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12. A Topical Approach to. LIFE-SPAN DEVELOPMENT. Gender and Sexuality. John W. Santrock. Gender and Sexuality. Biological, Social, and Cognitive Influences on Gender Gender Comparisons and Classification Gender Development through the Life Span Exploring Sexuality

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life span development

12

A Topical Approach to

LIFE-SPAN DEVELOPMENT

Gender and Sexuality

John W. Santrock

gender and sexuality
Gender and Sexuality
  • Biological, Social, and Cognitive Influences on Gender
  • Gender Comparisons and Classification
  • Gender Development through the Life Span
  • Exploring Sexuality
  • Sexuality through the Life Span
gender and sex

Biological, Social, and Cognitive Influences on Gender

Gender and Sex
  • Gender — social dimension of being female or male
    • Gender role: set of expectations prescribing how females and males should act, feel, and think
    • Gender typing: process by which children acquire thoughts, behaviors, and feelings culturally appropriate for their gender
  • Sex — designates the biological aspects of being female or male
biological influences

Biological, Social, and Cognitive Influences on Gender

Biological Influences
  • Chromosomes — 23rd pair with X and Y
  • Hormones
    • Estrogens
      • Estradiol influences development of female physical sex characteristics and helps regulate menstrual cycle
    • Androgens
      • Testosterone promotes development of male genitals and secondary sex characteristics
biological influences5

Biological, Social, and Cognitive Influences on Gender

Biological Influences
  • Examples of conditions from unusual levels of sex hormones early in development
    • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH)
    • Androgen-insensitive males
    • Pelvic field defect
    • Failed sex reassignment
evolutionary psychology view of gender

Biological, Social, and Cognitive Influences on Gender

Evolutionary Psychology View of Gender
  • Differing roles in reproduction placed different pressures on males and females
  • Key gender differences in sexual attitudes and sexual behaviors
    • Males — competition, violence, risk-taking
    • Females — parenting effort, selection of successful mate
social influences

Biological, Social, and Cognitive Influences on Gender

Social Influences
  • Differences due to social experiences
    • Social role theory: gender differences result from contrasting roles of men and women
    • Psychoanalytic theory of gender: claims child identifies with same-sex parent by age 5 or 6
      • Many disagree, claiming gender learned much earlier (even in absence of same-sex parent)
social influences8

Biological, Social, and Cognitive Influences on Gender

Social Influences
  • Differences due to social experiences
    • Social cognitive theory of gender — gender development results from observation and imitation, use of rewards and punishments for gender-appropriate behaviors
cognitive influences

Biological, Social, and Cognitive Influences on Gender

Cognitive Influences
  • Cognitive development theory of gender
    • Children’s gender typing occurs after they think of themselves as boys and girls; gender constancy must be achieved first
    • Once consistently conceived as male or female, children prefer activities, objects, and attitudes consistent with this label
cognitive influences10

Biological, Social, and Cognitive Influences on Gender

Cognitive Influences
  • Gender schema theory
    • Gender typing emerges gradually in gender schemas of what is culturally gender-appropriate and inappropriate
    • Gender-typed behavior can occur before children develop gender constancy
    • Gender schemas fuel gender typing
gender stereotyping

Gender Comparisons and Classification

Gender Stereotyping
  • Broad categories that reflect our impressions and beliefs about females and males
    • Traditional masculinity and femininity
      • Males instrumental
      • Females expressive
    • Stereotyping varies with culture
    • Stereotyping of occupations
slide12

Gender Comparisons and Classification

Young Children’s Judgments about Competency in Stereotyped Occupations

Fig. 12.3

gender similarities and differences

Gender Comparisons and Classification

Gender Similarities and Differences
  • Physical differences
    • Females have longer life expectancy
    • Females less likely to develop mental or physical disorders
    • Males have higher levels of stress hormones causing faster clotting and higher blood pressure
gender similarities and differences14

Gender Comparisons and Classification

Gender Similarities and Differences
  • Physical differences
    • Female brains are smaller, have more folds
    • Part of hypothalamus involved in sexual behavior is larger in men
    • Area of parietal lobe functioning in visuospatial skills is larger in males
    • Areas of brain involved in emotional expression show more activity in females
cognitive similarities and differences

Gender Comparisons and Classification

Cognitive Similarities and Differences
  • Some claim males better at math and visuospatial skills and females better at verbal skills
  • Others claim differences exaggerated
  • National standardized tests
    • Boys slightly better at math and science
    • Girls better at reading and writing
    • Overall, girls superior students to boys
socioemotional similarities and differences

Gender Comparisons and Classification

Socioemotional Similarities and Differences
  • Aggression
    • Males more physically aggressive in all cultures
    • Females more verbally aggressive; use relational aggression more than men
  • Self-Regulation
    • Males show less self-regulation, can lead to behavioral problems
  • Controversies over psychological differences
socioemotional similarities and differences18

