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UGA / Psychology / PSYC 3260 / What is the meaning of sexual contact?

What is the meaning of sexual contact?

What is the meaning of sexual contact?


PSYC 3260: UNIT 2

What is the meaning of sexual contact?


∙ Sexuality in Childhood/Adolescence

o Studying in children is different

o Rely on adult reports of childhood

o Direct research is problem driven (teen pregnancy etc) ∙ Talking to Kids About Sex

o Recognize that it is awkward

o Ask questions and listen

o Learn what they know

o Honest and age appropriate answers

o Adolescence is broader than puberty

o Girls start puberty 1.5 years before boys

∙ Sexuality in Adolescence

What is the definition of sexual behavior?

o Sexual behavior

 Interest increases with hormones

 Masturbation

∙ Increase sharply in boys bw 13-15, slow increase for  


∙ Boys more likely to report than girls

 First sexual attraction in mid childhood-age 10 regardless  of orientation

o Sexual Contact

 Same sex behavior

∙ 8-12% of teens, slightly more boys than girls

 Contact with opposite sex partner

∙ Petting, kissing

o Girls younger than boys We also discuss several other topics like What are the theories to describe patterns?

o First kiss by around 13

What is the definition of intercourse?

 Older Research

∙ Oral sex is more common than intercourse and  

happened first

o Safer, cant get pregnant, virginity

o A little over half of 15-19 year olds have done it

o New research that oral doesn’t happen first Don't forget about the age old question of What is ethnomethodology perspective?

 Intercourse

∙ Are teens having sex at younger ages

o No

o Proportion of teens having PIV has been  

declining since the 1990s

o Less likely to have PIV before 15 and more  

likely to use condoms

o Mean age 17.2

∙ First PIV with long term partner and unplanned

o Abstinence

 Definition varies If you want to learn more check out How do you measure water content in soil?

 More likely with

∙ Positive self image

∙ Live with both parents

∙ Feel connected to fam

∙ Discuss sex and abstinence with parents

∙ Homosexual Identity Development

o Awareness around 8-9

 May not adopt for many years Don't forget about the age old question of What is the concrete­ operational period?

 Cass’ Model

∙ 6 stages of ID development

o 1. Identity Confusion 

 Same sex attractions and behaviors  

surface and the person feels confused

 Deny feelings and rationalize behavior

o 2. Identity Comparison 

 Compare to gay people

 Keep homosexual attraction separate  

from identity

o 3. Identity Tolerance 

 Begin belief that self is homosexual,  

search out to community for affirmation

 Live double life, not out to straight  


o 4. Identity acceptance Don't forget about the age old question of What is the difference between sensation and perception examples?

 Accept instead of tolerate new identity

 Increase ties to hetero community, may  

come out to a few

o 5. Identity pride 

 Begin to have pride in identity

 Immerse self in homosexual social  


 “Us” (Gay) vs. “Them” (straight)

 anger over mistreatment

 come out to more people

o 6. Identity Synthesis We also discuss several other topics like What happened when the germans defaulted on their payments in 1923?

 Orientation integrated into identity

o Coming Out

 Establishing identity and communicating to others

∙ First need to recognize orientation t self

∙ Positive coming out experience: higher self concept:  

less depression: healthy psych adjustment

∙ Parental rejection increases

o Isolation

o Loneliness

o Depression

o Suicide

o Homelessness

o Prostitution

o STIs

∙ Families of LGBTQ face coming out


∙ Intro

o Approx 80% of teens use protection the first time they have sex o Higher contraceptive rates in non Hispanic white teens, lower in  Hispanic, non Hispanic black teens

o Highest teen br among Hispanic, nonhispanic blacks, American  Indians, Alaskan natives

o US teen br has declined since 1991 by 52% but is still higher  than other developed countries

o Long term consequences of teen pregnancy

 Teen moms more likely to drop out of school

 Poorer physical and mental health

 On welfare

 Children have lower birth rates, poorer health, behavior  probs, less educational opportunities

 Teen parents need more govt benefits

 Popularity of shows like Teen Mom give perception that  benefits outweigh risks

∙ STIs: Education and Prevention

o Sexually active teens-greater risk to acquire some STIs

o Rates of chlamydia highest in 15-19 year olds  

o Lower rates of STIs, but still increasing steadily every year o 15-24 year olds account for 25% of sexually active population  but acquire 50% of new STIs!


