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Socio-Cultural Influences on Human Sexuality

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Psychology
Wordcount: 3383 words Published: 5th Apr 2018

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Seminar 6 – Integrated Paper 3

Tara A. Fay Baker College: Human Sexuality Seminar 6 – Final Integrated Paper 3 April 1, 2015


The goal of this integrated paper is to take a closer look at the impact that socio-cultural and the influences have directly affect human sexuality. This information will help provide greater understanding of the psychological implications that it has on individuals and the impact of sex, and what influences human expectations for fulfill needs, wants and desires. This paper will identify certain stereotypes that have been linked and placed on prostitution, obscenity, sex in the media, and pornography.

Human Sexuality and Behavior

Attraction is an important part of two individuals engaging in sexual activity. It is naturally creating a stimulating response, identified by many people as chemistry. Relationships without chemistry is seen as a non-sexual relation with no sexual stimuli to produce an interest. (King, & Regan, 2014). As far as having a connection in sexual relationships, most people believe that sexual chemistry is important to having sex with their partner. It does not matter if you are young or old, male or female, human sexuality is an important part of being human.

Gender and Sexuality

“The concept of gender identity is the sense (private) of an individual’s inner-being of being a man or woman” (Gilberty 2008, cited in Zastrow and Kirst-Ashman 2009, p371). An individual’s own self-conception of themselves being male or female. It does not refer to one’s sexual orientation. Gender identity development for females can result in being sexual and physically abused in front of other males. The females go through physical changes (like or dislike) to alter the femininity. For instance, girls will enjoy going showing for bra’s or make-up. Females begin to consider themselves to be primarily masculine or feminine, whereas some individuals may experience the combination of the two. During the adolescence years of a youth their understanding of gender is ridged and stereotyped. They tend to participate in more gender-related behaviors. For instance, “mean girls” will gravitate toward “girly” activities (an ultra-femininity appearance). Males tend to lean toward “guy” activities (masculine). Males will go through puberty where they will begin to develop muscles, facial hair, shaving which can bring about the use of desired cologne and deodorants to either play up or play down their masculinity. Gender development are the physical changes to one’s body. During teen years, they become interested in dating and forming romantic relationships, putting in efforts to attract the opposite sex. Males tend to be attracted to females who have feminine hair, bodies, facial features, and appealing scents and even lift weights. Teen girls focus on doing their hair and makeup, and dress in feminine clothing, using lotion and facial products, as well as spraying on a desired scent. In gender development, males and females tend to do these behavior things in hopes to capture the attention of the opposite sex.

Psychological Perspectives between Genders and Relationships. (Communication & Intimacy)

There are any differences between men and women, starting with obvious physical difference and men are much stronger than women. There is a difference between attitudes and behaviors in general. One common issue between men and women is centered on sex and intimacy. Men typically consider sex a form of communication when developing a relationship. (Alberts & Trethewey, 2007) Women typically desire other forms of communication and a sense of intimacy before sex occurs. One of the biggest arguments revolves around sex. Men are more visual with high-sex expectancies and communication is third on the list, whereas women prefer to be listened to as their means of communication and to be held. (Alberts & Trethewey, 2007) Women long to be loved and sex is a very personal and emotional thing. The difference is that with men sex is just sex, a moment of release for them. It can come across as having a women to meet their immediate need and the woman’s need is often never met. In a way women are often left feeing used and when there is no emotion or love attached to it, they will tend to feel dirty (depending on the situation). Men, it doesn’t affect them as much. These behaviors, if not communicated, can be damaging to the relationship. It is can be a double standard by means of how we view men and women and how media sends messages that support perceived attitudes and behaviors (i.e. soap operas). (Alberts & Trethewey, 2007)

When women were asked what they liked and appreciate about a men, the said: They’re strong, gentle, heartfelt, their muscles, appetites, cuddliness, sense of humor, willingness to love, honest about their shortcomings, their strength, sexuality, fire, they’re fun, tenderness and the ability to be vulnerable, loyal, play, smart, secure and courageous. (Rosenthal, 1992)

Men were asked the same question about what they liked in women, their response consisted of: a women’s shape, bodies, roundedness, cooking, responsiveness, softness, spiritedness, willingness, compassion, wisdom, nurturing, sensuality, honesty, and their ability to bear children, along with integrity, patience, loyalty and intuition. (Rosenthal, 1992)

