Sociology chap. 6 sexuality & society

  1. sex
    the biological distinction between females and males
  2. gender
    cultural, referring to behavior, power, and privileges a society attaches to being female or male
  3. primary sex characteristics
    the genitals, organs used for reproduction
  4. secondary sex characteristics
    bodily development, apart from the genitals, that distinguishes biologically mature females and males
  5. intersexual people
    people whose bodies have both female and male characteristics
  6. transsexual
    people who feel they are one sex even though biologically they are the other
  7. asexuality
    a lack of sexual attraction to people of either sex
  8. bisexuality
    sexual attraction to people of both sexes
  9. attitudes toward premarital sex
    • premarital intercourse became more common during the 20th century
    • almost half of young men & women have sex by their senior year in high school
    • an even larger percentage of young people engaged in oral sex than the actual act
  10. attitudes toward homosexuality
    • gay rights movement helped change public attitudes toward greater acceptance of homosexuality
    • 5.6% of men & 12.7% of woman between the ages of 18 & 44 reported engaging in homosexual activity some time in their lives
    • 47% of US adults say homo is wrong
  11. attitudes toward adultery
    • 25% of men & 10% of women report being sexually unfaithful to their spouses at some time
    • higher among the young than the old
    • higher among men than women
    • higher among people of low social position than among those who are financially well-off
    • higher among those who report no religious affiliation
  12. Structural-functional: Sexuality
    • macro-level
    • society depends on sexuality for reproduction
    • society uses the incest taboo and other norms to control sexuality in order to maintain social order
    • as advances in birth control technology separates sex from reproduction, societies relax some controls on sexuality
  13. Symbolic-interaction: Sexuality
    • micro-level
    • sexual practices vary among the many cultures of the world
    • some societies allow individuals more freedom than others in matters of sexual behavior
    • the meanings people attach to virginity and other sexual matters are all socially constructed and subject to change
  14. Social-conflict & feminist: Sexuality
    • macro-level
    • sexuality is linked to social inequality
    • US society regulates women's sexuality more than men's, which is part of the larger pattern of men dominating women
    • some sexual standards have relaxed, but society still defines women in sexual terms, just as homosexual people are harmed by society's heterosexual bias
  15. sexual orientation
    a person's romantic and emotional attraction to another person
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Sociology chap. 6 sexuality & society