Male and Female Sexuality Pre and Post Puberty
The male and female bodies take different route when developing as the two genders add more years to their ages. This is because of the hormones that are being excreted, aiding development and altering changes in the physical, emotional and sexual well being of the body. Physically, most men are bigger and taller than women, often developing facial hair, pubic hair, acne, deep voices, broad shoulders and growth of penis. Females, on the other side are more emotional, have breast development, become more sensitive in some body parts, and go through monthly menstrual cycle.
One is poised to ask if these development and changes in the human body come with an increase or decrease of sexual thoughts and/or if they remain constant over the years of a human lifespan. And if they are not constant, are hormones the only reason for the degrees of variation between male and female sexuality or do other external factors aid them? Many people believe that one begins to explore his or her body sexually when puberty sets in because of the sexual hormones that are being released at its peak at that age.
Because of this, people believe that human sexuality declines as one gets older because these hormones are released in very little amount that do not cause any sexual pleasure to the body. On the contrary, it is often believed that a child do not know or think about sex, but it has been observed that some children are fond of touching their genitalia when they are still infants and experience some kind of pleasure, even at a very young age.
A research done states that it is part of normal development in these children to self stimulate themselves and up to one third of the children of this age group may be seen doing this sexual self stimulating act (Ratnakar, 2010). Since it is a normal development in children to self stimulates themselves, it is possible to state that both men and women think about sexual pleasure pre-puberty as much as they do after puberty. The role of puberty is to heighten the excitement of the sexual act and increase pleasure, but puberty is not the onset of sexuality.
Sexuality—the capacity of sexual feelings—can occur at any age. A child and an older adult can both experience it, but at different levels. The difference, when it comes to puberty—which is the biological period where adolescents attain sexual maturity and are ready for reproduction—is the intensity at which that feeling can be experienced. This biological process may underline not only of the sexual attraction, but of cognition, emotions, motivations, and social behaviors as well (McClintock & Herdt, 1996).
Since sexuality is not affected by pubertal hormones because it can start very early in a child’s life, puberty becomes a vital developmental stage in one’s life because of the effect it has on sexuality. More so, there are two aspects of puberty that are important to male and female—pubertal status and pubertal timing (Peteren et al. , 1991). Pubertal status is the adolescent’s level of physical maturation while pubertal timing is whether the adolescent’s physical maturation is occurring late or on time.
The level of sexual thoughts is the same for both male and female as the mature overtime. Another research shows that the relationship between sexuality and puberty may not be hormonal, but how male and female react to secondary sex characteristics (Zember, 2009). This means that in as much as the boys and girls are developing sexually in terms of puberty and the release of hormones, other factors can affect if they will engage in sexual acts or not. The environment or cultural influence can affect sexual behavior in both genders.
If a child were raised in a society where sex is viewed in a liberal way, then such child would partake in sexual activity without any feeling of guilt as opposed to a child raised in a conservative society. Zember pointed out that hormones may enhance feelings of sexual arousal during and after puberty, but how girls and boys act on those feelings is very much determined by multiple internal and external variables combined. (Zember, 2009). If their friends are engaging in sexual act, then they are more likely to do the same and vice versa.
Furthermore, research has shown that there is no decline in sexual participation when people get older. Because people do not talk about it does not mean they are not engaging in sexual act, which is healthy at any age. Testosterone is a major hormone in males and also important to women. This hormone helps build confidence, aggression, and motivation. In females, the estrogen is an important hormone that helps maintain youthful cell behavior. Decrease production of testosterone in males is called andropause and low level of estrogen in females lead to menopause.
The production of these hormones decreases with age that may decrease sexual desire, but it does not have any effect on sexual thoughts and cravings. According to the American Psychological Association, events [such as old age] bring a dramatic shift in understanding and being aware of the human body (Zeiss, 2003). This means that in as much as the younger generation believes that the older generations are done with sex and pleasure, it is often untrue because the latter, as time progresses, begin to crave for more sexual attention.
Medications, such as Viagra, come into play. It helps build up confidence and maintain sexual spurs for men. Men and women, regardless of their ages, want to be noticed and complimented regardless of their age. In as much as there is decline in the production of hormones as people age, it does not affect the need for sexual satisfaction. External factors, such as openness of one’s environment and also the people in one’s life can have a huge effect on their sexuality.
For instance, for the little baby, self pleasuring himself or herself, if the parent encourages it, that child would grow up accepting his sexuality without any feeling of guilt and vice versa. Also, for a teenager or young adult, if the society frowns on expressive sexuality, that child will grow up being uptight about himself or herself, regardless of the hormones in the body. In addition, if they see their friends having sex, they are more likely to engage in the act. For older generations, who have been through infancy and adolescence, the challenge is about being open on sex and sexual pleasure.
If two old couples still live together, away from their children and grand children, there is nothing wrong with them having sex. Age is not a barrier and hormones are not catalyst to aiding sexual thoughts. It is a personal experience and because it is personal; each person is different. There is no question that hormones help male and female become aware of their bodies more during puberty. But that awareness can become a liberal or conservative experience depending on the choice that one makes throughout their lifespan.
In summary, it has been found that sexual thoughts are not hindered by age and are naturally propelled more by hormones. Researchers should focus more on how the mind works and if there are other organs or receptors in the body (like the brain) that trigger sexual thoughts. Also, it would be interesting to find out what early sexual experiences has any effect on the sexual experience of older people. For example, do older people who got into sexual acts at very young ages continue to do that when they are older or do they get “tired”?