Understanding Human Sexuality - Hyde & Delamater - 13th edition - BulletPoints


What does the field of sexuality entail? - BulletPoints 1

  • A lot of contemporary research is based on the gender binary, this is the notion that there are only two genders, being male and female. Also, the activities that are included in sex are debatable. Biologists describe sex as every behaviour that can cause the encounter of an egg-cell and sperm-cell. However, sexual behaviour is not only used for reproduction, but also for recreation. Therefore, in this book, sexual behaviour is described as behaviour that cause arousal and increases the chance of an orgasm.

  • Culture is defined as the traditional norms and values that are transferred through group members by cultural symbols, such as language. These ideas and values are the basis for behavioural patterns for members of that group. Etnocetrism influences that understanding of sexual behaviour because most people experience sex through the eyes of their culture.

  • Sexual health is the political and social movement that is directed towards a shift of focus towards sexual health and sexual rights.


What are the theoretical perspectives on sexuality? - BulletPoints 2

  • The evolutionary biology to understand social behaviour in animals is called socio-biology. The socio-biologist will study human sexual behaviour by examining patterns in other species. From the evolution perspective the most important function of sex is producing healthy offspring. This happens through sexual selection, in which animals that are best at adapting to their environment will survive.

  • There are several psychological theories that are relevant for studying sexual behaviour. These are the psycho-analytic theory, social exchange theory, learning theory and cognitive theory.

  • Most sociologists view sexuality using three basic assumptions, the first is that every society regulates the sexuality of its citizens. The second is that the inappropriateness or appropriateness of sexuality depends upon the institutional context in which it happens. The third assumption is that basic institutions of society affect the rules that citizens are subjected to by the government. Each of the institutions explained below has its own view on sexuality and an ideology about beliefs and behaviours.


What kind of research in the field of sexology is there? - BulletPoints 3

  • One important consideration is the population that is being used. The question here is who do we want to study? A scientist should always take a sample of the population. If the sample is a random sample, the results can be generalized to the population that was originally identified. However, random sampling is difficult because selecting a random one out of every fifty people in the United States can be tricky. Therefore, probability sampling is often used. Here, participants are selected based on characteristics meaning that the results are not generalizable to the whole population.

  • Meta-analysis is a technique to create order among different studies on the same topic. It is a statistical technique where results from different studies are combined to determine what, taken together these studies say.

  • Most research discussed so far uses quantitative measures, however qualitative measures can give useful insights into the subject as well. Qualitative research is done in a naturalistic, holistic manner which includes observation and in-depth interviewing of a participant. The results are conveyed into words instead of numbers.


What are the differences in sexual anatomy for men and women? - BulletPoints 4

  • The female sexual organs are divided into external -and internal organs. The external organs are the clitoris, the inner lips, the mons pubis, the vaginal opening and the outer lips. Together they are called the vulva. Its appearance differs from one woman to another.

  • The most notable parts of the sexual organs of the male are the scrotum, scrotal sac and the penis.

  • Circumcision is the removal of foreskin. It can be done for religious or cultural reasons and symbolizes the covenant between the Jewish people and god.


What are sex hormones, sexual differentation and the menstrual cycle? - BulletPoints 5

  • During the prenatal period most differences between men and women arise. This complex process is named: parental sexual differentiation.

  • A new human starts from a single cell and develops into a male or female. The specific chromosomes within that cell determine its gender. Two X chromosomes is typically a woman, an X and Y chromosome becomes a man. These chromosomes give instructions on which organs to develop.

  • Aside from differentiation in the genitals, there is also brain differentiation. Epigenetics refers to changes in DNA that does not alter the DNA code, but rather leads to changes in the expression of specific genes. Genes responsible for brain differentiation can be found in several genes.


What are the main notes on conception, pregnancy & childbirth? - BulletPoints 6

  • When a woman is ovulating, the egg is released from the follicle into the ovary and enters the fallopian tube.

  • The sperm is attracted to the egg by a chemical attractant. Sperm produces hyaluronidase, which dissolves the thin layer around the egg called zona pellucida. When an egg is fertilized it is called a zygote. In the first eight weeks the conceptus is called embryo and after that foetus.