∙ Why sex ed is important

o inspires powerful emotions, considerable amount of  


o Students who participate in sex ed are less permissive  

about sex than children who don’t

o Accurate knowledge about sex-positive self image, more  self acceptance

o Children get lots of info from social media

o Pro sex ed: sexual learning occurs even with no formal sex  ed programs

∙ History of sex ed in US

o 20th c: movement to develop formal, effective sex ed  


o Public sex discussion: moral purity movement of late 19th c  and medicalization of sex movements in early 20th c  

o Developments in US set stage for sex ed

 Concern about rates of STIs: formation of American  of Sanity and Moral Proplaxis, American Federation  for sex hygiene

∙ Further cause of sex ed, use sex to explain bio  

and anatomy

 Early 1900s: sex ed implemented by YMCA, Girl  

Scouts, 4H Clubs-demonstrate parental  


 Change in attitude towards sexuality, increase  

importance of sex ed because increase in teen  

pregnancy rates and rates of STIs

 Total media exposure is highest for 11-14 year olds,  Hispanics, boys

o Sex ed Today

 37 states require abstinence info and 25 of them  stress it  

 Goals of sex ed

∙ Increase knowledge levels of the risk of  


∙ Value clarification and skills

∙ In the US each state develops their own sex ed  


∙ What Do Children Know, What a are they Ready For o Age 3-5

 Developmental Issues: shorter attention span

 Questions they might ask: What do mommies and  daddies do, where do babies come from

 Focus of sex ed: roles of family members, developing a positive self image, understanding that things  

grow, reproduce, and die  

o Age 6-8

 Curious about how body works

 Questions: Where was I before I was born

 Focus of sex ed: info on plant and animal generation,  gender similarities and diffs, growth and  

development, and self esteem

o 9-12

 Curiosity about bodies and interest in reproduction  Questions: How does the reproductive system work  Focus of sex ed: biological topics

o 12-14

 Concerns about puberty

 May ask: Does sex hurt, why do people get married  Focus of sex ed: increase knowledge about  


o 15-17

 Interest in sexuality and topics about sex

 May ask: is sex before marriage okay

 Focus of sex ed: birth control, dating, premarital sex ∙ Comprehensive Sex Education: What Does it Look Like o K-12 grade

o Present variety of topics to help students develop skills  while learning factual information

o Guidelines for comprehensive sex ed: main goals for sex ed  Accurate info about human sexuality

 Opportunity for individuals to develop values

 Help people develop relationships and interpersonal  skills

 Help people exercise responsibility regarding sexual  relationships, abstinence

∙ Abstinence Only Sex Ed Programs

o Emphasize not having sex

o No info about contraception or disease prevention o Began in 1990s

o Programs teach

 Abstinence from sex outside of marriage as standard  for school aged children

 Sex outside of marriage has harmful psych/physical  effects

 Childbearing out of wedlock has bad consequences  for child and childs parents and society

o 1996-2010: federal funding for abstinence based sex ed  grew

o Consequences of premarital sex

 Loss of reputation

 Negative effects of sexual adjustment

o 2010 departure: 375 million to schools that provide  

comprehensive sex ed

o Abstinence only programs fail to delay sex, decrease  

number of sex partners, don’t stress contraception

o Comprehensive=delay sex behavior, reduce frequency of  unprotected sex

∙ Effects and Results of Sex Ed Programs

o Researchers determine sexuality program success by  

measuring change after implementing a program

o Standard measures: sex behavior, pregnancy,  

contraceptive use

o If rates decrease then a program is successful

o Comprehensive programs help delay sex, protect from  

STIs, unwanted pregnancy

o Courses that teach contraception, communication skills  delay

o Onset of sex reduce number of sex partners, increase  

contraception use

o Abstinence only sex ed doesn’t significantly delay sex

o Virginity pledge remain virgin until marriage less likely to  be active than students who sign, but an higher risk of  

pregnancy and STIs because makes teens unable to accept responsibility of using contraception


∙ Research Studies on Gender Diffs

o Deborah Tannen coined genderlect-fundamental diffs in the way  men and women communicate

 Women use more rapport talk: establish relationships,  


 Men use more report talk: impact knowledge

 Women use conversation to establish intimacy, men use to  maintain status

o Women use less assertiveness

 Tag question-Renounce/deny validity of what they are  saying by adding a question at the end

 Disclaimer-Renounce/deny validity of what they are saying  by including a negative statement

 Question Statement-Adding question at end of statement  Hedge Word-Renouncing/denying validity by using words to decrease assertiveness (sort of, kind of)

o Criticisms of Gender theories

 Undimensional approach of studying gender diffs in  


 Gender is based on biological sex: all women communicate one way and men communicate in another

