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CHAPTER Human Sexual Wellness

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Chapter 12 - Human Sexual Wellness _______________________________________________________

Did You Know That…       

Sexuality is who you are not what you do. We are a society which is generally uncomfortable with sex. New contraceptive methods make preventing pregnancy more safe and convenient. Sexual fantasy is a normal part of one‟s sexuality. Discussing masturbation has gotten people fired, but is actually a healthy behavior. As a society, we engage in sex stereotyping daily when we suggest how real men and women should act. Actually, as a society, we are uninformed about sexual issues.

After reading this chapter you should be able to answer the following questions What is sexuality? What is sex stereotyping? What is the role Kinsey, Hunt, Hite and Masters & Johnson played in our understanding of sex today? Why is masturbation viewed with such disdain? What contraceptive is best for men and women and why? Why are sexual fantasies an important part of sexuality? How do we overcome the prejudice that comes with sex role stereotyping? What is the four parts of the male sexual anatomy that contribute to the production of semen? What is the path the egg follows on its way to fertilization?

Key Terms Sexuality Sex appeal Alfred Kinsey Extramarital coitus Non-marital sex Morton Hunt The Hite Report Sex stereotyping Sexual values Values clarification Testes Vas deferens Prostate Urethra Penis Seminal vesicles Cowpers gland Vagina Vulva Uterus Fallopian tubes Ovaries Cervix Labia Dysmenorrehea Amenorrehea Fantasy Sexual response Contraceptive


Chapter 12 - Human Sexual Wellness _______________________________________________________

Introduction ____________________________________________________

For the past decade and a half, we have been teaching at Albany State University in Albany, Georgia. At State, we get an opportunity to teach a lot of different subjects. In fact, it is not uncommon for us to teach twelve different classes during the course of the year. Believe it or not, our subject matter ranges from modern dance right up to advanced kinesiology. We like teaching such a variety of course because we feel like we are constantly learning in them. It is like we are getting paid to learn. It‟s great! Anyway, our favorite class is sex education. It‟s an amazing class. We talk about everything in there from auto-sexual behavior right up to zoophilia. Naturally, we get plenty of teasing from our fellow colleagues. We walk down campus and they will yell out, “Hey, does that sex education class you teach have a lab on Saturday nights?” or they will say something a little more ingenious like, “Do you give oral exams in that class?” Of course, we assure them that we do. In all honesty, it is not so much that we teach the class as we learn in it. Believe us, over the years we have learned some incredible things about sex education. For instance, did you know that fertilization is that stuff you put on your lawn to make it green or that fallatio is an Italian restaurant? And here is something else we bet you didn‟t know. Cunnilingus is the girl in the dorm who lives across the hall from Nikea. And here is something that will really astound you, some people get sexual gratification out of exposing themselves to others…they are called bodybuilders. We are telling you, ever day we learn something new in that class. It‟s awesome! Our favorite section in the class though, is when we talk about love. We start the section off by having all the students write down their definition of love. Some of the answers I get are magical. Let us share a few with you: “Love is temporary insanity.” Isn‟t that cute? “Love is something that makes you do crazy stuff like hiding in the bushes at three o‟clock in the morning with a helmet on and leaves sticking out of it.” That I would say is rather revealing. “Love is a bitch!” We dated the same girl. “Love is the pitter-pattering of the heart, which if you don‟t watch out will give you a darn heart attack.” We have been there, too.


