Annual Editions: Human Sexualities 10/11
UNIT 1: Social and Cultural FoundationsUnit Overview
1. Gender Is Powerful: The Long Reach of Feminism, Nancy MacLean, OAH Magazine of History, October 2006
Readers of this article will gain a greater appreciation of the significance of the women’s movement. By studying the women’s movement, we are in a better position to fully understand civil rights, and numerous other social and political movements in the United States.
2. A Woman’s Curse?, Meredith F. Small, The Sciences, January/February 1999
An anthropologist’s study of the ritual of seclusion surrounding women’s menstrual cycle has some rather profound implications regarding human evolution, certain cultural practices, and women’s health.
3. Everyone’s Queer, Leila J. Rupp, OAH Magazine of History, March 2006
The title of this article on nonnormative sex may have caught your eye, but reading it is likely to maintain your interest, as well as increase your understanding of the evolution of what is considered normal over the last 60 years.
4. Christian Eye for the Queer Guy, Michael Stoltzfus, Journal of Lutheran Ethics, August 2005
Christian churches continue to struggle with how to address issues of homosexuality. This article applies the concepts of love and grace to contemporary discussions surrounding sexual orientation.
5. Afterbirths in the Afterlife: Cultural Meaning of Placental Disposal in a Hmong American Community, Deborah G. Helsel and Marilyn Mochel, Journal of Transcultural Nursing, vol. 13, no. 4, 2002
For Hmong Americans, the placenta has special significance for the soul in the afterlife. Western medical practices and Hmong American culture can sometimes be at odds over the disposal of the placenta.
6. How AIDS Changed America, David Jefferson, Newsweek, May 15, 2006
The 1981 to 2006 timeline tells the story of AIDS in America. This article describes the development in knowledge about HIV/AIDS, and the change in personal, social, and cultural responses towards HIV/AIDS over the quarter century.UNIT 2: Biological FoundationsUnit Overview
Part A. Reproductive Capacities
7. Starting the Good Life in the Womb, W. Allan Walker and Courtney Humphries, Newsweek, September 17, 2007
Choices that women make while they are pregnant may have a life-long impact on their baby. This article suggests ideas for mothers to improve their baby’s chances to grow into healthy adults.
8. Success at Last, Deborah Kotz, U.S. News & World Report, May 7, 2007
Couples fighting infertility have some control over conception through the alteration of diet, exercise, and stress levels. Many factors in these areas can affect ovulation and hormone levels in women, thus influencing fertility, but men’s habits matter as well.
9. A Man’s Shelf Life, Mark Teich, Psychology Today, September/October 2007
As men age, their fertility decreases. That’s not the only reproductive challenge men face as they get older. Some birth defects increase in frequency with paternal age. Potential parents need to know the information discussed in this article.
10. The Curious Lives of Surrogates, Lorraine Ali and Raina Kelley, Newsweek, April 7, 2008
Medical technologies have made surrogacy safer and more successful. The United States has about 1,000 surrogate pregnancies each year. Gestational surrogates carry a fetus to term, for the genetic parents. This article describes multiple motivations and ethical concerns. Gestational surrogates report empowerment and self-esteem as well as financial gains.
Part B. Attraction, Pleasure, and Desire
11. Scents and Sensibility, Elizabeth Svoboda, Psychology Today, January/February, 2008
While sexual attraction remains one of life’s mysteries, researchers believe that scent is an important component of who we end up with. Physical attraction may actually be based on smell, which may be an important part of what we refer to as the “chemistry” of attraction.
12. The Orgasmic Mind, Martin Portner, Scientific American Mind, April/May 2008
Sexual desire, arousal, and orgasm involve complex physiological, cognitive, and affective phenomena. This fascinating article explores the complexities of desire and orgasm through scientific research on the brain.
13. What Do Women Want?, Daniel Bergner, The New York Times Magazine, January 2009
Daniel Bergner reports on research findings from research on female sexual arousal and female sexualities. What does research tell us about genital arousal in women? This article explores an understudied area.
