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Report on Gender and Sexuality

• Women are not troubled with sexual feelings

• Baby born – male of female?
• GENDER – one of the most basic status characteristics
o We are anxious when unsure
o How to talk to them, act, etc
o Ask them through hints what their genders are


• GENDER ROLE – norms or expectations that define how one SHOULD
• STEREOTYPE – GENERALIZATION that distinguishes people (men from
• Heterosexuality is an important part of gender roles
o Feminine - attracted to men; Masculine – attracted to women
o OTHERS  seen as violators; lesbian – masculine

Gender roles and ethnicity

• Gender stereotypes vary among ethnic groups (US)
o Males and females within same ethnicity have some traits in common, as
well as those that differ.
o Within males across different ethnic groups have same and diff traits as
• Gender roles are a product of culture

• African culture and experience in America of slavery and racial oppression
• Two characteristics of African women – economic function and a strong bond
between mother and child
• Central theme for African American men is pain
o Locked behind bars in prison
o People look strangely at African American men as if they’re criminals
• Provider role – difficult due to their high unemployment rate
• The role of husband – bread winner role
• Men hold more positive attitudes about women working and more conservative
regarding gender role issues

• Largest minority
• ACCULTURATION – incorporating the beliefs and customs of a new culture
• Mexican heritage + anglo components
• Family is the central focus
o In one show that I watch (brothers Garcia), their main theme is Todo para
la familia – Everything for the family
o Family loyalty, warm relationships; family and community highly valued
• Boys – greater freedom; encouraged in sexual exploits, not expected in household
• Girls – passive, obedient, virginal, stay in home
• Machismo and marianismo (repression of a woman’s sexual desires; sex with
husband is an obligation)

• Chinese as laborers before; then Japanese, Koreans, and then Filipinos.
• Emphasis on achievement and importance of educations
• Women have a higher level or education
• More value on family and group interdependence
• Family – emotional nurturance
• Obligations to the family; family needs over individual needs
• Conflict between traditional Asian and modern Anglo culture
• Men lack in sexuality
• Women as exotic sex toy

• Egalitarian gender roles
• Presence of words that pertain to gender beyond male and female
o Berdache; natives prefer two-spirit = homosexuals, transsexuals,
transvestites; inaccurate terming
o A man may be married to a two-spirit male BUT this is not a homosexual
marriage since the two are of different genders
o “manly hearted woman” – independent and aggressive
o “warrior woman” – both of these could express masculine traits but dress
like women

!!!Gender roles in Unites States are not uniform!

Gender Schema Theory

• Set of ideas regarding behavior, personality, appearance, etc that we associate
with males and females
• Causes us to dichotomize information on the basis of gender
• Distort information that is stereotype inconsistent
• (boys baking cookies show pic)

• Ways in which society conveys the expectations for the behavior of an individual.
• Occurs especially in childhood
o Awarded for behavior that is appropriate for their gender
o Punished
• (pic of kid imitating dad)
• Parents, teachers, mentors, peer group, media (appearance is important, career is
not) contribute to their socialization
• Parents strongly encourage gender-typed activities


o Males generally more aggressive than females
o Physical, verbal, fantasy
o Males dominate on violent crimes
Style of Communicating
o Studies of SELF-DISCLOSURE – people are asked to disclose personal
information either to friends or strangers; women are more willing to
disclose information
o Females – emotional expressiveness; males – emotional repressiveness
and avoidance of self-disclosure
o Women reveal more in specific areas, particularly their greatest fears
o DECODING NONVERBAL CUES – ability to read body language
o Women are better than men at this


• Disclaimer – gender differences explained are based on studies made in United

• largest gender difference
• 92% of males at least once in their lives; 58% of females (in general, those that
masturbate began at a later age than men)
• Virtually all men said that they masterbate before age 20 (most between 13 and
• Women – 25, 30, 35, etc

Attitudes about Casual sex

• “one night stand” – no emotions involved
• men – more approving; women – disapproving (women consider it as ethical only
if in the context of an emotionally committed relationship; for men, not
• importance for women of relationship and emotional connectedness as
prerequisite for sex. Men give less importance to this but more on the physical
aspect of sex
• conflict in relationships between men and women

Arousal to Erotica
• most erotic material are for men; assumption that women are not interested
• men are more aroused by erotic materials
• penile strain gauge (penis meter) – measures physiological arousal in men
• (provide pics) loop fitted around the base of the penis
• Photoplethysmograph (photo meter) – measures physiological arousal in women
placed inside the vagina
• Research:
o Stereotype that men are turned on by “raw sex”, women by romance
o 1. explicit heterosexual sex is the most arousing for both men and women
o 2. both men and women found the female-initiated, female-centered tape
to be most arousing
o 3. women were sometimes not aware of their own physiological arousal
• Therefore, men and women are similar in responses to erotic materials but women
can sometimes be unaware of their physical arousal

Orgasm Consistency
• Men are more consistent at having orgasms during sex

Sex Drive
• Men (on average) have a stronger sex drive than women
• Men think about sex more often and have more fantasies than women do
• Men desire more sexual partners and greater number of intercourse


Are the differences Bogus?
• Bogus; could be that people report what is expected of them, shaped by gender
• Bogus pipeline method
o Results showed that men’s and women’s report of the number of their
sexual partners were nearly identical; women’s were slightly higher than
o Shows that gender differences from reports are probably exaggerated

