Evolutionary

  • Sociobiology: using evolutionary biology to under social behavior of animals (i.e humans)
  • Certain sexual behaviours evolved because it gave ancestors an evolutionary advantage
  • Natural Selection: best adapted will contribute more offspring Evolution: hereditable traits passed on
  • Attempts to explain why we court each, how we judge appearance, emotional care/bonds
  • Sexual Selection: selection that results from differences in traits affecting access to mates
  • Intra. Competition between one gender (usually men) for access to the other gender
  • Inter. Selection of a suitable mate by one gender (usually women) of the other gender
  • Criticism: Sociobiology believe the primary reason for sex is reproduce. However today that isn’t the case.  Can’t test some theories. Biological Determinism. “Spandrel”: trait the arose without function or as the results of another evolutionary trait (i.e male nipple)

Evolutionary Psychology

  • Focuses on how psychological mechanisms and processes have shaped sexual behavior directly
  • Believe that not only did behavior evolve but emotional and psychology protocols in sexual nature did as well
  • Men have lower standards in short term relationships than long term ones while women primarily seek mates with ample resources.
  • Both men and women prefer long term mates short-term partners

Psychoanalytic Theory

Created by Freud; individuals are driven by libido (sexually energy) and thanatos (death instinct)

Id: According to Freud, the part of the personality containing the libido; present at birth= pleasure principle

Ego: works on the reality principle. Makes the urges of the Id behavior in a rational and socially acceptable way

Superego: Operates on the idealism principle. It aims to inhibits the ID and make the ego pursue moral goals instead of realistic ones.

Id develops first at birth, then the Ego once the child learns to interacts with the world and finally the Superego once the child is taught morals.

Erogenous Zones: various regions of the body where the libido is focused that when touched are aroused (lips, mouth, genitals, anus, rectum)

The Development of Personality

  • the oral stagethis is found in the first years of life. They are usually bad habits that are acquired over the years such as drinking, smoking, and biting your nails. They are not welcoming towards others’ ideas and are hostile.
  • the anal stagethis is caused when too much penalty is given during potty training; focused on elimination. There is two possible outcomes; anal retentive personality (stingy, stubborn, and demands tidiness/order) and anal expulsive personality (messy, careless, and lacks self control).
  • the phallic stage this is where the boys start to act like their fathers and the girls start to act like their mothers. The boys believe their fathers know for their sexual desires for their mothers, and the girls believe the same for their fathers. The boys believe their fathers will castrate them, so they suppress their feelings. The girls realizes she lacks a penis, and therefore envies her father because he has one.
  • the latency stagethis stage lasts until puberty. Mental conflicts start to occur because the child begins school and other influences start to affect them. Freud believes sexual desires are most prominent during this stage.
  • the genitals stage begins at puberty and is the beginning of mature adult sexuality. The sexual desires are now solely in the genital area and is directed towards sex.

Oedipus Complex: sexual attraction of a boy to his mother. Boy yearns for his mother sexually and comes to fear his father will cut off his penis; causes castration anxiety.  Boy then comes to identify with his father and acquire characteristics expected by males in society.

Electra Complex: the sexual attraction of a little girl to her father. She suffers penis envy; yearns for male genitals. Eventually gives of that desire and identifies with her mother; switching her erogenous zone to her vagina and focuses on child birth.

Criticism: The theory cannot be tested with any scientific methodology or basis.

Classical Conditioning

  • Classical conditioning – learning to associate two stimuli such that one stimulus comes to produce a response that originally was only produced by the other stimulus
  • Pavlov discovered that when a stimulus is associated with food, dogs will learn to associate the stimulus with food, and will salivate
    • Before conditioning:
      • Tone > No salivation
      • Food (UCS) > Salivation (UCR)
    • During conditioning:
      • Tone (CS) + Food (UCS) > Salivation (UCR)
    • After conditioning:
      • Tone (CS) > Salivation (CR)
  • It is  theory that fetishes arose from classical conditioning..

Operant Conditioning

  • Operant conditioning – type of learning in which behaviour is influenced by its consequences
  • Law of Effect (Thorndike) – in a given situation, a response followed by an unsatisfying outcome will become less likely to occur
  • B. F. Skinner viewed operant conditioning as form of natural selection that facilitates personal adaptation
    • Skinner box – box with lever that, if pulled, drops food into cup
    • Skinner found that rat will press bar more frequently over time
  • Several important types of consequences:
    • Reinforcement – response is strengthened by an outcome that follows it
      • Caused by reinforcer (such as food)
    • Punishment – response is weakened by an outcome that follows it
      • Caused by punisher (electric shock)
  • Skinner’s analysis of operant behaviour involves three events
    • Antecedents – stimuli prevented before behaviour occurs
    • Behaviours – behaviour that the organism emits
    • Consequences – what follows the behaviour
  • Behavior Modification: the use of operant conditions to modify human behavior
  • Social Learning: imitation and identification. Useful in explaining how individuals learn gender identifies and roles of males and females.
  • Behavior is most likely to be repeated if it is approved, widely done, and self-efficacy: the individual has a sense of competence when performing an activity
  • Social Exchange Theory: people will choose actions that maximize rewards and minimize costs
  • People only partake in relationships if there is profitable outcome for them?
  • People are most likely to remain in relationships where benefits are high and cost are low; and there is equity among the two parties involved.

Cognition Theory

  • What people think and perceive is very important to sex & sexual behaviors
  • Gender Schema Theory: a general knowledge framework of how each gender should act, look, behavior etc. .
  • We tend to focus on things that are consist with our gender schemes and ignore those which do not (.ie experiment gender pictures shown to children)
  • Theory of Planned Behaviors (Ajzen & Fisbein): Intention is the psychological precursor to action. Intentions determined by: Attitudes (positive or negative), Subjective norms (is it considered normal), Control (Are you in control)

Sociological Theory

Interested in ways which society or culture shapes human sexuality. Focus on three things:

  • Every society regulates the sexuality of it members
  • Basic institutions of society affect the rules that govern the sexuality of the society
  • How appropriate sexual behavior is, depends on the culture

Things that can affect sexual rules/studies:

  • Family (what is taught in families and parental restraints)
  • Religion/ Advocate Groups (protest groups)
  • Government (funding)
  • Economy (work hours of families and leisure time of individuals)
  • Law (status of age of consent, prostitution etc.)
  • Medicine (availability of sexual contraception)

Symbolic Interaction Theory: proposes human nature and social order are products of communication among people.

Sexual Scripts (Gagnon & Simon): outcome of social influences; we learn the meaning of sexual behaviors through the interactions with each other. (i.e first date script, day of sex script, one night stand script)

Atheoretical Research: The vast majority of science research on sex is often non-scientific (with theories/ hypothesis); because we lack scientists in the field, its controversial, it is still a taboo/ private

Societal Importance of Sex (Ira Reiss):

1) Source of reproduction

2) Linked to the power structure of society

3) Sex is linked to ideologies of the culture

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