Sexual behavior is a highly controversial topic. Different cultural groups have varying beliefs regarding the appropriateness and morality of various sexual behaviors, when these behaviors should occur and with whom, the age at which sexual behavior should occur, and so forth. Sexual behavior is a common topic in religion, politics, and education. It is so grounded in cultural and religious belief systems that accepting differences in others’ sexual behavior is difficult, if not impossible, for some.
Not only are there differing religious and cultural views on sexuality, but there are also different views and perceptions of gender-related aspects of sexuality within cultural groups. For example, in some cultures, prepubescent, same-sex experimentation is expected and encouraged prior to adulthood, whereas this behavior is perceived as abnormal in most Western societies. In some cultures, women are perceived as having a much lower sex drive than men, and older adults may be perceived as having no sex drive at all. As with any perception, when society acts on an assumption, people are impacted. As a simple example, if you assume that older adults do not have sex and construct barriers for sexual activity in assisted living facilities, the psychological well being of the residents in that facility may be affected. Understanding the differences in sexuality in different cultural groups is an important aspect of understanding the whole person and the person’s behavior.
For this Discussion, you analyze two case studies of individuals who have multiple identities related to sex, gender, and sexual orientation and consider how these identities would affect aspects of their lives if they lived in your culture.
- Review the two case studies in this week’s Learning Resources and consider the subjects’ specific identities related to sex, gender, and sexual orientation.
- Think about how Alberto and Jeanette would experience life in your culture given their specific identities.
- Consider the advantages and challenges that Alberto and Jeanette may face regarding friendships, romantic relationship, and sexuality within your culture.
By Day 4
Post a brief description of your culture. Then explain the advantages and challenges that Alberto and Jeanette would encounter related to friendships, romantic relationships, and sexuality in your culture.
Two case studies: Case Study: Alberto Alberto is an 18-year-old genetically born male. He is the eldest of four siblings; he has two brothers (ages 17 and 14) and a sister (age 12). From the time Alberto was a young child, his parents noticed that he was quiet and shy compared to other boys his age. He learned to read at a very young age and was content to curl up with a book rather than play with other children. Several of Alberto’s early grade school teachers referred to him as “sensitive” and “gentle” for a boy. Alberto was very close to his siblings growing up, often acting as caregiver or babysitter when needed, and he generally helped out a great deal at home with chores. When he showed a keen interest in science and creative writing during middle school, Alberto was encouraged by several teachers to join school academic clubs to foster these interests. Alberto did so, and he built a small but close group of friends. Alberto’s father, hoping to “toughen him up,” tried to encourage Alberto to participate in sports, such as football or basketball, but Alberto showed no interest. During 10th grade, Alberto became the target of bullying by several older boys at school. They frequently verbally harassed him, calling him names like “sissy” and “Alberta” and using slurs related to his mixed-ethnic heritage. Occasionally, one of the boys would shove Alberto into the hallway lockers or spit at him in the cafeteria. Subsequently, Alberto struggled both academically and socially in 11th and 12th grades. He started to have sexual and romantic thoughts about other boys. Although he was close to his group of friends, he did not feel comfortable sharing these feelings with anyone. He had a girlfriend through part of his senior year; although he found her attractive, he was confused about his romantic and sexual feelings toward her. They spent most weekend evenings together, but they limited their physical relationship to mostly kissing, holding hands, and cuddling. Alberto recently graduated high school and is planning to attend college. Although he is close with his mother and would like to talk to her about his feelings, he has not shared any of his confusion about his sexuality with her, as she is very religious and he fears she would become angry and reject him.
Case Study: Jeanette Jeanette is a 34-year-old genetically born female. She is an only child who was raised by her father and grandparents. When Jeanette was eight years old, her mother died as a result of a car accident. As a young woman, Jeanette was very successful in school, often advancing far more quickly than her peers with normal academic milestones. She was able to maintain very high grades despite occasional experimentation with drugs and alcohol. Jeanette was well liked and well regarded by both her classmates and her teachers. Jeanette attended an elite private college on a partial scholarship; she worked part time on campus to supplement her scholarship funds. It was during college that Jeanette realized she was attracted to both men and women. After a brief “coming out” period, she was fairly open about her sexuality. She also realized she was interested in a career in law and pursued her juris doctorate immediately upon completion of her bachelor’s degree. Now a successful criminal prosecutor, Jeanette loves her job and has aspirations to advance in the law firm where she works and then pursue a career in local politics. She enjoys the demanding pace and the challenging and unpredictable nature of prosecuting criminal defendants. In addition to her career, Jeanette enjoys a wide range of physical activities as an outlet for stress. She is particularly drawn to highly competitive and risky sports, such as martial arts and large wave surfing. She has participated in various marathons and is currently training for an Ironman triathlon competition. She takes great pride in her athletic ability and stamina, and she frequently visits the gym. Jeanette has remained, for the most part, single. She has had several relationships with both men and women; these relationships lasted a few months. However, she finds it difficult to maintain a relationship given the demands of her job and sporting interests. She prefers to casually date and enjoys an active sexual life. Recently, she has begun to experience some challenges at work with regard to advancement and her direct supervisor. On several occasions, he has made vague comments about women who are not “feminine” and jokes about how the “old boys club” at the office is disappearing. Despite having a very successful prosecution record, Jeanette received a very lukewarm annual performance evaluation. Her supervisor commented specifically about his concerns regarding © 2017 Laureate Education, Inc. her leadership ability, and he wondered aloud if she might “soften” her approach a bit.
Readings for this week;
Helgeson, V. S. (2017). Psychology of gender (5th ed.). New York, NY: Taylor and Francis.
Chapter 9, “Romantic Relationships” (pp. 377–428)
Lehmiller, J. J. (2013). Psychology of human sexuality. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Chapter 1, “Theoretical Perspectives on Human Sexuality” (pp. 2–26)
Chapter 6, “Sexual Orientation” (pp. 144–170)
Please incorporate readings and case studies in answer.
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