 Two categories of communication skills

∙ Affective-comforting, involved listening

∙ Instrumental-Persuasive, narrative

o Speech quantity: theory that women talk more

 Support: women use 20000 words a day, men use 7000  Due to hormones in fetal development

o Overall communication diffs are small, there are other factors  that contribute to our ability to communicate

 Social philosophy, gender role, dominance, power

o Gender diffs in nonverbal communication

 Women use more and tend to be better at decoding

o Women use social media more than men, men tend to rely to  establish relationships, find new job

o Maltz and Borker

 American men and women come from diff sociolinguistic  subcultures so have diff communication rules

 Interpret convos and use language differently

 During same sex convos girls and boys learn rules and  assumptions about communication and follow them  

throughout life

∙ Communication and culture

o Various degrees to which a culture encourages individual and  group needs

 Personal: US, Canada, UK (why people are more  

comfortable self disclosing)

 Group: Individual needs: Latin, Asian

o 2 ways in which individuals from various cultures  

delivermessages to each other

 low context: Scandinavian, German, Swiss, North  

American: Use language to express meanings as literally as possible

 High context: Asian and arab-rely on subtle and nonverbal  cues

∙ Same sex couples usually value equality more


∙ Good communication

o Allows for wants/needs to be expressed

o Build intimacy

o Correlation with overall happiness, relationship satisfaction,  relationship length

∙ Self disclosure-telling personal things to another person o Builds/deepens trust

o Reciprocity  

o Correlation with relationship/sexual satisfaction

o More likely to succeed with greater self disclosure

∙ Sexual Communication

o Hard

 Sexual likes and dislikes-one of the hardest things for  

college students to talk about

∙ Taboos

∙ People want forbidedness

∙ Lack of info

∙ Embarrassment

∙ Fear of judgement and rejection

 Self disclosing about sex increase self and relationship  

satisfaction and reduces unsafe sex

o Guidelines for improving sexual communication

 Know what you want: sexual inventory checklist

 Trust your partner

 Communicate and respect your partners boundaries

 Be responsible about casual sex

∙ Effective Communication

o Intent v Impact

 Intent-Message you are trying to convey

 Impact-Interpretation of language by partner

o Use “I” Language instead of criticizing

 Express complaint in language that focuses on you instead  of partner

 Avoid assumptions

o Documenting

 Specific example of issue being discussed

o Leveling

 Telling partner how you feel honestly

o Balance with Editing

 Not saying things that are to hurt your partner

o Listening

 Non defensive

 Offer cues that you are listening

o Paraphrasing

 Saying in your own words what you think your partner  meant

o Validating

 Telling your partner you understand  

o Nonverbal communication

 Matches intent of message

 Focus on positive

∙ Happy married couples: 5x as likely to have positive  


o Fight Fair

 Argument isn’t about winning

 Don’t bring up past

 Don’t overgeneralize

 Don’t make up threats  


∙ Behavioral reinforcement theories

o We love because another person reinforces positive feelings in  ourselves

o Lott and Lott: a rewarding and positive feeling in the presence of  others makes us like them even if it has nothing to do with the  person

o Griffit and Veitch: people tend to dislike people they met in a hot  or crowded room no matter what the persons personality is like o We like people if we associate w feeling good and love if feeling  is very good

∙ Cognitive theories

o Interesting paradox

o The less people are paid for a task the more they tend to like it o Action comes first and when we think certain people like us the  more we are attracted to them later

∙ Evolutionary Theory

o Love is a strategy that helps us form bonds to reproduce o We fall in love with people who we think have positive traits that  we would want to pass on to our children

∙ Physiological Arousal Theory

o Shacter and Singer Theory

 Shot of epinephrine

 Split students into 4 groups: one told what was happening  one told wrong set of symptoms one given saline

 Put int room with student who was part of study

 ½ confed acted happy other half angry

 students in informed groups when aroused thought they  were feeling epinephrine  

 uninformed experiencing same emotion as other person in  room

 conclusion: an emotion happens when there is general  physiological arousal and a label attached to it

 vulnerable to love when aroused

 association bw love and sex: sexual assignment

∙ Other Biological Factors

o Pheremones-chemical substances secreted by humans and  anmals, facilitate communication

o Processed in hypothalamus, influence attraction, mating,  bonding


∙ Attraction

o Field of Eligibles (FOE)

