Human Sexuality

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Human Sexuality

By Ludwin Molina
Spring, 1999
Introduction
Human sexuality plays a major role in everyone's life. Regardless, whether we are young or old, man or woman, American or Japanese, it is an integral part of what we do and who we are. There has been much done by way of research and scholarly writing examining human sexuality (e.g., Abramson & Pinkerton, 1995; Beach, 1976; Diamond, 1997; Reinisch et al., 1990; Stalcup, 1995; Tiefer, 1995). This paper will explore the topic of human sexuality as a motivation. Of course, there are many emotions associated with human sexuality, but the primary aim of this particular paper will be a general overview of sexuality with special attention to the various perspectives, including the: 1) biological perspective, 2) cognitive perspective, and 3) learning perspective. All the while, the lens through which we summarize these perspectives will be with the understanding that human sexual behavior is a motivation. Next to sleeping and eating, it seems that it is one of the most important drives we have to deal with as humans. That is, it takes up so much of our time in thought and behavior that it sometimes seems that every facet of our life revolves around this to a certain extent. Human sexual behavior is different from the sexual behavior of other animals, in that, it seems to be governed by a variety and interplay of different factors. That is, while "lower" animals or species are driven by a "force" to reproduce and therefore partake in sexual behavior. Humans are not sexually active just for the sake of reproduction, rather, there are a variety of complex factors that lead people to have sex. Human Sexuality. Human sexuality is the way in which we experience and express ourselves as sexual beings (Rathus et al., 1993). There are many factors that help develop our sexuality, arguably one of the most important, is our actual gender. Whether, I am a male or female will likely have a major influence on the development of my individual sexuality. Furthermore, sexuality is an integral part of our personalities whether we are aware of it or not. Why study human sexuality? This may seem like a rather simple-minded question, but one of the questions that should always be posed before any endeavor is, "why do it?" and "what do we hope to gain from it?" The former will be addressed here and the latter will hopefully become clear as we move along in our journey. An important reason to study human sexuality is that it is a primary source of motivation. Just consider the amount of time spent thinking and planning for sex, let alone the time spent in sexual behavior itself (Rathus et al., 1993). Sexual motivation does to some extent influence human behavior. Another reason for studying human sexuality is that we may face various personal and social problems involving sexuality, such as, sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, and sexual harassment (Aral & Holmes, 1991; Rathus et al., 1993). This should sound especially timely during the times in which we live. Methods of Research in Human Sexuality

There are numerous ways of gathering scientific evidence about human sexuality. While, some methods focus on description, others methods concentrate on identifying relationships between variables, and still others in identifying causal relationships. The following are general summaries as to the various data collection methods. Survey Method. Surveys collect information about behavior through interviews with participants or questionnaires. The aim of this particular method is to gather information on the sexual attitudes and behavior of a particular population or group of people. This particular method does have limitations. For example, drawbacks of this method are that surveys require self-report from the participants, therefore, it is likely that the data collected might contain a plethora of inaccuracies. Depending on the question posed to the individual they may want...
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