Building a Bridge from Oz to Kansas: Strengthening Attachment Bonds and Enhancing Sexuality in Same-Sex Couples CE
Alonzo, Daniel J., MA, Phillips Graduate Institute
As same-sex relationships and “gay marriage” take center stage on political and social platforms of the early twenty-first century, same-sex partners find themselves struggling to convince the larger heterosexual world that “We are just like you!” Proud gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered partners, in their demands for acceptance and equal rights, point to research-based evidence of relationship viability and mutual satisfaction. At the same time, many same-sex couples find themselves perplexed and vaguely troubled that they are experiencing many of the same issues around sexuality that their heterosexual counterparts do: Lack of desire, dysfunction, boredom, and a certain flatness. Although many same-sex relationships have built lasting frameworks for enjoyable sexual lives, many others enter the therapist’s office, wondering when and where and why the early celebration of coming out yielded to predictability, frustration, and even conflict between partners. What was magical and colorful in Oz became mundane and black-and-white back home in Kansas. Why do many same-sex partners enter our offices feeling alienated and withdrawn from one another? How can we help these relationships continue to experience and expand on the joys of sexuality?
This workshop, “Building a Bridge from Oz to Kansas,” explores the combination of social context, developmental variables, and internalized heterosexism that too often results in sexual dissatisfaction among same-sex partners. Using recent Attachment Theory and the science of interpersonal relationships, the workshop will explore how basic relatedness between parent and child may be stressed when the child is growing up gay in a homophobic culture. As van der Kolk, a leader in the investigation of PTSD reminds us, interrupted attachment is inherently traumatic. Having to hide core parts of the self in order to protect oneself from abandonment or abuse, a child growing up GLBT may not fully participate in the age-appropriate developmental tasks that can provide a foundation for later intimacy. Sexual minority children are at risk for developing a skewed or incomplete picture of closeness in relationships. Internalized doubt and a lack of same-sex role models contribute to the splitting off of sex from intimacy, the splitting off of joy from relatedness. This workshop explores both the similarities and differences in this dynamic between female and male couples.
However, this workshop will also discuss the therapeutic building blocks needed to build that bridge back to the hope and promise of something different, unique, and ultimately satisfying. Using the recent research of investigators such as John Gottman and Susan Johnson, this workshop will look at ways to restructure the dance of relatedness to allow for same-sex couples to bridge the split-off parts and pull them together for something real and spontaneous. The workshop will suggest practical ways to heal long-standing attachment ruptures caused by fear, unease, and distorted concepts of self. Workshop participants will use case studies and group discussion to test out possible interventions so that same-sex couples can explore new possibilities for relatedness and sexual intimacy.
Learning-objective 1: Participants will explain at two ways in which attachment patterns and age-appropriate developmental tasks for children growing up gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered are interrupted in the social context of a homophobic culture.
Learning-objective 2: Participants will identify at least one intervention from the work of Susan Johnson and Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy that can help same-sex couples use underlying emotions to enhance their sexual intimacy.
Challenges to Joy in Black Female Sexuality
Black female sexuality is defined as the sexual identity placed upon black women in the public and private sphere. This identity’s inception can be traced to slavery, when black female sexual identity was the primary source for populating slaves. The inability for slave women to choose their sexual partners, being powerless over their bodies and the motivations for engaging in sexual intercourse resulted in black women identifying sex as a chore not a choice. The exploitation of black female sexuality continued after slavery ended through myths and stereotypes. Black female sexuality became viewed as exotic and animal like as shown through the treatment of Sara Baartman also known as “The Hottentot Venus” a South African (Khoi Khoi) woman, who was taken from Africa and exhibited in Britain and France even after she died because her large sex organs which later became representative of black female sexuality. As myths of black women transformed into stereotypes, it became acceptable to use black females to fulfill sexual fantasies. The sexual exploitation of slave women, sexual myths and stereotypes has resulted in black women viewing their sexuality with anxiety and hence not fully appreciating the joys of their own sexuality.
In a qualitative study, I interviewed 50 single heterosexual, black women between the ages of 23-60 years old and discovered that the formations of black female sexuality still negatively affect the self-esteem and sexual identity.
The participants do not identify sex as being empowering or joyous and have created a “detached” sexual identity, which has resulted in a lack of knowledge regarding sexual processes, sexual organs and reproductive health. The key results also indicated that the participants have trouble communicating many aspects of sexuality with their partners. This includes concerns relating to the “homo-thug H.T.” or “down low D.L” phenomena in which men secretly engage in sexual activity with other men while in relationships with women.
The results of this sample population indicate that the black women feel powerless in their own sexuality due to both historical and contemporary issues. Black women must create a new sexual identity for themselves by separating from communities, cultural and social institutions that do not support the process of healing in order to create a sexuality based on joy not fear.