Chapter 12 - Human Sexual Wellness _______________________________________________________

“Love is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get. So you have to go through the whole damn box until you find the cherry.” We will just leave that one alone. Eventually, our students will get around to asking me what love really is. They don‟t think we know a darn thing about sex, but for some reason they are convinced that we are experts when it comes to love. Well, we never tell them how we define love because we are always afraid that we will impose limitations on such a magnificent phenomenon. Love is so multifaceted, so complex, so intangible, so unique, and so personal, that it is for all practical purposes indefinable. No two people express their love in the same way. Consequently, the distinctiveness and uniqueness of love make it the most powerful and enduring experience of all life forces. Although we can‟t define love with any degree of accuracy, we do believe that we know one irrefutable precept concerning true love. What is that? Simply, love is a long range proposition. It is a feeling that is cultivated, developed and nurtured. Love is having a history with someone. It is two people committed to the same purpose, willing to work, struggle and sacrifice together. Love just doesn‟t “happen,” and it definitely doesn‟t happen at first sight. Love requires commitment, hard work and sacrifice. We do not fall in love; we grow into love. As Erich Fromm says, “Love is an art, and like any art whether it be medicine, music, sports, or gardening, you have to work at it to master it. Indeed, if we are to master the art of loving, we have to proceed in the same manner that we would in any other field of endeavor - with purpose, resolve and diligence.” Isn‟t that great! Well, maybe not as good as our students would phrase it, but it‟s not too bad. Unfortunately, we have this idea that love is a process of meeting someone, falling head over heels for this person, getting married and living happily ever after. We seem to be of the opinion that love is instant ecstasy. Kind of like a fun meal that you get at McDonald‟s, and like our concept of happiness, we are under the impression that love is unadulterated pleasure. We believe that when we are in love, the moon and stars should stand still. It‟s the Cinderella syndrome. You know Cinderella, the poor stepchild who was brutalized by her stepmother and two stepsisters. In case you are not familiar with the story let me give you the Reader‟s Digest version. Cinderella is so “hot” she could bring June in January. You know, finer than all out doors…all that and a bag of chips. Really, she is that great. Conversely, her stepmother and sisters are uglier than a box of rocks. Of course, this makes them jealous of Cinderella‟s “fine self,” so they make her dress in rags and sleep in the cellar. They also make her do all the cleaning, cooking and laundry. Naturally, they never let her go anywhere either. When a big dance was scheduled at the local palace for all the town folk, Cinderella‟s stepfamily refuses to let her go. The night of the dance, though, Cinderella‟s fairy godmother shows up, waves her magic wand, turns a pumpkin into a carriage and transforms Cinderella‟s rags into riches, making her…well, all that, a bag of chips, a frosty and more. The fairy godmother really goes the whole nine yards here. She gives Cinderella a Sach‟s evening gown, matching glass slippers and a diamond tiara. Even her undergarments are right out of the most recent


Chapter 12 - Human Sexual Wellness _______________________________________________________