14. Women’s Sexual Desire: A Feminist Critique, Jill M. Wood, Patricia Barthalow Koch, and Phyllis Kernoff Mansfield, The Journal of Sex Research, vol. 43(3), August 2006
The biomedical model of female sexual desire is challenged in this article. The authors offer an alternative approach, a “New View,” that calls into question the scientific and therapeutic communities’ current understanding of female sexual desire.UNIT 3: Sexualities, Education, and DevelopmentUnit Overview
15. At UC Santa Barbara, Sex as a Matter of Course, Larry Gordon, Los Angeles Times, August 1, 2009
Larry Gordon reports on a large lecture human sexuality course taught by a husband-wife team at the University of California’s Santa Barbara campus. The professors’ approach provides students with a unique educational experience. The course and the professors themselves have become a campus institution.
16. The Birds and the Bees and Curious Kids, Margaret Renkl, Parenting, June 2006
Read about the best strategies for handling the kinds of scenarios that catch parents off guard about bodies, body parts, and sexual behavior, as well as how to—and not to—approach “the talk.”
17. How to Talk about Sex, Heidi Raykeil, Parenting, February 2006
Although this article was written for partners who are also parents, it generalizes as well to couples with varying interest/towards needs for sex. Its encouragement of and guidance for outing the secret is important, as the risk of letting things go too long is real.
18. The Myths of Teen Sex, Jennie Yabroff, Newsweek, June 9, 2008
Jennie Yabroff argues that it is important to separate fact from fiction in evaluating whether there is currently a teen oral sex pandemic. What people believe to be true about the sexual behaviors of young people may not reflect most teens’ lived experiences.
19. Teenage Fatherhood and Involvement in Delinquent Behavior, Terence P. Thornberry, Carolyn A. Smith, and Susan Ehrhard, The Prevention Researcher, November 2004
This paper investigates the relationship between teenage fatherhood and various indicators of deviant behavior. By using a large sample of students, first interviewed in the 7th or 8th grades and again when they were 21 years old, the authors are able to explore the link between teenage fatherhood and delinquent behavior along the adolescent life course.
20. Good for the Gander, Karen Holt, Working Mother, October 2008
This article explores issues, such as paternity leave and various other father-friendly benefits in the corporate world. If new fathers take advantage of such policies, how will this impact their careers? The messages men receive about work, fatherhood, and family are often mixed and confusing.
21. No Kids, No Grief: The Case against Having Kids, Anne Kingston, Maclean’s, August 3, 2009
Being a parent can create a multitude of financial, career, relationship, and personal challenges. More and more people today are choosing to be child-free. But is this decision respected and validated by our society? Social reactions to people who choose to be child-free are revealing.
22. The Secret Lives of Single Women, Sarah Mahoney, AARP The Magazine, May/June 2006
There are a number of myths and stereotypes that the public holds regarding older single women. This article discusses the accuracy or inaccuracy of some of these perceptions.
23. An Affair to Remember, Melinda Henneberger, slate.com, June 10, 2008
Elderly people, including those in institutional settings, still experience the need for emotional and physical intimacy. These needs may be at odds with prevailing cultural beliefs about sex and the elderly.UNIT 4: Intimacies and RelationshipsUnit Overview
24. This Thing Called Love, Lauren Slater, National Geographic, February 2006
What we recognize as passionate love or infatuation shares a chemical profile that is surprisingly similar to that of obsessive-compulsive disorder. In order for relationships to last, we cannot depend on retaining feelings of passionate love throughout the duration of the relationship.
25. Free as a Bird and Loving It, Sharon Jayson, USA Today Newspaper, April 12, 2007
Is marriage becoming less desirable? Being single is not seen as a temporary and undesirable state anymore; more individuals are choosing to put off marriage or simply not marry at all. This article addresses some of the benefits of remaining single.
26. Peer Marriage, Pepper Schwartz, The Communitarian Reader: Beyond the Essentials, Amitai Etzioni, Andrew Volmert, and Elanit Rothschild, Rowan & Littlefield, 2004
Pepper Schwartz celebrates the concept of peer marriages in which spouses regard each other as full social equals. Both have careers, and share family decision-making and child-rearing responsibilities. She argues that peer marriages generally result in stronger families and greater satisfaction.
27. Against All Odds, Anne Kingston, Maclean’s, August 24, 2009
This article asks: “Is it crazy to marry someone you’ve known only a few weeks?” Perhaps a better question to ask would be if “instant relationships” stand much of a chance of long term success?
28. Five Years on, Gay Marriage Debate Fades in Massachusetts, David Crary, Associated Press, May 9, 2009
Gay marriage has been a hot button issue in the United States over the past several years. Crary examines the case of Massachusetts where gay marriage has been a legal option for lesbian and gay couples since 2004.