Biological Factors
• Male – external and visible; has a very obvious response, which is erection
• Female – hidden; does not have an obvious arousal response like the male’s
erection – less aware of arousal
• Therefore, women will less likely masturbate and less likely to develop her full
sexual potential
• Testosterone – related to sex behavior
• Females generally have lower levels of testosterone than males
• Therefore, lower level of sexual behavior such as masturbation, or a lower sex

Cultural Factors
• Tighter restrictions on women’s sexuality than it has on men’s
• Double standard
o The same sexual behavior is evaluated differently, depending on whether a
male or a female engages in it
o Men more sexual freedom than women
o E.g. PMS; status symbol for males but cheapness for females
o BUT things have changed; decline in double standard through time
• Gender Roles
• Marital and family roles
o Children can act as a damper on the parents’ sexual relationship; lose privacy

Other Factors
• Women get pregnant and men do not
o Worried about getting pregnant and, if she is not married, about whether
others will find out that she has been engaging in sexual activity
• Ineffective techniques of stimulating the woman
o In and out of the penis during intercourse may provide good stimulation for
the male, but not the female (she may not be getting sufficient clitoral
• “erotic dependency” on men
o They learn about sex from boys, and learn that their sexual pleasure is
produced by the male


• Researches concentrated on college students or young adults
• By the time men reach 30, they still look for sex, but not as much as before;
satisfied with fewer orgasms
• 50, more on emotional component
• Women, sexual awakening much later; masturbating at around ages 30 – 35;
quicker response and more intense
• Initiate sex more than before
• Men 1st part – genitally focused sexuality then emotional aspects of sex at the later
part; women opposite
• Person centered sex and body centered sex

• Person who believes that he/she was born with the body of the other gender
• Gender reassignment process
• Gender dysphoria – unhappiness with one’s gender
• TRANSGENDER – broader term, including transsexuals as well as those whose
gender identity does not match their physical gender but does not want surgery;
hormones, or even want to leave their body unaltered
• Gender bender, gender blender, gender outlaw, genderfree
• 2 kinds of transsexuals: Male-to-female transsexual (MTF) and Female-to-male
transsexual (FTM)
• Happened in history; women to men
o Pelagia – does not want to marry and dresses up like a man, entering a
monastery; she became a pelagius. Then someone accused Pelagius of
impregnating a woman; he was expelled from the convent, then died
• Gynephilic – sexually attracted to women
• Androphilic – sexually attracted to men
• In an extreme conflict situation

The Gender-Reassignment Process

• Sex change/gender transition/crossing
• 1st: very careful counseling and psychological evaluation
• 2nd: hormone therapy; MTF estrogen for life; FTM androgens
• 3rd: real life experience: live as a member of the new gender for 1 – 2 yrs
o To prevent regret
• 4 : surgery

o New penis does not have erectile capacity; sometimes, silicone tube is
implanted in the penis
• Important experience for transsexuals is passing; no one notices anything unusual
on the new person

What Causes Transsexualism?

• Critical issue during prenatal development
• Atypical development of some brain structure
• If male, the fetus must both be defeminized and masculinized
• Parents treat them as if they were of the opposite sex
• Male – dress them up as girls, tell them how cute they look
• Female – giving a gender-ambiguous name, rough play, mother is distant, father is
pleasant and warm
• Gender identity disorder (GID) – found in children as young as 2 – 3 years old;
persistent cross-gender indentification
Other Issues
• What should be the criteria for determining a person’s gender?
o Chromosomal gender or by external genitalia?
• Women are not allowed to be part of clergy
• Amended birth certificate; change of everything, name, sex, etc. very complicated

Criticisms of gender-reassignment surgery

• No difference in adjustment between those that have undergone surgery and those
who have not. So no need for transsexual surgery
• Reduction in depression after sex-reassignment
• Sex-reassignment done in Thailand; cheap

• There are paradoxes encountered when it comes to talking about the human
species, specifically the Homo sapiens sapiens - us.
1. Human species have very low fecundity
• - we only produce an average of 6 offspring (and a max of 2 dozen!) as
compared to certain species
• Fecundity is the condition of the number of eggs that the species
normally produces
• Common toad  7000 eggs per spawning
• Herring  50,000 eggs per spawning
• Sturgeon  6,000,000 eggs per spawning
• Tapeworm  6,000,000 eggs per year; can do it for 35 years
• Queen termite  11,000,000 eggs per year; can do it for 15 years
2. Humans have one of the LONGEST generation time
• Generation time – from the time they were born till they are able to
have their first offspring.
3. Humans engage in sex
• Sex vs reproduction --- for maintainance of species; prevention of
• Although there are some other species (e.g. gorillas, dolphins, etc) who
engage in orgies or probably even oral sex, our concept of sex is very
different from them
• We engage in sex but rarely think about reproduction and keeping our
race alive and all that
• Some animals sacrifice their lives just to be able to reproduce
• Plus the thing with us humans is that we engage in sex even though
ovulation in women is concealed; we do not know when the females
are ready to produce babies!
• As compared to apes, our close relatives, their ovulations are
advertised as seen in their brightly colored and swollen genitals, the
skin in their chest will look like vulval lips and have little hair,
produce hormones that attract males, swollen buttocks, etc.
According to Dr. Jared Diamond, “sex in humans is not for procreation, but for
recreation”. Also, he mentioned that we have sex even when the woman is not ready to be
pregnant; even when menstruating, or with menopause.

We are perhaps the only species of animal with copulation done in private

So, after we have discussed all of these, it is safe for us to assume that it is us humans
who have the weirdest sex life.