceptives and condoms only in terms of their failure rates
o promotes the notion that abstinence is the only effective way to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections
· comprehensive sex education (considered the better approach)
o providing students with comprehensive knowledge about sexual behavior, birth control and the use of condoms in protecting against sexually transmitted infections, while encouraging them to delay sexual activity and practice abstinence
· The U.S. has one of the highest rates of adolescent pregnancy and childbearing in the developed world, with as many as 1/3 of young women under the of 20 becoming pregnant
· U.S. adolescent pregnancy rates are nearly twice those of Canada and Great Britain and at least 4x the rates in France, Sweden, Germany, and Japan.
o Compared to these other nations, the Unites States has less comprehensive sex education and less availability and use of condoms


Section 6 Sexual Variations and Disorders

Fetishes

· fetish = an object or activity that arouses sexual interest and desire
o include erotic materials (such as pornographic images and films), clothing, and other physical objects
· sadomasochism = one person (the sadistic partner) gains sexual pleasure from dominating another person (the masochist), who in turn enjoys being dominated
· unusual sexual practices are typically considered harmless variations as long as these three principles are not violated:
1. the individuals are consenting adults
2. they do not experience personal distress
3. they are not putting themselves in danger of physical harm or death as a result of their activities

Paraphilias

· paraphilias = sexual disorders that feature recurrent sexually arousing fantasies, urges, or behaviors involving (1) nonhuman objects; (2) the suffering or humiliation of oneself or one’s partner; or (3) children or other nonconsenting persons
· a paraphilia is considered to require treatment if the person experiencing it feels distress or impairment in social or occupational life domains; men more likely to suffer from this than women
· the cause and significance of paraphilias is unknown
· Types of Paraphilias
o exhibition = exposing one’s genitals to a stranger
o fetishism = using nonliving objects for sexual pleasure
o fortteurism = touching and rubbing against a person who has not given consent – for instance, in a crowded subway train
o pedophilia = sexual activity with a prepubescent child
o sexual masochism = the act of being humiliated, beaten, bound, or otherwise made to suffer
o sexual sadism = acts in which the individual derives sexual excitement form the psychological or physical suffering of the victim
o transvestic fetishism = cross-dressing by a male in women’s clothing
o voyeurism = observing unsuspecting individuals – usually strangers who are naked, in the process of disrobing, or engaged in sexual activity

Pedophilia

· pedophilia = a paraphlia in which an adult or an older adolescent sexually fantasizes about or engages in sexual behavior with individuals who have not reached puberty
· the causes of this disorder are not well understood
· associated with low self-esteem, poor social skills, low IQ, and a history of head injuries (casuing unconsciousness) in childhood
· pattern of cognitive distortions, including minimizing the harm of pedophilic activities, believeing that sexual impulses are uncontrollable, and thinking that sexual relationships with children are consensual
· castration (either surgically through removal of the testes, or chemically, though drugs that reduce testosterone) has been used to treat sex offenders who victimize children
o some critics have suggested that castration is used primarily to punish, not to treat, and as such is unethical
· Michael Seto (2009), an expert on the disorder, focuses on prevention
o advocates educating children to distinguish appropriate and inappropriate touch and empowering them to share their feelings with a trusted adult if someone is making them uncomfortable

Disorders of Sexual Desire and Sexual Response

· up to ¼ of men and nearly ½ of women report sometimes being troubled with a general lack of interest in sex
o this can stem from low levels of androgen, stress, anxiety and depression, physical illnesses, and various drugs used to treat psychological and physical conditions
o treatments include drug therapies, psychological therapies, and relationship counseling
· erectile dysfunction = the failure of the penis to become erect; caused by a combination of psychological and physical factors; more common with age; one treatment is Viagra
· premature ejaculation = the experience of orgasm before the person wishes it; most common sexual complaint among men under the age of 40; caused by psychological, physical, and relationship factors; treated with drugs or therapy
· for women, dysfunction in arousal is explained by problems in the autonomic nervous system that disrupt the engorgement of the labia and lubrication of the vagina
o disorders of sexual orgasm in women involve delayed or absent orgasm during sexual activity
· occasional occurrence of these are common and normal
· when these problems cause distress for the individual or difficulties in important relationships that they are considered disorders in need of treatment

Variations, Disorders, and the Meaning of Normality

· Are variations in sexual behavior a problem that require professional help or are do they represent harmless differences that simply reflect human diversity?
o If you feel concern about your own sexual behaviors or experiences, seeking the advice of counselor or therapist is a great way to get clarity about the issues.


Section 7 Sexuality and Health and Wellness

Sexual Behavior and Physical Health

· sexually transmitted infection (STI) = an infection that is contracted primarily through sexual activity – vaginal intercourse as well as oral and anal sex
o affect about 1 of every 6 adults in the United States

Types and Causes of Sexually Transmitted Infections

· STIs are bacterial (such as gonorrhea and syphilis) or viral (such as genital herpes and HIV)
· acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) = a sexually transmitted infection, caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), that destroys the body’s immune system
o the treatment know as highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) can involve taking between 6 and 22 pills each day
o first one-pill-per-day treatment for HIV was FDA approved in 2006
o estimated that as many as ½ of individuals who are HIV positive are not in treatment and that ¼ of individuals who are HIV positive do not know that they are

Practicing Safe Sex

· the only 100% way to prevent contracting an STI is abstinence from sex, which most individuals do not view as an option
· sensual activities such as kissing, French kissing, cuddling, massage, and mutual masturbation (that does not involve the exchange of bodily fluids) involve no risk of an STI
· condoms are a key tool in efforts to protect oneself from STIs
o the wisest course of action is always to protect yourself by using a latex condom
o latex condoms help to prevent the transmission of many STIs
o most effective in preventing gonorrhea, syphilis, Chlamydia, and HIV
o significantly reduces the risk that males will transmit to their female partners the human papilloma virus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer
o although condoms are less effective against the spread of herpes than against other STIs, the consistent use of condoms significantly reduces the risk of herpes infection for both men and women

Sexual Behavior and Psychological Well-Being

· Lynne and Cooper and her colleagues (Cooper, Shapiro, and Powers, 1998) examined the reasons adolescents and young adults gave for having sex
o to connect intimately with someone
o to enhance their own self-esteem
o to gain a partner’s peers’ approval
o to avoid feeling distressed or lonely
o found that engaging in sex as a form of intimacy with another person was related to having fewer sex partners overall and to practicing less risky sex
o individuals who had sex to cope with negative feelings were less likely to have stable long-term relationships and tended to engage in more unsafe sex
o having sex in order to be close to another person is related to enhanced well-being, but engaging in sex to avoid bad feelings is linking with decreases in well-being
· Swedish study (Brody and Costa, 2009)
o frequency of vaginal intercourse was strongly related to life satisfaction for men and women
o although frequency of sexual behavior may decline with age, sexuality remains a significant part of human identity and relationships throughout life
o throughout the life span sexual activities remain a source of pleasure and an avenue for the experience of intimacy