11.2 | Sex Flashcards Preview

🚫 PSY100H1: Introduction to Psychology (Winter 2016) with J. Vervaeke > 11.2 | Sex > Flashcards

Flashcards in 11.2 | Sex Deck (7)
Loading flashcards...


  • libido: the motivation for sexual activity and pleasure


Human Sexual Behaviour: Psychological Influences

  • sex frequently occurs without an end goal of reproduction in mind, which is rare in non-human species
  • Kinsey (1938-1952): applied science to sexual studies, which was unheard of and offensive at the time
    • believed that heterosexuality and homosexuality fell on a continuous scale
  • many studies of sexual behaviour are limited because they were done on university students (of the same ages and social sphere), and cannot be generalized to the entire population


Sexual Response Cycle

  • sexual response cycle: describes the phases of physiological change during sexual activity, which comprises four primary stages: excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution
    • this cycle applies to both sexes
    • women can reach multiple consecutive orgasms while men usually experience a refractory period
    • to some degree, males and females have similar subjective experiences during orgasm
  • refractory period: a time period during which erection and orgasm are not physically possible


Physiological Measures of Sex

  • stimulation of the breasts, nipples, and vaginal areas sends signals to the hypothalamus
  • hypothalamus releases oxytocin which plays a role in orgasm
  • dopamine is released during orgasm
  • after orgasm, seratonin levels increase


Sexual Orientation

  • sexual orientation: the consistent preference for sexual relations with members of the opposite sex (heterosexuality), same sex (homosexuality), or either sex (bisexuality)
  • focuses on the psychological aspects of sexuality; i.e. can have sexual orientation without having sexual contact
  • modern scientific explanations of homosexuality focus on interactions between biological and sociocultural factors 
  • LeVay (1991): found that an area of the hypothalamus was, on average, smaller in gay men compared to heterosexual man
    • however, LeVay's results have been hard to reproduce, and in the original experiment there were inconsistencies
  • genetic correlations between .30 and .60 for homosexuality have been reported for both men and women, suggesting that approximately half of the individual differences found in sexual orientation are due to genetic factors
  • this does not mean that sexual orientation is determined by genetics


Human Sexual Behaviour: Cultural Influences

  • gender roles: the accepted attitudes and behaviours of males and females in a given society
  • sexual scripts: the set of rules and assumptions about the sexual behaviours of males and females
  • men value sexual conquests and the physical attractiveness of the female due to their evolutionary goal of producing offspring
    • testosterone: a hormone that is involved in the development of sex characteristics and the motivation of sexual behaviour
  • females focused on stable relationships before engaging in sexual intercourse due to a limited amount of eggs and to ensure their child would be cared for
  • evolution is only part of the explanation 
  • society also plays a factor, giving men more power throughout history
  • but these scripts are changing with the emerge of the Women's Rights movement over the last 130 years, increase in women in the workforce, and perhaps "the pill"
  • sex guilt: negative emotional feelings for having culturally accepted standards of appropriate sexual behaviour
    • a major factor in differences between sexual attitudes across cultures


Sex and Technology

  • people tend to communicate with less inhibition via digital media compared to face-to-face encounters
  • this opens up the possibility for impulsive behaviour such as sending sexually explicit pictures and messages (“sexting”) 

does sex sell?

  • advertisers use sexual imagery to attract attention to a product; however, although the consumer might remember the ad, they are less likely to remember the brand that is being advertised
  • sexual ads generated smaller neural responses in several areas of the frontal lobes
  • this may lead to less analysis of an ad's contents than a purely fact-based appeal, making us more vulnerable to persuasion
  • there are several limitations to studies on if sex sells:
    • the stimulus is only presented once, whereas we're constantly being bombarded in real life
    • most ads are specifically targeted to a demographic, which may not necessarily have been the same demographic being tested
    • not all participants in a study are alike in their sexual views 

Decks in 🚫 PSY100H1: Introduction to Psychology (Winter 2016) with J. Vervaeke Class (50):