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Sexuality As A Social Concept
Sexuality As An Evolving Concept
Sexual Socialization: Agents
Sexual Socialization: Cause And
Sexuality As An Evolving Concept
• In Western culture, it was the early Christians that
came to view sex as sinful.
• Alarmed by the sexual excesses of Romans, and
influenced by the Greek concept of dualism, early
Church leaders such as Saint Paul argued that
celibacy was necessary for spiritual development.
• Saint Augustine, the major influence on early
Christian beliefs about sex, believed that lust was
the original sin of Adam and Eve and
consequently, that sex was sinful.
• The prevailing view of women’s sexuality began
to change at the time of the Crusades and the
elevation of Mary in the Roman Catholic Church.
• The Virgin Mary was perceived as compassionate
and pure, and thus a dichotomous view of women
evolved: virgins as asexual and pure, and sexually
experienced women who expressed sexual desire
as evil temptresses.
• This virgin/whore dichotomy is still very prevalent
in traditional Latino cultures.
• The general view during the Middle Ages was still
that men were ruled by reason and had more
control of their sexual impulses, while women
were ruled by animal appetites.
• During the Victorian era, we saw a complete
turnabout in the way women were viewed.
• Men were now viewed as sexual aggressors who
could not control their desires.
• Women’s gender roles were very stereotyped at
this time, and they were expected to be
subservient to men and fulfill their roles as wives
and mothers.
• The 1900s witness the advancement of the
feminist movement, greater autonomy for women,
and finally, with the start of the sexual revolution.
Sexuality Of Children
• “In medieval society the idea of childhood did not
• The idea of a separate category called childhood,
different from adults, did not arise until the middle
• In England during the 1600s, children were
believed to be evil.
• During the 1700s, this view gave way to the
modern view of children as vulnerable and
needing protection.
Sex Education
• In the United States, sex education in schools
originated as part of a social hygiene movement to
prevent rising levels of sexually transmitted
• The first printed matter for sex education appeared
in the early 1900s.
• By the mid-1960s, numerous scientific surveys
and studies had been conducted.
• Girls were now included in the same classes as
• In addition to sexual anatomy and sexual health, a
variety of behaviors were presented as normal, so
that people could now engage in masturbation,
oral-genital sex, and homosexual relations without
guilty or shame.
• Today, about 60% of teens have engaged in sexual
intercourse by the time they complete high school.
The Media
– Magazines and Tabloids
• The average American child spends 6 to 8 hours a
day watching, listening to, or reading some form
of the media.
– Television.
• Three-fourths of teenagers today list television and
friends as their major sources of information about
• Researchers have stated: “TV that presents sex as
a distorted, realistic oriented, exploitive, casual
activity without dealing with consequences.”
– Advertisements.
• Sex certainly sells, or at least manufacturers of
perfumes and colognes, liquor and beer, cigarettes
and clothing think so.
Sexual Socialization: Cause And
• A review concluded that frequent sexual content
on television has four major effects on viewers:
– (1)overestimation of the prevalence of certain
sexual activities in the general public;
– (2) disinhibition—a more liberal attitude about
– (3)increased interest in sexual issues; and
– (4) learning about sexual topics.
• It is not just the amount of sexual content that is
important. Perhaps the nature of sexual content in
the media is equally important.
• Europeans generally receive a more balanced
approach from all the various agents of sexual
• Parents are ore open about sex, and school-based
sex education begins early in life for most
European children.