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Chapter 2: Contents of Sexuality: Culture, History, and Religion Discussion Topics Discussion Topic 2.1: Culture and Bonding Have students discuss to what extent human culture affects individual ways of bonding between people? How does this play into the Sexual Triangle? To what extent human culture affects individual ways of bonding between people can be a complex and multifaceted question. Culture shapes our beliefs, values, norms, and behaviors, all of which influence how we form and maintain relationships. In some cultures, there may be strong emphasis on familial bonds, leading individuals to prioritize family relationships over other types of bonds. In others, individualism may be more pronounced, leading to greater emphasis on personal choice and autonomy in relationships. Culture also plays a significant role in shaping attitudes towards sexuality and intimacy, which can impact how people bond with one another. For example, in cultures where sexuality is more taboo or restricted, individuals may approach bonding and intimacy differently than in cultures where sexuality is more openly discussed and embraced. The Sexual Triangle, as discussed in the context of this question, refers to the interplay between sexual desire, emotional connection, and societal norms and expectations. Culture plays a crucial role in shaping these aspects of the Sexual Triangle. For instance, cultural norms regarding gender roles and expectations can influence how individuals express their sexuality and form intimate bonds. Overall, culture profoundly influences individual ways of bonding between people by shaping attitudes, values, and norms related to relationships and sexuality. Understanding these cultural influences is essential for gaining insight into the diversity of human bonding behaviors across different societies. Discussion Topic 2.2: Bonobos and Sex The text points out human sexual behavior is most similar to the bonobo, one of the great apes. The argument is that few species have sex face to face and that also both species use sex as a pair bonding mechanism. Based on the text what other similarities exist between these two species? Bonobos and humans share several similarities in sexual behavior beyond the use of face-to-face sex as a pair bonding mechanism. One significant similarity is the use of sex for social bonding and conflict resolution. Like humans, bonobos often use sexual activity to reduce tension, establish social bonds, and resolve conflicts within their groups. Another similarity is the presence of sexual behavior beyond reproductive purposes. Both species engage in sexual activities for pleasure, relaxation, and social interaction, not just for procreation. This suggests that both humans and bonobos have evolved complex sexual behaviors that serve multiple functions beyond reproduction. Additionally, both species exhibit a degree of sexual flexibility and diversity in their sexual behaviors. Bonobos, like humans, engage in a variety of sexual activities, including heterosexual, homosexual, and group sexual interactions. This diversity suggests that both species have a range of sexual behaviors that are not solely determined by reproductive needs but are influenced by social and individual factors. Overall, the similarities between human and bonobo sexual behavior suggest that our closest ape relatives also have complex and multifaceted sexual behaviors, which are likely influenced by similar evolutionary and social factors. Discussion Topic 2.3: Nature and Nurture Nature and nurture interact in various ways in shaping romantic, companionate, and passionate aspects of human sexuality. Nature refers to the biological and genetic factors that influence behavior, while nurture refers to the environmental and social factors. In terms of romantic relationships, nature may influence factors such as physical attraction, hormonal responses to bonding, and genetic predispositions for certain behaviors. Nurture, on the other hand, can influence relationship patterns based on cultural norms, familial influences, and social experiences. One way we see the interaction of nature and nurture in romantic relationships is in the development of attachment styles. Attachment theory suggests that early experiences with caregivers can influence how individuals form attachments in adult relationships. This interaction between nature (biological predispositions for attachment) and nurture (early caregiving experiences) can shape the way individuals seek and maintain romantic relationships. Evolutionary mechanisms suggest that sexuality serves purposes beyond procreation. For example, sexuality can serve as a bonding mechanism between partners, enhancing social cohesion and cooperation. It can also serve as a means of conflict resolution and stress reduction, similar to the way bonobos use sex in their social interactions. Additionally, sexuality can be a way to establish and maintain social hierarchies, as seen in various animal species where dominant individuals have greater access to mating opportunities. Overall, the interaction of nature and nurture in human sexuality is complex and multifaceted, influencing various aspects of romantic, companionate, and passionate relationships. By understanding these interactions, we can gain insights into the evolutionary and cultural forces that shape human sexual behavior. Discussion 2.4: Prostitution Prostitution is known as the “world’s oldest profession.” The text notes that early cave drawings connote sex for payment. Even the Adelie penguin trades sex for rocks. Discuss with students advantages and disadvantages that can be found on the female side with trading sex for goods and / or status. Trading sex for goods or status, as seen in prostitution, can have both advantages and disadvantages for women. One advantage is the potential for financial gain and economic independence. In societies where women have limited opportunities for employment or economic advancement, prostitution can provide a source of income and allow women to support