Gender Comparisons and Classification

Socioemotional Similarities and Differences
  • Gender in context
    • Gender varies across contexts
    • Males more likely to help in perceived danger
    • Females more likely to volunteer to help with child
    • Girls show more care-giving behaviors than boys
    • Males more likely to show anger towards strangers and turn anger into aggression
    • Cultural backgrounds influence socialization
masculinity femininity and androgyny

Gender Comparisons and Classification

Masculinity, Femininity, and Androgyny
  • Androgyny— presence of masculine and feminine characteristics in same individual
    • Bem Sex-Role Inventory:
      • Instrumental, expressive traits
      • Context influencing gender role is adaptive
    • Gender-role transcendence— people should be evaluated as persons, not in terms of femininity, masculinity, or androgyny
gender development in childhood

Gender Development through the Life-Span

Gender Development in Childhood
  • Children form many ideas about what the sexes are like from about 1½ to 3 years of age
  • Boys receive earlier and more intense gender socialization
  • Children show clear preference for same-sex peers
  • Gender roles becoming more flexible
gender development in adolescence

Gender Development through the Life-Span

Gender Development in Adolescence
  • Transition point; changes in puberty
  • Gender-intensification hypothesis
    • Psychological and behavioral differences between boys and girls become greater during early adolescence
    • Increased socialization pressures to conform to traditional gender roles
    • Mixed messages and special problems
adulthood and aging

Gender Development through the Life-Span

Adulthood and Aging
  • Women’s Gender Development
    • Women often try to actively participate in others’ development
      • Emotionally
      • Intellectually
      • Socially
    • Women maintain competency, self-motivation, and self-determination in relationships
communication between men and women

Gender Development through the Life-Span

Communication Between Men and Women
  • Rapport talk
    • Language of conversation, a way to establish connections and negotiate relationships
    • Preferred by women
  • Report talk
    • Language designed to give information, including public speaking
    • Preferred by men
adulthood and aging25

Gender Development through the Life-Span

Adulthood and Aging
  • Men’s gender development
    • Male roles are contradictory and inconsistent
    • Can cause role-strain in
      • Health
      • Male-female relationships
      • Male-male relationships
gender and aging

Gender Development through the Life-Span

Gender and Aging
  • Parental imperative
    • Mothers and fathers adopt different gender roles so they can raise children more effectively
    • Older women face double jeopardy of ageism and sexism
    • Older men become more feminine, less active, and more sensitive in relationships
biological and cultural factors

Exploring Sexuality

Biological and Cultural Factors
  • Biological
    • Sexual behavior is influenced by sex hormones
    • Sexual behavior is so individualized in humans that it is difficult to specify hormonal effects
  • Sexual motivation also influenced by cultural factors
biological and cultural factors28

Exploring Sexuality

Biological and Cultural Factors
  • Cultural factors
    • Range of sexual values across cultures is substantial
    • Sexual scripts— stereotyped expectancy patterns for how people should behave sexually
      • Traditional religious script— sex is accepted only within marriage; sex is for reproduction and sometimes affection
      • Romantic script — sex synonymous with love
the 1994 sex in america survey

Noncohabiting

Cohabiting (married)

Men

Men

1%

Never

A few times a year

A few times a month

Women

Women

3%

2 to 3 times a week

4 or more times a week

Exploring Sexuality

The 1994 Sex in America Survey

Fig. 12.6

sexual orientation

Exploring Sexuality

Sexual Orientation
  • Heterosexual attitudes and behavior
    • Different categories for frequency of sex
    • Married couples have sex more often
    • Most couples enjoy traditional sex
    • Adultery is exception, not the rule
    • Men think about sex more than women
    • Most lead conservative sexual lives
sexual orientation31

Exploring Sexuality

Sexual Orientation
  • Attitudes and behaviors of lesbians and gay males
    • Sexual orientation is on continuum
    • Bisexual: sexually attracted to both sexes
    • Research on biological and hormonal differences on sexual preferences unclear
    • Area of hypothalamus governing sexual behavior 2x larger in heterosexual males
the continuum of sexual orientation

0

Exclusively heterosexual behavior

1

Largely heterosexual but incidental homosexualbehavior

3

Largely heterosexual but more than incidental homosexualbehavior

3

Equal amounts of heterosexual and homosexualbehavior

4

Largely homosexual but more than incidental heterosexualbehavior

5

Largely homosexual but incidental heterosexualbehavior

6

Exclusively homosexual behavior

Exploring Sexuality

The Continuum of Sexual Orientation

Fig. 12.7

sexual orientation33

Exploring Sexuality

Sexual Orientation
  • Attitudes and behaviors of lesbians and gay males
    • Gender differences appearing in heterosexual relationships also occurs in homosexual relationships
    • Gay and lesbians experience life as minorities in dominant culture, with bicultural identity
sexually transmitted infections

Exploring Sexuality

Sexually Transmitted Infections
  • Gonorrhea
  • Syphilis
  • Chlamydia
  • Genital Herpes
  • HPV – causes genital warts
  • AIDS – sexually-transmitted disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
protecting against stis

