Human Sexuality

Human Sexuality:

In general, human sexuality is how people experience & express themselves as sexual beings. The study of human sexuality includes an array of social activities and an abundance of, series of actions, behaviors & societal topics. Biologically specking, sexuality can encompass sexual intercourse and sexual contact in all of its forms, plus medical concerns regarding the physiological or even psychological aspects of sexual behavior. Sociologically specking, it can cover the political, cultural and legal aspects; and philosophically specking, it can span the ethical, moral, theological, spiritual or religious aspects.

God formed human beings along with many dimensions, one of which is their sole sexual nature. As men & women, we are intellectual, physical, emotional, relational, & spiritual beings, and therefore distinguished from the rest of creation.

Several levels of sexual expression are possible among men and women.

One significant expression of sexuality is friendship; the sexual differences among men and women increase meaningful, warm & healthy relationships. A second significant area of sexual expression is closeness between husband and wife. God has designed mostly intimate expressions of sexuality, by including intercourse, particularly for the marriage relationship. The Bible defines the covenantal relationship of love that God has for His people; the husband-wife relationship is analogous. As God holds the marriage relationship near to His heart, its violation is a serious crime to Him.

Human sexuality plays a vital role in everyone's life. Regardless, whether we are old or young, man or woman, or Japanese or American, it is an integral part of what we do and who we are. Certainly, there are several emotions related with human sexuality, including the: A) biological perspective, B) cognitive perspective, and C) learning perspective.

Next to sleeping & eating, it appears that it is one of the most significant drives we ought to deal with as humans. i.e., it takes up so much of our time in behavior and thought that it sometimes appears that every aspect of our life revolves around this to a certain extent. Human sexual behavior is distinct from the sexual behavior of other animals, in that, it appear to be governed via a variety & interplay of distinct factors. That is, whereas "lower" animals or species are driven via a "force" to reproduce and thus partake in sexual behavior. Humans are not sexually active only for the sake of reproduction; instead, there are a variety of complex factors that lead people to have sex.

Why study human sexuality?

It may seem as a rather simple-minded question, however one of the questions which should always be posed before any endeavor is, "why do it?" and "what do we hope to achieve from it?". A significant cause to study human sexuality is that it is a crucial source of motivation. Just suppose the amount of time spent thinking & planning for sex, let alone time spent in sexual behavior itself. Sexual motivation does to some of the extent influence human behavior. Another cause for studying human sexuality is that we might face several personal and social troubles involving sexuality, like, sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, & sexual harassment. It should sound especially timely during the times in which we live.

Methods of Research in Human Sexuality:

There are many ways of gathering scientific evidence regarding human sexuality. Whereas, some of the  methods targeted on description, others methods concentrate on recognizing relationships among variables, and still others in recognizing causal relationships. The following are common summaries as to the different data collection methods.

Survey Method:

Surveys gather information regarding behavior through interviews with participants or questionnaires. The goal of this particular method is to collect information on the sexual attitudes and behavior of a specific population or group of people. This specific method does have restriction. For instance, drawbacks of this method are that surveys need self-report from the participants, thus, it is likely that the data gather might contain a plethora of inaccuracies. Based on the question posed to the individual they might want to present themselves in a socially suitable way or be too embarrassed to answer truthfully. Additionally, several people refuse to even participate in human sexuality survey, thus, you may get a selection bias because the sample attained may not be representative of the population you want to generalize to.

Observational Method:

In the observational technique the investigator is a direct observer of sexual behavior. These observations might take place in field settings or in laboratories. This specific method, however, has had a very restricted application so far due to the requirement of privacy that shrouds sexual experience in various cultures. An instance of observational research is while psychologists watch the patterns of nonverbal communication & body language between couples in dating condition. Researchers can also interact along with the people whose behavior they are recording, it is deemed the participant observation method. One of the major limitations of this method is the opportunity that the behavior under study might be altered by the participant due to the presence of the observer (that means observer effect). In other terms, the participants' behavior might consciously be changed to "fit"  along with what they believe the observer is seeking.

Human Sexual Response (1966) by William Masters & Virginia Johnson is one of the seminal studies investigative the sexual behavior of humans through the observation method. In spite of the controversy engendered by the method of their study, it provided a reliable picture of what happens to the body at time of sexual behavior.

Experimental Method:

Experiments allow researchers to draw causal conclusions among the independent variable and dependent variable. One instance of this method is exposing participants to sexually arousing materials whereas instruments monitor physiological responses. The specific limitations of this study seem obvious, in that, one can’t manipulate several variables of interest directly due to ethical standards.

Correlational Method:

Let the researcher to verify the relationship among variables of interest. For instance, a researcher might be interested in the variables that associate to sexual satisfaction in couples. Thus, he/she may look at the variables of partner compatibility, communication skills, & several years the couple has been together. The main restriction of this method is that correlation does not equal causation.

Case Study Method:

The intensive study of one specific participant. A big amount of descriptive information is collected about one particular individual, thus, giving a much more thorough picture of that individual than would or else normally be attained. The main shortcoming of this method is that generalization to a population is out of the question. Additionally, participants may also have "gaps" in their memories and ways of thinking that bias results.

