Socio Cultural influences on sexuality

When examining influences on sexuality one has to look at many different factors. One of those factors that has an influence on sexuality is the culture or society that person is from and their expectations of sexual behavior. Gender identity, their roles, and stereotypes associated with a person’s gender also play a part. Finally the psychological impacts of these expectations and how commercial sex influences expectations and perceptions of sexuality should be explored. Gender Identity and Gender Roles Gender identity is “one’s subjective sense of being a man (or boy) or a woman (or girl).

This sense is usually acquired by the age of 3” (King, 2012). “As children move into the larger world of friends and school, many of their ideas and beliefs are reinforced by those around them. A further reinforcement of acceptable and appropriate behavior is shown to children through the media, in particular, television. Through all these socialization agents, children learn gender stereotyped behavior. As children develop, these stereotypes become firmly entrenched beliefs and thus, are a part of the child’s self-concept” (Witt, 1997).

However, where do those that may have a gender identity disorder fall. Those that have gender dysphoria are those that may feel they are trapped in the wrong anatomic body. This could be that little boy who is more comfortable wearing a dress or the little girl that prefers to play in the mud and wear overalls versus a dress. They could even be classified as having a gender identity disorder, of which there are two criteria. The criteria are they indicate that identify with the opposite gender and that they indicate discomfort with their own anatomy and gender role. Gender Stereotypes

A gender stereotype is defined as “oversimplified, preconceived beliefs about the gender roles of men and women” (King, 2012). The beliefs can either be positive or negative. There are gender stereotypes in every culture in the world. However, when these ideas are developed and applied regardless of evidence to the contrary it helps to perpetuate these stereotypes. Examples of gender stereotyping would be: When thinking of the female stereotypical role, the idea is she puts her family’s welfare before her own, that she has a loving, nurturing, and caring spirit about her.

Or when thinking of the male stereotypical role, he is the financial provider, he is assertive, the family protector, and independent. Children are taught stereotypical behaviors concerning gender stereotypes at an early age. Examples would be that girls are bought toys that foster nurturing and caring such as doll babies and kitchen sets. Whereas boys were given toys such as toy soldiers and cars that were more aggressive. However when these stereotypes are met it becomes dangerous and could potentially have a psychological impact on a person. Psychological Impacts

The psychological impact that gender stereotyping has on an individual can be very dangerous. Stereotypes can affect the way that a person makes decisions, reacts in certain situations and have lifelong effects. As a result of gender stereotyping women face many challenges in the workplace. “The American Civil Liberties Union reports that a woman still earns only 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man. Women’s salaries are still often seen as a supplement to their husband, according to Catalyst, a nonprofit designed to build inclusive workplaces for women and business” (Career Thought).

This is one such reason that women tend to become dependent on men and possibly even have low self esteem. Gender stereotyping in the media can also have a psychological impact on children. “Worrying about appearance or weight, crying or whining, and weakness are all things both girls and boys say they associate more with female characters on television than male characters. Playing sports and wanting to be kissed or have sex, on the other hand, are more often thought of in association with male characters than female” (University of Minnesota).

As well, the media portrays women in such roles as prostitutes, or dependent on men and that leads young girls to think that is the way it should be. Conclusion When it comes to human sexuality there are a great number of factors and observations that should be taken into consideration and studied. Gender identity, gender roles, and gender stereotypes should all be taken into consideration when dealing with human sexuality. Many times society may not realize the things that people observe actually influence behaviors. However, these items can have a profound psychological impact.

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