What is Love?
 Difficult to define
 Special attitude with behavioral and emotional
 Different things to different people
 Difficult to measure
Rubin’s Love Scale
 13-item questionnaire
 3 components of love
 Attachment
 Caring
 Intimacy
Sternberg’s Triangular Theory
 Passion, Intimacy, & Commitment are the three
components of love
 Passion builds then fades
 Intimacy & Commitment continue to build
 Variations in components yield different kinds of love
Intimacy alone = friendship
Passion alone = infatuation
Commitment alone = empty love
Sternberg’s Triangular Theory
Falling in Love
 The chemistry of love
 Neurotransmitters
Mentioned last class
 Endorphins
Chemicals - euphoria, peace, tranquility
 Loss of romantic love and neurotransmitter withdrawal
Falling in Love: Proximity
 Proximity
 Mere exposure effect
 Familiarity breeds predictability which leads to greater
 Greater proximity often reflects shared interests
Falling in Love: Similarity
 Similarity
 Level of physical attractiveness
 Age, educational status, and religion
 Race and ethnicity
 Why Similarity?
Share similar interests & activities
Communicate better
Confirm own views & experiences
Supportive of values & beliefs
Falling in Love: Reciprocity
 Reciprocity
 When someone shows they like us, we tend to like them
 Increases in self-esteem
 Increases likelihood of relationship enduring
Falling in Love: Physical Attractiveness
 Belief that “What’s beautiful is good”
 Status by association
 Most important in early stages
 May be an indicator of physical health
 Heterosexual males place greater emphasis on physical
 Intense emotional tie
 Adult attachments are influenced by our attachment
to caregiver in infancy
 Attachment styles in Adulthood
 Paired couples often are similar in their attachment
 Attachment style affects interaction in relationship
Attachment Styles and Relationships
Issues in Loving Relationships
 Relationship between love & sex
 Relationship between the two is not always clear
Consider “hook-ups” and “friends with
 Questions to ask:
Does sexual intimacy deepen a love
Do men and women have different views of sex
& love? How does age impact this?
Sexual Orientation and Attitudes
about Love & Sex
 Many people stereotype same-sex relationships as
primarily sexual
 Sex differences among lesbians and gay men are
consistent with general sex difference in attitudes
toward love and sex
 Gay men are more likely than lesbians to
separate love from sex
 Lesbians more likely to postpone sex until
intimacy has been established
Jealousy in Relationships
 Jealousy-prone person
 Low self-esteem
 High value on wealth and popularity
 Negative consequences
 Precipitates partner violence
 Stifles relationship development
 Raises anxiety, depression, anger
 Sex differences
 Women (her fault)
 Men (partner or third person’s fault)
Maintaining Relationship Satisfaction
 Ingredients in a lasting love relationship
 Self-acceptance
 Appreciation of each other’s qualities
 Commitment
 Good communication, realistic expectations and shared
I versus You communication
 Ability to face and deal with conflict
Know how to compromise
Maintaining Relationship Satisfaction
 Characteristics of high quality relationships
 Supportive communication
 Companionship
 Sexual expression and variety
Although not always variety…
 Seeing partner as best friend
 Maintaining frequent positive interaction
Maintaining Relationship Satisfaction
 Individual and relationship growth
 Growth and change maintain relationship
 Overcome obstacles
View problems as challenges
Negotiate and renegotiate wants
Accept each other as unique
Maintaining Relationship Satisfaction
 Sexual Variety
 Communication is critical
Listen to needs
Must communicate yours! No mind readers!
 Be spontaneous
Sometimes need to plan for intimate time
 Don’t worry about frequency “standards”
 Types of Celibacy
 Complete celibacy
Neither masturbates nor has sexual contact
with another person
 Partial celibacy
Reasons for or Benefits of Celibacy
 Religious, moral beliefs
 Waiting for the appropriate person
 Learning about other aspects of self
 Health considerations
 During substance abuse recovery
Erotic Dreams
 Expression and exploration of desires
 Most males, two thirds females
 Nocturnal orgasm
 Both sexes
 Women have higher frequency of intercourse and of
orgasm with masturbation more likely aware
Erotic Fantasy
 Daydreams, masturbation, or during sexual
 95% of women and men fantasize
 Fantasy content among heterosexual and nonheterosexual individuals are similar, except for sex
of imagined partner
Sexual Fantasy
 Function of sexual fantasies
 Source of pleasure & arousal
 Overcome sexual anxiety
 Acceptable expression of socially unacceptable behavior
 Gender similarities & differences
 Women more likely to use romance
 Men more likely to have domination fantasies
 Women more likely to have submission fantasies
Fantasies: Help or Hindrance?
 Most research points to helpful
 Healthy part of sexuality
 May actually enhance a relationship
 How might fantasies be harmful?
Perspectives on Masturbation
 Traditional Condemnation
 Censured as non-procreational
 Erroneous health concerns
Tissot, Graham, Kellogg
 Contemporary research has established that it is
not harmful
 Differences by race, gender, education
White male, married, college grad
Purposes for Masturbation
 Relieves sexual tension
 Means of self-exploration
 Shared experience
 Common among married couples
More frequent sex = more frequent masturbation
Not dissatisfaction
 Assists in physical relaxation
Self-Pleasuring Technique
 Follow your moral values
 Set aside adequate time & relax
 Experiment with different types of touch
Kissing and Touching
 Kissing
 Cross-cultural practices and attitudes toward kissing
 Touching
 Cornerstone of human sexuality
 Whole body is responsive
 Specific erogenous zones
Touching: Manual Stimulation of Genitals
 Individual differences with regard to manual
 Most women need consistent touching through
 Usually hand movements against mons and clitoris
 Men may not like to be touched just after orgasm
Gay Male Sexual Behaviors
 Misconceptions
 One “wears the dress”
 Realities
 Similar to noncoital heterosexual behaviors
 Fellatio, mutual masturbation are most common
 Compared to other men, gay men often have more
diversity, self-expression, & personal enjoyment in their
sexual contact
Lesbian Sexual Expression
 Misconceptions
 Idea of wearing dildo
Artificial penis
 Realities
 Similar to noncoital heterosexual behaviors
 Lesbian sexual relations tend to be longer and involve
more all-over body sensuality
Oral-Genital Stimulation
 Types: cunnilungus & fellatio
 Acceptance varies
 69 refers to simultaneous oral-genital
Anal Stimulation
 Prevalence is lower than other forms of sexual
 Health risk (HIV, other infections)
 Lubricants and gentle insertion needed
 Bad idea to have vaginal sex after anal

Chapter 6 Sexual Arousal and Response