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Why study sexuality
Important and controversial
People do not understand sexuality
very well
Part of many areas of social life
The more global our view of sexuality,
the more variety we see in the
meanings people attach to sexuality.
Sexual variations
Combination of female and male genitalia
“Trapped in the wrong body”
Kinsey’s Research 1940’s 1950’s
Sexual Behavior in the Human Male
Sexual Behavior in the Human Female
Set the stage for the sexual revolution
Defined sexuality as a proper focus of
scientific study
Showed people were less conventional than
Created a new openness toward sexuality
Kinsey’s continuum
Most evidence indicates sexual orientation
is rooted in human biology
Biological explanations
Simon LeVay
Chromosomes (Twins studies)
Social Explanations (Society plays some
Comparative Research
Comparative research shows sex varies
from culture to culture & place to place positions, frequency, taboos, etc..
Common in low-income countries where
women have fewer economic opportunities
Hierarchy of prostitution
Elite (top) = call girls
Bottom = Streetwalkers
Against the law everywhere in US except
for some parts of Nevada
Legalizing prostitution
Often not simply a personal choice between
Women subjected to violence
Increases spread of STD’s
Many poor women become trapped into selling
Often seen as a victimless crime
Often not reported to police
Official statistics include only women
Most men who rape men are not
Rape Myths
Committed between strangers
Victim provoked their attackers
Motive is simply a desire for sex
Birth control and social norms
As society gains birth control, social norms
regarding sexuality become more
Teen pregnancy
1,000,000 teenagers become pregnant each
Teenage women with low incomes and
weak families have the highest probability
of pregnancy.