Vena Blanchard, Linda Savage, Ph.D., Deborah Metzger, MD
Female Sexual Dysfunction: A Critical Look at the Paradigms Associated with Female Sexual Concerns
Presenting cases from their sex therapy, counseling and medical practices, a physician, psychotherapist, and surrogate partner discuss cases of low desire, penetration anxiety, chronic pelvic pain, and orgasmic inhibition, highlighting the complex interplay of women's physiology and psychosexual issues. Achieving accurate diagnosis and treatment of female sexual concerns is a clinical challenge requiring multidimensional thinking and cross-field cooperation. This presentation illuminates the impact of various sexological and clinical paradigms on the diagnosis and treatment of female sexual concerns, and addresses current sexological questions, including: What paradigm should sexology use to think and talk about women’s sexuality? Do the new FSD classifications increase understanding and resolution of women's sexual problems? What medical advancements improve our ability to increase women's sexual satisfaction? Who benefits from treatments that modify physical bodies while ignoring psychosocial context? What values and consequences are we expressing and promoting with our vocabulary and treatment protocols?
Vern Bullough, Ph.D
The History of Masturbation
Attitudes towards masturbation in the past have primarily been influenced by cultural assumptions, which have varied from culture to culture and time period to time period. Once an attitude is set in society, however, it is difficult to overcome, and rather than challenge them "science" finds new justifications for them. Western medicine in the 18th century incorporated much of the Christian negativism about masturbation into a scientific setting which was difficult to challenge until the twentieth century. Even then the mindset of the past was so strong, it took much of the century to overcome what could only be regarded as myths of the past.
Carol Cassell, Ph.D.
Teen Sexual Desire: Just a Hunka Hunka of Burning Love?
Within every adult burns the ember of their sexual experiences as an adolescent. Our popular media culture--film, books, television and video, and of course, music--screams out,loud and clear, tales of teenage sexual desires and their longing for sexual expression. But outside of the media, adults are mum on the subject of adolescent sexual curiosity and desire. Most parents never discuss sexual feelings and pleasure with their adolescent. School sexual education is slanted toward the dire health consequences of sexual behavior with a focus on abstinence. The scientific literature about teens' sexual emotions is sparse. This presentation examines what we do know about teens sexuality, provides insights into the controversies surrounding adolescent sexual health education, and looks at the role of sexologists in breaking through the static.
Rebecca Chalker, M.A.
Bringing the Anatomy of the Clitoris to Modern Anatomical Standards
In Human Sexual Response (1966), Masters and Johnson described the clitoris as an organ system homologous to the penis. Using their description of the clitoris, Mary Jane Sherfey (1966) compared the clitoris to the penis and found it be an exact homologue. In A New View of A Woman's Body (1981), the Feminist Women's Health Centers augmented Sherfey's description of the clitoral system using Frank H. Netter's classic illustrations of the female genitals, as well as 18th and 19th European anatomy studies to redefine the clitoris in accordance with modern anatomical standards. This presentation details the clitoris according to the FFWHC's definition and compares it to recent anatomical descriptions. A concise understanding of women's genital anatomy can help therapists and medical practitioners deal more effectively with problems associated with genitals sexuality and can help women themselves understand how sexual response and orgasm occur.
Sandra S. Cole, Ph.D. 1216 Bending Rd. Ann Arbor, MI 48103
The Transgender Odyssey Toward Acceptance; Inspiration, Intelligence And Integrity
There is recognition and a mandate to meet diversity in this culture. Not only is there a wave of interest, but also there is now a wave of necessity. Theories, myths and perceptions, without accompanying specificity of truths and information, soon, by default, become FACT. It is a societal process with which we are all familiar, but it does not necessarily make it correct or right for all. When non-negotiable beliefs derived from fear, prejudice, ignorance, religion, discomfort, anxiety and embarrassment control our actions toward others, then we are truly unable to accommodate true diversity or our professional and collegial obligation to DO NO HARM…particularly as it affects the human condition of well being.