Sexological Bodywork: An Introduction CE
Ando, Kathryn, BA, IASHS; Brookhart, Sandra K, LLP, Somatic Sex Education; Harel, D., MSW, IASHS; Hirschman, Celeste, MA, CSB Center for Research on Gender and Sexuality
Four of Joseph Kramer's Certified Sexological Bodyworkers (SB) will present an informational session on what sexological bodywork is and is not. Topics include the practice of embodiment as taught by SBs, benefits of Sexological Bodywork as an adjunct educational modality to sex counseling and therapy, how psychological and sexological professionals can use us to enhance their work, and the practice of sexological bodywork as a vehicle for relationship enhancement.
Kathryn: Sexological bodywork is personalized sex education beginning with an agreement stating learning objectives and the modalities that will be used. The educator remains clothed the entire time and touch is uni-directional. SBs work with individuals, couples, and small groups. SBs are committed to complementing and extending the effectiveness of services offered by psychotherapists and other health care professionals. We value working in close partnership with these professionals but will do so only with their approval. Informed consent from the student/client precedes all Sexological Bodywork, and professional confidentiality is assured.
Danielle: Sexological Bodywork may be used as an adjunct educational modality to sex counseling and therapy. Some of the concerns that may be alleviated by using Sexological Bodywork are: pleasure anxiety, body image issues, paraphelias, love/lust split, sexual dysfunctions, boundary setting and maintenance issues, and substance abuse recovery. We will also suggest ways to introduce Sexological Bodywork to clients.
Sandra: Sandra will be sharing her experiences using Sexological Bodywork as a practice for enhancing intimate relationships with couples. Benefits include increased levels of satisfaction with intimate relationships in the areas of verbal communication, emotional connection, frequency of lovemaking, and quality of lovemaking.
Celeste: Recent research has explored the relationship between embodiment practices and Experiential Well-Being. Research on eastern practices of embodiment support the idea that embodiment practices may be associated with increased well-being. While it has not yet been systematically studied, students of Sexological Bodywork may also gain significant benefits from participation in sessions. For this panel, Celeste will discuss her experiences and talk about Sexological Bodywork as a tool for embodied, sexual well-being.
Learning objective: At the end of this session, participants will be able to describe what Sexological bodywork entails and what teaching modalities are logically used.
Why Sexual Health requires Erotic Freedom: An analysis of the illogic of repression. CE
Barrett, Barnaby, PhD, DHS, FAPA, ABPP, Private Practice
There are ominous political forces currently associated with the ideologies of sexual repression. These ideologies typically involve the assumption that sexual health is to be promoted by the oppressive enforcement of drastic restrictions in the public’s freedom of sexual behavior. This paper will show the fallacy of this illogic, and further demonstrate how sexual health ultimately depends on the culture of freedom and how sexual freedom is inherently healthy. The importance of the beleaguered advocates of sexual health and freedom – such as the members of SSSS and AASECT – working together to combat the ill wind of contemporary politics will be emphasized. It will also be emphasized that this struggle must not be undertaken defensively, despite the power of the forces of repression.
Learning Objectives: At the end of this session, participants will be able to:
O Pleasure Where Art Thou? Adolescent Sex in a Time of Abstinence. CE
Cassell, Carol, Ph.D., Director, Critical Pathways
This presentation will compare and contrast the Abstinence –Only and Abstinence- Based/Plus programs. We will review the Federally blessed Abstinence- Until- Marriage movement‘s underlying beliefs; provide an synthesis of the evaluations of Abstinence-Only versus Abstinence–Based/Plus curriculum; examine the effectiveness of curricula in preventing risky sexual behaviors—especially adolescent pregnancy prevention, including the unintended consequences of the virginity pledge; present a comparison of lessons plans from selected Abstinence-Based/Plus and Abstinence –Only curricula; and discuss the connections, if any, between growing up under the shadow of abstinence--and its use of applied decision-making skills, religious teaching, moral values, and/or sexual shame and fear to motivate students to abstain from sexual involvement--and sexual health in adulthood. Additionally, this presentation will present the results of national surveys about the attitudes of parents, and sexuality educators and clinicians toward adolescent sexual behavior, including messages regarding abstinence. Finally, we identify areas of needed research regarding the long term outcomes of abstinence programs.
Learning Objectives: At the end of this session, participants will be able to:
From “Dangers-of-Sex” Education to Joyful Sex Education: How Both Liberals and Conservatives get it Wrong—And How Sexuality Professionals Can Help Parents Get It Right
Liberals and conservatives are at war over sex. Conservatives rail against abortion, media sex, and public school sex education. They tout abstinence. Liberals champion abortion rights and school-based sex education. The two groups look like the Hatfields and McCoys. Actually, they’re Romeo and Juliet, from feuding clans but in bed with each other. Both sides consider sex dangerous for teens. Both work to instill fear of sex. Meanwhile, society’s best sex educators are being ignored—parents. Parents often feel uncomfortable discussing sex. But studies show that when parents raise the subject, teens listen. They postpone sex and when they are sexual, they’re more likely to use contraception.
