CHAPTERS 3-4 — HUMAN SEXUAL RESPONSE CYCLE

The sexual response cycle involves a combination of psychological and physiological factors interacting in a synergistic way (increasing the intensity of the sexual response) or in an antagonistic way (reducing its intensity). (Examples given.)

I. Psychological factors mutually influence each other.

A. Beliefs are those things you accept as fact.

B. Emotions involve positive, negative or ambivalent feelings.

C. Imagery involves memories of actual events or fantasies of future ones. (Give examples of all three.)

II. Physiological factors interact with psychological ones. (Discuss assumption that psychological factors are all related to physiological changes in the body.)

A. Central Nervous System

1. Cerebral cortex (p. 92)("bark") is the thin outer portion of the cerebrum, where neurons communicate with each other. It registers sensations, thinks and acts in ways, which make us human.

2. Limbic system (Q student, p. 92), which governs emotions, includes the hypothalamus (Q student, p. 109 figure), which influences the pituitary (Q student, p. 109 figure), which governs hormone production.

B. Hormones (Q student, p. 82/110 tables) ("messengers") are chemicals secreted into the blood. Before puberty, both sexes have low levels of male and female hormones secreted by the adrenal glands (Q student, p. 81/105 tables). At puberty, gonads take over 95% of production, which causes the development of secondary sex characteristics (Q student, p. 109, What are they?).

1. Testosterone (Q student, p. 82/93/107) needed at a minimum level in both sexes to activate sex drive. More than minimum does not make person "super-horny."

2. Castration (Q student) is cutting off testes, which reduces testosterone levels drastically. Effect on sex drive vary in relation to puberty and previous sexual activity (eunuch example).

C. Senses include taste, smell (pheromones, p. 92), hearing (phone sex), vision and touch. Because of individual variations, partners need to explore these various senses with each other.

1. Touch, especially erogenous zones (Q student, p. 92), lead to sexual arousal when stimulated. The whole body can be an erogenous zone, but such zones (primary) are more likely around body openings (examples). Besides being sexual, touch can be comforting, sensual or friendly (contact comfort and other examples).

2. Vision is second only to touch for sexual arousal and is related to importance of physical attractiveness. Both sexes respond to photos and videos (erotica, p. 597) physically, but some women do not interpret the changes as sexual arousal.

3. Smell, taste and sound also contribute to sexual arousal (explain).

Sexual response models (Q student, p. 89f/112f) do not occur in stages. These stages are abstractions to help us organize our perception of what is happening. The most accepted models are put forward by Masters and Johnson (4 stages), Kaplan (3 stages) and Loulan (6stages)(Q student, p. 91 table). All models emphasize processes of vasocongestion and myotonia (Q student, p. 93-94/112). The stages are organized in the following order.

I. Willingness stage (Q student, p. 91) is used only by Loulan. Merely intellectual decision to have intercourse.

I. Desire stage (Q student, p. 91) is used by Loulan and Kaplan. At this point, there may be no noticeable physiological changes, but the person feels aroused ("horny").

II. In both models, the excitement stage leads to increased heart rate and blood pressure.

A. About 25% of both sexes have a sex flush (Q student, p. 95/110) — a rash-like coloration on chest and back due to expanding capillaries.

B. Vasocongestion (Q student) includes penile erection in males and vaginal sweating and clitoral erection in females.

C. Testes enlarge and lift.

D. Lips spread and open.

E. Ballooning ("tenting") (Q student, p. 94) is an expansion of inner two-thirds of the vagina.

III. Plateau stage in the Masters and Johnson model is called Engorgement by Loulan and is still excitement stage for Kaplan. In the later part of the excitement stage, excitement increases and levels off.

A. With women, an orgasmic platform (Q student, p. 95) develops — the outer one-third of the vagina swells. At the same time, the clitoris retracts under its hood.

B. Cowper's gland (Q student, p 113 Figure) emits fluid.

C. Both sexes can get "sex skin" (Q student) — a deep red, wine color of the genitals. Men may call this "blue balls" (Q student).

IV. All models include orgasm (sneeze analogy). It involves an explosion of feeling and rhythmic contractions (0.8 seconds). All ages and sexes can orgasm, but only those past puberty can ejaculate (Q student, p. 113).

