Human Sexuality–A Psychological Perspective

The psychological perspective looks at human sexuality from a person in environment vantage point. It looks at how sexuality is affected by the individual and the individuals environment. Under the psychological perspective, the sexual emotions, cognition and behavior of an individual are considered. Bolin and Whelehan (1999) described the reciprocal relationship between psychological health and sexuality: emotions, cognition and behavior affect our sex lives, but our sex lives have a direct impact on our psychology (p. 23). Put simply, negative emotion or thoughts affect the ability to have sex just as the ability to have sex affects thoughts and emotion. Such a complex relationship requires an in-depth study of the individual!
A wide range of topics fall under the psychological perspective of human sexuality and each branch of psychology approaches these topics differently. Developmental psychology looks at sexuality from a development standpoint across the lifespan. Social psychologists look at the impact of culture on sexuality. They may look to media, education, religion, socio-economic status, cross-cultural information, etc. for explanation, causality or cultural competence. Review the at your own pace for additional cross-cultural information a social psychologist may research, review and analyze.
The clinical psychologist is more often focused on sexual dysfunction and treatment of this dysfunction. The DSM 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) classifies diagnosable categories of sexual problems or behavior. These categories include Sexual Dysfunction, Paraphilic Disorders, and Sexual Abuse/Violence found within either the Child Abuse and Neglect or Adult Maltreatment and Neglect categories. Some clinical psychologists even specialize in Sex Therapy.
Other areas of psychology may look at human sexuality topics such as motivation, self-esteem, gender roles or identity, understanding sexual deviance, family or peer influence, personality, learning, attitudes, reducing sexual objectification in the media, mood, memory, communication, etc. Psychologists research and study all of these topics and variables as they continue to seek a better understanding of sexuality.
Regardless of the psychological focus on sexuality, all psychologists would agree that the mind and body are intimately connected to sexuality and sex (Bolin & Whelehan, 1999). Considering a holistic view of optimum sexual health is important and requires the consideration of all of these topics to ensure optimal physical, psychological and social well-being (Lehmiller, 2014).
The work of Freud and Bandura are often cited in discussions and research regarding human sexuality from a psychological perspective. You may find information related to their work as you engage in research for your assignment this week.
In your research this week you will find several central themes to the psychological perspective of human sexuality: gender roles, cultural influence, social issues, human development, the impact of mental health on sex, etc. We will continue to discuss these themes throughout the course as we review additional perspectives related to human sexuality.
Your written assignment will focus on one current issue regarding human sexuality. Choose a current human sexuality issue or topic and discuss this issue or topic from a psychological perspective. You may choose an issue or topic different from your previous written assignments. Examples of issues or topics might include the effects of contraception on culture, sexuality concerns related to human development and varying age groups (such as sexuality in the elderly), treatment for specific sexual dysfunctions, the interaction of mood on sex, cross cultural (social, economic, religious, etc) implications regarding sexuality, etc. You will need to research additional information on the topics or issue of your choice to add to the psychological perspective you have already encountered this week. Look for information on research findings or studies for the issue or topic you choose.
Keep in mind as you research that you will find a wealth of information that does not align with Truth or Gods Word. You will need to be diligent in sifting through the information you find and seeking Gods wisdom and discernment to determine what is true according to Gods Word.
Be sure to include information regarding how the psychological perspective of human sexuality affects our current cultures beliefs and values. What specific research findings have helped to shape current values and practices regarding human sexuality? In other words, how does the psychological perspective of human sexuality affect cultural values today?
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