Rates of teen sex, pregnancy, and STDs have fallen. Teen intercourse has dropped from 60% of boys and 51% of girls in 1988 to 46% of teens today. Fifteen years ago, 46% of teens used condoms regularly. Now the figure is 58%. And since 1988, rates of teen chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis have declined 50%.
Conservatives claim credit, saying that abstinence education works. But the rates of teen sex and STDs began to decline years before abstinence education was introduced. And many studies show that abstinence education does not work.
Liberals also claim credit. But their brand of sex education is taught in only a fraction of U.S. schools, while rates of teen sex and STDs have declined nationwide. Meanwhile, even liberal sex education programs teach that abstinence is the only 100% effective contraceptive.
Wrong. Another method is 100%—and free. Non-intercourse lovemaking—mutual masturbation and oral sex. But no school-based sex education programs mention them. Why? Because mentioning them means discussing sexual PLEASURE. This would violate the fundamental value that both liberals and conservatives share, namely, that teen sex is DANGEROUS. “Sex education” is a misnomer. What we have is DANGERS-OF-SEX education.
Pleasure has no place in liberal or conservative sex education. Sexual pleasure is the province of the media. The mass media are more sexual than ever: nudity on cable TV, Internet porn, and soon porn on cell phones. Meanwhile, many homes are parent-free after school. Compared with their parents, today’s teen are exposed to more sex and have easier access to unsupervised bedrooms. So what’s happened? Rates of teen sex and STDs have fallen significantly.
Why? No one knows. But here’s the most compelling theory: Parents are discussing sex with their children. Many don’t want to. They’ve been forced to by the upsurge in sex-related news since the 1970s, notably, abortion and AIDS. Studies show that when parents discuss sex and sexual values with their kids, the kids may squirm, but they listen—and postpone sex. When they have sex, they’re more likely to use contraceptives.
The real question is: How can we empower parents to be better sex educators of their children? School based sex-ed programs target the wrong audience. Schools should offer sex education to PARENTS—to help them talk to their kids. Who better to teach these classes than sexuality professionals?
Sexual-Mode Theory; Toward a Sexual Healing
The past decades have seen a commercialization of sex with less emphasis celebrating its more positive dimensions. One benefit in bringing SMT into the public and scientific domains is an acceptance of ourselves as a part of nature over other labels. This has been a long time coming and is long overdue. Mode-theory challenges many of our ideas about sex, but it was Plato who said wisdom is gaining a deeper knowledge of something we already know about. Important to SMT will be on one hand, scientific research and development, and therapeutic techniques and protocols in clinical settings on the other.
Sexual-Mode Theory states; sexual intercourse switches human neurofunction. Laypersons and even uninitiated professionals have trouble with this formulation. We might be evolutionarily predisposed not to know about sexual-modes, but evolution has also given us higher-order consciousness allowing us a consciousness of consciousness [the High-Egoic in transpersonalist terms]. What a modal aspect of sexuality gives to science is an awareness of a duality in human nature that has been missing. IN-mode is achieved only via intromission [inter-genital heterosexual sexual intercourse] while MB-mode occurs as the result of masturbation [or nocturnal emission, sex that isn't conventional intercourse, or sex using a condom]. Both are instantaneous switchover 'devices', and are functions of the sexual system that is the neurologic trigger. To support this, The Mode Survey, conducted over the Internet, has given a first view of S-modes in an empirical framework. It hints at the topography of new sexual landscape. The Mode Survey showed both women and men seem to undergo modal changes as studied in the ID [inner-direction] and LC [lack of constraints] dimensions in the survey. But men and women are effected somewhat differently. These differences might be partly relative to gender role and not biological in nature.
Sex Modes helps explain such topics as rites of manhood in primitive cultures to modern philosophical, ethical and societal issues. Challenges and opportunities for the gay and transgender communities, the religious right, those in recovery, sex education and the future 'safe sex', the aged and disabled, all need addressing. I see SMT as an addition to existing therapies rather than being a separate treatment modality. A husband and wife who feel negatively about many issues and have forsaken sex might be counseled to have sex if only for the conscious shift and as a tool to help see all the issues involved and separate each one realistically. The psychological gains by being in either IN or MB mode might be a viable alternative to drug or other treatments but with group therapy, etc.
Specific or adapted MRI, PET scans, and EEG research has yet to occur per SMT. A shared database of all known and future facts should be built [as with the genome]. Research eventually solving the 'mystery' of modes may allow for somatic or other methodologies duplicating these shifts relating sexual and consciousness/neuroscience.