Transgendered individuals are emerging in this society at a rate and rhythm that is gaining recognition and respect. The Internet has permanently altered the playing field. We are experiencing dramatic social awareness and behavioral change concerning transgendered individuals, and most importantly, we are being presented with the opportunity to participate in the dialogue of transgender, about which most people are unfamiliar if not ignorant.
Carol Rinkleib Ellison, Ph.D.
Let's Talk About Women's Orgasms!
The ideas many of us have about achieving orgasms and the kinds of orgasms we should be having can lead to sexual problems. These ideas also influence women to fake orgasms. This 90-minute session will be a combination of didactic material and group discussion in which I will talk about what we have been taught to think about women's orgasms (the manufacturing orgasms script) and present a liberating alternative. In addition, participants will, as time allows, hear about and discuss women's first orgasms, the variety in the orgasms women experience and how women facilitate their orgasms.
Charlie Glickman firstname.lastname@example.org
Male Gender Socialization and Sex-negativity
Two trends within American culture that dramatically effect sexuality are gender socialization and sex-negativity. Based upon his experience as a Sex Educator with Good Vibrations and as a Project Coordinator at Bay Area Women Against Rape, Charlie Glickman will discuss the effects of male gender socialization on sexual expression and response. The cultural model of masculinity will be explored using an interactive exercise that can be adapted to a variety of professional settings. In order to examine the ways in which this model and sex-negativity are mutually reinforcing, we will define and discuss the social consequences of transgressing the cultural standards of masculinity and sexuality, as well as how these issues are manifested in various situations.
Sol Gordon, Ph.D.
Why do most people choose the wrong person for a life partner? Are members of SSSS any better at it than anybody else?
Disappointment in love - often several times - is a reality in the lives of most people. Love and intimacy are what people seek more than anything else. Yet it is in this realm where most misunderstanding, tragedy, hostility and confusion occur. False perceptions and unrealistic expectations about the role of love in selecting a partner are, in my judgement, the principal reasons why the majority of marriages and other relationships fail miserably. This talk will explore some common myths among people (e.g. "You only fall in love once") and consider how curriculum needs to be changed to deal with love in sex education programs.
Jack Hafferkamp, Ph.D.
Un-Banning Books: How the courts of the United States came to extend First Amendment guarantees to include pornography.
Today American adults are legally permitted to read and view an extraordinary range of sexually-charged materials because of the evolution of obscenity law in the 20th century. At the heart of this process is a set of books now celebrated as major works of English literature: Ulysses, Lady Chatterley's Lover,Tropic of Cancer, Fanny Hill, and Naked Lunch.
This presentation puts the decisions involving these books into socio-historical context, tracing the history of obscenity standards from Hicklin to Miller. It also gives specific meanings to six key terms used in contemporary public policy discussions: pornography, prurience, obscenity, hardcore, erotica and decency/indecency.
Starting with England's Hicklin Act, the presentation traces the career of America's 19th century morality czar, Anthony Comstock, and then focuses on the arguments and personalities involved in each book's case and the eventual emergence of the so-called "Brennan Doctrine" of the 1970s, which opened the "floodgates" of pornography. Finally, the presentation takes a look at the prospects for obscenity and decency laws under the new Bush administration.
Jack Hafferkamp, Ph.D.
Penises, Pain and the Progressives: How Post-Victorian America Sought to Control Male Sexual Energy.
A hundred years ago in America, at the end of the Victorian era, men faced a major masculinity crisis that helps put today's quest for sexual self-acceptance into perspective.Industrialization, urbanization and feminism's rise brought major changes to well-established gender roles and rules. The Progressive movement, led by young middle class professionals, sought to tackle society's perceived ills with a zeal that was part pragmatic and part religious revival. But for all its forward thrust, Progressive morality contained a fundamental contradiction: how to preserve the Victorian patriarchal sense of male "character" in dramatically changed circumstances.
The "moral purity" component of Progressivism, which sounds remarkably like the arguments advanced by today's Christian fundamentalists, put men under enormous pressures. One dramatic measure of the pressures are the devices sold to control male sexual energy for those thought to have to much, and to manufacture it for those with too little.
