Ina study of human sexuality, the main objective is trying tounderstand what is culturally and socially acceptable in relation tohuman sexuality. Culture has its own ideas, as well as concepts thatdefine health and unhealthy human sexuality. This paper will examinecultural attitudes towards male and female sexuality and the roles ofmen and women in the society.
Themost important elements of virtually all cultures are sexual valuesand behaviors. Various societies perceive differently in theimplication of meaning they attach to sex, the expression of sexualvalues, pregnancy control, contraception views and health problemsthey experience. Despite these differences contained by all cultures,some similarities can be identified. These differences andsimilarities in beliefs and behaviors are influenced bysocioeconomic, historical and cultural contexts. However, in recenttimes, they have been influenced by technological advancement andglobalization. By carrying out social comparison, there is greaterunderstanding of normality and naturalness. Therefore, people are ina state of forming attitudes toward sexuality, are able to determinethe meaning of sexual, and know what is sexually acceptable (Rathus,Nevid & Fichner-Rathus, 2014).
Therefore,one of the cultural attitudes towards sexuality is sexualpermissiveness. The society’s general attitude of sexualpassiveness is based on complex interactions of different culturalaspects. For example, the culture’s influence on particular beliefsand the essence of material exchange during marriage may lead to aperceptible position of sex in a particular society. The importanceof reproduction influences acceptable of different forms of sexuality(Siegel & Olshansky, 2012). For example, homosexuality is frownedupon because it does not hold essence of procreation.
Thereare different forms of sexual permissiveness. Firstly, permissivesocieties hold optimistic attitudes in sexual progress and are seenas indispensable to natural health adjustments. Both females andmales are equally treated in terms of their value. Premarital sex isacceptable in both sexes. Secondly, restrictive societies limit theextent to which sex can be expressed. These societies view sex asunique with perilous power that transmit venereal infections andother negativities such early pregnancies (Bancroft, 2003). Adults inthese societies restrict their children from knowledge on sexuality.For example, in the US, long-term objectives for male and femaledevelopment are education and later marriage. Exposure to sexualityat an earlier age is seen as antithetical to these long termobjectives. Lastly, sexual double standards refers to theinequalities in sexual activities, sexual freedom and sexualenjoyment is much valuable to the behavior of the gender that lesslimited (Rathus, Nevid & Fichner-Rathus, 2014). For example, inmost of the cultures, males are urged to gather sexual experiencefrom many partners, while females are restricted up to marriage.
Sexualexpression is another perspective in which cultural attitude towardsmale and female sexuality is reinforced. Sexual expression differs toa great extent from culture to culture. Sexual expression isinfluenced in the way culture view behaviors related to a number ofaspects. Firstly, premarital sexuality is influenced by the nature ofthe societies. Hunter-gatherer and agrarian societies perceivepremarital intercourse negatively where the negative results ofpremarital intercourse are considered to comply with socialexpectation. These negative results include unreliable birth control,unwanted pregnancies, and early marriage. Societies have a permissiveattitude that empowers women by stimulating economic equality betweenmales and females. Secondly, Extramarital sexuality inhunter-gatherer and agrarian societies are considered appropriate formale. For example, in Thailand young male are said to possessinsatiable sexual urge (Siegel & Olshansky, 2012). Extramaritalsexuality industrious societies the issues of double standards arevanishing.
Thirdly,homosexual behaviours and orientation in the expression of sexualitymay take various cultural attitudes. In many cultures, homosexualityis frown upon. For example, in Ancient Greece, there wereheterosexual marriages. Older men absorbed younger men be theirsexual cohorts. In contrast, in the US homosexuality is seen as aninherent aspect of person’s life. Globalization is shifting theattitudes of homosexuality in many cultures. Lastly, transgender isthe tendency of person’s assumed gender that does not conform to aperson’s birth sex. Most of the transgender bodies appear differentfrom assigned sex. Most of the cultures do not allow people to betransgender, but this aspect has taken a different stand (Bancroft,2003).
Inthe society setting, men and women assume different roles. In thetraditional society, women roles revolved around upbringing ofchildren and performing doing domestic chores. On the other hand, menwere perceived as the providers of their families and would work toearn income to feed their families. The main reason as to why menperceived this role is due to their physical fitness (muscle,aggression, strong and big) and naturally they were designed to befamily heads and warriors. In contrast, women are perceived to benaturally weak, emotional, short in stature and non aggressive. Thus,they are designed to cook, look after the children and clean. Incontemporary society, the roles of men and women are changing, aswomen can perform some of the roles that were assigned to men.Similarly, men can perform different tasks that were assumed by women(Lang, 1998).
However,the roles of men and women differ across societal and culturaldimensions and how people perceive their roles. In the contemporarysociety, people’s attitudes on the roles of men and women stillhold double standards. For example, in employment, upbringing ofchildren and even in relationship commitments, men and women`s roleshave been perceived differently. Although in the modern society womenhave been empowered to seek for similar education and employmentopportunities, people’s attitudes are yet to change. For instance,manual jobs such as construction are perceived to be performed bymen, whereas jobs concerned with child care are usually performed bywomen. Hence, this result to hidden sexual discrimination as societyis aware of the fact yet they feel it is all right. Due to economicchanges, the roles of women have changed as they can now supporttheir families, a role that was initially perceived to be assumed bymen. Similarly, due to the emergence of women`s liberation movementsseeking for equality, the roles of women and men have significantlychanged (Lupri, 1983).
Incontemporary marriages, women can still take of the children and menprovide for them, but women can still provide for their familiesequally better as men. Women have become more independent and men areno longer perceived as the sole providers of the family as women cannow earn get equal employment opportunities and earn their own income(Lupri, 1983).
Culturaldifferences have caused different perceptions and attitudes towardsmale and female sexuality. The sex permissiveness and sexualexpression are major aspects that are influenced by culturalattitudes so as to determine male and female position in society. Interms of roles, women can protect and provide for for their familiesand have the capacity of making decisions independently. However,given these circumstances, any male trying to behave in a traditionalway to an independent woman is rejected. Therefore, this has changedto reverse of roles for men and women, and the mentality ofindependence is ruining the structure of the family. Nonetheless,this does not imply that women cannot be entrusted to head thefamilies, but it just proves that the roles of men are changing.
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Lang,S. (1998). Menas women, women as men: Changing gender in native American cultures.Austin: University of Texas Press.
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Rathus,S. A., Nevid, J. S., & Fichner-Rathus, L. (2014). Human in a World of Diversity.Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc.
Siegel,J. S., & Olshansky, S. J. (2012). Thedemography and epidemiology of human health and aging.Dordrecht: Springer.