Socio-Cultural Influences on Human Sexuality

Socio-sexual behavior is a natural behavior that is a common response between men and women, as heterosexual behavior. This behavior starts early-on in childhood and is motivated by wonder and curiosity, for example child will explorer or showing their bodies where forms of sexual behaviors impulses as pretend during child play. Sociocultural aspects are also demonstrated through the adolescence years when male and females begin exploring sexual behavior (kissing, touching and feeling) for which creates sexual arousal and pleasure, followed with dating and naturally carried over into adult life. Adolescence is a learning and growing process to finding out who they as a person, male or female, sexually. Human beings have a natural instinct that leads them to explorer sexual diversity. However, society has formed its beliefs based on when sexual relations should be withheld. Some feel that a relationship that refrains from having sex, is known as being monogamous. Religious views of having sexual relations between a male and a female should be withhold until marriage, to consummate the marriage as being husband and wife. In current culture, many religions are now including sex as part of the ceremony (rites). Not all behaviors are dictated by society (do’s and don’ts), many individuals have their own sexual beliefs and preferences and feel there are entitled to be erotic depending on how and when behavior occurs and in what context. For instance, if an individual finds that kissing sensually or kissing and licking toes is erotic, then they will do it. It bring them pleasure. Nudity is often viewed as erotic therefore opens the invitation to their partner. However, is not the same when it pertains to groups of same gender, camps restricted to nudist, and any medically related procedure. Some economical influences that affect sexuality can be based on systems where production and distribution influences human sexual behaviors. Going from an old school family structures to women and children work outside the home began to shift sexual attitudes and behaviors by working with people.

Hormones and Human Sexuality

Hormones are a natural indicator that is a chemically produced substance within the body, located in the endocrine gland. When hormones are released in the blood stream, it is distributed throughout all parts of the body. Estrogen and testosterone which are produced by both men and women, are known as the sex hormones which are the communicators that tell parts of the body what to do. These two particular hormones create sexual arousal from erotic stimulation. There are two way they act, 1) centrally, which determines the amount of arousal produced, and 2) peripherally, which determines the amount of receptor response from a stimulating behavior). Although, the brain controls and helps maintain sexual behaviors by using hormones.

Psychological Effects of Sexual Behavior

Psychological affects begins early on in life through learning and conditioning behaviors in children. For example, an infant child has the ability to respond to tactile stimulation and gradually learns conditioning to certain stimuli’s. During the early years of a child’s life is the importance placed on the development phase of learning that overall forms their adult sexual orientation. (Brannon, 2011)

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By age five, gender identity develops (boy or girl) and is reinforced (learning and conditioning), through seeing, hearing, witnessing or experiencing a form of sexual contact. Atypical effects from sexual types of stimuli depends on how the child tends to interpret things by the reactions that are given by adults as being good or bad, appropriate or non-appropriate which is brought to their awareness. (Brannon, 2011) For instance, let’s say a situation with a child, where a child gets lifted up by her rear end and was none other than a trivial things and could easily be forgotten, but was interpreted by their mother as being traumatic and starts to cry and scream, soon it triggers the father to become anger and hostile; now the police are involved where the child begins to go through a series of questions. The child then creates a link from that particular situation as being traumatic, leaves them with a life-long psychological effect on how they view their sexuality. (Brannon, 2011) It all depends on how another person interprets things and forms a reaction to something. Children learn and become their environment and thus creating related behaviors formed by learning and conditioning. For this particular child, they may now feel that it is not ok to touch rear-ends and becomes overly conscious of that body part which can eventually affect how they few themselves sexually. (Brannon, 2011)

Theories of Human Sexuality

According to the Masters and Johnson’s model, desire is an important part sexual encounters in both men and women. According to Basson, he felt that desire may not take place equally at the same time for both sexes. For men, desire takes place before arousal but as for women, desire occurs after arousal and can be difficult to separate the stages. (King & Regan, 2014)

Using the Masters and Johnson’s theory, demonstrated alignment with male and females sexual response cycles are similar but different in other ways. One misconception of sexual drive is the difference in time it takes for men and women to “get in the mood”. Women it usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes, and sometimes a little longer or a little less depending on the situation. On the other hand, the typical man can be easily aroused and ready as little as 30 seconds. Some myths of sexuality include; fantasizing during sex, pullout methods, size matters, men are more sexually active than women, and good sex ends in orgasm.

Commercialized Sex & Formed Expectations

Commercialized sex plays a major role in how individuals view their gender and sexuality. It’s no wonder there is a huge spike of sexual assaults, molestation, and sex crimes and human-trafficking each year, and media has a lot to do with it. Using the latest technology and advancements, has developed an instant gratification for human sexuality. (Brown, Steele, & Walsh-Childers, 2002).

