Let ’ s Talk About Sex. Lesson 10: Human Sex and Sexuality. Early Ideas. In early days of anthropology, people believed men and women were fundamentally different Biologically programed to behave different Women – nurturing, dependent, gentle and passive
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Let’s Talk About Sex Lesson 10: Human Sex and Sexuality
Early Ideas • In early days of anthropology, people believed men and women were fundamentally different • Biologically programed to behave different • Women – nurturing, dependent, gentle and passive • Men – rough, independent, and aggressive • Margaret Mead helped dispel this myth • Showed us that sex and gender are separate
Sex and Gender • Sex • Biological distinction between males and females • XX and XY chromosomes • Gender • Social distinction between masculine and feminine • A constructed status • Varies from group to group
Sex as Reproduction • Sex can also be defined as the physical act of reproduction • This is a biological drive in all humans • Despite being universal, how we actually “do it” varies cross culturally • If we asked Americans what they thought was the natural sex position, what would they say?
More than Just Sex Varies • What is erotic to one group may be disgusting to another • Kissing is not universal • Some rub noses • Others may sniff each other • Americans kiss in public; Chinese only in private • Views toward sexual partners also vary • Sex acts between two men are considered “homosexual” in the US • The Sambia do not think the same way
Incest • All human groups exhibit an incest taboo • It’s forbidden to have sex with members of the family • Sex in the nuclear family is universally taboo • From there the rules vary • In the US, it is forbidden to marry one’s first cousin • In the Middle East cousin marriage is common • Justification for this taboo varies • The Trobrianders focus on what happens to the people who committed the act • In the US, the focus is on the offspring
Forms of Political Organization • Chiefdoms • Much larger groups • Egalitarianism completely eroded • Who is their leader? • States • Clearly defined geographic territory • Defends from external threat with a military and internal disorder with a police force • Rigid hierarchy • Controlled by a government
Dr. Jekyll • The US is both conservative and permissive regarding sex. Why? • Puritans cam first • Changes began in the 1840s • The first wave of feminism • The next significant change came in the 1920s • The Flapper • The Depression and World War II slowed change
& Mr. Hyde • The Depression and World War II slowed change • But, there is the untold story of premarital sex and the G.I.s • The Kinsey Reports • This all led to the sexual revolution in the 1960s • Roe v. Wade • The counterrevolution in the 1980s
Back to Biology • Men and women differ at the level of chromosomes • Women = XX Men = XY • This means men and woman have 45 out of 46 chromosomes in common • But not all births are easily put into male or female • Upwards of 1% exhibit sexual ambiguity • Called intersexual