Biological Perspective:

One can’t truly begin a dialogue regarding human sexuality with no addressing the biological perspective, in specific, hormones. Hormones might be viewed as one of the major "driving forces" of sexual behavior. Over the past many years, there has been much research verifying the various roles which hormones play in the sexual behavior of humans. Hormones are generated by the gonads (that means testes and ovaries), the adrenal cortex, the pituitary gland, and the hypothalamus. Additionally, the hormones of estrogens, androgens and progestin’s all exist in males and females both. In different concentrations they exist however, in males and females. Males have a higher attentiveness of androgens and females have a higher attentiveness of estrogens & progestin’s. Incidentally, androgens are responsible for the sexual differentiation of the male reproductive system before birth and the sexual maturation of boys at puberty. Testosterone, a specific androgen, is related with the male sexual drive and possibly along with aggressive. Estrogens & progestins, found in higher concentrations in females, regulate the menstrual cycle and are necessary for reproduction. The relationship of these hormones with the female sexual drive and behavior are unclear. Usually Hormone levels are correlated along with sexual behavior, but in humans this is not essentially true due to intervening variables. Therefore, an individual might be physiologically ready to participate in sexual behavior, however does not because of factors that supercede any biological reason.

Cognitive Perspective:

A comprehension of the procedure of sexual arousal is an vital element in understanding sexual responses. The notion which our most erogenous sex organ lies among our ears must not be dismissed. The cognitive activity of brain can rapidly either augment or inhibit a sexual response cycle (Walen & Roth, in the year 1987). Walen & Roth (in the year of 1987) pointed out that perceptions & evaluations are the two main types of cognitive activity. That is, how a situation or stimulus is interpreted find out how the individual will respond to the stimulus. In according to Walen & Roth, perception involved at least three components: labeling, detection and attribution. Detection is described by an individual's ability to note down the presence of a stimulus or to discriminate it from other stimuli. Next, labeling is the descriptors which an individual uses to categorize the stimulus event. Third, attribution is an clarification for the perception. Of course Individuals might rely heavily on situational cues when making attributions. How may all three of these factors influences sexual behavior? Well, the inability to notice sexual stimuli, wrong labeling, or misattribution may considerably impede sexual performance (Walen & Roth, 1987). The second main cognitive factor is evaluation that is a procedure of rating events from good to bad. For instance, the cognitive theory of Rational Emotive Therapy (RET) has targeted primarily on evaluative beliefs (Ellis, 1962/1970). The common point to take away from this specific theory is that "while an individual evaluates a sexual stimulus as positive or good, sexual arousal might be enhanced. Conversely, while a stimulus is evaluated negatively, sexuality shall be diminished. Even more destructive are the exaggerated negative evaluations which Ellis refers to as catastrophic".

Learning Perspective:

To what extent does sexual behavior reflect experience? Would you hold the simialr sexual attitudes and behaviors if you had been reared in another culture? Even in the similar society, family & personal experiences can shape unique sexual behaviors and attitudes. Learning theory targets on environmental factors that shape behavior. Within this context, learning theory studies the environmental factors that shape sexual behavior (McConaghy, 1987). Behaviorism emphasizes the significance of rewards and punishments in the learning procedure. Events (such as rewards) that increase the frequency or likelihood of particular behavior are termed reinforcements. While applied to sexual behavior, children left to explore their bodies with no parental condemnation will study what feels good and tend to repeat it. However, while sexual behavior (like masturbation) feels pleasurable, however parents relate it with feelings of guilt & shame, the child is placed in conflict. On the other hand, punishment tends to suppress behavior in situation in which it is expected to happen. Therefore, if young people are harshly punished for sexual exploration, we might come to relate sexual stimulation in general with feelings of anxiety and guilt. Social Learning Theory employ the concepts of rewards & punishment, however it also emphasizes the significance of cognitive activity that means anticipations, thoughts, and plans) & learning via observation. Observational learning or modeling refers to attaining knowledge and skills through observing others. Observational learning might also take place whike exposed to certain films, books, or music. According to social learning theory children attain the gender roles deemed appropriate in society via reinforcement of gender-appropriate behavior. Additionally, individuals duplicate behaviors of those they respect & hold as models.


Human sexuality is a very complicated behavior that is influenced by many facets of our lives including our cognition, physiology and learning. These are only a few of the components that this paper targeted on for the sake of brevity. Or else, many other factors could have been discussed, such as, the personal, culture and general history, and the humanistic perspective. Here the point is that human sexuality, like us, is multi-dimensional and one may only begin to get a sense of what it is via the inclusion of several perspectives and ideas. However, one specific point that this paper would like to get across to the reader is that it is a motivating factor. It is a bit over simplified but it appeasers that so much of what we do day in and day out as humans is in some way or another governed by our sexual self. Whereas this makes us same as humans, it is not essentially the case that we condone the similar behaviors or have overlapping norms from culture to culture. Therefore, within this similarity there is yet a great deal of diversity.

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