Human Sexuality: Meeting Your Basic Needs

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9780130326584: Human Sexuality: Meeting Your Basic Needs

Human Sexuality is an accessible, comprehensive introduction to human sexuality as it relates to basic human needs. Major concepts discussed are neither over simplified, not overly technical. This book discusses all aspects of human sexuality—from sexual anatomy and sexual dysfunction to gender roles and sexual orientation—in terms of five different categories: Physical Needs, Social Needs, Emotional Needs, Spiritual Needs, and Cognitive Needs. For health professionals, sexual health professionals, or anyone interested in a book that emphasizes the totality of human sexuality.

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About the Author:

TINA AND ANDY MIRACLE. Had we read the research in Chapter 15 before we got married more than three decades ago, this book might not have been written. We got engaged after two dates, and did not have proximity, familiarity, or similarity going for us; luckily, there was plenty of readiness and reciprocity.

Proximity was a definite problem since Andy spent most of our year-long engagement period living in Tarija, Bolivia doing community development work, while Tina was going to school and working in New York. Two dates is hardly adequate time for much familiarity, and dissimilarities abounded given our different religious and cultural backgrounds. However, over the years we have each learned to compromise and to trust one another. The result is that as individuals we both feel that the costs of occasional inconveniences are greatly outweighed by the continuing benefits of the relationship (see social exchange theory in Chapter 1). In non-scientific terms, after more than 30 years of marriage we still love each other and while sometimes we're not sure we want to spend the next hour together, we know we want to spend the rest of our lives together.

Over the years, we have heard every possible comment on our last name, and also managed successfully to merge our personal and professional lives. Tina began her undergraduate degree in English at Chatham College, and completed her B.A. as well as her master's and a specialist's degree (Ed.S.) in counseling at the University of Florida. An undergraduate religion major at Princeton University, Andy received a master's degree in Latin American Studies and his Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Florida. With then three-year-old daughter Rebekah and newborn son Jed, we spent a year in La Paz, Bolivia while Andy completed his dissertation research among the Bolivian Aymara with the assistance of a Fulbright-Hays award and a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.

As a cultural anthropologist, Andy not only enjoys teaching but he has published extensively, including ten books in the fields of anthropology and education, sports sociology, culture and health, and human sexuality. He began his academic career at Texas Christian University in 1976, was chair of the Department of Health Sciences at Cleveland State University for four years, and currently is Associate dean of the College of Health and Urban Affairs and Professor of Public Health at Florida International University. Andy is past president of both the Southern Anthropological Society and The Association for the Study of Play.

For the first twenty years of Tina's career as a psychotherapist, she worked primarily with survivors of sexual abuse and assault as clinical director at a residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed children, in private practice, and at a rape crisis center. She is a licensed professional clinical counselor and a member of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists. When a retinal disease resulted in Tina becoming severely visually impaired, she began working with blind and visually impaired children and their families at the Cleveland Sight Center, and currently she is a research and clinic coordinator at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine.

Together, Tina and Andy frequently give lectures and workshops on issues related to human sexuality.

ROY F. BAUMEISTER. You might think that no one would have to explain how he or she became interested in sex. After all, everyone is interested in sex, right? And yet relatively few people in my field of social psychology actually study sex.

When I finished high school, I chose to attend Princeton because it was reputed to have the best mathematics department in the country, and I intended to become a mathematician. A couple semesters of higher mathematics soon persuaded me, however, that I wanted something with more intrinsic interest and more relevance to the central aspects of human life. My next choice was philosophy, because I thought it would enable me to grapple with the grand, ultimate questions about the human condition. Unfortunately, most philosophers these days have to choose narrow rather than grand questions, and moreover there are not many jobs for them. While reading moral philosophy, I came across some of Freud's writings and was struck by one astonishing fact: He was trying to decide which ideas were right by using scientific observations. I began to realize that psychologists could tackle great questions and they even had the scientific method to help them find the right answers.

In graduate school at Duke and again at Princeton, I learned how to conduct laboratory experiments. Issues of self and identity were first gaining recognition as important keys to life, and so my early work explored issues of self-esteem, public constraints on identity, and what happens when people focus attention on themselves. Although I continue to find such work satisfying, I became chagrined at the narrow focus that one had to keep.