A. Men have two stages.

1. Emission (Q student, p. 113) is when the man feels the contraction of the seminal vesicles, prostate, and Cowper's gland to give the feeling of inevitability ("I'm coming"). The normal prostate closes off the bladder, so there is no retrograde ejaculation.

2. Expulsion (Q student, p. 113) is when the urethral bulb and penile contractions force semen out of the penis a few seconds later.

B. There is much controversy surrounding the Grδfenberg (G) spot (Q student, p. 75/77 Figure) and the female ejaculation (Whipple and Perry). About 10-20% of women are aware that they have a G-spot, and only a portion of them ejaculate.

SHOW FILM, "Female Ejaculation." Before showing, inform students of explicitness (Q student) of film, allowing students to miss film, if viewing it is against their value system. After film, Q students about their feelings and experiences concerning the G-spot or female ejaculation.

V. Resolution in the Masters and Johnson model is equivalent to Pleasure in the Loulan model. Kaplan does not have a stage after orgasm.

A. Only men have a refractory period (Q student, p. 114) in which a rest must occur before another orgasm. Period varies depending on age and health. Some 10% of men can have multiple orgasms, but typically without ejaculation. Orgasm and ejaculation are different but related responses, so under extreme conditions, one can occur without another (spinal damage examples).

B. Women are more capable of having multiple orgasms. Distinguish between foreplay and afterplay. (Q students about attitudes related to faking orgasms.)

 

CHAPTER 2 — STUDYING HUMAN SEXUALITY (Not covered in lecture, but some test items will be from this information in the textbook.)

Review, EXAM, Review Exam

(Handouts — Assertiveness, Listening, Sexual Adjustment, Androcentric Language)

CHAPTER 8 — COMMUNICATION

What we learn here about communication — the transfer of meaning — we would like you to practice for the rest of the semester, and hopefully, for the rest of your life.

Communication always occurs in multiple contexts, which may affect each other.

I. Cultural context (Q student, pp. 241-242) involves the norms, values, beliefs, customs and language related to sexuality.

II. Social context (Q student, p. 242-243) is related to roles and status causes by factors like age, gender, or orientation.

III. Psychological context (Q student, p. 243) is related to personality traits.

Several factors can lead to problems in communication. (Q students, How do you block effective communication?)

I. Failure to disclose may be caused by fear of rejection or vulnerability. These fears can also lead to indirect, vague communications and a lack of intimacy (Q student, define)

II. Poor communication skills are also a problem. When choosing language to communicate about sexuality, limited in choices that are slang or offensive, childlike, coldly scientific, or unclear. (Give examples.)

III. Even if adequate communication does occur, one or both partners may be unwilling to change.

IV. Many people believe myths about sexuality, which reduce communication.

A. "Sex is spontaneous (natural or takes care of itself), so it doesn't need to be discussed." (Q student)

B. The "mindreader" fallacy — "If someone really loves you, s/he will know what you desire." (Q student)

C. "Since girls are pure and chaste, they don't want to talk about sex." (Q student)

D. "Since guys know everything about sex, they don't need to learn anything." (Q student)

Since becoming intimate means sharing your deepest feelings and desires with another, mutual empathy is needed. (Q student to contrast with sympathy.) Communication needs to be clear and non-threatening. Positive feelings can be shared along with negative ones.

Mutual affirmation (acceptance) (Q student) and trust are essential for good communication. However, first you need self-affirmation. (Q students to make affirmations about themselves.) (Distinguish between self-affirmation or self-love and being conceited.) Trust is more likely to develop under certain conditions (Q student, p. 257-258).

I. The relationship is likely to continue.

II. Behavior is predictable.

III. There are options available.

Mutual self-disclosure (Q student, p. 257) leads to increased trust. Thoughts are different than feelings (Q student and relate to reaction papers). Feelings are neither good nor bad; they just are. They foster movement toward, away from or against others. If we cancel out our "bad" feelings, "good" feelings will also be eliminated, until we feel nothing at all (explain). Anger is a secondary emotion — one which occurs after we have experienced primary ones (give examples).

Communication loop (p. 260, adapted from figure) involves a >speaker (sender) and a listener (receiver). Like sitting in a chair, only one person can be in the chair at a time; otherwise the communication is ineffective.

