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Psychology 3533. Understanding Human Sexuality Elena Hannah. Questions??? The content of this course is meant to give a general basis for understanding human sexuality in a scientific framework.

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Psychology 3533 l.jpg

Psychology 3533

Understanding Human Sexuality

Elena Hannah


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Questions???

The content of this course is meant to give a general basis for understanding human sexuality in a scientific framework.

Some of the questions you may have will be answered during the term as you attend lectures and read the textbook. However, some people might have questions that are not addressed in this way.

If you have questions about sexuality that you would like an answer to, you could e-mail me or pass me a note under my office door with your question. I will endeavour to answer your questions as soon as possible.


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3533 INTRODUCTION LECTURE

  • Sex: male/female

  • Sexual behaviour: includes

    • thoughts

    • feelings

    • actions (sex)

  • Sensual: pleasure through sensory input

  • Gender: socio-cultural


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INTRODUCTION (CONT’D)

  • Taboo topic for centuries

  • Influence of religion

  • Enlightment: 17th century

  • Science

  • Medicine

  • Sex: strong drive

    species survival: pleasure


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INTRODUCTION (CONT’D)

  • Western view (not universal): bad, naughty

  • This view leads to pain, shame, guilt, tragedy

  • Some other cultures even worse

  • Enormous psychic cost

  • Heaviest burden: women


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ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT SEX

  • Beautiful bodies: slim, young, “airbrushed look” due to media influence.

  • Handicapped, overweight, etc.: sexless

  • Men more interested than women

  • Instinctive behaviour, cannot be controlled


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ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT SEX (CONT’D)

  • Unrealistic expectations (media, books)

  • Ageism: older people don’t

  • Sex is heterosexual intercourse leading to orgasm

  • Men can’t control sex urges

  • Sex is isolated from other events

  • AIDS is a gay disease


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RELIGIOUS INFLUENCES

  • Intertwined with politics

  • Before Judeo-Christian religions, evidence of

  • Goddess worship

  • “Venus” of Willendorf: 25,000 years old

  • Recently: 53,000 year old statuettes found


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RELIGIOUS INFLUENCES (CONT’D)

  • Goddess societies: matrilineal

  • Women: revered as life givers (birth)

  • Sex: few taboos – one was rape: death to rapist

  • Women often had two husbands, lovers

  • “Adultery” not penalized


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RELIGIOUS INFLUENCES (CONT’D)

  • Sacred rituals involving sex: NOT ritual prostitution – in ancient temples

  • Knowledge of birth control

  • High degree of civilization

  • Law, commerce, math advanced

  • Agriculture, written language

  • Art, architecture


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RELIGIOUS INFLUENCES (CONT’D)

  • 4,000 to 2,300 BCE

  • Northern invasions: by nomadic hunters, aggressive conquerors, brought male deities:

    • aggressive

    • mountain dwellers

    • spewed fire, lightning


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RELIGIOUS INFLUENCES (CONT’D)

  • Later, Hebrews: mix – male God, vengeful but also loving. Ordered repudiation and destruction of other religions – Monotheism.

  • Hebrew view of sex:

    • increase and multiply

    • sex within marriage very positive

    • Old Testament: men should marry at 18-20, if not they will be governed by lust

    • restrictions: women “unclean” two weeks (period) – mikvah: ritual cleansing bath


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RELIGIOUS INFLUENCES (CONT’D)

  • Rape:

    • single woman forced to marry rapist

    • married or engaged: killed

    • premarital loss of virginity: death

    • still current in Middle East


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RELIGIOUS INFLUENCES (CONT’D)

  • Patriarchal societies, patrilineal

     female virginity

  • Greek religion: gods and goddesses

    gods more powerful

  • Greek philosophy: Plato, Aristotle

  • Best sex: man with man (young men favoured)


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RELIGIOUS INFLUENCES (CONT’D)

  • Women inferior: “aberration of Nature”

  • Christian view of sex:

    • positive at first (400 years)

    • Jesus probably was married (Jew)

    • apostles all married

    • all priests married

    • 5th century: drive for celibacy for heads of the church

    • St. Augustine: declared sexual pleasure evil, women temptresses


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RELIGIOUS INFLUENCES (CONT’D)

  • 13th century. St. Thomas & Albert the Great: sexual pleasure is


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RELIGIOUS INFLUENCES (CONT’D)

  • Christian view of sex (Cont’d)

    • Gradual attempt to have all priests celibate even if married: unsuccessful

    • Common people: sex OK only for procreation but mustn’t feel pleasure! (sin)

    • Role model for women: Virgin Mary, immaculate conception


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Christian view of sex (Cont’d)

Many restrictions in married sex:

Pentecost

Lent

Communion

Advent

Sundays

RELIGIOUS INFLUENCES (CONT’D)

  • Mass

  • Instilled shame, guilt

  • Penitence, fines

  • Attracted misogynists to the church

  • Theologians argued well into 20th century


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SECULAR INFLUENCES

  • Today Religion Subdued Role for Most Canadians

  • New strong influences: INTERNET

    • media

    • pop culture

  • Messages: what

    with whom

    why


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SECULAR INFLUENCES (CONT’D)

  • Pop music

  • Pop lit:

    • magazines

    • tabloids

    • books: many best-sellers are romance novels, self-help (how to have superorgasms), pop psychology


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SECULAR INFLUENCES (CONT’D)

  • Advertising: sex sells

  • Pornography

  • TV:

    • sit coms

    • soaps

    • crime/action/adventure

    • music videos

    • talk shows


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SECULAR INFLUENCES

  • New Strong Influences (Cont’d )

    • Movies

    • Video Games

    • Advice gurus (e.g. Dr. Ruth, Sue Johanssen)

    • Current affairs magazines


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SECULAR INFLUENCES

  • Medicalization of Sex

    • Pharmaceuticals (drugs): pills, suppositories, lotions, creams, etc.

    • Identification of “medical” problems. Millions affected.

    • Expectation of supersex anytime, at any age.


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SECULAR INFLUENCES

  • Medicalization of Sex (Cont’d)

    • Reducing sex to a “hydraulic response in a few inches of men’s anatomy”.

    • No equivalent drug found for women, but expectations raised.


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Cultural Diversity

  • Inis Beag vs. Polynesia

  • Koro syndrome (some Far East countries): young men convinced that genitals shrinking and retracting into abdomen. Fatal. Epidemics going back thousands of years till the present.


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CULTURAL DIVERSITY (Cont’d)

  • Dhat syndrome: affects young Indian males. Fear of loss of seminal fluid in nocturnal emissions. Or that semen mixes with urine and is eliminated. Loss of semen: depletes mental and physical energy. Cultural beliefs about the importance of semen, guarantee health and longevity.


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CULTURAL DIVERSITY (CONT’D)

  • Hindu belief: 40 meals to make one drop of blood. 40 drops of blood to make on drop of bone marrow. 40 drops of bone marrow to produce one drop of semen.


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CULTURAL DIVERSITY (CONT’D)

  • Virginity Testing in Sri Lanka

  • Virginity testing is a very important marriage custom in Sri Lanka. A bride who cannot prove her virginity to her husband and her in-laws will have to bear up quite a lot of consequences throughout her life time if the marriage lasts, or the marriage might end on the next day of her marriage.


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