Sexuality and Society
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Human sexuality refers to the magnitude and nature of erotic responses and experience people are inclined to feel. Sexuality is entirely influenced by social encounters in society and is channeled through an individual’s sexual orientation. As a dominant psychosocial attribute of individuality, sexuality influences and is formed in retrospect with the social, legal, political, and philosophical situations or issues throughout life. In this regard, sexuality and culture are always closely associated in the analysis of the content of personality or social orientation and function of an individual in society (Mendus & Rendall 59). Every society that tend to regulate or control morality, define broad ways through which the manifestation of sexual orientation is permissible. In this regard, various forms of sexuality are sanctioned and others acknowledged. For instance, Christian societies across the globe condemn homosexuality and promote heterosexual attributes within the social institution of marriage.
Culture forms the mainstream of communal life and thus defines social control and the limits of cohesion among people living together in society. As young children mature, they are socialized to acceptable dispositions with regard to sexuality particular to the social class and family cultures through which they emerge. The theory of social learning provides that sexuality is learnt through socialization and role expectations and performances. Nevertheless, other factors like nutritional variables, genetic makeup of different individuals and environment may influence their sexuality and sexual orientation in diverse ways.
A people’s historical development in the evolutionary sense also influences sexuality because it promotes the manifestation of sexual characteristics qualified for sexual activity. Religious beliefs and marriage patterns are other elements of variables that impinge upon an individual’s sexuality in diverse ways. In the postmodern industrial and professional patterns of socialization, one’s profession may magnificently influence proclivity to sexual behaviors while others may actually significantly diminish such orientations (Castells 73). For instance, it is observed among female nurses and teachers to have a relatively high tendency to show and be concerned with sexuality than their counterparts in senior executive management professions. Social class and gender are other variables that impinge upon sexuality in society and considerably produce patterns of expected conduct and sexual responses. In some cultures, younger female office secretaries are sexually vulnerable to their dominant male bosses because of social class parity, gender, and societal norms. In addition, ethnicity plays a crucial role also in the determination of the mechanisms through which sexuality is manifested or produced in individuals.
Various philosophers and social thinkers have made fundamental remarks and observations about human sexuality. These observations are sound because the issue of sexuality is often a controversial phenomenon in the light of its complexity and the multiplicity of the manners of its expression. According to Sigmund Freud, nature and behavior spring from biology. The interchange between life instinct and death instincts therefore control the manifestation of sexuality according to Freudian theory of behavioral drive and motivation. In addition, Thomas Aquinas, a medieval philosopher thought that the habit of chastity and virginity were useful psychosexual disposition that could redeem the corruptible mortal flesh from natural lustful tendencies. Aquinas gives interjection in the utilitarian sense that sexuality should be utilized according to its very concrete purposes of human procreation. John Locke argues from an environmentalist perspective on sexuality that people learn sexual activity in the social environment and from interactions. The attitudes and perceptions of sexuality are learnt through interactions, experiences, and therefore incorrect labeling or misjudgments could blur mechanisms of detecting sexual stimuli.
Sexuality generates very intense psychological and emotional excitation among different people to varying degrees according to age and gender. There are varieties of these attitudes specific to cultures and social experiences of the individuals. Recently, gender studies and feminism have been identified to generate new sets of sexual cognitions (Olson 91). Nevertheless, an individual’s sexual orientation is regarded to spell in broad terms the manner of manifestations of the personality with regard to sexual activity. The same research reveals that sexual activity is mainly attributed to the individual’s needs for sexual satisfaction, capacity for physical attraction, the need to extending emotional connections and for the alleviation of introvert insecurity.
Religions have stood at the very forefront in the efforts to socialize followers about proper sexual attributes and activity. They present moral codes that specifically define what proper sexual behavior is and what is sanctioned (Berger 56). In addition, the religions provide the avenues through which males should seek suitors for courtship and marriage. In contemporary times, the institutions of learning are increasingly getting involved in sex education and programs of gender mainstreaming to resolve the historic imbalances between the sexes. All these efforts are motivated by broader demographic and social strife mounting in societies with the deterioration of morality.
Age is a fundamental factor for the perpetuation of sexuality. For instance, females who have attained the age of menopause generally experience a decline in sexual excitation or desire and are expected to behave in certain ways. It can be concluded therefore that biology is very fundamental to the expression of human sexuality apart from mere psychological and societal experience. Another aspect of sexuality is diet and physical attributes (Montgomery 48). Beauty in women and body decoration has been a subtle way of the expression of sexual attitudes at a subliminal level. In the technological social conditions experienced in post industrial livelihoods, the effect of social policy as well as welfare aspects greatly influence sexual expressions among a people (Elliott 198). Moreover, the effects of the media in propagation of fashion, style, and personality have been found to intensely guide the manifestations of sexuality among urban youths. Music and film are a leading source of influence particularly if they present video content that defines erotic personality.
In a wide variety of perspectives, many studies and social explorations have established ethnographic roots to the expression of sexuality as a group attribute of culture. For instance, Islamic society tends to intensely regulate the sexual exposure and participation of younger female members of the society. Adults are however allowed to indulge in polygamy. In this light, there is a disparity in sexual expectations for men and women (Carlson 42). Whereas unmarried young girls are condemned for engaging in premarital sex, the male counterparts are not sanctioned in like manner. In fact, many societies do not consider it in bad light for boys to indulge in premarital sex.
The modalities of the expression of sexuality are closely associated with welfare and social excellence. It follows that those at lower levels of welfare express sexuality in distinct patterns from those at higher levels of welfare both in psychological and in material sense. Sexual violence nonetheless shows non-conformity this norm. For instance, elites and eminent personalities as well as disenfranchised poor lots show consistent patterns of sexual violence. Prostitution and infidelity in marriage also show indiscriminate patterns between the poor and the rich. Elitism in general terms however facilitates more socially acceptable and advanced mechanisms for the manifestation of sexuality as per the rationale of societies.
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