Cultural Perspectives of Gender Variance: Positive Conceptualizations Reclaimed and Transformed. CE
Coleman, Eli, Ph.D., University of MN; and Connolly, Pamela, Ph.D., California Graduate Institute
Historically, in certain cultures, gender variance was revered or at least tolerated. Stigmatization became rampant in most of the world throughout the 19 th and 20 th centuries. Pockets of tolerance and reverence survived. Through recent research in the Pacific, the authors note a process of reclamation of traditions of cultural acceptance while being transformed through the process of globalization to varying degrees in a number of societies in the Pacific. This recent investigation is compared to previous research by the authors in Myanmar, Thailand, Samoa, Tonga, and India. In addition, there have been significant changes in cultural perspectives of gender variance in North America and Europe. Generally, a trend towards positive conceptualization of gender variance and diversity can be seen on a global level, although stigmatization remains a serious threat to the sexual health to those who transcend or violate binary conceptualizations of sex and gender.
Learning Objective: At the end of this session, participants will be able to: describe shifts in cultural perspectives of gender variance and their impact on stigmatization and sexual health.
Theorizing Sex in Heterodox Society: An Historical Normative Explication
This paper analyzes the normative order associated with sexual behavior and imbeds it in the historically relevant meta-narratives that serve to define and delimit human behavior. It is argued that these meta-narratives work to maintain power relations and social order, as well as create a sense of meaning in the everyday life world. It is suggested that sex norms have long functioned as a primary social grid upon which various aspects of social life rest. Sex norms, then, serve a fundamentally political function.
The paper looks at the normative master narrative grounded in the Christian tradition and examines the role it played in fabricating the sex norms that have passed down through the years to the present social system. The primary reason for the historical analysis is to better understand the contemporary standing of the practice of swinging, otherwise known as the “Lifestyle”. The practice of the “Lifestyle” is examined in this context and it is argued that based upon the present set of circumstances associated with late capitalism, the practice of consensual swinging fits with the consumerist standards of our social system and can serve to provide a prosocial behavioral outlet. Much of the paper examines the concept of a socially constructed reality.
It takes a postmodern perspective and utilizes Foucault’s concept of episteme and Kuhn’s concept of paradigm to look at how under changing social conditions cultural guidelines and norms change. The paper affirms the position that from the postmodern perspective, consensual swinging is not by its nature a negative behavioral form and that, to the contrary, it actually fits the general motif of this late capitalist social order.
Sex That “Just Happens”: College Students’ Perceptions of Sexual Initiation
Stephanie M. Cornwell and Charlene L. Muehlenhard, Ph.D.
Can sex just happen? On questionnaires, many researchers have asked respondents whether sex was initiated by them, by their partners, or mutually. In open-ended questionnaires, however, some respondents report having had sex that neither partner initiated—that “just happened.” In this paper, we will present preliminary results of a study investigating college students’ reports of sex that they regarded as “just happening” (which we call “uninitiated sex”). We will present examples of participants’ descriptions of uninitiated sex, present statistical comparisons of uninitiated and mutually initiated sex, and discuss conceptual issues and implications for sex research and education.
Good Girl vs. Bad Girl & Tough Guy vs. Sweet Guy: Perceptions of young people on how traditional gender roles still affect relationship choices and pleasure
What is the continuing impact of the narrow confines of hegemonic gendered sexuality on relationships and sexual pleasure? Expectations and assumptions related to traditional gender roles still affect both females and males, even given increasing fluidity regarding gender and sexual identities. This paper is based on a theory of the history and effects of “the four boxes of gendered sexuality” - good girl vs. bad girl and tough guy vs. sweet guy - which resonates with young people in that it offers a social/historical explanation for these social pressures. Voices of young people in their early to mid-20s discussing these topics will be presented, based on participatory qualitative research.
Beyond the Food: A sex therapist's Rx for aphrodisiac meals CE
This presentation is based on the author’s online survey, 21st Century Aphrodisiac Foods Questionnaire. Data gathered and analyzed in the Spring, 2005, were presented at the World Congress of Sexology in Montreal. Further data are being gathered and the sample size will likely exceed 1000 and include national and international participants.
The presentation will review the literature and offer creative, sex-positive suggestions for preparing, staging and savoring aphrodisiac meals. The meals included will reflect both the results of research literature and the online survey. I will provide recipes and suggestions for novel eating venues, sexy serving tips, intermezzo indulgences and activities that encourage lovers to connect before, during and after an aphrodisiac meal.
The lure of aphrodisiac foods traces back to ancient times, with certain foods holding near universal appeal as libido enhancers, fertility enhancers, or “coital aids.” This study investigates current knowledge, attitudes and preferences regarding aphrodisiac foods and beverages. The survey provides a definition of aphrodisiac as: Aphrodisiac (adj): provocative of, or exciting sexual desire; (noun): a food or drug exciting sexual desire.