A crucial step in my career occurred when I found that one could tackle broad questions by pulling together the results of many different studies. A single experiment had to focus on something narrow, but by combining many different findings one could begin to see the big picture. To me, this was the key for how to go back to addressing the broad philosophical questions that fascinated me. Some of my book titles reflect these efforts: Meanings of Life, Evil.-Inside Human Violence and Cruelty, Identity: Cultural Change and the Struggle for Self.

To me, sex is another one of the grand mysteries of life, and so it was a natural topic to pick up when I had finished my work on evil and violence and was looking for something new and interesting. For the book on evil, I had had to immerse myself in reading about a great many terrible things that people have done to one another, and the idea of moving on to study sex was appealing because it promised a chance to focus on a more pleasant, positive aspect of human nature.

Roy F. Baumeister received his Ph.D. in social psychology from Princeton University and had a postdoctoral fellowship in sociology at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1979 he joined the faculty of Case Western Reserve University as an assistant professor and rose through the ranks, becoming at one point the youngest full professor at the university. He now holds the E. B. Smith Professorship in the Liberal Arts there. He has also taught and done research at the University of Virginia, the University of Texas, the Max-Planck-Institute in Munich, Germany, and at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He has published nearly 250 scientific works including 14 books.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

We all know that the Human Sexuality course is one of the most popular courses on campus. Why? Let's face it, most people have an interest in sex and want to know what this course is all about. When you think of human sexuality, what comes to mind? You might think about the physical act of sex, romance, relationships, childrearing, contraception, or love, just to name a few. We hope to demonstrate that human sexuality encompasses a wide range of feelings, behaviors, attitudes and thought-processes. Human sexuality consists of far more than the obvious physical responses involved. Social interaction, emotional commitment, spiritual contemplation, and cognitive decision-making are all involved. Our goal in writing Human Sexuality: Meeting Your Basic Needs is to provide the student with information concerning these five human needs in a style that is clear, readable and useful, both for their present studies and as a foundation for future decision-making. Organizing the information in this way helps readers gain a greater understanding of the subject matter as well as take a more proactive approach to their sexuality.

As you embark upon your journey through Human Sexuality: Meeting Your Basic Needs, you will see how we consistently emphasize the connections among these five dimensions of sexuality. Our goal in creating this organization, is to ensure that the reader gain the greatest understanding of sexuality and have the ability to apply it to his or her own personal life. While most students have an intrinsic interest in sex, this interest may not survive a dull recitation of data and statistics. Our conceptual framework personalizes the subject matter and makes it more compelling, meeting the challenge of presenting information in a way that is neither too simplified and patronizing, nor overly technical and inaccessible. This style of presentation provides instructors maximum flexibility in promoting student curiosity and imagination. We challenge students' preconceptions, stimulate their intellects, and promote responsible sexual decision-making.

DIVERSITY

Throughout the text we have maintained a nonjudgmental perspective sensitive to the wide range of cultures, beliefs, values, and attitudes that exist in the world today. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual issues are discussed in Chapter 11, "Sexual Orientation," and are also integrated throughout the text. Abstinence is presented as a viable option in the discussion of sexual behaviors and sexual decision making. Sexuality is considered from a multicultural perspective. The text also reflects the diversity of ethnic backgrounds, socioeconomic status, and spiritual beliefs of its readers and the societies in which they live.

COMMUNICATION

Because communication is such an essential aspect of human sexuality, we have included this topic in appropriate areas throughout the text. In Chapter 2, for example, a box entitled "There Are No Stupid Questions" describes how to talk with your physician about cancer care. Chapter 7 includes a figure entitled "How We Talk About AIDS." Chapter 10 discusses gender differences in communication and online gender identity. Chapter 13 emphasizes communication as a tool for avoiding unwanted sexual advances. Chapter 15 features a section on intimacy, love, and sexual communication that covers both verbal and nonverbal communication. Chapter 19 includes a box on talking to your children about sex.

THE IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY

Throughout history, but especially in the past several decades, advances in technology have had a major impact on all areas of life, including sexuality. The text addresses the growing importance of the global virtual society created by the Internet in features entitled "Exploring Sexuality Online." In addition, suggested Web sites related to the content of each chapter are included on the Web site for this text, www.prenhall.com/miracle.