29. My Cheatin’ Heart, Daphne Gottlieb, Utne Reader, March/April 2006
Infidelity . . . affair . . . new and forbidden love versus committed monogamy. All of these are bluntly and powerfully addressed in this essay that looks at cheating from both sides—the cheater and the partner.
30. You’re Driving Me Crazy!, Jay Dixit, Psychology today, April 2009
Learning more about some of the top relationship annoyances that are explored in this article may make the difference between a successful relationship and breaking up.UNIT 5: Gender and Sexual DiversityUnit Overview
Part A. Perspectives on Gender
31. Gender Bender, Sadie F. Dingfelder, APA Monitor on Psychology, April 2004
The author describes recent research evidence on the role of genes and prenatal hormones in gender identity and gender-related behaviors. These findings help illuminate the interplay between nature and nurture in boys’ and girls’ behaviors.
32. A Case for Angry Men and Happy Women, Beth Azar, Monitor on Psychology, April 2007
People are faster at identifying anger on men’s faces as well as seeing happiness on women’s faces. This process has been linked to the evolutionary advantage of being able to spot and avoid an angry and potentially dangerous male. This article addresses the deeply rooted connection between gender, emotions, and evolution.
33. Goodbye to Girlhood, Stacy Weiner, The Washington Post, February 20, 2007
This article describes the troubling trend in the way women and girls are depicted by the media. Pop culture images are targeting younger girls, potentially influencing the development of eating disorders, lower self-esteem, and depression.
34. (Rethinking) Gender, Debra Rosenberg, Newsweek, May 21, 2007
Debra Rosenberg opens the window on people who are born one gender but feel that they are the other gender. Some use surgery and/or hormones to bring their bodies into compliance with their identity . . . Their stories are riveting and their lived experiences raise many questions about gender.
35. Progress and Politics in the Intersex Rights Movement: Feminist Theory in Action, Alice D. Dreger and April M. Herndon, GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, vol. 15, no. 2, 2009
The history of the intersex rights movement has been successful in many important ways. This article explores the politics of intersex rights and feminism.
Part B. Perspectives on Sexual Orientation
36. Finding the Switch, Robert Kunzig, Psychology Today, May/June 2008
Is a homosexual orientation influenced by biological processes? Research on the influence of genetics and hormones on the development of homosexuality is explored in this article. Scientific evidence suggests that there are multiple developmental pathways to homosexual orientations, including multiple biological influences.
37. Children of Lesbian and Gay Parents, Charlotte J. Patterson, Current Directions in Psychological Science, October 2006
Does parental sexual orientation affect child development? After years of research, little difference has been found between children of same-sex parents and those of other sex parents. In fact, the quality of relationships in the family seems to matter more than parents’ sexual orientation.
38. Matt’s Next Act, Nicholas Fonseca, Advocate.com, March 2009
A world-class athlete and Olympic Gold Medalist comes out as gay. Being openly gay in the world of competitive sports can create challenges for gay athletes that their heterosexual counterparts do not have to face.UNIT 6: Sexual Health and Well-BeingUnit Overview
Part A. Problems and Interventions
39. Sex, Health, & Happiness, Deborah Kotz, U.S. News & World Report, September 15/September 22, 2008
A healthy, active sex life is not only for the young and acrobatic. Adult Americans of all ages can enjoy an active sex life. This article presents some of the benefits and challenges of maintaining a healthy sex life at any age.
40. Health Behaviors, Prostate Cancer, and Masculinities: A Life Course Perspective, John Oliffe, Men and Masculinities, January 1, 2009
This article examines the intersections of gender, health, and illness using a retrospective life course method. This study goes beyond behaviors and health consequences, to look at the impact of the social construction of masculinity on health.
41. When Sex Hurts, Lisa Collier Cool, Good Housekeeping, March 2003
This fact-filled article addresses a rarely talked about, but often devastating, problem for women and couples: painful intercourse. Citing medical research and experts, the seven most likely conditions associated with painful sex are explained along with how and where to get help and effective treatments.
42. Body Dissatisfaction in Adolescent Females and Males: Risk and Resilience, Katherine Presnell, Sarah Kate Bearman, and Mary Clare Madeley, The Prevention Researcher, September 2007
The study of gender and health is especially important and interesting in the area of body image. This important selection looks at body dissatisfaction in boys and girls, including some consequences that everyone should know.
