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Sexuality As A Social Concept Sexuality As An Evolving Concept Sexual Socialization: Agents Sexual Socialization: Cause And Effect? 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 exist.” • The idea of a separate category called childhood, different from adults, did not arise until the middle 1700s. • 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 diseases. • 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 boys. • 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. Religion • 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 sex. • 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 Effect? • 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 sex; – (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 socialization. • Parents are ore open about sex, and school-based sex education begins early in life for most European children.