themselves and their families. Prostitution can also provide access to goods and services that may otherwise be difficult to obtain. For example, a prostitute may receive gifts, such as jewelry or clothing, from clients in exchange for sexual services. This can enhance a woman's quality of life and provide her with items that she may not be able to afford otherwise. However, there are significant disadvantages to trading sex for goods or status. One major disadvantage is the risk of physical and emotional harm. Prostitutes are often vulnerable to violence, exploitation, and abuse from clients, pimps, and others in the industry. This can have long-lasting negative effects on a woman's physical and mental health. Additionally, engaging in prostitution can carry social stigma and ostracism. Women involved in prostitution may face discrimination and judgment from society, which can impact their self-esteem and overall well-being. This stigma can also make it difficult for women to leave the industry and pursue other opportunities. Overall, while prostitution may offer some advantages in terms of financial gain and access to goods, the disadvantages, including the risk of harm and social stigma, highlight the complex and challenging nature of the practice for women. Discussion 2.5: Chivalry and Virtue The 18th and 19th centuries introduced the ideas of virtue and chivalry. In general, do you think these ideas favor males or females? How do strong connotations of sex role stereotypes affect views of appropriate sexual behavior? With the advent of Rosie the riveter in the 1950’s do we see sexual attitudes become weaker or stronger? Why? The ideas of virtue and chivalry introduced in the 18th and 19th centuries often favored males over females. Chivalry, in particular, emphasized the idea of men as protectors and providers, while women were often expected to embody virtues such as purity and modesty. These ideals were rooted in traditional sex role stereotypes that assigned different roles and behaviors to men and women based on their gender. Strong connotations of sex role stereotypes can affect views of appropriate sexual behavior by reinforcing traditional gender roles and expectations. For example, women may be expected to be passive and submissive in sexual encounters, while men are expected to be assertive and dominant. These stereotypes can limit individual freedom and expression, leading to rigid and often unrealistic standards for sexual behavior. With the advent of Rosie the Riveter in the 1950s, there was a shift in sexual attitudes towards greater acceptance of female independence and empowerment. Rosie the Riveter symbolized women entering the workforce and taking on traditionally male roles during World War II, challenging traditional gender norms. This shift in attitudes towards female empowerment and independence can be seen as a weakening of traditional sex role stereotypes and a move towards more egalitarian views of sexuality. Overall, the ideas of virtue and chivalry historically favored males over females and reinforced traditional gender roles and stereotypes. However, with changing social norms and attitudes towards gender equality, there has been a shift towards more progressive views of sexuality that recognize and value the diversity of human experiences and identities. Discussion 2.6: Norms of Homosexuality over Time This chapter discusses attitudes towards sexual behavior through the ages. It also denotes the historical changes in attitude toward homosexuality, showing that this has been in and out of fashion off and on. What are some of the influences that affect homosexuality if it is perceived as socially normative? If homosexuality is perceived as socially normative, several influences can affect its acceptance and prevalence within a society. One of the primary influences is cultural attitudes and beliefs. When a society views homosexuality as normative, individuals are more likely to openly express their sexual orientation without fear of stigma or discrimination. This can lead to greater visibility and acceptance of homosexuality within the broader culture. Another influence is legal and institutional support. When laws and institutions recognize and protect the rights of individuals regardless of sexual orientation, homosexuality is more likely to be perceived as normative. Legal recognition can also provide individuals with the confidence to openly express their sexual orientation. Social norms and peer influences also play a role in shaping attitudes towards homosexuality. When homosexuality is accepted and celebrated within social circles, individuals are more likely to view it as normative and integrate it into their own identities. Media representation and education can also influence perceptions of homosexuality. Positive and accurate portrayals of LGBTQ+ individuals in the media can help normalize homosexuality and challenge stereotypes and misconceptions. Overall, the perception of homosexuality as socially normative is influenced by cultural, legal, social, and media factors. When these factors align to support and affirm LGBTQ+ individuals, homosexuality is more likely to be viewed as a natural and accepted aspect of human sexuality. Discussion 2.7: Cultural and Sexual Chauvinism Discuss with students the difference between cultural and sexual chauvinism. Based on the way the text describes cultural chauvinism, do you think it is the same thing that most people think of when they hear the term “chauvinism”? Cultural chauvinism and sexual chauvinism are two related but distinct concepts. Cultural chauvinism refers to the belief that one's own culture is superior to others, often leading to a biased or discriminatory view of other cultures. This can manifest in attitudes of cultural superiority, ethnocentrism, and a lack of respect for cultural diversity. On the other hand, sexual chauvinism refers to the belief that one's own gender or sexual orientation is superior to others. This can manifest in attitudes of sexism, misogyny, homophobia, or transphobia, where individuals believe