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Psychological Basis of Sexuality, week 1 notes

by: Clarissa Hinshaw

Psychological Basis of Sexuality, week 1 notes Psyc 474

Marketplace > Northern Illinois University > Psychlogy > Psyc 474 > Psychological Basis of Sexuality week 1 notes
Clarissa Hinshaw
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About this Document

Notes from chapter 1
Psychological Basis of Sexuality
Ellen Lee
Class Notes




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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Clarissa Hinshaw on Sunday January 24, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Psyc 474 at Northern Illinois University taught by Ellen Lee in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 59 views. For similar materials see Psychological Basis of Sexuality in Psychlogy at Northern Illinois University.


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Date Created: 01/24/16
Chapter 1 What is Human Sexuality?  Human Sexuality: the study of sexual behaviors, identities and orientations in human  beings.  Human sexuality requires critical thinking. Critical thinkers must have open minds base  their claims off of scientific evidence, rather than personal beliefs.   Human sexuality is studied from many different viewpoints including biological  (hormonal, anatomical, natural sex drives), anthropological (cultural), sociological (social sexual norms among groups of people), and psychological (behaviors, identities and  beliefs of each individual).  Perspectives of Sexuality  Historical: the viewpoints of sexuality have changed throughout history.  o Prehistoric: in the stone ages, sexuality was represented through cave drawings  and sexual­looking artifacts. Gender roles were similar to today’s ‘traditional’  roles, as men were hunters and gathers and women stayed closer to home. In the  ice age, men were mainly farmers and the penis was worshiped as became more  aware of the male’s role in reproduction. The incest taboo, prohibiting people to  marry or have sexual relations with family, was introduced.  o Ancient Hebrews: During this time, sex within marriage was encouraged and  reproduction was expected. It was socially acceptable for a man to divorce his  wife if she was unable to reproduce. Wives were treated like slaves and could be  stoned to death for committing adultery, while men only had to pay a fine for the  same act.  o Ancient Greeks: all people were considered bisexual. Same­sex relations among  men were okay as long as their behavior did not affect the family. Prostitution and x­rated art also increased. Women were uneducated and treated like slaves.  o Ancient Rome: bestiality (sex with animals) and sadism (gaining sexual  satisfaction by hurting other) were common practices. Women were treated like  property and new terms were introduced. o Early Christians: Sexuality was a sin. People were encouraged to stay celibate,  or at least practice abstinence until marriage. Sex was only for procreation and  people were considered selfish if they found sex satisfying.  o Islam: premarital sex and adultery were shameful and could be punished by  stoning. Men were allowed a maximum of four wives, while women could only  have one husband. Men and women were not allowed to socialize together in  public. Women were expected to cover their face and speak to no other man than  their husband.  o India: Sexual pleasure was a spiritual act. Sex acts were represented in art. o Victorian Era: Discussion of sex was considered improper. Sex was only for  reproduction and to satisfy a husband’s cravings. They believed reproductive  fluids were wasted by masturbation and ejaculation. Same­sex behavior was  indecent but prostitution rose.  o Sexual Revolution/Gay activism: Movement during the 1960s where people  deviated from previous sexual norms. The birth control pill was invented, giving  women more sexual freedom with lower chance of pregnancy. Abortion was  legalized, giving women the right to choose when they have children. The gay  rights movement began, giving more equality to gay and bisexual people.   Biological: The study of how genes and hormone affect sexuality and reproduction.  Example: what the body physical goes through during arousal. Why women are more  responsive than men could also be a question answer from this perspective.  Evolutionary: How our sexual behavior is similar to some mammals because of  evolution. Example: how our behaviors are compared to those of apes, what we find  attractive in a mate.   Cross­Species: study of sexual behavior in nonhuman animals. This includes studying  nonmammal animals such as insects, birds, reptiles, and fish.  Sociological: how sexual behaviors are influenced by morals and current social norms.  These behaviors and influences vary in different cultures. Example: most people do not  practice incest because of the incest taboo.  Psychological: Sexuality is influenced personally from personality, emotion, and  motivation as well as other things. Different theorists have different perspectives on  sexuality. For example: Freud believed that humans are sexual creatures from birth, men  were superior, and women were jealous of men’s body parts. Others, such as Skinner  believed that behavior is learned through observation.  Feminist theory: Belief in gender equality for society. This could include equal division  of labor, more women in government, and promoting androgyny (a combination of  masculinity and femininity) rather than traditional gender expressions.   Queer theory: Belief that not all humans fit into the gender binary, are cisgender, and  heterosexual. Non­cisgender people (people whose gender identity does not match their  sex assigned at birth) can include people who are transgender, gender fluid (people with a fluctuating gender identity), genderqueer (people who do not identify as male or female),  as well as many others. Non heterosexual people can include people who are homosexual (same­sex attraction), bisexual (same and other sex attraction), as well as many others.   Sexuality is a very broad topics and many of these perspectives are used today to define  this subject. 


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