Hypotheses. 1. Knowledge of the reputation of certain traditional aphrodisiacs is limited, especially among younger participants, owing to recent changes in eating habits (e.g., fast foods). 2. Aphrodisiac food/beverage preferences reflects familiarity with them as much or more than their historical reputation. 3. The reasons participants provide for perceiving certain foods as aphrodisiac varies with the specific food in question. 4. The “exotic is erotic” may arise: When lists co-mingle foods with aphrodisiac reputations and exotic foods lacking such reputation, participants will endorse the latter as aphrodisiac.
The 50 item online 21st Century Aphrodisiac Food Questionnaire includes both demographic and content items. The latter are carefully sequenced and phrased to reduce response bias, e.g., participants may select “none” when asked to name items they consider “aphrodisiac.” Participants must respond to each item before moving forward, assuring complete data; they may not return to an item, again minimizing response bias. The survey takes 15 minutes to complete, and includes both check-lists and open-ended questions.
Participants were 432 graduate and undergraduate participants from four diverse Southern California campuses who completed the survey. Participants were also encouraged to recruit participants, resulting in a greater diversity of age and other demographics.
Results. The first hypothesis, limited knowledge of aphrodisiacs, was partially supported. Very low recognition occurred for certain foods with long-standing historical reputations: pine nuts, 6%; pomegranates, 14%, or avocados, 15%. Age did not prove to be relevant; analyses of Education and Ethnicity X Recognition are pending. The second hypothesis, that aphrodisiac preferences reflect familiarity as much or more than reputation was substantially supported. The most significant example of that was the inclusion of pasta as the 4th most frequently chosen food as a “personal favorite aphrodisiac.” When national and international data are obtained, it is anticipated that nationality will have a significant effect on the personal favorites listed. The third hypothesis was highly supported, and the fourth hypothesis will be analyzed after national and international data have been collected.
Women Who Seek Gangbangs: A nationwide study, told in their own words
This study was the result of a survey sent to 132 women who advertised for groups of men for sexual action. Useable responses were received from 37 women and the results include demographic data, sexual history information, how they got started, their hottest ganbang scene, and what they would say to a woman who was undecided as to whether or not to begin partying with groups of men. These are typically highly orgasmic women who come multiple times, often limited only by their own physical endurance.
Triangulating Across Unique Funding Sources: Locating Research Dollars for Your Sexuality Science Efforts.
The continuing debate over abstinence education is but one example of the urgent need to initiate more rigorous, innovative and adequately funded research in sexuality science. We present a summary review of relatively unknown funding reservoirs at multiple levels (private, state, federal, philanthropic). We argue that funds ARE available AND accessible to all types of researchers from novice to seasoned, exploring a wide array of sexuality topics. We also argue that investigators join together to prepare grant and contract proposals. The beginning researcher can benefit from the experience of their more seasoned counterpart, while the seasoned investigator can gain contemporary insight on sexuality issues from their novice colleagues. There exist at multiple levels a wide variety of organizations which are interested in funding sexuality research. Many of these are not readily apparent to investigators. Moreover many of them do not at first glance appear to have titles that suggest sexuality research as an interest area. The present administration in Washington, DC, has dispersed millions of funds to implement (and in some cases sponsor empirical research) abstinence sexuality education. Yet there exists a lengthy list of philanthropics, benefactors and private foundation and institute entities that are also interested in sexuality. Their prime requirement is that the proposal demonstrate a compelling NEED for the research data and its BENEFIT for at-risk or health-compromised segments of society. There are sports and wellness groups who also have funds available. There are religious and school districts who have this interest. We share our inventory of all these sources including their URL's and comparable information on applying. There is little justification these days for investigators to state that there is a "lack of funds" for the state-of-the-art in sexuality science. An eclectic and novel spectrum of sources is available. Investigators need only invest the time and effort to find them.
The Joy of Gay Seduction
Sexual experience stories collected from gay men in Montreal provide a revealing look at gay men’s attitudes to “cruising” and connecting, or as we call it in French, “la séduction.” Through a free-ranging storytelling approach, gay men told us of their sheer Joy of Seduction in the sexual partner–seeking process, stressing time and again the seduction process rather than the appeal of love, power, or actual sexual behaviors. In the accounts they gave of events from their sex lives, our subjects spoke little of medical and public health warnings on HIV risk and the dangers of extreme practices and sexual behaviors, yet showed healthy attitudes toward sexual concerns, partners, relationships, and health risks. Their emphasis on seduction to the exclusion of sexual behavior and HIV prevention creates a paradigm shift requiring a similar change in our approach to the issue of HIV protection, one that acknowledges the appeal of relational pleasure and the joy of sexual encounter.