  • A drug taken during pregnancy will also circulate through the body of the foetus. Drugs that may cause severe consequences are called teratogens.

  • During the postpartum period (after childbirth) there are both physical and psychological changes happening to the woman. Attachment to the baby and sex with the partner also play an important role in the postpartum period.


What do the elements of conception and abortion entail? - BulletPoints 7

  • Contraception is not as controversial as it used to be. Nowadays effective anticonception methods are available for a variety of reasons. For example, people who are not in a relationship typically want to prevent pregnancy. The fact that anticonception is becoming better more ordinary has a positive impact on the number of teen pregnancies, especially in the United States. Another good reason is the reduction of healthcare costs by avoiding unnecessary abortions.

  • The failure rate or pregnancy rate is the number of women who become pregnant during a year of contraception. There is the failure rate for perfect users and the failure rate for typical users.

  • Withdrawal is a contraceptive method where the penis is withdrawn from the vagina before ejaculation. It is not a very effective method and the failure rate lies around twenty-two percent. However, it remains the only last-minute method and can be used when nothing else is available.


What is meant by sexual arousal? - BulletPoints 8

  • Sexual response commonly happens in three stages: excitement, orgasm and resolution. The physiological mechanisms are myotonia and vasocongestion. Vasocongestion takes place when a major deal of blood flows in regional blood vessels, such as the genitals. Myotonia is the contraction of the muscles throughout the body, so not only in the genitals.

  • The orgasm in males exists from contractions of the pelvic organs. In the preliminary stage of the orgasm the prostate, seminal vesicles contract and the vas contract. This drives the ejaculate into a bulb at the base of the urethra. The sensation is called ejaculatory inevitability.

  • Many people believe the woman can experience two types of orgasms, the clitoral and the vaginal orgasm. These types refer to the area of stimulation. However, according to Masters and Johnson (1966) there is no difference. The area of stimulation does not cause any different response.


How does sexuality change in the childhood and adolescence? - BulletPoints 9

  • Freud was one of the first to acknowledge sexuality in children. The capacity to show sexual responses are present from birth. Reflex erections even happen before birth in the uterus. The first intimate relation that is experiences is with a parent, especially with the mother. This relationship involves a lot of physical contact can produces a sensuous response.

  • Sexuality plays an important and positive role in adolescence and psychological development. However, not all adolescence sex is good. Most research found the negative aspects and consequences of adolescent sex for the family and society. Both social and biological factors are important in the adolescent development of sexuality.

How does sexuality change in the adulthood? - BulletPoints 10

  • The sexual development starts from childhood and by the time people are in their adulthood they are aware of their sexual orientation -and identity. The identification of our sexual preferences is a form of maturity in sexual unfolding. Learning to communicate with sexual partners is difficult for a lot of people, because of the lack of role models in our society. Other problems are responsibility about sex and the development of the capacity for intimacy.

  • People with high scores on narcissism and impulsiveness are more likely to engage in infidelity. Also, dissatisfaction with marriage can result in infidelity. Mate retention tactics refer to behaviours related to preserve a relationship. They might be initiated by a fear of the partner losing interest or being dissatisfied. Men use other resources for mate retention than women. Men are more likely to give resources of display, such as money. Women are more likely to appear attractive or make positive verbal statements.


What do the aspects of attraction, love and communication entail? - BulletPoints 11

  • Intimate relationships are important for two reasons: one is the desire to have children and two is mutual trust and recognition by the other person. People have a need for interpersonal support to cope with stress successfully. There are several descriptions of intimacy:

    • Some features of intimacy are honesty, self-disclosure, warmth, caring, openness, mutual commitment, dropping defences and surrendering control.

    • The description of emotional intimacy is the verbal sharing and mutual self-disclosure, but also declarations of loving, liking and affection.

  • The complex phenomena of love are caused by the neural system and chemical bodily reactions. For example, dopamine is related to mating and increases the likelihood of bonding as a pair. Also, prolactin and oxytocin are produced when a passionate lover is present. Furthermore, oxytocin contributes to a long-term relationship as it is stimulated by touch, sexual touching and orgasm. Levels with interpersonal trust correlate to levels of oxytocin.