that their own gender or sexual orientation is more valid or valuable than others. While both cultural and sexual chauvinism involve attitudes of superiority and discrimination, they differ in the focus of their bias. Cultural chauvinism focuses on cultural identity and diversity, while sexual chauvinism focuses on gender or sexual orientation. The way the text describes cultural chauvinism may not align with most people's understanding of the term "chauvinism," which is often associated with gender-based discrimination. However, both forms of chauvinism share the underlying theme of prejudice and bias towards a particular group based on perceived superiority. Discussion 2.8: Sex Approving or Disapproving over Time in the US We’ve already discussed how times have changed with regard to attitude towards sex. Do students think that the US has made any gains from being a more sex approving society? How are attitudes toward nudity tied to attitudes about sex? The shift towards a more sex-approving society in the US has led to several gains. One of the key benefits is increased acceptance and visibility of diverse sexual orientations and identities. This has created a more inclusive and tolerant society, where individuals feel more comfortable expressing their sexuality without fear of stigma or discrimination. Additionally, the shift towards a more sex-approving society has led to greater access to sexual education and reproductive health services, which has contributed to lower rates of unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. Attitudes toward nudity are often tied to attitudes about sex. In many cultures, nudity is associated with sexual behavior and is therefore considered taboo or inappropriate in public settings. However, in societies where attitudes toward sex are more approving, nudity may be seen as natural and acceptable in certain contexts, such as art, communal bathing, or certain social gatherings. This connection between attitudes toward nudity and sex reflects broader cultural norms and beliefs about the human body and sexuality. Overall, the shift towards a more sex-approving society in the US has led to greater acceptance and understanding of human sexuality, as well as improved access to sexual health resources. However, attitudes toward nudity and sex remain complex and can vary widely depending on cultural, religious, and societal factors. Discussion 2.9: Taboo What are some of the taboos that we see in the US? Ask if students from other cultures feel comfortable talking about what taboos exist in their culture. Are there any universal taboos? In the US, some taboos surrounding sexuality include incest, bestiality, and certain forms of non-consensual or exploitative behavior. These taboos are rooted in cultural and societal norms that emphasize the importance of consent, autonomy, and respect in sexual relationships. Other taboos may include public nudity, certain sexual practices or fetishes, and discussions of sexual topics in certain settings, such as schools or workplaces. It's important to note that taboos can vary widely across cultures, and what may be taboo in one culture may be accepted or even celebrated in another. For example, in some cultures, polygamy or polyamory may be accepted practices, while in others, they may be considered taboo. Asking students from other cultures about the taboos that exist in their culture can lead to valuable discussions about cultural differences and similarities in attitudes towards sexuality. While there may be some universal taboos, such as those related to incest or non-consensual behavior, many taboos are culturally specific and reflect the unique values and beliefs of a particular society. Discussion 2.10: Socially Desirable Responding Chapter one discussed survey data and one of the issues was that people respond in a socially desirable manner. To what extent do you believe that people “lie” when asked about their religious behaviors like “Do you often go to church?” and to what extent do you believe people “lie” about their sexual behavior (for example “what is the number of sexual partners you’ve had?”) How does this relate to sexual norms within a religious context? The issue of socially desirable responding can affect how people report their religious and sexual behaviors in surveys. When asked about their religious behaviors, such as how often they go to church, individuals may be inclined to overstate their religious participation to align with societal expectations or norms. This can lead to an overestimation of religious observance in survey data. Similarly, when asked about their sexual behavior, such as the number of sexual partners they've had, individuals may be inclined to underreport or misrepresent their behavior to avoid judgment or stigma. This can lead to an underestimation of certain sexual behaviors in survey data. The extent to which people "lie" about their religious or sexual behavior can vary depending on individual factors such as social desirability bias, cultural norms, and personal beliefs. In some cases, individuals may feel pressure to conform to religious norms and may therefore be more likely to overstate their religious behaviors. Similarly, societal taboos and stigmas surrounding sexuality can lead individuals to underreport their sexual behaviors to avoid judgment or condemnation. In a religious context, the issue of socially desirable responding can be particularly pronounced. Religious teachings often dictate moral and ethical standards regarding sexual behavior, and individuals may feel a strong sense of guilt or shame if their behavior deviates from these standards. This can lead to a reluctance to report certain sexual behaviors honestly, especially if they are perceived as contrary to religious teachings. Overall, the issue of socially desirable responding highlights the complex interplay between societal norms, personal beliefs, and the reporting of religious and sexual behaviors in surveys. Understanding these dynamics is crucial for interpreting survey data accurately and recognizing the limitations of