This presentation looks at a number of these devices, which now seem both ridiculous and dangerous, and the cultural context that made them seem reasonable.
David S. Hall, Ph.D. email@example.com
Research on Sex Research: What’s Happening?
This presentation will report the results of a survey of North American members of SSSS, IASR and SSTAR asking what their current and future plans are for research. The responses indicate a wide range of topics, a wide range of Journals in which these researchers have published and/or plan to submit to in the future. Demographic information is also provided on this sample of sex researchers.
David S. Hall, Ph.D. firstname.lastname@example.org
How do people decide to reject cultural boundaries and live lives outside the box of conventional mores? What prepares people to take an uncharted path and pursue unconventional relationships in order to find their identity and fulfillment? This workshop was originally proposed and designed by Bob Francoeur and Tim Perper to discuss these questions. Since both are unable to be present, I have elected to take some ideas from their outline and add some ideas of my own, and ask the participants to contribute, voluntarily, their own ideas on this subject. I will discuss the current trends in open relationships, including polyamory and swinging. A Kinsey type scale of non-monogamous relationships will be presented for discussion. Information will be provided on resources in these areas, including web sites, magazines, meetings and seminars.
Marny Hall, Ph.D.
Take Back the Narrative: Stories and Strategies from the Underground.
This presentation will focus on the sexual storytellers--those groups or institutions currently contending for the authority to tell the defining story about women's sexuality. Opening the presentation will be a 25-minute video made by a Canadian TV company for the series SEX TV. The video critiques one of the contemporary defining sexual narratives--the bio-medical fable promulgated by the pharmaceutical industry. The video will be followed by a description of the take-back-the-narrative strategies of a small interdisciplinary group of queer and heterosexual feminists. Lastly, the presentation will focus on the clinical implications of the take-back-the-narrative strategies.
Roseann Hannon, Ph.D., David S. Hall, Ph.D., Isis Maharajh, and Meslissa
Sexuality, Religion And Spirituality: A College Student Perspective
Previous studies of the relationship between sexuality and religion in students have focused on incidence of sexual intercourse. Almost no empirical work has examined positive relationships between sexuality, religion (defined as beliefs based on the teachings of your religious institution, e.g., church, synagogue, mosque, etc.), and spirituality (defined as your personal internal sense of what is sacred or holy in life), and that was the purpose of the present study. Participants were 151 female and 71 male college students (M age = 20.7) who completed a questionnaire covering demographics, positive/negative sexual self-concept, intrinsic/extrinsic religious attitudes, positive/negative effects of religion on expression of sexuality, and relationship between sexuality and spirituality. Students rated religion as having more positive than negative effects on expression of sexuality. Sexual satisfaction and spiritual satisfaction were associated with a number of the same feelings (e.g., heightened senses, feeling loved and accepted). Other significant findings will be discussed.
Lawrence E. Hedges, Ph.D., ABPP
Sexual Fetishes and Preoccupations: Internet Romances, Fetishistic Involvements, and Psychotherapy
Internet chat rooms have recently put large numbers of people into contact with others who share their personal sexual interests and involvements. Numerous individuals are now showing up in our consulting rooms confused and frightened by deep encounters with their own sexuality and that of others as a result of travel on the gigantic world web.
Using an extended vignette of Ted and Lisa, a married couple struggling with excitement and fear of sexual fetishes in their relationship and the film Happiness as reflective of a number of current cultural and psychological dilemmas, this paper examines the universal nature of idiosyncratic sexual preoccupations.
A course of inquiry for therapists is suggested which simultaneously shows empathy for the deep sources of satisfaction which fetishes seem to promise symbolically as well as for the frightening and confusing prospects that real transformative relationships regularly offer.
Gordon James, Ph.D., CHES, Mike Olpin, Ph.D., CHES, Patty Cost, Ph.D.,CHES Ken Johnson, Ph.D., CHES,
Enabling and Optimizing Sexual Self-Acceptance of Patients with Body Changes (Surgery; Trauma) Based on Resiliency (Integration and Reconstruction) Theory Using Stress Management Approaches
The panel will discuss with the audience how the psychosocial theory of resiliency (disruption and reintegration) can result in the reestablishment of homeostasis and optimal sexual functioning following a body-changing event. Likewise, if one does not go through the process of reintegration a person is highly vulnerable to chaotic disruption and dysfunction.
