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Sexual Intelligence Discussion Assignment

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Chapter 1

  1. What do the authors mean by “sexual intelligence”? Be sure to discuss the four components as defined in the text.
  2. How do medical professionals differ from psychologists in their views of sexual behavior? How can each perspective better inform the other?
  3. How do cultures develop beliefs/attitudes about sex that are fundamentally contradictory to one another? Consider, for example, the importance some cultures give to female virginity and the ways in which those cultures seek to control the sexual behavior of unmarried females.
  4. What importance do the historical themes of sex for procreation and male/female gender roles have today?
  5. What major scientific development has helped separate sexual pleasure from reproduction?
  6. How have mass media reflected and influenced sexual norms?
  7. How have recent advances in technology influenced sexual practice? What effects do social media, cell phones, and Internet pornography have on sexual views and behavior?

Chapter 2

  1. What are the major goals of sexology?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of conducting sex research on the Internet? Be sure to discuss volunteer bias, demographics of the population sample, cost and effectiveness of online surveys, response rate, and any other relevant issues.
  3. Can qualitative studies determine cause-and-effect relationships? Why or why not?

Chapter 3

  1. What role, if any, do media (including pornography) play in shaping a woman’s self-image regarding the appearance of her genitals? Be sure to discuss the relatively new cultural phenomenon of shaving or waxing one’s pubic region and/or genital piercings.
  2. Discuss the factors that may inform a woman’s decision to (1) undergo a breast enhancement surgery and (2) undergo vaginoplasty or other cosmetic genital surgery.
  3. Describe the issues involved in the practice of female genital cutting. Suppose you were a member of a culture that expected girls to undergo this procedure. Would you want your daughter to undergo cutting? Why or why not?
  4. Should people be concerned with trying to find the G-spot? What would be the advantages and disadvantages of doing so? What if they have tried to find the G-spot and cannot?
  5. What issues would be important for a group leader to address in a support group for women who had just had a mastectomy? How soon before or after surgery should this support begin? Display pictures of a radical mastectomy and ask men and women to report their reactions. How would women feel if they looked like this? Would men feel attracted to a woman or their partner if she looked like this?
  6. What are the pros and cons to hormone replacement therapy? How has the media contributed to women’s beliefs about the need for hormone replacement therapy? Compare advertisements for hormone replacement therapy to those for PMS alleviation or menstrual symptoms.

Chapter 4

  1. Males tend to be more comfortable with their genitals than females are with their genitals. This in part accounts for the greater rates of masturbation among males than females. What are the underlying reasons for such gender differences? Are they consistent cross-culturally?
  2. What physiological processes cause an erection?
  3. How do you feel male circumcision differs from female circumcision (practiced in some parts of Africa and the Middle East)? How does male circumcision differ from surgical alteration of the genitals of intersexed infants in order to “normalize” them?
  4. What role, if any, does the media play in a man’s self-image regarding penis size? Discuss the latest statistics regarding penile augmentation and any pros or cons to such surgery. Is shaming men for small penis size a form of body-shaming?
  5. What can males do to ensure good reproductive health? Discuss how drugs, environmental conditions, and nutrition could affect reproduction, and what men should do to maintain their reproductive health.
  6. Why is it important for men to be aware of the issues and controversies associated with prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment?

Chapter 5

  1. How has our scientific and social understanding of gender changed in recent years? What are some of the main forces that have contributed to this change? Do you think our understanding will continue to evolve over time?
  2. What are some current terms used to describe gender identity? What do each of these terms mean?
  3. Discuss the controversy surrounding “corrective surgery” for people with intersex conditions. Is it ethically appropriate to perform a surgery on an infant or child without their consent? What may be the ramifications of such a decision?
  4. Considering what you have learned about disorders of sexual development, do you believe there should be options beyond “male” and “female” on legal documents or other documents?

Chapter 6

  1. Which of the senses has the greatest impact on sexual arousal and sexual interaction? Why? Do men and women differ in terms of which senses predominate during sexual intimacy?
  2. Compare and contrast Kaplan’s three-stage model of sexual response with Masters and Johnson’s four-stage model and Bancroft and Janssen’s dual process model. Which model do you believe is most accurate, and why?
  3. Summarize the research surrounding the use of functional MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to monitor brain function and genital changes during sexual arousal (see Spotlight on Research box within the text: Monitoring Brain Function During Sexual Arousal with Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging).
  4. Discuss why some people think that sexual interaction without orgasm is unsatisfactory or unsatisfying. When might sexual activity without orgasm be desirable? Do men’s responses to this question differ from women’s? If so, why?
  5. What is the difference between sexual arousal and sexual behavior? Does intensity of sexual arousal determine behavior? How would factors such as evaluation of behavior and cognitive appraisal of arousal affect the sexual arousal—sexual behavior relationship?
  6. If sexual desire is regulated by hormones, should the hormone levels of people who commit sexual offenses be altered with surgery or hormone-reducing drugs?
  7. Discuss the differences between female and male orgasm. Contrast Freud’s perspective of the female orgasm (clitoral and vaginal) with Masters and Johnson’s (clitoral). Are female orgasms more varied than male orgasms? Are the differences primarily physiological or subjective?

