Baumeister & Tice Chapter 4

Baumeister & Tice Chapter 4
The Nature & Culture of Sexuality
Nature v. Nurture
Essentialists v. Social constructivists
Moral & legal implications
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Excuses, no responsibility
Punishment (unfair & futile, rehabilitation & deterrent?)
Decision rule
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No cultural variation = nature
Cultural variation = nurture
Cultural Influences
Taliban
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Restrictive laws against female sexuality
Adultery punishable by death
Western world
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Sex on TV, nude beaches & pornography
Variation (porn illegal in some states)
Impacts strongly on morals, attitudes, preferences & choices
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Morris (1996)
Female circumcision or female genital mutilation (FGM)
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Ancient practice from all continents
Greek papyrus from 163 BC references FGM
Decreed by no religion (some think it is)
Found in 26 African countries
Wide variation in practice
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5% in Uganda & Zaire
98% in Somali
6,000 girls/day
Morris (1996)
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3 types of FGM (done at 4-8 years of age)
 Type I: Excision of clitoral hood (leaves clitoris intact)
 Type II: Clitoridectomy involving removal of clitoris and
portions of labia minoria
Type III: Infibulation involving removal of clitoris and portions
of labia majora/minor & vulva stitched together
Morris (1996)
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Onadeko (1985) Nigerian women (N = 453)
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Attitudes towards FGM
Western world: Barbaric & abusive
Favorable in most African countries
67% in favor
64.3% of 28 men not in favor
Numerous other studies find similar results
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Somalian refugees in US favor FGM
Morris (1996)
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Reasons for
 Culture
 Tradition
Ensures virginity & marriage w/ large dowry
 Ensure fidelity
Reasons against
 Barbaric tradition
 Violates human rights
 Child abuse
 Health problems
Widmer et al. (1998)
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Examined sexual attitudes in 24 countries
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Sex before marriage
Sex before age 16
Extramarital sex
Homosexual sex
Asked if these types of sex were
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Always wrong
Almost always wrong
Only sometimes wrong
Not at all wrong
Widmer et al. (1998)
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Premarital sex, sex before 16 & extramarital sex showed large agreement
across countries
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Most (61%) view premarital sex ‘not wrong at all’
Most (58%) view sex before 16 as ‘always wrong’
Most (66%) view extramarital sex as ‘always wrong’
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USA 80%
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Substantial variation on homosexual sex
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59% overall said ‘always wrong’
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Hungary 83%, USA 70%, Bulgaria 80%
24% overall said ‘not wrong at all’
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Netherlends 65%, Canada 46%, Slovenia 42%
Widmer et al. (1998)
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Cluster 2. Sexual conservatives
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4 clusters of countries identified (see article)
USA, Ireland, Poland
Cluster 3. Homosexual permissives
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Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Canada, Czech Republic
Widmer et al. (1998)
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Important data because it provides way to test nature v. cultural
explanations
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Netherlands (65% homosexuality not wrong at all)
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Rate of homosexuality higher than less permissive countries suggests cultural
influence
Desirability bias absent (likely to tell truth in permissive culture)
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Same rate supports nature (& validates earlier data)
Class Data 03 (N = 102, Female = 73)
Always Almost
Pre
11.7%
9.7%
< 16 36/71
32
Extra 81/80
11.9
Homo 19.4/70 8.7
Bold = Widmer USA data
Why the difference?
Wrong?
Sometime Not at all
35%
43.7%
28
3.9
4
3
19.4
52.4/19
Widmer et al. (1998)
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US conservative attitudes but not behavior
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Extramarital affairs estimated at 50%
80% Americans view this as ‘always wrong’
Why?
Attitudes
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Attitudes contain 3 components:
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Cognitions, beliefs (cheating is wrong!)
Emotions (Anger, disgust)
Behavior tendencies (I intend never to cheat)
Attitudes can predict behavior: No cheating!
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Not always...