SEXUAL HEALTH

Human Sexuality: Meeting Your Basic Needs emphasizes the importance of a proactive approach to sexual health in today's world. We intend to provide students with the best, most comprehensive information to help them safeguard their sexual and reproductive health. There is extensive discussion of health-related topics, including HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), the various forms of contraception, sexuality and disabilities, and disorders of the reproductive tract. The discussion on contraceptives cover their effectiveness (including protection against STIs), advantages, disadvantages, and the cost concerns for each type. You will find "Sexual Health and You" boxes throughout the text.

THE EVOLUTIONARY PERSPECTIVE

The evolutionary perspective, drawn from Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, has become increasingly important in recent decades in explaining sexuality and sexual behavior. We integrate this important view throughout the text to explain various aspects of human sexuality and sexual behavior. In Chapter 1, the ability of species to adapt to their environment is used to explain why sex exists and why there are two human sexes (rather than one or ten). In Chapter 3, we use this perspective to explain the continuous nature of the female sexual response and the existence of female orgasm. In Chapter 8, the evolutionary perspective helps explain the cultural suppression of female sexuality and why society restricts sex between close relatives. Chapter 10 cites the evolutionary perspective in discussing physical differences between men and women and gender differences in promiscuity. In Chapters 11, 13, 14, and 16 the evolutionary perspective is one of several used to describe the basis of sexual orientation, sexual coercion, prostitution, and jealousy, respectively. Chapter 15 relates the evolutionary adaptiveness of our species to sexual attraction, female beauty as an external cue of childbearing ability, advantages of committed relationships, and gender differences in love.

CONTENTS

Text is organized around the five categories of human needs: physical, social, emotional, spiritual, and cognitive.

Chapter 1 provides an overview of human sexuality as well as an introduction to the five basic needs. Descriptions of different types of sex research are accompanied by real examples, along with information on how to evaluate research studies. This chapter also introduces the various theoretical perspectives on human sexuality, including psychoanalytic theory, social constructionism, feminist theory, the evolutionary theory, and social exchange theory. We return to these perspectives throughout the text to help students understand the topics presented.

Chapters 2 through 7 provide students with a solid foundation for understanding their physical needs. The biological factors affecting human sexuality are presented, including anatomy and physiology, sexual arousal and response, sexual dysfunctions, and conception, pregnancy, and birth. Practical information concerning birth control and sexually transmitted infections is also provided.

Building on an understanding of the biological aspects of sexuality, Chapters 8 through 14 explore its social aspects. Social control of sexuality, sexual behavior across the life span, sex and gender, sexual orientation, consensual sexual behavior, sexual coercion, and the commercialization of sex are the subjects of these chapters. Topics of concern to many students, including sexual harassment, date rape, and atypical sexuality, are discussed in depth.

The feelings of joy, sadness, anger, and anxiety that can be associated with sex and love are examined in Chapters 15 and 16. The topics sexual attraction, romance, passion, jealousy, and intimate relationships allow students to explore the emotional aspects of sexuality.

The effect of spirituality on sexual attitudes and behaviors is examined in Chapter 17, which describes the relationships among sexuality, spirituality, and religion. The chapter also reviews the attitudes of a number of world religions toward sexuality and sexual behavior.

The final section of the text addresses the cognitive aspect of sexuality. Chapter 18 offers comprehensive coverage of sexual politics and legal issues, including the controversial subject of abortion. Chapter 19 describes how, when, and by whom sexuality is taught to our children. Chapter 20 helps students navigate the ethical decision-making process and make sexual choices.

SPECIAL FEATURES

Every chapter contains features to highlight important issues in sexuality.

Considerations

This feature encourages further student thought and discussion on complex and controversial issues such as sexual harassment, female genital mutilation, human cloning, and abortion. Each box includes one or more critical thinking questions designed to encourage students to form their own conclusions.

Cross-Cultural Perspectives

Cultural and ethnic variations that reflect the diversity of human sexual behavior are highlighted here. Topics include folk remedies for sexually transmitted infections, cross-cultural variations in scent preferences and standards of beauty, and cultural variations in the frequency and duration of noncoital sexual activity (foreplay).

Sexual Health and You

The ways in which students can ensure their sexual health, including breast and testicular self-examinations, gynecological and rectal exams, and knowing what to do if they've been raped are highlighted here.

Exploring Sexuality Online

This feature investigates the impact of computers and the Internet on issues related to sexuality, such as online sexual therapy, cyberromance, online pornography, and Internet pedophiles.

Ask Yourself

The Ask Yourself feature is a self-assessment inventory included in pertinent chapters so students can evaluate a...

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