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Sexual Motivation 374-378. Sex Is Natural. We are all motivated to have sex. Without that motivation, none of us would be here . . How do we (as scientists) find out about sex?. We ask!!!!. Sex is a basic (biological) human motivation… but NOT an instinct.

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sex is natural
Sex Is Natural
  • We are all motivated to have sex.
  • Without that motivation, none of us would be here.

How do we (as scientists) find out about sex?

We ask!!!!

sex is a basic biological human motivation but not an instinct
Sex is a basic (biological) human motivation… but NOT an instinct.
  • Non human mammals – sex triggered by hormonal changes in females (in “heat)
  • Human sex behavior less biologically determined… more psychological
kinsey s studies
Kinsey’s Studies
  • Confidential interviews with 18,000 people (in early 1950’s at Indiana University).
  • Cleared up many common myths about sexual behavior:
    • premarital sex common in both genders
    • Almost all men and women masturbate
    • Women who had sex before marriage were still able to achieve orgasm with their husband. Not “ruined”

Good Start- but major problems with his study- sampling, questions etc….

the physiology of sex
The Physiology of Sex
  • In the 1960’s William Masters and Virginia Johnson set out to explore the physiology of sex.
  • 382 females and 312 males.
  • Filmed more than 10,000 sex cycles.
    • Sexual intercourse
    • Masturbation

Masters and Johnson's study

results of m j study
Results of M & J Study

The Sexual Response Cycle (Four Stages)

  • Excitement Phase: genitals become engorged in blood (men and women) and women will lubricate.
  • Plateau Phase:
    • excitement peaks
    • Breathing and pulse increases
    • tip of penis may exhibit seminal fluid, clitoris retracts- orgasm feels imminent.
results of m j study continued
Results of M & J Study (Continued)
  • Orgasm: muscle contractions all over the body
    • women’s contractions may help propel sperm and position uterus to increase chances of conception.
  • Resolution Phase: everything slows down and men enter a refractory period (which can last from minutes to over a day) where he is incapable of another orgasm.
quiz question 1
  • Sexual motivation in women is most influenced by:
    • The level of estrogen
    • The level of testosterone
    • The phase of the menstrual cycle
    • Social and psychological factors
quiz question 2
Quiz Question 2
  • According to Masters and Johnson, the sexual response of males is most likely to differ from that of females during:
    • The excitement phase
    • The plateau phase
    • Orgasm
    • The resolution phase
the psychology of sex 378 383
The Psychology of Sex 378-383
  • Only some people are externals when it comes to hunger- but we are all externals when it comes to sex.
heiman 4 tape study
Heiman 4 Tape Study
  • Men and women exposed to 4 different video tapes
    • Sexually explicit
    • Romantic
    • Both romantic and sexually explicit
    • Control (nature)
  • People can find sexually explicit images either pleasing or disturbing- but they are none the less biologically arousing.
can external sexual stimuli have adverse effects
Can External Sexual Stimuli have adverse effects?

1. Movies of women being coerced or forced into sex tend to increase the viewer’s acceptance of the false idea that women can enjoy it.


2. Viewing X-Rated films can diminish people’s satisfaction with their own partners. Expectations change.

3. After viewing attractive women or men on TV- people judge their own partners as less attractive.

imagined stimuli
Imagined Stimuli
  • Imagery (dreams and daydreams) lead to sexual excitement and orgasm.
  • Fantasies = reality??? What about a woman that fantasizes about a man “taking her”?
    • Rape myth

Does a woman really want a Fabio taking advantage of her in reality?

adolescent sexuality
Adolescent Sexuality


  • About ½ of all high school kids in US report having sex- rates are higher in Western Europe but lower in Arab or Asian countries.

Also change over time in the same culture: in 1900 3% of women reported having sex by 18. Now that number is around half.

gender differences
Gender Differences
  • Males more likely to fantasize and initiate sexual activity
  • Males more likely to be ok with casual sex
  • Recreational vs Relational sex
  • Are women choosier?
only about 1 3 of sexually active male teenagers use condoms why
Only about 1/3 of sexually active male teenagers use condoms- WHY?
  • Ignorance
  • Guilt around sex
  • No Communication
  • Alcohol Use
  • Mass Media norms of unprotected promiscuity
sexual disorders
Sexual Disorders
  • Continually impairs sexual functioning and response cycle
  • Most common in young women and older men
    • Women = orgasmic disorder
    • Men = premature ejaculation, Erectile Dysfunction
sexual orientation

We have discussed the energizing of sexual motivation but have yet to discuss its direction:

Sexual Orientation
  • An enduring sexual attraction toward members of either one's own gender or the other gender.
how is sexual orientation determined
How is Sexual Orientation Determined?
  • There has been NO evidence that sexuality is socially determined.
  • Kids raised by gay parents are no more likely to be gay that if they were raised by hetero parents.

Thus, it is likely that sexuality is biologically determined.

the brain
The Brain
  • Simon LeVay – cluster of cells in hypothalamus that are larger in heterosexual men than heterosexual women or homosexual men.
  • However, the cluster could be socially developed or some other biological factor.
  • If one identical twin is homosexual, the other twin has about a 50% chance of being gay (about 20% for fraternal twins).

What does this mean?

prenatal environment
Prenatal Environment
  • More androgen (hormone) in the womb may cause homosexuality in either gender.
  • We have been able to create lesbian sheep!!!
quiz question 11
  • Which of the following statements concerning homosexuality is true?
    • Homosexuals have abnormal hormone levels
    • As children, most homosexuals were molested
    • Homosexuals had a domineering opposite sex parent
    • Sexual orientation maybe at least partly physiological
quiz question 21
  • Which of the following is true regarding gender and sexuality?
    • Men and women believe in sex between two people who like each other even if they have known each other for a short time
    • Men are more likely than women to cite affection as a reason for first intercourse
    • Men are more likely than women to interpret warmth as a sexual come-on.
    • Today, women are more likely to initiate sexual activity