Attitudes
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Attitudes don’t predict behavior when
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Components inconsistent (cognition v emotion)
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Levels of analysis mixed (broad-> specific)
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Believe pornography is wrong but feel excited
Sex is good (broad) v. masturbating to Victoria Secret
Norms/Vested interest
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Desirability bias impacts Rs (homosexuality)
Gain by behaving in ways inconsistent with attitudes
Reaction Paper II: Cultural Morality
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Upon learning of the great variability in sexual attitudes across
cultures many take a moral absolutist stance, arguing that cultures
that disagree with our own are simply morally WRONG. Do you take
this view with regards to sexual behaviors like homosexuality? Or do
you take a moral relativistic stance, believing that moral absolutes
don’t exist & each culture defines what is and is not right for them?
Explain your position.
Nature Influences
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Hormones prenatally impact brain development & sexual
behavior later in life
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Masculinizing hormones masculinize behavior
Feminizing hormones feminize behavior
Nature Influences
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Sex Hormones (androgens) impact sexual behavior
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Erotica increases T levels
T +rd w/ sexual behaviors, attitudes
Sex offenders treated by chemically reducing T & erectile dysfunction
by increasing T
Follicular stage of menstrual cycle +rd w/ arousal
Nature Influences
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Sex on the brain video
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How did early exposure to testosterone impact female rat behavior?
How did early exposure to estrogen impact male rat behavior?
Can this happen with humans?
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YEP!
Nature Influences
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Kamasutra, medieval times, 2002
We have been doing same things for millennia
Love & jealousy - ubiquitous in human culture
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Cross-cultural consistencies suggest nature
 Sexual behavior - little variation
Female infidelity more condemned
Nature impacts sexual development & behavior
Nature Influences
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Jealousy (expect no cultural variation)
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Males: Sexual
Females: Emotional
Why?
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Evolutionary pressures
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Males have uncertainty of paternity
Males preventing sexual infidelity pass > genes
Males > power in all known societies
Statistical Significance
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t = inferential statistic indicating difference between groups in
population
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p = significance level (how likely difference would occur if TRUE,
population difference = 0.0)
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< .05 traditional significance level (1/20)
2/1000 if true difference = 0.0
Assume difference is real
Class Data 03 (N = 102, Female = 73)
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Upset over partner having sex with another?
Mean
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Male
Female
4.76
4.76
t(101) < 1, ns
Upset over partner falling in love with another?
Mean
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Male
Female
3.72
4.31
t(101) = 3.01, p < .003
Nature Influences
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Promiscuity
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Greater investment of female than male
More costs for females than males
Selection pressures lead females to be less promiscuous
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Men more interested in causal sex
Women want to know their partner longer
Class Data 03 (N = 102, Female = 73)
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Frequency of viewing & purchasing pornography/year
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Item
VIDEOFREQ
BOOKFREQ
BUYFREQ
Male
Female
t
p
45.39
80.44
4.05
12.43
4.38
2.99
.000
.01
2.39
.41
2.95 .004
Nature Influences
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Evolutionary theory is a biological account
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Connections between humans, mammals, primates
Emphasizes biological processes like reproduction
Evolution theory is a functional account
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Behaviors, characteristics that served an adaptive function were passed
on via natural selection
Many present day behaviors evolutionary artifacts
Not necessarily conscious, willful behavior
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Distal not proximal cause
Nature & Culture
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Guttentag & Secord (1983)
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Culture changes as a result of ratio of males:females
Sexual morality reflects minority gender
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Male surplus/female scarcity = women highly valued & sexually
restrictive/prudish morals
Female surplus/male scarcity = women devalued & sexually permissive
morals
Why?
Guttentag & Secord (1983)
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Supply & demand: Scarcity confers power
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Women/men are precious, valuable and powerful when rare
Suggests that:
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Men desire promiscuous, commitment free sex
Women desire stable, committed relationships
Conclusion
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Nature impacts development, behaviors
Nurture/culture impacts attitudes, morals
Combine to impact all aspects of sexuality