Our exploratory research consisted of 12 deep and long interviews supplemented by open-ended questions. Our initial focus was on the basic relationship between sexual experiences and protective measures against HIV infection. In performing qualitative analysis of the interviews, the researcher discovered that the common thread to the stories collected was the seduction process. This discovery refocused the analytical goal on how the seduction process structures relations between gay men and influences condom use in situations of risk. The result is a grounded theory on the stories.
Seduction is central to HIV prevention in that it constitutes the last phase before the “let’s go to bed” moment, and is thus the last opportunity to grab a condom and set one’s sexual limits. Our data analysis shows that there are four relational components to the encounter/seduction phase for gay men, leading to a grounded theory on the impacts of the phase on HIV protection. The first two components are commonly known in other theories as the Condom Negotiation Theory and the Risk Reduction Theory. They are Trust, which is necessary for any relationship to develop, and Information, whereby the partners seek out knowledge about each other. Both of these are theoretically expected in a potential HIV infection context, as our study participants confirmed. But they do not in themselves explain the further communication and behaviors of study participants once in bed. To fully understand the development of the relationship and attitudes about proper condom use, two additional components are necessary: Intensity, i.e. the source of motivation to have sex with a specific partner, and Listening, i.e. being attentive to possible warning signs about the situation. This fourth component acts as a last protection alarm. The grounded theory shows that all four components are required for the participant to self-define sexual behavior limits, determine a risk limitation strategy for the sexual relation about to occur and their mutual importance in the development of the erotic aspects of a sexual relationship and the use of appropriate HIV protection during sexual relations. The theory explains that any major imbalance between the four components can lead the partners to show carelessness in condom use or about the partner. It shows how much the sheer joy of seduction, much more than any other theoretical or HIV protection concern, is at the very heart of gay sexual encounters.
Dammed If We Do...Ethical Guidelines for Sexologists: Challenges and Solutions
Epp, Janice, PhD, Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality; and Morin, Jack, PhD, private practice
As a developing discipline that draws practitioners from diverse backgrounds, sexology faces a number of issues and problems focused around ethical questions not shared with some of the more traditional helping disciplines such as medicine, nursing, social work, psychology, education and others. This workshop will examine a series of ethical issues that may be of interest to clinical sexologists, sex coaches, sex counselors, and sex therapists. Among topics the panel will discuss are:
The panel will also address specific ethical issues for clinical sexologists, including:
A discussion session will provide opportunities for dialogue among the panel and workshop participants.
Learning objectives: At the end of this session, participants will be able to:
Erotological Investigations of Male Homosexual Imagery in Contemporary Film: Ethnographic Approaches to a New Gay Male Sexuality
One of the ways a subculture in a large metropolitan community tries to make meaning of its experience is through the creation of art, imagery and symbols. The American male homosexual community is no exception and has a history of producing contemporary film as an attempt to understand the erotic, political, historical and socio-cultural dimensions of everyday life. “Erotological investigations of Male Homosexual Imagery in Contemporary Film” uses an ethnomethodological approach to systematically analyze an original contribution to understanding the meaning and significance of male homosexual imagery at the community level.
This study is an exploratory, descriptive, and systematic analysis of a special and defined group of documents which involved male homoerotic imagery in film. The documents include local and national film reviews in a sample of American gay newspapers and magazines from 1990 - 1991. This presentation will therefore examine the social construction of multiple aspects of self, identity, and polyvocality that are present in the community of reviewers who write about the imagery that is important to them, the politics and related analytic frames linked to those images and how history alters the social construction over time in multiple and varied ways. To date, the majority of the research involving homoerotic acts of sex and love has been limited to the domain of film theory and criticism. This study represents an original contribution. The dual methodology employed is based upon a quantitative analysis utilizing statistical tests of significance and emergent techniques in qualitative analysis.
What is of interest to our film reviewers? Well, they love gay sex. And "The best and hottest male film ever made" will most likely have a film review which will mirror many aspects of gay male everyday life, psyche and soul: male initiatory fantasy; drag, sissiness, and effeminacy; the gay sensibility; love and homosexuality; homosexual relationship games; fantasies of lethality; deeper meanings of homosexuality; coming out; camp; sexcapades; ritualized aspects of homoeroticism; turn-ons; power structuring desire; the HIV epidemic; reactions to homophobia, basic sexual rights; social dimensions of personal experience; and images of gay life. So, the 'Sweet Taste of Youth' features sex by the pound. But what meaning does it have for the community? Why did this and other films like it capture our subjectivities? What discursive practices are identified by the reviewers in terms of subjugated subjectivities across historical and geographic trajectories? There are distinct ethnographic differences that occur between local and national reviewers indicating subcultural differences within the gay male population.