 People that meet a persons criteria as potential romantic  partner

o What causes attraction

 Affective incluence-our mood matters

∙ Positive affect-more positive evaluation

∙ Neg-more negative

 Direct/indirect influence

∙ Both men and women prefer direct approaches

∙ Women negative about innocuous pickup lines

 Brynes law of attraction

∙ Tend to like people who reward us

 Proximity

∙ Tend to attract to those we live near/interact with

o Mere exposure effect-repeated stimulus

increase liking of stimulus as long as initial  

interaction is neutral or positive

 Homophily-tendency to be attracted to those who are  similar to us

 Greatest in age education religion race

 Physical attractiveness

∙ We pick most physically attractive option

∙ How attractive we find someone is affected by peer  


 Partners who match our status in dating marketplace

o Love and the brain

 Brain chemicals associated with love

∙ Increased

o Dopamine

o Norepinephrine

o Oxytocin-emotional bond: release with orgasm

∙ Decreased

o Serotonin

o Less-more obsessive thoughts

o Research by helen fisher, ted talk


∙ MRIs of brain show certain areas of brain increase blood flow  ∙ Brain images of men and women intensely in love show strong activity  in motivation areas of brain

∙ When motivation area is stimulated a person is motivated to get  rewards w/ his or her love interest above all else

∙ New love can feel crazy bc increase flow to motivation center ∙ Understand why people with autism are indiff to love


∙ Lee’s colors of love

o Eros-romantic/passionate

o Ludus-no commitment, intimacy not expected or valued  o Storge-friendship love

o Can be combined into complementary styles

 Mania: eros and ludus: obsessive intense, dependent on  partner

 Pragma: ludus and storge

∙ Practical compatible long term partner

 Agape: eros and storge

∙ Completely selfless love

∙ Not usually permanent

o Couples with compatible styles happier

o Mania/ludus: worse psychological health

o Storge/eros-better

o Men more ludus, women pragma

o Men more acceptable to show eros less to show agape ∙ Sternberg’s Triangular Theory

o 3 components of love

 intimacy-emotional components

 passion-motivational component

 commitment-cognitive component

o Arrange 3 components on sides of triangle and combine to create 7 forms

∙ Attachment-emotional bond bw people

o First attachment bw caregiver at 7-8 mos

o Forms model for attachment

 Teach about other people, self

 Healthy, est trust

o 3 styles

 secure (55%)

∙ low anxiety, avoidance

∙ secure attachment to caregivers

∙ easy to trust

∙ proper self disclosure


∙ Stats and current trends

o Avg age for women and men to marry is highest in US  History

o Proportion of married people older than 18 years low

o College graduates more likely, blacks least likely to marry ∙ Mixed marraiges

o Increase in 2010 1/7 new marriage to ppl of diff sex

o Black females less likely to marry outside of race than  males opp for Asians

o Mixed marraiges more common in west states

∙ Marraiges in later life

o Married, happier, lower rates of diseases

o Marraiges improve over time

o Having a partner lowers loneliness

o Higher percent of married men than women bc women live  longer than men

o Older couples live together instead of marrying

∙ Marital satisfaction

o 2 important qualities: friendship with spouse, ability to  resolve conflict

o physical and emotional intimacy

o social exchange theory-high cost and low reward: a person  might end relationship or look elsewhere

o gender diffs in marital joy and satisfaction

o people who are married are happier and healthier o marriage reduces effect of job loss

∙ Sex within marriage

o Majority-weekly or few times a month

o Frequency and satisfaction have correlation

∙ Sexuality outside of marriage

o Infidelity

 Adults more likely to cheat when theyre living  


 Cheaters have stronger sex interests

 Begins w emotional closesness, chem, decision to  keep relationship a secret, sex

 Occurs bc of unmet needs in emotional relationship  ∙ Non exclusive marriage

o Swinger-open exchange of sex partners

o Comarital sex-consenting of married couples to exchange  partners seperatley

o Polyamory-having more time than 1 intimate relationship  at time with consent

∙ Divorce

o No fault divorce-since 2010, dissolution of marriage without placing blame on either partners allowed in all states o Covenant marriage-preceded by premarital counseling  strict rules about divorce

o Stats, current theory

 Marital stability decreases with decade

 Black higher Asian lower mixed races higher

 Econ: legal fees, health insurance force clients to  stay together

o Reasons for

 Lack of communication

 Infidelity

 Financial probs

o Social factors

 Legal political religious

 Increases in low cost legal clinics

o Predisposng factors

 People who have been divorced before

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