The author will present his own case study (surgery for colo-rectal cancer) as an example plus other case studies from the literature. Followed by this discussion the panel participants will demonstrate how helpers can use auto self-suggestion, imagery, affirmation skills, positive self-acceptance approaches, trust building-new relationships, couples communication (existing relationships) and other modalities to effectively cope and reintegrate.
Ari Kane Ed.D.
TRANSGENDER/'NEW' GENDER, The Journey For This Decade.
Crossgender behaviors have undergone major changes over the past decade. For most of the 20th century it was thought that many of these behaviors were abnormal or 'deviant'. That thinking has changed among educators,counselors,therapists and researchers.
After some introductory remarks about transgenderism,we will focus on the concept of a 'gender pathway' or 'journey'. This will include how to develop a transgender 'mapping' for following a person's journey. Important milestones along the 'gender pathway'will be noted and discussed. Other highlights of this presentation will include an examination of the Jungian concept of anima-animus,as a tool,for understanding the TAO of a transgender person. A new paradigm ,relating perception,role and presentation of gender will be shown and how it relates to gender diversity. There will also be some discussion about 'time' and its importance in understanding transgender phenomena.
Marty Klein, Ph.D. email@example.com
Why Sex Therapy Fails
Year after year, even the best of us fail with a percentage of our cases. Aside from the obvious reasons--alcoholism, borderline personalities, domestic violence, etc.--why is this? There must be features of conventional sex therapy that inevitably obstruct treatment. This talk looks at ways in which we unwittingly participate in a culture-patient-therapist collusion that subverts our effectiveness in at least some of our cases. Three basic arenas in which we ourselves may undermine treatment are 1) treatment goals; 2) patient evaluation; and 3) the clinical environment. We will examine how common clinical models and our own human issues often lead us toward treatment failure and professional frustration. And what, then, shall we do about this?
Sandra Leiblum, Ph.D.
Sexual Desire and Women: Issues and Quandaries
This presentation will focus on several current dilemmas involving sexual desire and women. We will consider whether it is either theoretically or clinically meaningful to separate desire from sexual arousal and discuss the implications of doing so. We will consider putative gender differences in desire and whether or not they are "wired in" or socially constructed. We will consider what ignites women sexually. The role of androgens instimulating and maintaining female desire will be reviewed as well as current research in this area. Finally, basic clinical issues will be addressed in terms of intervention and prognosis for successful outcome in women presenting with hypoactive sexual desire.
Connie Logan, Ph.D. firstname.lastname@example.org
Adolescent Girls' Breast Body Image
Girls' specific feelings about and experiences of their breasts have not yet been systematically explored, although this is an area of inquiry directly relevant to self image, sexuality, and overall well-being. This preliminary study sought to understand the way some adolescent girls view their breasts. Fifty 16- and 17-year-old girls were surveyed and 24 were then interviewed to determine their feelings about their breasts. Only 22% of the girls reported liking their breasts "just as they are." Positive influences on their feelings about their breasts were approval from boyfriends and support from mothers or friends. Media portrayals of women made the girls feel inadequate. Doctors could be helpful, but they were often embarrassing. Many of the girls limited sports or physical activity because of their negative perceptions of their breasts.
Norma L. McCoy, Ph.D., Lisa Pitino
Pheromonal Influences on Sociosexual Behavior in Women
We tested whether synthesized human female pheromones increase the sociosexual behavior of cycling women. Thirty-six heterosexual women, aged 19-48, completed a 2-week baseline period and a 6-week placebo-controlled, double-blind trial testing topically applied female pheromones designed to "improve the romance in their lives". Baseline and experimental periods utilized comparable non-menstruating weeks across 3 menstrual cycles. Each subject kept daily behavioral records of 7 sociosexual behaviors. Significantly and substantially more pheromone than placebo users increased above the 2-week baseline in petting/kissing/affection, sleeping next to a romantic partner, sexual intercourse, and formal dates. The groups showed no significant differences in increase over baseline for masturbation, male approaches, or informal dates. Pheromones increased at least three sociosexual behaviors over baseline for 73.7% of the pheromone group compared with 23.5% of the placebo group. Results suggest that human female pheromones increased the sexual attractiveness of women to men.