self-reported information. Discussion 2.11: Buddhist Thinking and Sexuality Buddhism advocates intense self-effort toward greater consciousness, and is generally tolerant of many forms of sexuality. It combines qualities of being practical, scientific, psychological, and egalitarian that are reflected in its sexual norms. How does this relate to the Kama Sutra? Buddhist thinking on sexuality emphasizes intense self-effort toward greater consciousness and is generally tolerant of many forms of sexuality. Buddhism combines practical, scientific, psychological, and egalitarian qualities that are reflected in its sexual norms. This approach to sexuality is in stark contrast to the rigid and often oppressive sexual norms found in some other religious traditions. The Kama Sutra, on the other hand, is an ancient Indian text that is more focused on the art of lovemaking and sexual pleasure. It is a comprehensive guide to sexuality and relationships, covering topics such as seduction, sexual positions, and marital relationships. While the Kama Sutra is not specifically Buddhist in origin, it reflects a broader cultural attitude towards sexuality in ancient India that was more open and accepting compared to some other cultures. The relationship between Buddhist thinking on sexuality and the Kama Sutra lies in their shared emphasis on the importance of understanding and embracing sexuality as a natural and integral part of human experience. Both perspectives recognize the complexity of human sexuality and advocate for a mindful and respectful approach to sexual relationships. Overall, while Buddhist thinking on sexuality and the Kama Sutra may differ in their specific teachings and practices, they both reflect a broader acceptance of diverse sexual experiences and a recognition of the importance of sexuality in human life. Discussion 2.12: Religion as a Divider The text argues that symbolic boundaries like divorce and homosexuality often serve to divide people in the US. Do you agree? What other factors may be actually causing a divide? Symbolic boundaries such as divorce and homosexuality can indeed serve to divide people in the US, as they are often associated with deeply held religious beliefs and moral values. These issues can be highly polarizing, with individuals and groups on both sides of the debate holding strong and sometimes conflicting opinions. However, there are other factors that may be causing a divide beyond symbolic boundaries. Socioeconomic factors, such as income inequality and access to resources, can create divisions within society. Political polarization, fueled by differing ideologies and beliefs, can also contribute to divisions among people. Additionally, cultural factors, including attitudes towards race, gender, and immigration, can further contribute to societal divides. Technological advancements and the rise of social media have also played a role in exacerbating divisions within society. The ability to curate one's online experience and surround oneself with like-minded individuals can lead to echo chambers where differing viewpoints are not considered or respected. Overall, while symbolic boundaries such as divorce and homosexuality can serve to divide people, there are numerous other factors at play that contribute to societal divisions. Understanding and addressing these factors is crucial for promoting greater understanding, empathy, and cohesion within society. Polling Questions Polling 2.1: Pair Bonding and Sex Bonobo sexual behaviors include the only nonhuman example of face-to-face genital sex, tongue kissing, and oral sex known in the wild. How many of you have used sex to cement a bond between yourself and your partner? Sex can indeed be used to cement a bond between partners, and this is not unique to humans. Bonobos, for example, engage in various sexual behaviors, including face-to-face genital sex, tongue kissing, and oral sex, as a way to strengthen social bonds within their groups. Similarly, humans often use sex as a means of deepening emotional and physical intimacy with their partners. Sexual intimacy can foster feelings of closeness, trust, and connection between partners. It can serve as a way to express love, affection, and commitment, and can be a powerful tool for building and maintaining a strong relationship. Many people find that sexual activity enhances their bond with their partner and contributes to overall relationship satisfaction. However, it's important to note that not everyone uses sex in this way, and the role of sex in bonding can vary widely among individuals and cultures. Some people may prioritize other forms of intimacy or connection in their relationships, while others may place a greater emphasis on sexual intimacy. Ultimately, the use of sex to cement a bond between partners is a personal and individual choice that depends on the unique dynamics of each relationship. Polling 2.2: Ethnic Identity and Sex Do you think that someone’s ethnic identity affects his or her sexual behavior? Do you think that your ethnic identity affects your sexual behavior? Ethnic identity can indeed affect an individual's sexual behavior, as it can influence cultural norms, values, and beliefs related to sexuality. Different ethnic groups may have varying attitudes towards sex, sexual practices, and gender roles, which can shape how individuals within those groups approach and express their sexuality. For example, some ethnic cultures may place a strong emphasis on abstinence before marriage, while others may have more permissive attitudes towards premarital or extramarital sex. These cultural norms can influence individuals' sexual behaviors and decision-making processes. Personal experiences and upbringing within a specific ethnic community can also play a role in shaping an individual's sexual behavior. Family dynamics, religious beliefs, and community expectations can all contribute to how someone perceives and engages in sexual activity. As for whether ethnic identity affects my own sexual behavior, as a [your ethnicity], my ethnic background does play a role in shaping my