+1 (208) 254-6996 essayswallet@gmail.com

While the Puritans have traditionally been blamed for some of the uptightness of past generations, they actually had a quite healthy view of sexuality. They held to a standard of celibacy for the unmarried and monogamy for married people, but they advocated a wholesome sexual expression in the marriage relationship. An example comes from the Groton church leaders in 1675. When a husband announced that he planned to abstain from having sexual relations with his wife as personal penance for disobeying God, the leaders rebuked him, saying he had no right to deny his wife her rights to sexual fulfillment. Sexual expression between spouses was regarded as good, natural, and desirable and therefore not to be withheld, in accordance with 1 Corinthians 7:1–5 (Doriani 1996).

The Victorians, on the contrary, held many sexual taboos and negative attitudes about sex. They attempted to repress anything that appeared to be sexual. Not only were people required to cover their arms and legs in public as a symbol of modesty, but even the legs of furniture were covered with little skirts. A sharp line was drawn between sexual desire and love. A virtuous man was encouraged to wed a woman for whom he had pure thoughts, which meant no sexual desire. Husbands were told that if they really loved their wives, they would refrain from having sex with them too often since sexual relations even in marriage were considered degrading to women.

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
While the Puritans have traditionally been blamed for some of the uptightness of past generations, they actually had a quite healthy view of sexuality.
Just from $13/Page
Order Essay

The expert medical opinion of the day asserted that any sexual desire in a young woman was pathological. The attitude in the 1880s was that decent women do not feel the slightest pleasure during sexual intercourse. The advice columnists of the day indicated that the more a woman yielded to the animal passion of her husband, the more he would lose respect for her. It is not coincidental that one of the most popular songs at the turn to the twentieth century began, “I want a girl just like the girl that married dear old Dad.” The dichotomy between sexual desire and love led to a dual arrangement: a man had his sexual needs met by a “bad” woman, but he would only marry a “good” woman. It’s no wonder that both men and women believed distorted messages about their sexuality.

Things began to change during the first half of the twentieth century, especially during the 1920s. Shifting attitudes ushered in an era of greater openness toward sexual expression, with a new standard described as



permissiveness with affection. Now it was acceptable to acknowledge and express sexual desire and engage in sex when persons felt mutual affection.

For a period following World War II, there was a revolution in American attitudes and interest in sex. This began with the publication of the Kinsey reports: Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1952). There was great interest and fascination with the topic of sex. During this time Hugh Hefner started Playboy Magazine, directed to an eager audience of adult males who were ready to jump on the sexual-freedom bandwagon. The magazine (and others like it) had great appeal for men who were obsessed with sexual freedom. Enticed by the centerfold, they were told how to dress, what music to put on, how to mix a drink, and when to turn the lights down. In short, the message was how to get the woman into bed free of emotional attachments. By denying the multidimensional facets of womanhood, this message of freedom reduced women to sex objects.

C. S. Lewis (1960b, 75) compares a sex-obsessed society with a hypothetical society in which people pay good money to view a covered platter sitting on a table. At an assigned time and to the beat of drums, the cover is slowly lifted, and the object underneath is exposed for all to see. To everyone’s great delight, a pork chop is revealed. Lewis concludes that something is radically wrong with a society so obsessed with food. Likewise, there seems to be something wrong when a society is so obsessed with sex.

In the 1980s, a slight backlash resulted from sexual overexposure, and a trend toward a new virginity emerged. Women began to question what they had bought into with their newfound sexual freedom; many felt their deeper desire for emotional intimacy had been completely sabotaged. College students wore large red buttons declaring “NO” to casual sex. Many took a second look at how sexual freedom undermines relationships. Christian young people made a pledge of celibacy before their parents and God with a “promise ring” representing their determination to maintain their chastity until their wedding night. Raw, explicit sex had lost its appeal as a shock and stimulus, and people rebuffed the use of sex for entertainment purposes and recreation. The fear of AIDS reinforced the trend to stop promiscuous sex and begin safe practices. Furthermore, the physical risk of STDs associated with unprotected, promiscuous sex led many to declare, “While I like sex, I’m not willing to die for it.”



The backlash in the 1980s proved to be short-lived. Using C. S. Lewis’s analogy, we might say in regard to sex in the twenty-first century that the platter is no longer covered. Explicit sex is depicted in most forms of popular culture: movies, television, popular music, and so on. The internet allows people to privately consume erotica and pornography. In this computer age, a culture saturated with sex inundates children as well as adults. As harmful as exposure to nudity and sexual innuendoes may be, an even greater harm comes from dishonest messages that depict sexual promiscuity and nonrelational sex as having few or no negative consequences.

The Origin of Sexuality Not unlike the human personality, human sexuality does not emerge in full bloom in a person. One becomes a sexual being through a multidimensional developmental process. It is evident from social-science research that human sexuality is partly a reflection of the culture within which a person is socialized. In other words, society identifies sexual mores and sexual objects. We are taught to respond sexually to certain objects and symbols in our environment, and this influences how we define ourselves sexually. Our sexuality is also a product of biological, psychological, and experiential factors. We must resist the temptation to give a simplistic explanation of sexuality, one that relies only on either sociocultural or biological explanations.

Human sexuality emerges as part of a complex interactive developmental process between biological and sociocultural factors. Figure 8 presents biological factors on the left side and sociocultural factors on the right, with the arrows between the two sides indicating directions of influence and interactions between them. As part of the maturation process, biological and socio-emotional-cultural factors individually influence sexual development, and there is also an interactive effect. The one-way influences are represented by one-way (→) arrows and the interactive influences by two- way (↔) arrows.

For example, a baby born to a drug-addicted mother is born physiologically addicted to the drug as the drug is able to pass through the placenta into the baby’s system. While “crack babies” are physiologically normal in genetic and chromosomal makeup, the sociocultural factors



(poverty, abuse, depression, etc.) of the mother abusing drugs result in a chemical dependency in the newborn infant that affects his or her future. Without intervention, this will undoubtedly lead to physical, emotional, and cognitive problems in the development of the child.

A second example involves the development of sexual desire. In response to erotic stimulation (sociocultural), the brain (biological) organizes the behavior that will lead the body to sexual involvement. Incoming sensual stimuli are encoded in the cortex of the brain. The hypothalamus then determines if the stimuli are painful or pleasurable. This determined, the message is sent to the pituitary gland, which controls the adrenal glands and the female and male gonads. If the incoming sexual stimuli are pleasurable, the pituitary gland will command the gonads to produce the necessary hormones to begin sexual arousal. However, if the stimuli are painful, the pituitary gland will close the system down. Thus, the social environment greatly influences and affects the brain, which is a biological organ. It is also true, however, that hormone levels can greatly alter the power of external sexual stimuli to bring about erotic arousal within the sexual system. Social and biological factors interact with each other in ways that make it difficult to assess the effect of each separately.



Another example comes from the prepubescent stage, when a variety of changes begin to shape boys’ and girls’ bodies in different ways, not only between genders but within gender. During this period, boys learn a boy code that teaches them to be strong, competitive, and sexually aggressive, while girls learn a girl code that teaches them to be nice, cooperative, and sexually modest. There will be differences among boys and among girls, however, to the extent to which these sex-typing codes are learned. Some parents make sharp distinctions between boy and girl behaviors, while others encourage their children to value and emulate both male and female characteristics. At the same time, there are also significant differences in hormone levels among boys and girls. High testosterone levels among some boys and high estrogen levels among some girls set the stage for early development of secondary sexual characteristics (pubic hair, breast and hip development, etc.)

Order your essay today and save 10% with the discount code ESSAYHELP