Senders need to know what message they want to send. They must encode it and send it out on a channel (sounds, pictures, writing). Most of emotion (90%±) involves nonverbal communication (proximity, eye contact, touch, p. 243-247) rather than verbal (words). This message must be decoded by the receiver, but sender and receiver may not have the same code, so misunderstandings may occur. To reduce that likelihood, the receiver needs to feedback (tentatively rephrase) the message to the sender in the form of a question. (Give examples.)

Senders first must be aware of what they want to say, even if it is to admit that they are confused. The awareness can include sensations, thoughts, emotions, wants or needs, and actions (past, present or future). There are several ways senders can become more effective.

I. They may need to first talk about talking (explain).

II. It is better to be assertive rather than either passive (nonassertive) or aggressive (Q students on all three, handout). Assertiveness is more likely to lead to a "win-win" situation rather than "win-lose."

III. "You" messages need to be deleted (cut out) (Q student, handout). "You" messages make others defensive and reduce the chance that they will be listening. (If you are pointing at the receiver, that is an indication of a "you" message.)

IV. Senders need to use leveling by engaging in "I" messages (Q student, handout). "I" messages can disclose, confront, or be positive, declarative or preventative (give examples). The basic form of an "I" message has three components shown in the format below.

"I feel (emotion), when (behavior that is seen, heard or felt), because (describe effect behavior has on self). (Give several examples, then Q students to give "I" messages.)

V. Use humor, but only if it is not hostile humor.

VI. Choose right time and place (Q student, p. 249) for several reasons. Timing is important, so emotions not too strong, but discussion not so removed that the event cannot be remembered. Both need to set aside the time free from other commitments. The place needs to be private without outside disturbances (even TV).

VII. Limit the topic, so the discussion does not get "off the track" and "gunnysacking" is avoided (explain).

The task of the receiver is more difficult that that of the sender. Genders differ in the way they listen; men listen more for facts, while women listen more for emotions. To be a better listener, there are several things that can be done.

I. Attending behavior includes such nonverbal things as eye contact (p. 231) and body orientation (demonstrate examples). If a little voice in your head is repeating what is being said, then you are attending. If you little voice is working out answers or rebuttals, you are not attending to what the other person is saying.

II. Silence, whether the other person is speaking or not, need not be uncomfortable.

III. Acknowledgements — nodding or "ah-huh"s can be one indication that you are listening, but nodding alone will not be effective over the phone (examples given).

IV. Door-openers are statements of questions that indicate that you are willing to listen when you receive verbal or nonverbal indications that someone wants to talk (examples given).

V. Feedback (active listening) is paraphrasing what you think that you have heard. It helps to try to repeat the "I" message you think you have heard, even if it came as a "you" message (give examples).

VI. You can make the sender aware of additional options, but do not give advice (explain).

(Role play with students and ask them to give feedback for what is being expressed. This can be done with the teacher going from student to student or by having students pair themselves up. Get input from students on success of role-play.)

Life is full of conflicts (p. 259-266). The greater the differences, the greater the conflict. However, there are effective steps for conflict resolution (Q student).

I. Understand the problem — become aware of what the problem is — by listening.

II. Brainstorm solutions without evaluating them. Explore all possible options, no matter how silly they may seem. Do not censor any option at this point.

III. Evaluate all options, giving their assets and liabilities.

IV. Choose one (or more) options.

V. Implement the chosen option(s).

VI. Evaluate the success of the option(s).

VII. If necessary, revise option(s) or repeat conflict resolution process.

 

(Handout — Styles of Love)

CHAPTER 7 — LOVE, INTIMACY AND SEXUALITY

Typically women use love to legitimize premarital sex. Men are more likely to separate love and sex, especially gay men. For college students, the most acceptable standard for sexual activity is "sex with affection" (p. 203). This is related to our standards for "good" vs. "bad" women.

Zick Rubin's components of love (intimacy?)(Q student, p. 219).

I. Caring is concern for other's well being, in contrast to unwanted help (p. 219).

II. Interdependence — needing the other — involves shared actions, support, resources and understanding (p. 219). Partners rely on each other, which leads to mutual power and a feeling of "we" rather than "me."

III. Trust involves leaving self vulnerable but being confident about partner (p. 219). More self-disclosure and sharing occur.