  • An effective communicator is concerned with the intent of a message, which is what you mean. Impact is also important and is what the other person thinks you mean. Lastly, an effective communicator is one who matches impact and intent.


What are the differences in gender concerning sexuality? - BulletPoints 12

  • Gender is one of the most basic status characteristics. People feel uncomfortable with uncertainty about another person’s gender. This is rooted in the gender binary, the classification of people into either the category male or female.
  • One major psychological difference between men and women is aggressiveness. Males are more aggressive than feunderstanding humanmales. Also, males and females differ in their way of communication. Self-disclosure in friendships happens more often in girls than boys. The norms about self-disclosure are changing, whereas traditional roles favoured emotional expression, but emotional avoidance in boys there is now a change that good communication and equal self-disclosure should come from both genders.
  • The term transgender refers more to a gender identity than a sexual deviation. Transgender is a name for people whose gender does not match their assigned gender at birth.


Which aspects does sexual orientation entail? - BulletPoints 13

  • Sexual orientation depends on the person someone is sexually attracted to with a potential for loving. A homosexual is sexually attracted to people from the same gender. A heterosexual has a sexual orientation towards the other gender and bisexual is sexually oriented towards both genders.
  • In America, many people disapprove homosexuality and some experts even believe their attitudes can be described as homophobia. This is the irrational fear in combination with fixed negative attitudes towards homosexuals. When these feelings are not strong enough to be named phobia, these negative attitudes are called antigay prejudice. These people also express heterosexism, the belief that everyone is heterosexual.
  • Women are more likely to be bisexual instead of solely homosexual. Also, women show more flexibility over time in their sexual orientation. Women show sexual arousal for both male and female stimuli. Men are more specific in their sexual arousal; heterosexual men are aroused by female and not male stimuli whereas homosexual man show the reverse pattern.


Which variations in sexual behavior are there? - BulletPoints 14

  • The definition of paraphilia is the intense sexual interest in sexual stimulation other than with normal human partners. Paraphilia is not necessarily a mental disorder but might require intervention. When the person feels great distress either caused by societal pressure or unwilling sexual partners the paraphilia can be classified a disorder.
  • According to the analysis of Carnes in his book “sexual addiction”, sexually addictive behaviour proceeds in a four-step cycle:
    • The first is preoccupation where someone is unable to think about something else than the sexual act of the addiction.
    • Rituals refer to the repetitive motions that become prelude to the addictive act.
    • Compulsive sexual behaviour is the behaviour the person does not have control about.
    • Despair is the feeling of hopelessness that results from the addiction.
  • The distress or harm caused by sexual disorders calls for prevention methods. The best way would be to prevent the sexual variation from happening in the first place. It is problematic due to the difficulty to diagnose sexual variations. Another option is to analyse components of sexual development. Disturbances in these components might give clues on prevention of sexual variations.


What is meant by sexual coercing? - BulletPoints 15

  • The definition of rape is the non-consensual vaginal, oral or anal penetration obtained by force. The most important point is that the victim did not consent to it. The impact is high, psychological distress such as depression, suicide ideation and attempt, anxiety and posttraumatic stress are often reported after rape. The long-term psychological distress suffered by someone who experiences an uncontrollable and terrifying event is called posttraumatic stress disorder.
  • Alcohol plays a significant role in the motive for rape. Intoxicated men are more likely to commit a crime of sexual assault then men who are not. The correlation between alcohol and rape is unclear. Does someone drink to create a motive for sexual assault or is the disappearance of boundaries after drinking alcohol the trigger?
  • Incest covers a large percentage of child sexual abuse. Not only parents or adult family are causes, but also sibling incest occurs. The effects of child sexual abuse are considerable. The child may be traumatized and testifying repeatedly after reporting the crime is association with even worse outcomes. CSA affects both mental and physical health and can cause anxiety, depression, eating disorders, alcohol and drug dependence and negative feelings about sex.