Chapter 7

  1. What is the difference between being lonely and being alone?
  2. How do you define love? Do you think it is possible to be in love with more than one person at a time? Why or why not?
  3. What characteristics do you look for in a partner? Do men and women look for different characteristics?
  4. What ingredients do most lasting, satisfying love relationships have in common?
  5. What are the most important issues couples should discuss before committing to marriage or a long-term relationship (e.g., money, birth control, having children, where to live, careers, in-laws, religion, and history of sexual abuse)?
  6. Is it easier to be sexually or emotionally intimate with someone? Do people find it harder to develop sexual or emotional intimacy? What is the difference between the two?
  7. How would you know when a relationship is over? What signs would appear? What steps would you take?
  8. What role, if any, does jealousy play in a relationship? Do feelings of jealousy indicate the intensity of the love, attachment, or commitment?
  9. Why is it so difficult for couples to talk about sex? What about parents and their children? What would make it easier for people to talk about sex (e.g., times, places, resources, and so on)?
  10. Do you believe it is possible to develop intimacy with someone you have never met in person? Why or why not? What types of people might benefit from Internet dating and why? Discuss the pros and cons of online dating, including any safety issues
  11. What happens if you self-disclose too much, too soon? Too little, too late? What are the underlying rules we have learned about self-disclosure? Do they vary between the sexes—how? Between cultures—how?

Chapter 8

  1. What does it mean to accept responsibility for your own pleasure or sexuality? What behaviors are implied? Is this the same as taking responsibility in other areas of life? What might the consequences be for “irresponsible” sexuality? How can you encourage someone else to take responsibility for their own behaviors or get someone to stop trying to take responsibility for yours?
  2. Why would anyone want to choose celibacy? What are the disadvantages, that is, how could it be a manifestation of unhealthy sexuality? What are the advantages, that is, how could it be a manifestation of healthy sexuality?
  3. What is the difference between fantasy and behavior? Do people who fantasize about a behavior necessarily want to engage in it? Is there a time when the “strength” of a fantasy is such that it will be translated into behavior?
  4. Why do people record themselves participating in sexual acts? What type of relationship would be required to make this a “safe” activity? What are some of the risks or benefits or sharing personal sexual images or recordings (e.g., sexting)?
  5. Discuss ways that modern technology has made it possible to have sex without engaging in sexual acts, such as “sexting,” phone sex, and Internet fantasy games. What are some advantages and disadvantages in engaging in these behaviors? Are these behaviors appropriate for teens? Why or why not?

Chapter 9

  1. What are the current terms that are used to describe different sexual orientations? How has this terminology changed over time?
  2. What are some of the obstacles that gay people face in a society? How are those obstacles similar to other minority groups? How are they dissimilar?
  3. How does asexuality differ from celibacy?
  4. What psychosocial theories have been advanced to explain sexual orientation? What biological factors may influence sexual orientation? What is the research evidence for these competing theories?
  5. How, if at all, would society change if we knew the definitive “causes” of homosexuality? Would it increase efforts to prevent this orientation through genetic selection? Would it increase understanding? Would it decrease discrimination or increase it?
  6. How has the increased visibility of LGBTQ people in the media assisted in changing society’s attitudes toward sexual orientation?
  7. How have Western religious views and the views of medical and psychological professionals changed concerning homosexuality?
  8. Why have the American Psychological Association and American Psychiatric Association strongly opposed the practice of conversion therapy?
  9. What steps are involved in coming out as an LGBTQ adult? Do these steps look different for adolescents who come out?
  10. What are some of the pressures or issues children or adolescents with LGBTQ parents face as opposed to those with heterosexual parents?
  11. Why are hate crimes less likely to be reported than other crimes?

Chapter 15

  1. Should the government be able to regulate access to approved HPV vaccination for young girls? Should this vaccination be mandated?
  2. Discuss the connection between the use of drugs and alcohol and the increased risk of having unprotected (condomless) sex.
  3. How might sex education curriculum be tailored so that people are most likely to “hear” the information presented? How might an approach appropriate for adolescents not work for adults?
  4. How could you train adolescent and young adult women to recognize common bacterial and viral vaginal infections? Adolescent and young adult men?
  5. Should people with STIs always tell their partners? What if they are reasonably sure they are not infectious? What responsibility do people who have STIs have to their partners? How about to their ex-partners?
  6. Does the government have the right to inform partners of people with STIs about their status? What about with life-threatening STIs or STIs that can compromise future fertility?
  7. How do you think having a chronic STI (e.g., herpes) affects a sexual relationship? What special issues do couples dealing with STIs have to face?
  8. Why are some STIs, such as herpes and HIV, so highly stigmatized? What can you do to help reduce STI stigma?
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