Part B. Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV Disease
43. Hooking Up and Sexual Risk Taking among College Students: A Health Belief Model Perspective, Teresa M. Downing-Matibag and Brandi Geisinger, Qualitative Health Research, vol. 19, September 2009
“Hooking up” on university campuses is not new. However, the sexual risk taking behaviors of college students during “hook ups” needs further research. This qualitative study yields interesting information about an understudied phenomenon.
44. Rationing Antiretroviral Therapy in Africa—Treating Too Few, Too Late, Nathan Ford, Edward Mills, and Alexandra Calmy, New England Journal of Medicine, April 30, 2009
The current approach to antiretroviral therapy in Africa is less than optimal, even though access to these drugs is at an all-time high. The drugs are often started too late and poorly tolerated. The authors argue for a different approach that is not inconsistent with the current emphasis on reaching the widest number of patients as cheaply as possible.
45. HIV Plan B, Justine Sharrock, Mother Jones, May/June 2008
Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) treatment can prevent HIV infection in many people who are at-risk of becoming infected after a suspected or known exposure. PEP is FDA approved, but not always available to those who need it. High cost and lack of knowledge are among the reasons why some people may have limited access to it.
46. HIV Apathy, Zach Patton, Governing, February 2007
Many new drugs to combat HIV disease have changed HIV from a terminal to a chronic condition that can be managed in some people infected with the virus. Partially as a result of new treatments available, some individuals engage in high risk behaviors that put them at risk for HIV infection. To combat this, health officials are trying to make testing for HIV more available and widespread.UNIT 7: Sexualities and Social IssuesUnit Overview
47. Flower Grandma’s Secret, Susan Wicklund, Ms., Fall 2007
A physician specializing in reproductive health and abortion is about to go public on national television. She now must visit her grandmother to tell about her medical specialty. The doctor soon discovers that her grandmother has been keeping a long-held secret of her own.
48. Pharmacist Refusals: A Threat to Women’s Health, Marcia D. Greenberger and Rachel Vogelstein, Science, June 10, 2005
Increasingly, pharmacists have refused to fill prescriptions for certain drugs which violate their personal beliefs. In particular, women seeking prescriptions filled for birth control pills and morning-after pills have increasingly been turned away. The authors believe that all pharmacies should be required to dispense all drugs regardless of their personal beliefs.
49. Guess Who’s Watching Porn, Monique Polak, Maclean’s, June 3, 2008
The Internet has made porn more easily accessible to everyone, including young children. Parents are discovering that their young children are accessing graphic pornography via the Internet. Is this indicative of what has been called the pornification of society?
50. Porn Panic!, C. Brian Smith, The Advocate, May 2009
The porn industry has new and tougher challenges, including a saturated market, amateur porn stars, and users sharing content from pay sites with internet groups. These are but a few of the new challenges taking a bite out of profits within the porn industry.
51. Breeder Reaction, Elizabeth Weil, Mother Jones, July/August 2006
The Constitution of the United States identifies the right to procreate as a fundamental human right. Yet there is almost no public policy in the United States regarding reproductive rights and access to reproductive technology. The provocative article discusses this thorny issue; and the results are thought provoking.
52. Behind the Cloak of Polygamy, Andrea Moore-Emmett, Ms., Summer 2008
There has been a significant amount of recent media coverage of religious polygamist sects in the United States. Former members of some of these sects recount their experiences with polygamy. This article raises many important concerns including abuse and human rights.
53. Male Rape Myths: The Role of Gender, Violence, and Sexism, Kristine M. Chapleau, Debra L. Oswald, and Brenda L. Russell, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, May 1, 2008
Do males and females differ in their acceptance of rape myths? What factors impact the acceptance of rape myths? This article reports on research that sheds some light on these issues.
54. Effects of Sexual Assaults on Men: Physical, Mental, and Sexual Consequences, Richard Tewksbury, International Journal of Men’s Health, vol. 6. no. 1, Spring 2007
This interesting article reviews the research literature on the physical, mental, and sexual consequences of sexual assaults on men. This review will provide the reader with an excellent overall understanding of what we know about the effects of sexual assaults on men to date.
55. Fall Girls, Mark Benjamin, Ms. Magazine, Summer 2008
Mark Benjamin reports on a political scandal involving prostitution and a U.S. senator. Sex workers and clients are often treated differently by the criminal justice system. The consequences of this particular case are especially tragic.
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