Victoria‟s Secret catalog. In Billy Crystal‟s words, “She looked mahrvellous.” Her fairy godmother warns her that if she is not back home by 12 o‟clock her carriage will turn back into a pumpkin and her clothes will turn back into rags. When Cinderella arrives at the ball, the prince takes one look at her and whammo, the guy is in serious heat. When Cinderella sees the prince for the first time, she immediately falls in love. It‟s a match made in heaven. They are so happy they can‟t see straight. They dance until the clock strikes 12, at which time Cinderella remembers what her fairy godmother told her about her curfew, so she scurries home. In the process, she loses one of her glass slippers. The prince recovers the slipper and combs the countryside looking for the foot it belongs to. He tries the slipper on just about every foot in town. When the prince, at long last, finds Cinderella, he puts the glass slipper on her size six and bingo! All hell breaks loose. Fireworks go off, music plays through the land and angels sing on high. It‟s love folks! There is no more cooking, cleaning, or laundry for Cinderella; she is on her way to royalty. The prince sweeps Cinderella off her feet, throws her on the back of his magnificent white steed and they ride off into the sunset and they live happily ever after. Right! And elephants can fly and hell froze over last week. That is our perception of love though. We go around believing that love is this magical affair that occurs fortuitously without effort or work. We equate love with good looks, sexuality, financial security, romance, a nice house, car and a million other things that really have little to do with true love. We really like the way Barbara Streisand explained the concept of love in the movie The Mirror Has Two Faces. She said, and we are quoting here: “Let‟s face it we all want to fall in love. Why? Because the experience makes us feel completely alive. Where every sense is heightened, every emotion is magnified, our everyday reality is shattered and we are flung into the heavens. It may only last a moment, an hour, an afternoon, but that doesn‟t diminish its value. Because we are left with memories that we will treasure for the rest of our lives. When we fall in love we hear Bauchi in our heads. I love that. I think it is because his music fully expresses our longing for passion in our lives and romantic love. While we are listening to Loboland or Troude or reading Wuthering Heights or watching Casablanca a little bit of that love lives in us too. So, the final question is why do people want to fall in love when it can have such a short shelf life and can be devastatingly painful? I think it‟s because as some of you already know while it does last it feels “fuckin” great!” Isn‟t that beautiful? Unfortunately, that‟s not love. It is temporary insanity and/or infatuation. Love is not something you fall in and out of. It is not a temporary occurrence with a short shelf life. Love is a long range proposition. You have to expect to invest a lot of time and energy in a loving relationship because lasting relationships just don‟t happen, they are created. Yet, we seem totally ignorant of this fact. We cling to this idea that one day the love of our life will show up at our front door and everything from that point on will be right in the world. Is it any wonder why so many people are disenchanted with love? We have been led to believe that love, like fun, is continuous ecstasy and pleasure. When those feelings subside, when the excitement diminishes, when we stop hearing Bauchi in our heads, we think that the prospect for love is lost. Therefore, we pack up our bags and travel on looking for the fascination of love, looking for something that really doesn‟t exist. We can‟t think of a single enterprise that is so valued, that begins with such tremendous ebullience, excitement and enthusiasm, and yet, which fails so miserably and consistently as love.


Chapter 12 - Human Sexual Wellness _______________________________________________________

Everyone has the potential for love, but not everyone will realize that potential for the simple reason that not everyone is willing to work at developing that potential. Love takes a lot of hard work, sacrifice and responsibility. It does not come cheaply or without effort. Love is not walking through a meadow or lying by a lake. Sure, it encompasses those things, but love requires so much more. There is a lot of magic, a lot of wonder and a lot of joy. However, there is also confusion, pain and tears in the mix. Love is a journey that requires trials and tribulations as well as tranquility and good fortune. It is a life force that requires a lifetime of feeling and experience. If you live your life in love, eventually you become love. Like we tell our students, “Don‟t concern yourself with defining love; involve yourself with living love.”

Understanding Human Behavior ____________________________________________________________________________________

We are sure you have observed someone doing something and say to yourself, “What the hell was he thinking?” If you are anything like us you may have done something and then you ask yourself, “What the hell was I thinking?” The point is human behavior is extremely complex. Even the most brilliant minds in psychology can not explain with any degree of certainty why people act the way they do. That is why psychology is still considered and impure science. First of all, we need to understand that human beings are incredibly complex living systems. There is a biological side to their makeup, a mental side and a social side. It‟s not exactly a big secret that our biological system interacts with our intra-psychic and social systems to develop our behavior. Which of the three systems give us the greatest understanding of human behavior? The answer is all three of them taken together. We can not hope to understand others or ourselves unless we are willing to view human beings and their behavior from these three different perspectives. Also, if we are to learn to understand our friends, parents and others and why they act the way they do, we must learn to see people as being complex systems made up of interacting parts. In brief, in order to gain a reasonable control of our behavior, we can not disregard any of the aforementioned systems. We must take into account all of our systems and see how they interact with each other. As with all behaviors, sexual behavior is multi-determined. You do not engage in sexuality just because the estrogen and/or testosterone running through your veins is a quart high, or because your limbic system has been stimulated a couple times over the past hour or so. Sexual behavior, like all human behaviors, is contingent not just on your biochemistry, but also on your social and psychological behavior.


Chapter 12 - Human Sexual Wellness _______________________________________________________

Consequently, if you want to understand your sexuality, you must pay attention not only to your body chemistry, but also to your psychological make-up and your social environment.


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