attitudes towards sex and relationships. Growing up in a [your ethnic background] household, I was exposed to certain cultural norms and values that have influenced my views on sexuality. However, I also recognize that my individual experiences and beliefs may differ from those of others within my ethnic group, highlighting the complexity and diversity of human sexuality across different cultural and ethnic contexts. Polling 2.3: Trading Sex for Goods and Services How many of you think that having sex with a man after a nice dinner is the same as receiving money for sex? How many of you have had sex with someone because they had bought you expensive things? The question addresses the concept of transactional sex, where sex is exchanged for goods or services. The comparison between having sex with someone after a nice dinner and receiving money for sex raises important ethical and moral considerations. While both scenarios involve a form of exchange, they are not necessarily equivalent. Having sex with someone after a nice dinner may be seen as a consensual expression of intimacy within a dating or romantic relationship, where the dinner is a gesture of affection rather than a direct exchange for sex. On the other hand, exchanging sex for expensive gifts or money can raise concerns about the nature of the relationship and the dynamics of power and coercion. In some contexts, this type of transactional sex may be considered a form of exploitation, particularly if one party feels pressured or obligated to engage in sexual activity in exchange for material goods. Ultimately, the ethical implications of these scenarios depend on the specific circumstances and the intentions of the individuals involved. It's important to consider issues of consent, agency, and respect in any sexual relationship, regardless of whether goods or services are exchanged. Polling 2.4: Chivalry and Virtue The 18th and 19th centuries introduced the ideas of virtue and chivalry. In general, do you think these ideas favor males or females? The ideas of virtue and chivalry, as introduced in the 18th and 19th centuries, were often perceived as favoring males over females. Chivalry, in particular, emphasized the concept of a "gentleman" who exhibited qualities such as honor, courage, and protectiveness, often towards women. This concept of chivalry placed women in a position of needing protection and care from men, reinforcing traditional gender roles and expectations. Similarly, the notion of virtue was often associated with women and their perceived purity, modesty, and morality. Women were expected to embody these virtues, while men were often judged by different standards related to strength, honor, and bravery. Overall, while the ideas of virtue and chivalry were intended to promote certain values and behaviors, they were often rooted in traditional gender norms that favored males over females. This imbalance in expectations and ideals contributed to the perpetuation of gender inequalities and stereotypes during this time period. Polling 2.5: Sexual Chauvinism over Time How many of you agree with the statement “males today are less chauvinistic then they were 20 years ago”? How many of you agree with the statement “Males of my father’s age tend to be chauvinistic towards women”? The statements about male chauvinism reflect broader societal attitudes towards gender roles and equality. Over the past few decades, there has been a noticeable shift in societal norms towards greater gender equality and awareness of issues related to sexism and chauvinism. Many people believe that males today are less chauvinistic than they were 20 years ago, as there has been a greater emphasis on promoting gender equality and challenging traditional gender stereotypes. On the other hand, there is a recognition that older generations, such as males of one's father's age, may hold more traditional views on gender roles and exhibit more chauvinistic attitudes. This can be attributed to the social norms and expectations that were prevalent during their formative years, which may have been more accepting of chauvinistic behavior. It's important to note that attitudes towards gender and chauvinism can vary widely among individuals and across generations. While there has been progress towards greater gender equality, there are still instances of chauvinistic attitudes and behaviors that persist in society. Understanding these dynamics and working towards promoting gender equality are crucial steps in addressing chauvinism and promoting a more inclusive and equitable society. Polling 2.6: Sex Approving or Disproving? Do you think the US is a sex approving or sex disapproving culture? Do you think it has become more approving in your lifetime? Do you think it will continue to become more accepting or will it swing back to become more disapproving? The US can be seen as both a sex-approving and a sex-disapproving culture, depending on the context and perspective. On one hand, the US has a strong tradition of promoting freedom of expression and individual rights, which has led to a relatively open and permissive attitude towards sexuality in many aspects of society. This can be seen in the increasing acceptance of diverse sexual orientations and identities, as well as the availability of sexual education and resources. However, the US also has a history of moral conservatism and puritanical values, which can manifest in disapproving attitudes towards certain sexual behaviors or expressions, particularly those that are perceived as deviating from traditional norms. This can be seen in debates over issues such as abortion, contraception, and sex education, where there are often strong voices advocating for more restrictive or moralistic approaches. In my lifetime, I have observed a trend towards greater acceptance and approval of sexuality in US culture. This is evident in the increasing visibility and acceptance of LGBTQ+ individuals and issues, as well as the broader cultural shift towards more open and honest discussions about sexuality and sexual health. Looking ahead, I believe that the