Each analysis is conducted on four major theoretical areas: subcultural traditions, pornosophical traditions, politics and oppression, and narrative storytelling. The results discussion will focus on the substantive findings on the relationship of the independent variables, not only in general, but also with an eye to the historical period under study and geographic source for the reviews. Results will feature discussion of findings in terms of their potential utilization.
Anxious Pleasures: A Cultural Perspective on Sexual Pleasure in the US. CE
Frayser, Suzanne G., PhD, University of Denver
Where is the joy of sexual expression in US culture, and what meaning does sexual pleasure have within it? Drawing on historical, cross-cultural, and current materials from popular culture, we will explore the role of culture in shaping and expressing our attitudes toward sexual pleasure. As we investigate the context that affects our definitions of pleasure and responses to it, we will journey into the worlds of clinicians and physicians, genders, different age groups, religion, ethnic groups, and non-western cultures as well as probe into expressions of sexuality in advertising, music, cultural icons, cybersex, literature, and movies. At the end of the session, participants will be able to:
Concerns with penis size, breast size, and body exposure during sexual activity among 54,865 online respondents.
This research is based on a large-scale study of men’s and women’s attitudes towards penis size, breast size and shape, and body exposure during sexual activity. Participants were 54,865 gay, lesbian, and heterosexual men and women, ages 18-65, who responded to an online survey. In regards to penis size, the media equates penis size as a marker of masculinity, and pornography represents men with large penises as the ideal sex partner, suggesting that men may believe penis size is an important trait. Although only 55% of men were satisfied with their penis size, the vast majority of women (85%) were satisfied with their partner’s penis size. Self-reported penis size was correlated positively with height and negatively with body fat level. Men reporting a larger-than-average penis rated their appearance most favorably, suggesting a possible “confidence effect” of perceived large penis size.
In regards to breast size and shape, although most women (70%) were dissatisfied with the size or shape of their breasts, most men (56%) were satisfied with their partner’s breasts. Younger women worried about their breasts being too small; older women were more concerned about droopiness. Women who were dissatisfied with their breasts were more likely to express concern about wearing a bathing suit in public and undressing in front their partner. Women who were not satisfied with their breasts had worse overall body image than women who were satisfied.
In regard to body exposure concerns during sexual activity, these concerns were especially prevalent among women: 52% of women reported hiding at least one part of their body during sex, most often their stomach (34%) and butt/thighs (15%). In contrast, only 20% of men reported hiding one or more parts of their body during sex. Gay men and lesbian women tended to fall between heterosexual men and women in terms of concerns with body exposure during sexual activity. Men and women who were younger, heavier, and with poorer body image were more likely than other individuals to report these concerns. These findings suggest that individuals’ feelings about their body may create discomfort during sexual activity.
Sex and Affection in Heterosexual and Homosexual Couples: An evolutionary perspective
Sexuality and sexual satisfaction are fundamental aspects of marriage and other romantic close relationships and are related to overall couple happiness and durability. The identification of factors that promote close relationship satisfaction and stability is crucial to the understanding of couple functioning, and it has been consistently demonstrated that sexual satisfaction figures prominently as a predictor of global satisfaction and distress. However, current conceptualizations and research of sexuality only identify a meager number of behaviors as “sexual.” However, behaviors of physical affection, such as hugging, kissing, eye contact, and holding hands, in addition to genital sex, may enhance and contribute to the experience of physical intimacy and sexual satisfaction in the daily life of a relationship. Studies indicate that women are more oriented towards physical intimacy and men more towards body-centered sexuality, that women initiate sexual activity to receive love and intimacy and men to release sexual tension, and that women’s sexual beliefs and behaviors may be more easily produced and changed by social, cultural, and situational factors than are those of men.
In order to examine theoretical conceptions about the relationship between sexuality, gender, and culture, I used data previously collected from a large, web-based, survey. Based on The Frequency and Acceptability of Partner Behavior Inventory (Christensen & Jacobson, 1997), this survey obtained information on a variety of behaviors from over 11,000 respondents in a relationship. This large-scale study includes an ethnically diverse sample representing different types of relationships: lesbians, gay males, cohabitating couples, and married heterosexuals. I investigated cross-sectionally the linkage between sexual satisfaction, satisfaction with physical and verbal affection, and relationship satisfaction, and examined whether these interconnections varied with gender and sexual orientation.
I incorporated an evolutionary psychology perspective in my analysis of how sexuality and physical affection vary with gender. Evolutionary psychology maintains that humans have evolved the capability to create relationships and sexual satisfaction in relationships in order to insure reproductive success. For example, males produce an unlimited supply of sperm whereas women generate one egg per cycle; women always know the parentage of their children but men do not. Evolutionary theory asserts that these differences propel men and women to adopt different reproductive strategies: men focus more on the frequency of sexual intercourse and women emphasize evidence of relationship support and commitment.
