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Sexuality Why study sexuality sociologically? 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. Research Comparative (Global) Research Comparative research shows sex varies from culture to culture & place to place positions, frequency, taboos, etc.. The more global our view of sexuality, the more variety we see. 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 assumed Created a new openness toward sexuality Homosexuality Kinsey’s continuum Most evidence indicates sexual orientation is rooted in human biology Biological explanations Simon LeVay Hormones Chromosomes (Twins studies) Social Explanations (Society plays some role) Sexual variations Hermaphrodites Transsexuals (Transgender) Combination of female and male genitalia “Trapped in the wrong body” Transvestites Prostitution Often seen as a victimless crime Often not simply a personal choice between adults Women subjected to violence Increases spread of STD’s Many poor women become trapped into selling sex Prostitution Common in low-income countries where women have fewer economic opportunities Hierarchy of prostitution Elite (top) = call girls (or escorts) Young, attractive, well educated Bottom = Streetwalkers Against the law everywhere in US except for some parts of Nevada Legalizing prostitution Rape Often not reported to police Official statistics include only women victims Most men who rape men are not homosexual False beliefs about rape Committed between strangers Victim encouraged 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 permissive. Teen pregnancy Increasing 1,000,000 teenagers become pregnant each year. Teenage women with low incomes and weak families have the highest probability of pregnancy.