US will continue to become more accepting and approving of sexuality, particularly as younger generations, who tend to have more progressive views on these issues, become more influential in shaping societal norms and values. However, it is also possible that there may be periods of backlash or resistance, particularly from more conservative or traditional segments of society. Overall, I am optimistic that the trend towards greater acceptance and approval of sexuality will continue in the US. Activities Activity 2.1: Bonobos and Sex There are several videos on YouTube as well as at the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/Bonobo) that look at sexual activity in Bonobos. Sex is being used to make peace, gain status, and bond with mates. This is a great way to illustrate the many uses of sex. The sexual behavior of bonobos provides a fascinating example of the diverse functions of sex in non-human primates. Bonobos are known for their highly social and peaceful nature, and sex plays a central role in their social interactions. One of the most striking aspects of bonobo sexual behavior is its use in conflict resolution. Bonobos often use sex to diffuse tension and promote reconciliation after conflicts. This behavior is believed to help maintain social harmony within bonobo groups and is a stark contrast to the aggressive behavior often seen in other primate species. Sex is also used in bonobo society to establish and maintain social bonds. Bonobos engage in a variety of sexual behaviors, including face-to-face genital sex, tongue kissing, and oral sex, which serve to strengthen social connections between individuals. These behaviors help foster cooperation and solidarity within bonobo groups. Additionally, sex plays a role in the social hierarchy of bonobos. Individuals may use sex to gain status or influence within the group, and dominant individuals may use sex as a means of asserting their authority. Overall, the sexual behavior of bonobos highlights the complexity of sexual behavior in primates and underscores the diverse functions that sex can serve beyond reproduction. Studying bonobos can provide valuable insights into the evolution of human sexuality and the ways in which sex can be used to facilitate social bonding, communication, and conflict resolution. Activity 2.2: Sex Depicted in Art over Time Place students in small groups. Assign them a time period (you can either follow the time period in the text or make up your own). Then have each group perform research on artistic portrayals (can be drawing, painting, literature, dance or any other medium) of sexuality / fertility in that time period. If you have a small enough class you can even have them present their findings to the class, otherwise you can have them write a short wiki or paper as a group. Assigning students to research and present artistic portrayals of sexuality and fertility from different time periods can be a valuable learning experience. By studying how sexuality has been depicted in art throughout history, students can gain insight into changing cultural attitudes and beliefs surrounding sexuality. For example, students researching ancient Egyptian art might explore how sexuality and fertility were closely linked to concepts of rebirth and the afterlife. They might examine how Egyptian art often depicted sexual acts as a way to ensure fertility and prosperity in the afterlife. Students studying Greek and Roman art might focus on how sexuality was often portrayed in a more open and naturalistic manner, reflecting the Greeks' and Romans' attitudes towards the human body and sexuality. Moving forward in time, students researching art from the Renaissance period might explore how sexuality was often idealized and portrayed in a more romanticized and spiritualized manner, reflecting the influence of Christianity on artistic expression. Students researching art from the modern and contemporary periods might examine how artists have used sexuality as a means of challenging societal norms and conventions, exploring themes such as gender identity, sexual liberation, and the body as a site of political and social struggle. Overall, this assignment can help students develop a deeper understanding of how artistic representations of sexuality have evolved over time, reflecting and influencing broader cultural attitudes and beliefs. Activity 2.3: Cultural Sexual Norms over Time Place students in small groups. Assign them a time period (you can either follow the time period in the text or make up your own). Then have each group perform research on connotations of sexuality / fertility in that time period. If you have a small enough class you can even have them present their findings to the class, otherwise you can have them write a short wiki or paper as a group. Assigning students to research cultural sexual norms over different time periods can provide valuable insights into how attitudes towards sexuality have evolved throughout history. By examining the connotations of sexuality and fertility in different cultures and time periods, students can gain a deeper understanding of the complex ways in which cultural beliefs and values shape human sexuality. For example, students researching ancient Mesopotamian culture might explore how sexuality was often intertwined with religious beliefs and practices, with fertility being a central theme in many aspects of life. They might examine how Mesopotamian art and literature depicted fertility goddesses and fertility rites as a way to ensure prosperity and abundance. Students studying medieval European culture might focus on how sexuality was often viewed through a lens of sin and morality, with strict rules and regulations governing sexual behavior. They might explore how art and literature from this period often depicted sexuality as a dangerous and sinful temptation that must be controlled and suppressed. Moving forward in time, students researching the Victorian era might examine how sexuality was often repressed and taboo, with strict codes of conduct dictating proper behavior. They might explore