Though biology plays an important role, the way in which sexual motivation is expressed and acted upon is highly influenced by culture.
Analyze the ways in which the expression of sexuality is influenced by gender and culture.
Sexual motivation, often referred to as libido, is a person's overall sexual drive or desire for sexual activity, and is determined by biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors.
Human sexuality can be understood as part of the social life of humans, governed by social norms, implied rules of behavior, and the status quo. Society's views on sexuality have changed throughout history, and are continuously evolving.
With the advent of patriarchal societies, gender roles around sexuality became much more stringent, and sexual norms began focusing on sexual possessiveness and the control of female sexuality.
Mass media in the form of television, magazines, movies, and music continues to shape what is deemed "appropriate" or "normal" sexuality, perpetuating social scripts about sexual relationships, and the sexual roles of men and women.
Most world religions have developed moral codes which have sought to guide or control people's sexual activities and practices.
The messages that children are taught about sex play an important role in how they will grow into their sexual selves and express (or not express) their sexual motivations. How, what, when, and by whom children are taught about sex is a matter of great debate in sex education.
Various psychological factors (i.e., stress, sexual trauma, depression, or anxiety) can also influence one's motivation for sex. While many of these factors are internal, it is difficult to separate them from the culture in which a person lives.
To modify the natural expression of a sexual or primitive instinct in a socially acceptable manner; to divert the energy of such an instinct into some acceptable activity.
Sexual motivation, often referred to as libido, is a person's overall sexual drive or desire for sexual activity. This motivation is determined by biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors. As discussed in the previous concept, hormones such as testosterone and estrogen affect the sex drive biologically. While one's sexual motivation is largely biological, the way in which it is expressed or acted upon is highly influenced by the surrounding culture.
Human sexuality can be understood as part of the social life of humans, governed by implied rules of behavior and the status quo. The sociocultural context of society, which includes all social and cultural factors from politics and religion to the mass media, not only creates social norms, but also places major influence on the conformity to these norms. These norms dictate what is considered to be acceptable behavior. Different cultures vary in regard to these norms, including how they understand and perceive sexuality; how they influence the artistic expression of sexual beauty ; how they understand gender norms related to sexuality; and how they interpret and/or judge particular sexual behaviors, such as homosexuality . Society's views on sexuality have been influenced by everything from religion to philosophy; they have changed throughout history, and are continuously evolving.
Sexuality has always been a vital part of the human existence. History shows an increase in the collective supervision of sexual behavior when agricultural societies emerged, most likely due to population increases and the growth of concentrated urban communities. This supervision placed more regulations on sexuality and sexual behaviors. With the advent of patriarchal societies, gender roles around sexuality became much more stringent, and sexual norms began focusing on sexual possessiveness and the control of female sexuality. How males and females were allowed and expected to express their sexuality became very different, with men having a great deal more sexual power and freedom. Different cultures, however, have established distinctive approaches to gender.
Since the beginning of the industrial revolution in the United States, many changes in sexual standards have occurred. New artificial methods of birth control were introduced, leading to major shifts in sexual behavior. Social movements in the latter half of the 20th century such as the sexual revolution, the rise of feminism, and the advancement of LGBTQ rights have helped to bring about massive changes in social perception of sexuality. The American researcher Alfred Kinsey was also a major influence in changing 20th century attitudes about sex, and the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction continues to be a major center for the study of human sexuality.
Media and Sex
Mass media in the form of television, magazines, movies, and music continues to shape what is deemed "appropriate" or "normal" sexuality, targeting everything from body image to products meant to enhance sex appeal. Media serves to perpetuate a number of social scripts about sexual relationships and the sexual roles of men and women, many of which have been shown to have both empowering and problematic effects on people's (and especially women's) developing sexual identities and sexual attitudes.
Culture and Religion
Most world religions have developed moral codes which have sought to guide people's sexual activities and practices. The influence of religion on sexuality is especially apparent in the long-debated issue around gay marriage in many countries today. Some religions view sex as a sacred act between a man and a woman that should only be performed within marriage; other religions view certain kinds of sex as shameful or sinful, or stress that sex should only be engaged in for the purpose of procreation. Many religions emphasize control over one's sex drive and sexual desire, or dictate the time or condition in which sexuality can be expressed. Whether or not sex before marriage, the use of birth control, polyamorous relationships, or abortion are deemed acceptable, is often a matter of religious belief.
The age and manner in which children are informed of issues of sexuality is a matter of sex education, and is a topic of much debate in the United States today. People have very differing views about how, what, when, and by whom children should be taught about sex. The school systems in almost all developed countries have some form of sex education, but the nature of the issues covered varies widely. In some countries this education begins in pre-school, whereas other countries leave sex education to the pre-teenage and teenage years.
The messages that children are taught about sex play an important role in how they will grow into their sexual selves and learn to express (or not express) their sexual motivations. Sex education covers a range of topics, including the physical, mental, and social aspects of sexual behavior. However, the topics covered are highly influenced by what the immediate dominant culture deems to be appropriate. According to TIME magazine and CNN, 74% of teenagers in the U.S. reported that their major sources of sexual information were their peers and the media, compared to only 10% who named their parents or a sex education course. This illustrates how large a role society plays in shaping people's views when it comes to the acceptable and unacceptable behaviors and attitudes towards sexuality.
Various psychological factors can also influence one's motivation for sex. While many of these factors are internal, it can be difficult to separate them from the culture in which a person lives. Factors such as stress, anxiety, fatigue, level of intimacy with one's partner, outside distractions, physical health, drugs or alcohol use, and mental illnesses such as depression, can all have an effect on sex drive. Past experiences such as sexual abuse, assault, trauma, neglect, or body image issues can also greatly interfere with a person's sexual motivation. Psychologically, a person's urges can be repressed or sublimated. All of these factors are interconnected with the society in which we live, illustrating the complex ways in which psychological, social, cultural, and biological factors work together to influence sexual motivation.