Charles Moser, Ph.D., M.D., Peggy J. Kleinplatz,
DSM-IV-TR: A Step Backwards
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM), is the standard reference for defining the criteria for all psychiatric diagnoses. Its influence broadly affects law, child-custody, employment and other social issues. The long awaited revision of the DSM, DSM-IV-TR (DSM, fourth edition, text revision), has just been published. The present paper will critically review whether DSM-IV-TR meets its own goals to "correct factual errors," "to ensure that all of the information is still up-to-date," and "to reflect new information available since the DSM-IV literature reviews were completed in 1992" (p. xxix). Sexual Sadism and Sexual Masochism will be used as case examples to show the confusion these diagnostic criteria have generated.
Generic problems with the DSM conceptualization of paraphilias will be highlighted. The problems with the requirement to specify the behavior for each paraphilia diagnosis will be explored. Cross-cultural and trans-historical perspectives will be presented. Alternative conceptualizations and diagnostic language will be suggested.
Marjorie L. Rand, Ph.D.
Putting The Body Into Sex Therapy
Using concepts and methods from Integrative Body Psychotherapy, Dr. Rand will introduce the energetic model of sexuality which utilizes the theory of containment at it’s core. She will teach self-release techniques designed to open holding patterns in the body which restrict the flow of excitement, block the body and prevent full sexual functioning and expression. She will also teach breathing techniques which influence the building and releasing of excitement through the autonomic nervous system. By spreading energy throughout the body while building charge through breathing, containment resembles Tantra, where sexual energy is built through breathing and contact rather than prematurely discharged from the system. These skills will be taught through experiential exercises and each practitioner will leave with tools that can be immediately used, either personally or professionally with clients. Clinicians will easily be able to integrate these concepts and technique into their existing practice.
Stella Resnick, Ph.D.
LUSTY WOMEN: Vindication of the Horny Female and Implications for Today's Sexologists.
The new emphasis in the media on the single, sexually adventurous woman brings challenges and opportunities to both researcher and sex therapist. From the Victorians to the present, this culture has narrowly defined female sexuality and, through instilling fear, guilt, and shame, squelched the true nature of the sexual woman. But now, thanks especially to the liberated women depicted on HBO's "Sex and The City" and the proliferation of related features in news magazines, today's sexually assertive, playful, lusty female is becoming an icon of our times. How will this new cultural interest in the sexually-motivated woman affect women's (and men's) sexual self-acceptance, and their expectations of sex, of themselves, and of their lovers? What challenges does this present for therapists working with women to gain skills for uncovering their true sexual selves? What does the research offer with regard to intense female desire? And, finally, how can this cultural perspective have heuristic value, further inspiring sexological investigation, not into dysfunction, but into human sexual potential? This talk will include a discussion of findings from a preliminary research project on self-identified lusty women.
Stella Resnick, Ph.D.
Body-centered Sex Therapy
To be most effective, sex therapy must focus clients on inner experience, especially on body sensations which signal that physical stress and emotional distress are blocking sexual pleasure. Three case studies will be presented demonstrating a somatic-experiential approach to sex therapy. In each case, clients were able to access unresolved emotions inhibiting their sexual enjoyment and to resolve the underlying resistance. Even when there was an initial reluctance to focus on the body, all were able to utilize methods of deep breathing, mental imagery, and sensory awareness to observe inner experience during therapy. Utilizing some of the same methods for homework in physically intimate situations, they learned to become more present-centered, more relaxed, and better capable of containing their arousal, enabling them to develop their ability to sustain excitement over a more extended period of love making.
Michael Wallis Ross, Ph.D., M.P.H.