how the Victorian era saw a proliferation of literature and art that sought to uphold traditional values and ideals of purity and virtue. Students researching contemporary cultural norms around sexuality might explore how attitudes have become more liberal and accepting in many parts of the world, with a greater emphasis on individual rights and freedoms. They might examine how contemporary art and media often depict sexuality as a normal and natural part of human experience, with a focus on diversity and inclusivity. Overall, this assignment can help students develop a deeper appreciation for the ways in which cultural beliefs and values influence our understanding of sexuality and fertility, and how these beliefs have changed over time. Activity 2.4: Sex Approving or Disproving Cultures Place students in small groups. Assign them a country. Have each group investigate if they think that culture is sex approving or sex disapproving. What evidence can they find to support their views? If you have a small enough class you can even have them present their findings to the class, otherwise you can have them write a short wiki or paper as a group. Assigning students to research and analyze whether a specific country's culture is sex approving or sex disapproving can be a thought-provoking exercise that encourages critical thinking and cultural awareness. Here's a framework for how students can approach this assignment: 1. Assignment Overview: Explain to students that they will be researching the cultural attitudes towards sexuality in a specific country. They should consider factors such as social norms, religious beliefs, laws and regulations, media representation, and public discourse on sexuality. 2. Group Formation: Divide students into small groups and assign each group a country to research. Encourage students to choose countries with diverse cultural backgrounds to compare and contrast different attitudes towards sexuality. 3. Research: Instruct students to conduct research on the assigned country's cultural attitudes towards sexuality. They should look for information from reputable sources such as academic journals, government publications, and cultural studies. 4. Evidence Gathering: Have students compile evidence to support their views on whether the assigned country's culture is sex approving or sex disapproving. This evidence should be based on their research findings and should include specific examples from the country's history, literature, media, and legal system. 5. Presentation or Paper: Depending on the size of the class, students can either present their findings to the class or write a short paper summarizing their research. In their presentation or paper, students should provide a brief overview of the country's cultural background and history, discuss key cultural attitudes towards sexuality, and present their evidence for why they believe the culture is either sex approving or sex disapproving. 6. Discussion: After the presentations or papers are completed, facilitate a class discussion where students can compare and contrast their findings and reflect on how cultural attitudes towards sexuality vary around the world. Encourage students to consider the impact of globalization and cultural exchange on changing attitudes towards sexuality in different cultures. Activity 2.5: Religiosity and Sex Have students fill out the following survey, then ask them to discuss how religious beliefs affect their sexual attitudes. You can even ask students to debate “Does religious identity necessarily affect sexual behavior?” This can be done as an in-class demonstration or as a discussion board topic. What Are Your Attitudes About Human Sexual Nature? (Page 35) Think about human sexuality as described within the sexual triangle in Figure 2.1: species culture, and individuality. Following are several statements that reflect different attitudes about sex. For each statement, indicate how much you agree or disagree with that statement. Some of the items refer to a specific sexual relationship, while others refer to general attitudes and beliefs about sex. Whenever possible, answer the questions with your current partner in mind. If you are not currently with anyone, answer the questions with your most recent partner in mind. If you have never had a sexual relationship, answer in terms of what you think your responses would most likely be. For each statement: A = Strongly agree with the statement B = Moderately agree with the statement C = Neutral—neither agree nor disagree D = Moderately disagree with the statement E = Strongly disagree with the statement Permissiveness I do not need to be committed to a person to have sex with him/her. Casual sex is acceptable. I would like to have sex with many partners. One-night stands are sometimes very enjoyable. It is okay to have ongoing sexual relationships with more than one person at a time. Sex as a simple exchange of favors is okay if both people agree to it. The best sex is with no strings attached. Life would have fewer problems if people could have sex more freely. It is possible to enjoy sex with a person and not like that person very much. It is okay for sex to be just good physical release. Birth Control Birth control is part of responsible sexuality. A woman should share responsibility for birth control. A man should share responsibility for birth control. Communion Sex is the closest form of communication between two people. A sexual encounter between two people deeply in love is the ultimate human interaction. At its best, sex seems to be the merging of two souls. Sex is a very important part of life. Sex is usually an intense, almost overwhelming, experience. Instrumentality Sex is best when you let yourself go and focus on your own pleasure. Sex is primarily the taking of pleasure from another person. The main purpose of sex is to enjoy oneself. Sex is primarily physical. Sex is primarily a bodily function, like eating. (Source: www.thefreelibrary.com/The1brief1sexual1attitudes1scale.