midterm review - final copy

Readings sex as an alternative to aggression in the

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Readings Sex as an Alternative to Aggression in the Bonobo by Frans de Waal - sexual sequences are used for purposes other than reproduction - he observed the extended sexual receptivity of the female bonobos - variable mounting positions including genital-genital rubbing and “kissing” - not an endless orgy, but social life “peppered by brief moments of sexual activity” - purposes of sexual interaction: relief of interpersonal tensions allow for food sharing
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reconciliation - they foster heterosexual ties (in contrast to big chimps) but there are no nuclear families or couples - childbearing is exclusively the responsibility of the females casual sexuality is incompatible with monogamy - De Waal’s essay implies that since our closest relative has a partial divorce of sexuality from reproduction, this divorce in humans is perfectly natural - in most animal females, sexual receptivity is restricted to time periods when fertilization is most possible; not so in humans or bonobos The Social Origins of Sexual Development by John H. Gagnon and William Simon - while Kinsey’s work had serious consequences in changing and creating cultural attitude, in bringing the language of sex into general public discussion, there has been only a minimal increase in activity at the level of science - because sex is culturally isolated in general, researchers often claim exemption from normal methodological structures and become deeply and defensively invested in the substantive content of sexuality while remaining indifferent to the rest of social life - marital coitus, the most common form of sexual contact in our society, involves a vast array of human learning and the coordination of physiological, psychological, and social elements, practically none of which can be attributed to nature - our concern here is to understand sexual activities of all kinds as the outcome of a complex psychosocial process of development, and it is only because they are embedded in social scripts that the physical acts themselves become possible - the very experience of sexual excitement that seems to originate from hidden internal sources is in fact a learned process - in order for the sexual activity described or observed to have erotic stimulus for the reader, the actors involved must be playing out some sociosexual script that has significance for the reader - the Freudian or Kinseyian traditions share the prevailing image of the sexual drive as a basic biological mandate that presses against and must be controlled by the cultural and social matrix - in the absence of controls, there will be outbreaks of “abnormal sexual activity” - the organism is inherently sexual (sinful) and its behavior is controlled by the presence of inhibitory training and channeling, internalized injunctions, and the absence of temptation; if these mechanisms fail, there will certainly be sexual misconduct (sin) - script : all human behavior in the sense that there is very little than can in a full measure be called spontaneous
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