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CHAPTER 6

Sexuality in adulthood
Mature sexual expansion
Sexual orientation is determined
Integrate sexuality and relationships
Establish personal sexual philosophy

Developmental concerns
Establishing sexual orientation
Integrating love and sex
Forgiving intimacy and making commitments
Making fertility/childbearing decisions
Practicing safer sex
Evolving a sexual philosophy

Establishing sexual orientation


Understanding your sexual orientation
Accepting your sexual orientation
It may be difficult

Models of sexual orientation


Model A shows sex is dichotomous into homosexual or heterosexual
Model B shows that a person’s sexual behavior pattern could change across a
lifetime and sexual orientation is a continuum.
Model C shows that homoeroticism and heteroeroticism are an independent
continua .

Statistics on sexual orientation


Difficult to obtain reliable statistics vs. estimates due to stigma
10% women report lesbian orientation
4% men report gay or bisexual orientation
A great deal of experimental diversity is reported

Gay/lesbian/Bi-Sexual identity process


Takes time and includes several phases
Homoeroticism-feelings of sexual attraction to members of the same sex which
generally precedes activity.
Phase I: Fear of suspicion about being different
II: Labels feeling of desire, attraction and love as gay or lesbian.
III: Self-Definition as gay, lesbian, or bi-sexual

Additional phases
-First same sex love affair, marking commitment to unifying sexuality and
affection.
-Becoming involved in gay/lesbian/bi-sexual culture
-Coming Out
-Internalized homophobia

Being Single
Greater Sexual experience
Widespread acceptance of cohabitation
Unintended pregnancies
Increased numbers of separated and divorced single men and women
A rise in the number of single-parent families.
20% are likely to get divorced and 50% of those remarry.

The College Environment


Different from High school
-Sexuality relates to self-identity
-Moral standards tied to behavior
-Liberating atmosphere for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual students
Abstinence standard-don’t do it before marriage
Double standard-women not ok, men ok
Permissive with affection or permissive without affection
The singles world
Ages 25-40
Emphasizes recreation and entertainment
Challenge to meet potential partners
Sexual experimentation
Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual businesses and neighborhoods promote acceptance
Ethnic and religion expectations can pose special challenges

Cohabitation
2000 census: over 10 million unmarried couples were reported
¼ women, 3/10 men
It is the new norm
Domestic partnership
Serial Monogamy-succession of marriages with each lasting approx. 7 years
Advantages
-Financial
-Egalitarian roles
-Affirmation of relationship
-Domestic Partner Benefits
Disadvantages
-Parental non-acceptance
-Financial issues tied to parental support or credit
-Reproduction
-Extra relational sex
-Increased likelihood of divorce after marriage

Among Gay/lesbian/bi-sexual
-One in nine same sex cohabitation
-States dealing with legal forms of union for some sex couples

The Stigma of casual relationships


-Marriage is not available
-Non-exclusive sexuality
-Devaluing love
Non-traditional gender roles
Societal hostility

Sexuality in middle adulthood: Developmental concerns


-Redefining sex in marital or other long-term relationships
-Reevaluating one’s sexuality
-Accepting the biological aging process (text says you should accept age, prof.
says otherwise)

Marital Sexuality
-Frequency of sexual interactions
A) May occur more frequently with sanction of marriage
B) May decrease the longer a couple is together
-Sexual satisfaction and pleasure are more common in married couples

۰ The moral and social sanction of sex within marriage can affect sex life.
Sexual intercourse decrease in frequency in longer marriage
Fatigue and lack of private time
Does not indicate decreased enjoyment or pleasure

۰ Divorce and After


A relatively mew phenomenon
-Represents an idealization of marriage. High expectations aren’t met and
lead to higher rates.
The permanence of marriage no longer widely upheld

۰ Consequence of divorce
-Stigmatization
-Change of income
-Higher incidence of physical and emotional problems
-Significantly more problems with children
-Children of one parent families have special issues.

Dating again
-Engaging in sexual behavior with someone following separation is significant
۰ Helps accept single status
۰ Freedom of expression
-Dating more focused and less leisurely

Single Parenting
-31% of families are headed by single parents.
-Single parents not often part of single world
-Presence of children affect divorced women’s sexual activity

Sexuality in late adulthood: Developmental concerns


-Biological Changes
Physical abilities
Sexual Responses
-Availability of a partner
Spousal loss
Monotony
Psychological influences (depression, lack of information)

۰ Stereotypes of aging
-Thought of a as a lonely and depressing time
-Sexuality of older Americans tends to be invisible
-Sex is defined by activities of younger participants
-Emotional, sensual, relational aspects are not readily recognized.
What really happens in sex and aging
-Emotional, sensual relation aspects enjoyed regardless of age
-Sex acts occur in aging population
-Health can affect sex habits
-Medical definition of sex practices

۰ Women’s issues
-Change in fertility
-Menstruation loss
-Menopause
۰ Hot flashes
۰ Loss of bone mass
۰ Changes in vagina

۰ Differences women report pre + post menopause


-Majority report sexual activity and rate sex activity as important
-Greater than 1/3 report decreased desire but not decreased satisfaction
-70% report sex may be painful.
-Ethnic differences for sex activity were not found.

۰ Men’s issues
-Male climacteric age 40-60
-Less than 20% report difficulty with erection
-Slower sex responses may be reported
-Slower responses are not related to ability to give or receive pleasure