-a0143064921) Activity 2.6: The Kama Sutra Have students look at a copy of the Kama Sutra, either in groups or individually. How does this text tie in with Buddhist teachings of greater consciousness? How does it affect sexual norms for Buddhists? Students can either present findings in class, write a short paragraph on their findings, or use this as a discussion board topic. The Kama Sutra is an ancient Indian text that is widely regarded as a foundational work on the art of love and sexuality. It offers insights into various aspects of relationships, including courtship, marriage, and sexual behavior. While the Kama Sutra is not explicitly tied to Buddhist teachings, it does reflect broader cultural attitudes towards sexuality and relationships in ancient India. From a Buddhist perspective, the Kama Sutra can be seen as aligning with teachings on mindfulness and awareness. Buddhism advocates for mindfulness in all actions, including those related to sexuality. The Kama Sutra, with its emphasis on understanding and appreciating the nuances of sexual pleasure, could be interpreted as encouraging individuals to approach sexual experiences with a heightened sense of awareness and consciousness. In terms of sexual norms for Buddhists, the Kama Sutra may have had varying degrees of influence depending on the cultural context and individual interpretation. Some Buddhists may view the text as a guide to cultivating loving and respectful relationships, while others may see it as promoting sensual indulgence. Ultimately, the interpretation of the Kama Sutra and its impact on sexual norms would depend on how individuals and communities integrate its teachings with their broader religious and cultural beliefs. Students examining the Kama Sutra can present their findings in class, write a short paragraph summarizing their insights, or engage in a discussion board topic to explore the text's relevance to Buddhist teachings and its implications for sexual norms in Buddhist communities. Activity 2.7: Sex & Gender Discovering Psychology: Updated Edition Part of the series “Discovering Psychology: Updated Edition”, this clip looks at how gender roles reflect social values (http://www.learner.org/resources/series138.html) or through the McGraw Hill Higher Education General Resources for Students and Faculty Annenberg / CPB projects link (http://www.mhhe.com/socscience/psychology/psychonline/general.html) The video clip from "Discovering Psychology: Updated Edition" explores how gender roles reflect social values. It likely discusses how societal expectations and norms shape our understanding of gender and influence the roles that men and women are expected to fulfill. Gender roles are the set of behaviors, attitudes, and traits that society considers appropriate for individuals based on their gender. These roles are often learned from a young age through socialization and can vary widely across different cultures and historical periods. The video may discuss how gender roles are reinforced through various social institutions, such as family, media, education, and religion. It may also explore the impact of gender roles on individuals' self-concept, behavior, and opportunities in life. Overall, the video likely provides insights into the complex interplay between gender, society, and culture, highlighting how our understanding of gender is shaped by the broader social context in which we live. Internet Resources http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/07/3/l_073_03.html PBS Evolution series on Bonobs and Chimpanzees. Includes current research as well as video. http://www.awf.org/content/general/detail/3495 Bonobo research and conservation site. Includes current research as well as video. http://www.anth.ucsb.edu/projects/human/evpsychfaq.html The Evolutionary Psychology FAQ. http://homepage.psy.utexas.edu/homepage/group/busslab/db_publications.htm#interviews Homepage for Dr. David Buss. http://www.toddkshackelford.com/ Homepage for the Evolutionary Psychology Lab and Dr. Todd Shackelford. http://www.bga.org/ The Behavior Genetics Association homepage. http://www.mhhe.com/socscience/psychology/psychonline/general.html McGraw Hill Higher Education General Resources for Students and Faculty. http://www.apa.org/ The APA website. http://www.apa.org/topics/sexuality/index.aspx APA site for research on sexuality The Ten-Minute Test Name: _________ Answer the questions below utilizing the following terms: Procreation Norms Pair bonding Matriarchal Spirituality Companionate marriage sexual identity Sexual individuality Symbolic boundary Sexual culture 1. It is estimated that 95% of all human sex is for recreation, not _____. 2. Bonobo are peaceable and they are _____, meaning that females dominate and organize the group, controlling males to share food resources and cooperating to protect the group, one of the many traits of the bonobo that make them unusual. 3. Standards for acceptable behavior are called _____. 4. _____ is the sexual and romantic association between two people. 5. _____ is a person’s inner sense of deep belief in an ultimate reality an individual’s inner sense 6. Civilization itself has been shaped by _____which encompasses the distinct shared sexual meanings and practices of a group. 7. _____ is the self-identification by an individual as heterosexual, bisexual, or homosexual. 8. The cultural idea that a man and woman are not just sex partners but also social and intellectual companions and equals for life is known as _____. 9. _____ is the expression of the self’s most basic sexual needs and attractions, and based in our body and anatomy, DNA, hormones, orientations, fantasies, feelings, behaviors, and relationships. 10. _____ often divides people with respect to “good” versus “bad” attitudes and behaviors. Answers to the Ten-Minute Test 1. procreation 2. matriarchal 3. norms 4. pair bonding 5. spirituality 6. sexual culture 7. sexual identity 8. companionate marriage 9. sexual individuality 10. symbolic boundary Solution Manual for Human Sexuality: Self, Society, and Culture Gilbert Herdt, Nicole Polen-Petit 9780073532165, 9780077817527

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