Psy 203 Chapter 8 - Donna Vandergrift, Psychology Professor

Chapter 8
Sexual Behaviors
What is normal?
• Recall that “normal” is different between cultures and
changes throughout history.
• Statistically normal – a large number of people engage
in the behavior.
• Normal is actually a range of behaviors.
• Most sexual behaviors are considered normal as long
as the individual does not suffer physical or
psychological damage, does not harm others and the
behavior doesn’t interfere with daily life.
• Types of Celibacy
– Complete celibacy
– 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
• Lack of a partner
Erotic Dreams
• Expression and exploration of desires taking
place within the mind
• Most males, two thirds females
• Nocturnal orgasm
Erotic Fantasy
• Can occur during daydreams, masturbation, or
during sexual encounters
• 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 and arousal
– Overcome sexual anxiety
– Acceptable expression of socially unacceptable
• Gender similarities and differences
• Fantasies: Help or Hindrance?
– Most research points to helpful
Sexual Fantasies
• Women’s fantasies tend to be more romantic
and emotional while men’s tend to be more
explicit and visual.
• Most common is a fantasy of a present, former
or imaginary partner.
• Four main categories
Exploratory – never-tried behaviors
Intimacy – sex with a known partner
Impersonal – sex with strangers
Dominance-submission themes
Perspectives on Masturbation
• Traditional Condemnation
• Viewed as non-procreational
– Erroneous health concerns
– Freud considered it immature
• Contemporary research has established that it is
not harmful
Masturbation across
History and Culture
• Some cultures have condemned self-pleasuring
(especially to the point of ejaculation in men) as
being harmful to the man and/or against god’s will.
• Victorians forced children to wear chastity belts and
metal gloves to bed, and circumcision and
clitoridectomy became popularized as antimasturbation prevention.
Masturbation across
History and Culture
• J.H. Kellogg invented cornflakes to be used as an
anti-masturbation breakfast food; Dr. Graham
invented the graham cracker for the same reason –
don’t worry; it doesn’t work.
• Orthodox Jews still consider it a major sin.
• Some cultures (e.g. followers of Egypt’s ancient god
Atum) have honored masturbation, or at least
accepted it as a normal behavior.
Recent Attitudes
• Former U.S. Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders was
fired in 1994 for suggesting that teens consider
masturbation instead of premarital sexual
intercourse and its health risks.
• Sexologists remain puzzled at the fear and anxiety
roused by such a innocuous behavior.
• Nearly half of Americans who masturbate continue
to feel guilty or wrong about it.
Who Masturbates and Why?
• Men are more likely to begin masturbating
before they begin having sexual intercourse;
for women, the reverse is true.
• Among today’s college students, twice as
many men as women report masturbating.
• 2/3 agree that masturbation is a natural part of
life and it continues into marriage.
Purposes for Masturbation
• Relieves sexual tension
• Means of self-exploration
• Assists in physical relaxation
Ethnic Differences in Behavior
• Only 40% of African-American men masturbated in
the past year, while 2/3 of white and Latino men,
and slightly fewer Asian-American men did.
• White Americans are most likely to engage in oralgenital sex; African-Americans the least likely.
• Latino-Americans are the group most likely to
engage in anal intercourse.
Manual Stimulation of Genitals
• Individual differences with regard to manual
• Most women need consistent touching through
• Men may not like to be touched just after orgasm
Oral-Genital Stimulation
• Types: cunnilungus and fellatio
• Acceptance varies
• More unmarried people engaging in oral sex
now than reported in Kinsey’s survey
Oral Sex
• 70-90% of sexually active teens and young adults
engage in oral-genital sex.
• People tend to become more accepting of a sexual
behavior when they learn that it is not abnormal.
• Some people worry about cleanliness – people
who are healthy and bathe regularly pose no risk.
Your mouth carries more germs than your genitals
Sources of Unpleasant or Bitter-Tasting
Why Anal Sex?
• The anus has numerous nerve endings and is
very sensitive to touch; the anal sphincter
muscle undergoes rhythmic contractions during
orgasm in both men and women.
• Anal sex can include
– Anal intercourse (penis in anus)
– Use of fingers or dildos (insertion or
– Rimming (oral-anal)
Who has Anal Sex?
• Among heterosexuals, 20-26% report having tried
anal intercourse (10% have engaged in it within the
past year), but numbers may be higher.
• This behavior is stigmatized among many
heterosexuals because many people think of it as a
“gay” behavior.
• About 75% of gay males have engaged in anal
intercourse within the past year; not all gay men
enjoy anal sexual behaviors.
Is Anal Sex Safe?
• Many people like the “tighter” sensation, but
this means tissues must be forced to stretch.
– Be sensitive to your partner’s response.
– Lubrication is important for comfort and safety.
• Anal intercourse is a high risk behavior for HIV
because it is likely that thin rectal membranes
will tear a little, allowing infected semen into the
bloodstream. Only infected fluids can infect
– Condoms tear more often during anal intercourse
than during vaginal intercourse.
Coitus and Coital Positions
• Position variations
– Man or woman above
– Face-to-face
– Side-lying
– Rear entry
Coital Variations
• Variations are as numerous as a couple’s
imagination, flexibility and strength.
• A recent survey of college students found that
45% of men preferred woman-on-top; 1/3 of
college women also preferred that position
– 25% men preferred man-on-top; another
25% preferred man-from-behind
– 48% women preferred man-on-top; another
15% preferred man-from-behind
What Is Your Favorite Intercourse
Pros and Cons to Consider
• For each position, consider
Is face-to-face contact important to me?
Am I able to orgasm in this position?
Do I reach orgasm too quickly in this position?
Is this position physically comfortable?
Are my hands free to touch my partner or myself?
Do I feel safe and cared for in this position?
How does this position feel to my partner?
Has this position become routine for us?
Coital Positions
Coital Positions
Coital Positions
Coital Positions