IV. Tolerance involves accepting the other along with their faults (p. 219). This is similar to Carl Roger's unconditional positive regard (previous handout).

Sociologist John Lee's styles of love are covered on questionnaire (pp. 220-221). They include six styles, which can change from partner to partner and in the span of a relationship.

I. Eros (Q student, p. 220) emphasizes physical attraction, being consumed by sensing (touch, smell, vision examples) of other, even when other is absent (examples).

II. Mania (manic) (Q student, p. 220) is obsessive. In contrast to eros, it has roller coaster highs and lows (examples). It is very possessive and jealous. Those who are jealous tend to have lower self-esteem.

III. Ludus (ludic) (Q student, p. 220) is not serious. It involves playing games and "scoring" (examples).

IV. Storge ("STOR-gay") (Q student, p. 220) develops slowly, starting with liking or friendship. In contrast to "roaring flames" of eros or mania, storge typically involves "glowing embers" (examples).

V. Agape ("ah-gahp-AY") (Q student, p. 220) is altruistic and selfless, sometimes called "Christian" (examples). Nothing is expected in return. This may be an ideal, but it is hard to maintain in most relationships (examples).

VI. Pragma (pragmatic) (Q student, p. 220) is very practical and business. Partners tend to balance the negative with the positives like a "love accountant" (examples).

Robert Sternbergdeveloped a triangular theory of love (Q student, p. 221, 224-226). It has three components, which combine to form various kinds of love.

I. Components

A. Intimacy (Q student, p. 224) involves emotional closeness, caring and sharing.

B. Passion (Q student, p. 224) involves a high level of emotional or sexual arousal.

C. Decision/commitment (Q student, p. 224) includes both a decision to love followed by a long-term commitment to view selves as a pair ("we").

II. Kinds of love (Give examples of each.)

A. Liking (Q student, p. 224) is similar to friendship, involving only intimacy.

B. Infatuation (Q student, p. 225) involves passion only. It is like "love at first sight" found with fans of movie stars. It is often one-sided.

C. Romantic (Q student, p. 225) combines passion and intimacy. It is very idealized like a summer "fling."

D. Companionate (Q student, p. 225) combines intimacy and commitment similar to Lee's storge style of love.

E. Fatuous (deceptive) (Q student, p. 225) involves passion and commitment.

F. Empty (Q student, p. 226) involves commitment only, as when estranged remain together for "the kid's sake" or social appearance.

G. Nonlove (p. 226) has none of the components.

H. Consummate (conjugal) (p. 225-226) involves all three components, which is probably the type of relationship that most of us are seeking.

Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (Q student, psychology) indicates development from basic physiological needs to higher social needs. Deficiencies at lower levels interfere with meeting needs at higher levels.

I. Physiological (survival) (Give examples.)

II. Safety (physiological and psychological) (Give examples.)

III. Love and belonging (Give examples.)

IV. Esteem (achievement, accomplishment) such as learning in this class.

V. Self-actualization ("Be all you can be.")

From this, Maslow talks about two types of love.

I. Being (B) love involves sharing trust, reciprocity, and encouraging the growth of the other (examples).

II. Deficiency (D) love is one-sided, with one person being selfish, taking or demanding and jealous (examples).

Attachment Theory (Q student, pp. 226-230) relates childhood personalities to types of attachment in love relationships.

I. Secure attachment (Q student, p. 228) occurs when infant needs are met, which is in over half of adults.

II. Anxious/ambivalent attachment (Q student, p. 229) is fostered by inconsistently meeting infant needs, which occurs in about 20% of adults. This tends to lead to the deficiency love espoused by Maslow.

III. Avoidant attachment (Q student, p. 229)occurs when infant needs are rarely met, which happens with about a quarter of the population. They fear dependence on others.

Jealousy (Q student, p. 231-235) develops from a threatened loss of attention, which leads to a feared loss of the other. Jealous people are insecure and possessive.

I. Suspicious jealousy (Q student, p. 233) does not need any precipitating event. Suspiciously jealous people have low self-esteem.

II. Reactive jealousy (Q student, p. 234) is in response to actual involvement with others, either present or previous. Each partner has their own boundary markers (Q student, pp. 234), which indicate what is permissible and what is not. Often it is hard to distinguish between suspicious and reactive jealousy.


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