ss12 - Human sexuality is symbolic and imbued with social...

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Human sexuality is symbolic and imbued with social, cultural and personal meaning. There is enormous diversity in human sexual practice and sexual identities: all societies have sexual norms and prohibitions, but what these are varies enormously. The last thirty years have seen an increased permissiveness in Western societies with regard to sex outside of marriage, same-sex relationships, abortion and adult pornography . Procreative technologies such as contraception, abortion, genetic engineering and the medicalization of childbirth particularly shape the lives of women, but also have wider repercussions for social relationships. Western attitudes to sexuality have been shaped by Christianity. Most Christian churches view sexuality as given by God for the purpose of reproduction within a sanctified marriage. The nineteenth century saw the medicalization of sexuality transforming ‘sinful’ practices into ‘unhealthy’ ones. The Victorian era was dominated by a sexual double standard in which men could use prostitutes or keep mistresses, while ‘respectable’ women should ‘save themselves’ for marriage and then their husband. The Kinsey studies of the 1940s and ’50s did much to indicate a large gap between public expectations of sexual experience and private practices. In the late 1980s Lillian Rubin found that sexual activity was beginning at a younger age than in the recent past and that younger people engaged in as wide a range of practices as mature adults. The sexual double standard still operated, but in a less extreme form. The biggest shift was that women now expected sexual pleasure and satisfaction from a relationship. Gagnon and Simon used social interactionist ideas to look at the ways in which sex is negotiated through ‘personal scripts’ (the stories we tell ourselves), ‘interactive scripts’ negotiated between partners and ‘historical-cultural’ scripts from the wider culture which shape expectations and roles. Prostitution
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This note was uploaded on 05/20/2010 for the course SOCIOLOGY Sociology taught by Professor N/a during the Spring '10 term at Open Uni..

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ss12 - Human sexuality is symbolic and imbued with social...

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