What are the aspects related to sex for sale? - BulletPoints 16

  • People that engage in partnered sex and are rewarded with material gifts, money or other payment are considered commercial sex workers or prostitutes. The venue where this sex word takes place depends on the client and type of sex worker.
  • Sex trafficking is described by Hynes and Raymond (2002) as the recruitment of sex workers for sexual exploitation. Some sex workers are recruited from third world countries with the promise of a good job as dancer, nanny or secretary. When these women arrive in the county their travel documents are taken away and they are forced to work in a brother or massage parlour. A different type is the child sex slave, where a child is forced into sexual labour and is harmed with physical violence.
  • Material intended to produce sexual arousal is called pornography. There is a lot of discussion going on about what type of pornography is tolerable. In legal terms the word obscenity is used to describe offensive materials. There is a distinction between hard-core pornography and erotica or soft-core pornography.


What sexual disorders are there? -  17

  • A sexual disorder is described as a problem with responses in sexuality that cause mental distress. Another term is sexual dysfunction. Defining a sexual disorder is not straightforward because the disorders are spread over a continuum. There is a distinction between a lifelong sexual disorder that was present from the moment sexual development began and an acquired sexual disorder, which developed after some time of normal sexual functioning.
  • The two-component theory of love describes that love depends on the fulfilment of two conditions: the physical arousal itself and the cognitive label: “love” attached to it. Palace (1995) argues that sexual functioning is good when people are sexually aroused and have the label of “sexual arousal” attached to it. People with sexual disorders tend to misinterpret arousal as anxiety. Research proved that the combination of cognitive and physiological factors can help treatment for sexual disorders.
  • It can be difficult to find a good sex therapist, but the medical psychological association can provide a list with qualified sex therapists that have a special training in sex therapy. It is best to choose a therapist that uses an integrated approach because of the recognition of all factors that can contribute (cognitive, biological etc.).


What kind of sexually transmitted infections are there? - BulletPoints 18

  • It is important to know, prevent and treat sexually transmitted diseases (STD) or sexually transmitted infections (STI). Sexually transmitted infections are more common among youth, age fifteen to twenty-four and the infections human papillomavirus (HPV), trichomoniasis and chlamydia are the most common. Prevention efforts are not working as well as they should as this age group accounts for half of the STIs in the United States.
  • Genital Herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) and is a disease in the genital organs. There are two types of the virus: HSV-1 and HSV-2. Both types can cause genital herpes and sores around the mouth. Many people with the virus are asymptomatic and can transmit the disease unknowingly.
  • Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is caused by the human immune deficiency virus (HIV). HIV destroys the natural system of disease immunity of the body. The terms global epidemic and pandemic have been used for a reason: worldwide there are about seventy-five million people infected with HIV and it causes about one point six million deaths worldwide each year. HIV can be transmitted trough semen, blood and secretions of the vagina and cervix.


What are the aspects of ethics and religion related to sexuality? - BulletPoints 19

  • Fundamentally, ethics refers to right or wrong. It also refers to a set of principles put together by a specific group of people. When there are two things that are desired, ethics are used to choose among them. Sexual decisions are integrated in our pattern of decision making. Religion provides an ethical code and provides rules, rewards and sanctions. It helps create culture and thus is an important influence on individuals and shapes a society’s orientation towards sexuality.
  • The concept of sexuality can cause conflicts in society because there is no consensus on the norms of sexual behaviour. The debate over the limits of sexuality resembles the clash between old and new morality. The view of old morality is also described as moralism, that there are objectified standards which need to be followed. The new morality is based on pluralism which is a more complex view of morality.


Which laws concerning sex are there? - BulletPoints 20

  • Even though sex has become a much more private subject, most societies have laws for sexual behaviour. These rules should free people from sexual assault and coercion and that children should not be sexually exploited.
  • The Victorian compromise refers to the conflict in attitudes about sexuality and results in the law not criminalizing the behaviour per se, but the conduct that is visible to the outside world. The study of sex and the law reflects inequality, sexuality, sexual identities and individuality of a society.
  • The privacy of sexuality is intruded by the law and sex laws are enforced with great inconsistency. The number of severe sexual crimes and the fluctuation in enforcement and punishment reflects on the ambivalence of society against the subject. This calls for a reform in the sex-law system. However, the consequences of sex offences are enormous, someone can lose friendships, family and reputation. It is debatable if such consequences should apply for such private acts. The public good is more often violated by the enforcement of sex laws, rather than the prevention of the sexual crime.






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