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  1. Constructing Gender and Sexuality CHAPTER 9

  2. Sexuality—A theme found almost everywhere Sex industry—A multibillion-dollar business U.S. culture—Sex as taboo Understanding Sexuality

  3. Sexuality is Everywhere

  4. Multi-billion Dollar Sex Industry Phone Sex Industry

  5. Sex as Taboo Taboo Topics

  6. SEX • The biological distinction between females and males • Biologically: the way humans reproduce Sex: A Biological Issue

  7. PRIMARY SEX CHARACTERISTICS • Reproductive organs such as: • Testes (males) • Ovaries (females) Sex and the Body

  8. SECONDARY SEX CHARACTERISTICS • Bodily development such as changes in: • Voice range and timbre (tone) • Muscularity • Distribution of hair and adipose tissue Sex and the Body

  9. Sex is not the same as gender • Gender is an element of culture • Traits & behavior a culture attaches to being male or female: • Masculine • Feminine Gender

  10. When I was born, they looked at me and said: “What a good boy, what a smart boy, what a strong boy!” And when you were born, they looked at you and said: “What a good girl, what a smart girl, what a pretty girl!” "What A Good Boy" The Barenaked Ladies

  11. Strength Boldness Assertiveness Self-centeredness Powerful Individual achievement Independence Logical Masculine Characteristics

  12. MasculinITY

  13. Crisis in Masculinity Masculinity

  14. Sensitive Gentle Emotional Weak Submissive Sexy Nurturing Dependent Feminine characteristics

  15. Killing Us Softly Dove Commercial Femininity

  16. 11/20 Feminine?

  17. Sexuality has a biological foundation Sexuality is also a cultural issue Biologydoes not dictate specific ways of being sexual Sex: A Cultural Issue

  18. CULTURAL VARIATION • Every sexual practice shows variation from one society to another • Displaying affection varies among societies • Modesty is culturally variable • Some societies restrict sexuality and others are more permissive


  20. Every society controls sexuality Embedding it in institutions: Family Religion Law Sexuality and Culture

  21. Cultural norms & values influence: Who engages in sexual behavior With whom Under what circumstances Behaviors in which partners engage Sexuality and Culture

  22. Variesacross societies Sexual activity defined as important means of fulfilling emotional & physical needs Value sexual satisfaction Concern with foreplay & occurrence of orgasm for both parties The Meaning of Sexual Behavior

  23. Concern with sexual technique Development of goods & services to enhance sexual pleasure This pattern is observed in: United States Sweden Mexico Urban areas of Russia The Meaning of Sexual Behavior

  24. Other societies, emphasize procreation Primarily vaginal intercourse Little or no foreplay Perhaps painful for the female Examples: China Iran The Meaning of Sexual Behavior

  25. In a new study from the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, researchers find that people are not in agreement about what constitutes ‘having sex’. The study compiled results from a random telephone survey of 204 adult men and 282 adult women ages 18 to 96. Definition of 'Having Sex' Varies

  26. Participants were asked to explain what sexual behaviors fit the description of ‘having sex’. Researchers found no consensus on an actual description. Definition of 'Having Sex' Varies

  27. 95% said that penile-vaginal intercourse was having sex Although 11% said it wasn’t sex if there is no ejaculation 30% said oral sex was not having sex 20% said anal intercourse was not having sex 23% of older men -- 65 and older -- did not consider penile-vaginal intercourse as having sex Study results:

  28. “There's a vagueness of what sex is in our culture and media,” said Dr. William L. Yarber, a co-author of the study. “If people don't consider certain behaviors sex, they might not think sexual health messages about risk pertain to them.” This confusion about what is and what isn’t sex makes it difficult for researchers who are working in the area of sex education and sexual health. “People are either incorrectly classified as having sex or incorrectly classified as not having sex.” Study conclusion

  29. A norm forbidding sexual relations or marriage between certain relatives • “Cultural Universal” • Biological– Reproduction between close relatives of any species increases the odds of producing offspring with mental and physical problems The Incest Taboo