Exploring Sexuality

Protecting Against STIs
  • Education and development of effective drug treatments
  • Only safe behavior is abstinence
  • Know your and your partner’s risk status
  • Obtain medical examinations
  • Have protected, not unprotected, sex
  • Don’t have sex with multiple partners
forcible sexual behavior

Exploring Sexuality

Forcible Sexual Behavior
  • Rape
    • Forcible sexual intercourse without consent; legal definitions vary by state
    • Victims reluctant to report rape; inaccurate stats
    • Occurs more often in large cities; 200,000 rapes reported annually in U.S.
    • Date or acquaintance rape of concern in colleges
sexual harassment

Exploring Sexuality

Sexual Harassment
  • Ranging from remarks to physical contact, blatant propositions to sexual assaults
  • Most victims are women in educational and workplace settings
  • Has serious psychological effects on victim
  • One person’s manifestation of power over another
rape victim offender relationships

50

40

30

Percentage of sample

20

10

0

Classmate

Friend

Boyfriend/ ex-boyfriend

Acquaintance

Other

Offender

Exploring Sexuality

Rape Victim-Offender Relationships

Fig. 12.8

child sexuality

Sexuality through the Life-Span

Child Sexuality
  • Majority of children engage in some sex play
    • Usually with friends or siblings
    • Exhibiting or inspecting the genitals
    • Most motivated by curiosity
    • Sex play declines, but sexual interest remains high in elementary school years
adolescent sexuality

Sexuality through the Life-Span

Adolescent Sexuality
  • Adolescence
    • Time of sexual exploration, experimentation, fantasies, and incorporating sexuality into one’s identity
    • Most have insatiable curiosity about sex
    • Majority develop mature sexual identity; most have times of vulnerability and confusion
    • Societies vary in response to adolescent sexuality
developing a sexual identity

Sexuality through the Life-Span

Developing a Sexual Identity
  • Multifaceted challenge to manage new feelings, develop identity and self-regulation
  • Great variety in orientations, interest levels, anxiety levels, activity, and reasons for choices in activity
  • Gay or lesbian identity: coming-out
  • Homosexual behavior in adolescence may not continue into adulthood
adolescent sexual behaviors

Sexuality through the Life-Span

Adolescent Sexual Behaviors
  • Typical progression of sexual behavior
    • Kissing, followed by petting
    • Intercourse, or oral sex (increased substantially)
    • Males report being active before females
    • Most have sexual intercourse by mid-teens
    • Timing of sexual initiation varies widely by country and gender
risk factors youth assets and sexual problems

Sexuality through the Life-Span

Risk Factors, Youth Assets, and Sexual Problems
  • Personal risk factors
    • Ineffective or lack of use of contraceptives
    • Early maturation linked to early sexual initiation; varies by ethnic group
    • Lack of self-regulation
  • Contextual risk factors
    • Family parenting and SES
    • Neighborhood environment
other risks

Sexuality through the Life-Span

Other Risks
  • Sexually transmitted infections
    • Africa: girls infected with HIV by adult men
  • Adolescent pregnancy
    • U.S. adolescent pregnancy rates decreasing; but one of highest rates in developed world
    • Cross-cultural studies on sexual active adolescents
cross cultural comparisons of pregnancy

80

60

40

Births per 1,000 women 15 to 19 years old

20

0

1970

1975

1980

1985

1990

1995

2000

Year

Sexuality through the Life-Span

Cross-Cultural Comparisons of Pregnancy

Fig. 12.10

decreasing u s adolescent pregnancy rates

Sexuality through the Life-Span

Decreasing U.S. Adolescent Pregnancy Rates
  • Greatest decline in 1990s
    • Increased contraceptive use
    • Fear of STIs
    • Education and health classes
    • Economic prosperity in 1990s
    • Greatest drop in African American girls aged 15-17
    • Latin American girls most likely to get pregnant
consequences of adolescent pregnancy

Sexuality through the Life-Span

Consequences of Adolescent Pregnancy
  • Health risks for mother and child
    • Low birth rate in newborns linked to infant mortality, neurological problems, childhood illness
  • Young mothers more likely to
    • Drop out of school; were low achievers in school
    • Have history of conduct problems
    • Come from low-income backgrounds
    • Live in poverty
sexuality and aging

Sexuality through the Life-Span

Sexuality and Aging
  • Middle adulthood
    • Climacteric — midlife transition in which fertility ends or declines
    • Women —Menopause late forties or early fifties
    • Men— less testosterone, less desire, possible erectile dysfunction (Viagra)
  • Ability to function slows little, frequency drops
sexuality and aging49

Sexuality through the Life-Span

Sexuality and Aging
  • Late adulthood
    • Men experience more changes than women
      • Orgasm less frequent
      • More direct stimulation needed
      • Erection problems more likely after 65
    • Sexuality can be lifelong
    • Two-thirds of older adults satisfied