“A man wearing nothing but a smile and a black and white computer”: Cybertechnology and Sexual Expression in Homosexual Men
The impact of Internet sexuality has extended from its role in STD outbreaks to its role in HIV prevention and outreach. This talk describes the interactions between the Internet and men who have sex with men, data on their use of the Internet, and some of the clinical considerations arising from extensive Internet use. This talk reviews the prospects of the Internet for the conduct of sexuality in the first years of the 21st century.
Doreen A. Samelson, Ed.D.
Sexual relating in couples living with multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a demyelinating disorder of the central nervous system that usually has its onset in early adulthood. Thus MS occurs during the time that most individuals are engaged in relationship development and follows the emergence of adult sexuality. Couples who are faced with the diagnosis of a chronic disease like MS in one partner must adjust their relationship to the disease or risk the loss of the relationship. This adjustment includes adjusting to and accepting the ways the MS affects the sexuality of the affected spouse. From a study of 16 heterosexual couples living with a diagnosis of MS in one spouse the following factors emerged as important for clinicians to consider when working with couples living with chronic medical conditions like MS. These include: 1) evaluating how stessors not directly connected to the illness impact the couple, 2) evaluating the extent of caregiving burden the well spouse has taken on, 3) examining the level of candor in the couple's communication about sexuality and the chronic disease, 4) considering how medical information is kept and who keeps the medical information, 5) evaluating how the couple uses coping strategies such as humor to deal with the disability caused by MS, 6) evaluating the level of sexual dysfunction including any sexual dysfunction the spouse without MS may be experiencing, and 7) assessing the level of conflict the couple is experiencing in the relationship. Each of these factors will be discussed using case examples from the study.
Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D.
Everything You Know about Love and Sex is Wrong
Why are some misunderstandings and myths about sexuality so common and so persistent? My lecture will discuss some of the myths and/or exaggerations I selected for my recent book (Everything You know About Love and Sex is Wrong ) and why I think these particular beliefs exist, resist redefinition, and why it's important that they be critically reassessed. Some of the “truisms” that people commonly use that I will talk about “For a good marriage, your partner must be your best friend.” “You can only love one person at a time.” “You should never have sex on the first date.” “You can never get over an act of infidelity.” “If sex isn't great in a relationship you can eventually make it what you want, if you love each other enough.” I will discuss not only the general public's understanding and values, but also how the research and therapeutic community supports some of these beliefs, even when they know better.
Jane Shattuck, B.S.
Self-Acceptance and Self-Expression Through Lingerie Fetishism
Sexual fetishism has been written about extensively but few have explored the etiology of this behavior using an idiographic approach. Participants for one-on-one telephone interviews have been solicited from customers who patronize X-traordinary Talk!, a company that provides audio and video erotica to men with lingerie fetishes. (I founded this company in 1993.)
My questions revolve around lingerie fetishism behavior, including earliest memory of finding lingerie erotic, the history of the fetish from that time, how the fetish has manifested in personal relationships, whether it's incorporated into a current relationship. In addition, what the family of origin dynamics were, self-concept in general and, of course, self-acceptance around their sexual proclivities.
I will present an overview of the findings from my in-depth interviews, as well as a few brief case studied that may illustrate the typical male with a lingerie fetish.
Judiann Simon, Ph.D.
The Effects of Chronic Pain on Sexuality and Self-esteem in Women
Most people will experience some type of acute pain, illness, or temporary disability during their life. For the majority of the people, the problem will be remedied by medication or short-term treatment. Normal physical function and health will be restored. For approximately one out of three Americans, however, it means enduring years, or even a lifetime, of change, loss, and intense pain. The impact on the lives of women, especially women of color and sexual minorities is even more profound.
Chronic pain, the focus of this presentation, is approached from historical, medical, cultural and personal perspectives. Using literature reviews, an in-depth questionnaire, and narratives of women at different stages in the life cycle, the many challenges faced by women regarding the impact of pain on sexual relationships, sexual response and self-esteem are detailed. Also discussed is the need to address sexuality in a multi-problem context in a chronic pain population.