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One of the most advanced technology is the internet. Where instant access to pornographic images, videos and sites are readily available. Other form of pornography is found on television, in movies, and on DVD’s where creating false sense of sexual expectations of men and women, males and females. According to Catherine MacKinnon where she defines pornography as being, “The graphic sexually explicit subordination of women through pictures, videos or words that include dehumanizing women as sexual objects, things or commodities, enjoying pain and humiliation, rape, being tied up, cut up, mutilated, bruised, or physically hurt, in postures of sexual submission, severity or display that is reduced to body parts, penetrated by objects and animals or presented in scenarios of degradation, injury, torture that is shown as filthy or inferior, bleeding, bruised or beaten in a context that makes conditions sexual” (cited, Jennifer Nash, 2002)

Sexually explicit material and violence in media has increasingly gotten worse. The impact it has on the public and our children is devastating. According to major newspapers and research studies have found that video that contain much violence and sexually material drastically impacts negative behavior where individuals engage in sexual acts they would not normally do. (Brown, Steele, & Walsh-Childers, 2002).

Society has shown that more and more people are becoming immune pornography and the dangers associated, tolerating acts of unacceptable behavior. False expectations are created when there is repeated sexual misrepresentation of behaviors causing society to become immune thus becoming a part of the everyday norm, or what is expected. (Brown, Steele, & Walsh-Childers, 2002).

Sex trade or sex rage? Human sex trafficking, legalized prostitution and human bondage against women and children are a false recruitment for people caught in sex exploitation, slavery, and held as a means of debt bondage. (Arealo, 2011) You will find that most of victims are women who have been falsely bribed, lied to or mislead by using their freedom, loved ones promising they can come to America and have a better life. Human Trafficking is a world-wide crises which began around 2002 has now estimated that between 700,000 and 4 million are forced in by trafficking. Technology and media outlets are used to promote sexual services, escort services, pornography, travel and tourism and even sites that include discrete arrangements, all have contributed to the demand for commercialized sex. (Brown, Steele, & Walsh-Childers, 2002).

Field Observation – 1: Sexually Explicit images on the Internet (4 day study)

Certain measures were used in conducting field Observation-1, which was composed of a teen boy, the internet (unrestricted) and free reign. Without disclosing the study, within a matter of a few days, the adolescence behavior began to shift slightly towards a more heightened behavior and attitude. The teen slowly withdrew himself to his confines of his room and would not come out unless to eat. On the third-day, the teen began to show signs of aggression, as well as making sexually innuendos and comments when a friend stopped to visit. Later that evening, the teen’s behavior accelerated to aggressive and argumentative tones, and showed signs of irritability and hyperactivity towards others. On the fourth-day of observation, the teen displayed unusual behaviors, i.e. like staying in the bathroom for longer periods of time; climbing in bed with just his underwear on during the day. On the fifth-day, I removed the computer from his room and began to view the history of his internet searches and found that he had view 26 pornographic sites that displayed sexual contact, videos and aggressive sexual behaviors and live video sex. The length of time averaged between 4 to 6 hours per day viewing the sites. One site that I found disturbing was www.slavefarm.com for which contained abusive sexual behavior in forms of bondage, objects, rape, and tied up. I know this site had to of been pulled from a basic search, it was unbelievable to see that it was on the internet as free access. Most porn sites now have free access. Later that evening, on the fifth-day, the teen returned from a friends and found the computer to be gone. With accelerated anger, extreme irritability, heighten voice tones, and profanity by demanding the computer back. This continued on for the remainder of the evening.

Observational Findings:

It was interesting to see the transition from normal behavior to a more dominate behavior by viewing porn sites that contained harsh, explicit and aggressive sexual content. Behavioral changes in the teen proved that the study found to very damaging in means of acting out with violence and aggression different from the time he was full rein to the end of the study on the fifth-day. These actions, along with other behaviors are in direct alignment with how exposing teens to pornographic and explicit material is altering their state-of-mind. Evidence proved that with an ongoing view of porn sites, the behaviors and violence will continue to increase to new levels causing devastating long-term and regrettable effects.

In Summary

Socio-cultural and influences do have a direct effect on human sexuality. Resulted that male and female sexuality and sexual behaviors are shaped by a series of processes of learned conditioning by means of society, stereotypes and roles, expectations, biological, gender identity, exposure and commercialized sex. Men and female sexuality are formed through observational and situational and exposure. Abnormal findings concluded long-term psychological effects when exposed to pornography, explicit images, videos, sexual violence, obscenity, and other sources of commercialized sex media’s. Evidence of psychological implications for by influencers dictating male and female expectations as it pertains to individual sexuality by fulfilling wants, needs and desires. Observational findings demonstrated a progression of aggression by overexposure of commercialized sex. Such exposure can contribute to falling into unrealistic sexual expectations, resulting in unwanted acts of sexual violence.


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