  30. INCEST TABOO • Social—Controlling sexuality between close relatives is necessary element of social organization • Limits sexual competition in families • Reproduction between close relatives would confuse kinship • Integrates the larger society

  31. Always been a contradiction • U.S. culture is individualistic • People have freedom to do what they wish as long as there is no direct harm to others • Privacy makes sex a matter of individual freedom and choice Sexual Attitudes in the United States

  32. In the U.S. sexuality is both restrictive and permissive • Restrictive • People view sex as a sign of personal morality • Permissive • Sex is a part of the mass media Regulating sexuality

  33. Profound changes in sexual attitudes and practices over the past century The “Roaring Twenties” Slowed during the Great Depression and World War II The Sexual Revolution

  34. The Roaring Twenties

  35. Alfred Kinsey set the stage for the Sexual Revolution • • • National uproar from scientists studying sex • People uneasy talking about sex even in private Alfred Kinsey

  36. Kinsey’s books encouraged new openness toward sexuality Sexual revolution came of age in the 60’s Baby boom generation was the first cohort in U.S. history to grow up with the idea that sex was part of people’s lives

  37. Technology played a part: • Birth control pill • Women were historically subject to greater sexual regulation than men • Society’s “double standard” Technology and sexuality

  38. Cuban Poster

  39. Sexual Revolution • Increased sexual activity overall • Changed women’s behavior more than men’s • Greater openness about sexuality develops as: • Societies become richer • And the opportunities for women increase

  40. Sexual freedom of the 1960’s & 1970’s criticized as evidence of moral decline A conservative call for a return to “family values” A change from sexual freedom back to the sexual responsibility of earlier generations The Sexual Counterrevolution

  41. Sexual intercourse before marriage • 35% say it is “always wrong” or “almost always wrong” • 17% say it is “wrong sometimes” • About 45% say it is “not wrong at all” • Premarital sex is widely accepted among young people today Premarital Sex

  42. Frequency of sexual activity varies widely in U.S. population • Married people • Have the most sex with partners • Report highest level of satisfaction with partners • Physically • Emotionally Sex Between Adults

  43. ADULTERY • Married people having sex outside of marriage • Widely condemned • Norm of sexual fidelity within marriage remains a strong element of U.S. culture • Actual behavior falls short of the cultural ideal • 25% of married men and 10% of married women have had at least one extramarital sexual experience Extramarital Sex

  44. Patterns of sexual activity change with age Aging linked to decline sexual activity Contrary to popular stereotypes Sexual activity is a normal part of life for most older adults Sex Over The Life Course

  45. SEXUAL ORIENTATION • Romantic and emotional attraction to another person • HETEROSEXUALITY • Sexual attraction to people of other sex • HOMOSEXUALITY • Sexual attraction to people of same sex • BISEXUALITY • Sexual attraction to people of both sexes Sexual Orientation

  46. ASEXUALITY • No sexual attraction to people of either sex • Sexual attraction not the same as sexual behavior • Worldwide, heterosexuality is the norm • Permits human reproduction • Most societies tolerate homosexuality

  47. SEXUAL ORIENTATION:PRODUCT OF SOCIETY • People in any society attach meanings to sexual activity • Meanings differ from place to place over time • Patterns of homosexuality differ from one society to another • Diverse patterns suggest that sexual expression is socially constructed What Gives Us a Sexual Orientation?

  48. SEXUAL ORIENTATION: PRODUCT OF BIOLOGY • Suggests that sexual orientation is innate • Several studies show that homosexuality tends to run in families • Identical twin studies • DNA studies identified general location of at least one "gay gene.“ • Differences between gay & straight sexual orientation appear at a very early age.

  49. Changed attitudes toward homosexuality • 1973 – American Psychiatric Association • Homosexuality was not an illness but “a form of sexual behavior” • HOMOPHOBIA • Discomfort over close, personal interaction with people thought to be gay, lesbian, or bisexual The Gay Rights Movement

  50. Sexual Issues and Controversies Sexuality basis of controversies in U.S. Teen Pregnancy Pornography Prostitution Rape