Kathy Sisson, B.A., Charles Moser, Ph.D.,
Women Who Provide Sadomasochistic (S/M) Interactions for Money
A fortuitous sample of 31, female, self-identified S/M professionals (individuals who engage in S/M interactions for money) completed a questionnaire focusing on their personal and professional lives. Respondents ranged in age from 21-56 years old. Nearly all defined their personal S/M orientation as having both dominant and submissive components. None reported coitus or oral sex with a client; three respondents indicated that they rarely masturbated their clients, four reported their clients rarely masturbated them, and 16 indicated they at least rarely masturbated themselves during the session. All but one respondent indicated that the clients at least frequently masturbated themselves during the interaction. Almost all (30/31) of the respondents indicated that they became sexually aroused during the session and 15/31 indicated they have had an orgasm during their professional sessions. Virtually all respondents indicated that their professional S/M experiences had a positive effect on the overall quality of their personal lives.
Julian Slowinski, Psy.D. email@example.com
Seeking Sexual Health: Embracing The New While Revisiting The Familiar
As sexual scientists we are all interested in fostering and maintaining sexual health for all people. Sexual self-acceptance flows from being a well integrated sexually healthy person. We have good reason to be pleased with the recent progress made in our field: whether it be the treatment of male sexual dysfunction, or the growing interest in the ranges of normal female sexual "functioning," as opposed to the preoccupation with female "dysfunctions."
However positive the progress in our clinical and scientific understanding about sex, the fact remains that the sexual life of most men and women is contextual and is lived out in relationships. While this plenary will address embracing new technologies in promoting sexual health, it will also remind us of the absolute necessity to revisit and not lose sight of the familiar issues of relationship and intimacy which can mean so much in the healthy development of sexual self-acceptance.
Susan L. Stewart, Pat Fobair, Carol D'Onofrio,
Priscilla J. Banks, Subo Chang
Body Image and Sexual Problems in Young Women with Breast Cancer
Sexual problems are among the most persistent aftereffects of breast cancer treatment. In this study, a population-based sample of 691 women aged 22 to 51 were interviewed within 7 months of diagnosis with in-situ, local, or regional breast cancer. Among the 563 women who were married or in a stable unmarried relationship, two-thirds were sexually active. Sexual problems were experienced by two-thirds of sexually active women, and the severity of sexual problems was strongly associated with the number of body image problems. Both measures were correlated positively with surgical, chemotherapy and hormonal side effects, and negatively with emotional support, self-esteem, general health, and mental health. Women under age 40 and those treated by mastectomy experienced more body image problems, whereas married women experienced more severe sexual problems. It is evident that difficulties related to sexuality and sexual functioning are very common and must be addressed promptly and sensitively.
Jacqueline Voss, Ph.D., Lori Kogan, M.S.
Behavioral Impact of Human Sexuality Course
Prior research on the effects of sex education has demonstrated changes in the participants' knowledge and attitudes. What is less clear, and yet more significant, is whether knowledge translates to meaningful behavior change. The study utilized a quasi-experimental cohort design, as well as two construct control measures. Contrary to the fears generated by critics of sex education, there was no evidence that participating in the course encouraged sexual experimentation. The course appeared to be more successful in encouraging students to adopt health-promoting behaviors than in reducing risk behaviors. Of interest were gender differences in risk perception and health care. An important discovery was that these students did not perceive themselves to be at risk, while “threat personalization” is seen as central to behavior change. Evaluative research on the impact of program effectiveness provides information that can be used in modifying the intervention to increase impact.
Petra Zebroff, D.H.S.
Libida.com, The New Woman’s Web Site
Research has indicated that a significant number of visits to sexually oriented web sites are women; yet nearly all of them are marketed only to men. Libida.com was founded on the idea that women (and specifically heterosexual women) needed a safe and dynamic place to go to express themselves sexually via the Internet. Libida gives women permission to read and talk about sex, as well as buy sex toys. In this presentation we’ll discuss the inception, development, and future of a web site devoted to women’s sexuality.