Results from this study indicate that the strength of the relationship between the frequency of sex and the acceptability of this frequency was greater in men than in women, thereby supporting evolutionary theories. However, the data also demonstrated results contrary to sexual strategies theories: the link between physical and verbal affection was stronger for men than for women, and the connection between the frequency of partners’ inappropriate behavior and the overall relationship satisfaction was greater in women than in men. Consequently, both evolutionary and social theories were employed to discuss these findings.
What Women Want and Are They Getting It? A Psychological Analysis of Sexuality Among Today's College Women
Traditionally, women have been viewed as sexually submissive to men. The sexual double standard emphasizes this traditional role for women by disapproving of overt sexual behavior, but praises a man for the same behavior (Crawford, M. & Popp, D., 2003). In recent years, messages opposing this traditional view have emerged, telling women that being sexually confident and informed is sexy. However, these conflicting messages can make it difficult for women to construct and embrace a positive model of sexuality for themselves.
In this study, the connections between female satisfaction, sexual motivation, communication, and sexual desires and behaviors are examined. Past research on these constructs has been limited with little attention paid to the cognitive or emotional evaluation of satisfaction (Pinney, E.M., Gerrard, M., & Denney, N.W., 1987). This study addresses what it means to have a positive model of sexuality, and what elements contribute to sexual satisfaction.
Data were collected from 92 female college students from a public college in the mid-Atlantic coastal region. These students were administered online questionnaires consisting of a demographics questionnaire, the Affective and Motivational Orientation Related to Erotic Arousal Questionnaire (AMORE) (Hill, C.A. & Preston, L.K., 1996), which assesses women’s sexual motivations with eight subscales, the Pinney Sexual Satisfaction Inventory (PSSI) (Pinney, E.M., Gerrard, M., & Denney, N.W., 1987), which measures satisfaction levels in one’s romantic and sexual relationship with two subscales, the Relationship Communication Scale which measures comfort levels of communication with one’s sexual/romantic partner, and the Sexual Desires/Behaviors Checklist, a set of parallel measures checklists to determine the degree of interest and frequency of engagement in various sexual behaviors.
Communication was found to be significantly correlated with total sexual satisfaction on the PSSI (r = .53, p <.001), and four subscales of the AMORE (Showing Value for One’s Partner, r = .21, p =.047, Feeling Value by One’s Partner, r = .22, p=.038, Nurturance, r = .22, p = .042, and Pleasure, r = .40, p < .001). Satisfaction with Partner was significantly correlated to three subscales on the AMORE (Showing Value for One’s Partner, r = .24, p = .022, Nurturance, r =.23, p = .031, and Pleasure, r = .34, p=.001). In order to assess the Sexual Desires/Behaviors Checklist, a sum difference score was created for the measure (desire level minus behavior frequency). The sum of the absolute value of these scores was found to be significantly correlated to Motivation (Procreation), r = .24, p = .021, and General Satisfaction on the PSSI, r = .23, p = .031.
These results indicate that those who experience the highest levels of sexual satisfaction are the women who have good levels of communication with their partner, are motivated to sexual interaction by a desire to show affection or to experience pleasure, and those women who know what they desire. Women who desire power, demonstrating and experiencing it, show lower levels of satisfaction with one’s partner, indicating that a sexual relationship motivated by equality is the most satisfying. These preliminary results are exciting, in that they suggest that women are knowledgeable about what they desire sexually, and the majority of them are getting what they want.
Sex and Shame: Moving toward well-being. CE
Glickman, Charlie, PhD, Good Vibrations: 3 hours CE
Although shame is a universal experience, it is one that is rarely understood. Within the field of sexology, there is often an assumption that shame is inherently maladaptive and that sexual well-being and shame are incompatible. Given that it is an unavoidable facet of being human, it is often more helpful to listen to shame in order to listen to the information that it can offer.
According to Schore (1994, 2003), when we experience shame, the body switches rapidly from a state of high arousal, marked by activation of the sympathetic autonomic nervous system, to a state of low arousal, marked by activation of the parasympathetic autonomic nervous system. Some of the affective and somatic markers of shame include blushing, pupil dilation, loss of muscle tone, gaze aversion and “emotional collapse.” While the sensation of shame can induce distress, it is an adaptive mechanism for two reasons. First, by reducing the level of stimulation it helps us shift back to an optimal state, Secondly, the discomfort of shame serves as a negative reinforcement, which helps us to learn where the boundaries of our zone of optimal arousal are.
Physical sensations can trigger affects, so shame can be triggered by any rapid reduction in activation. Shame is more likely be triggered if the transition is more rapid or more extreme. If one is able to self-regulate one’s arousal level, it is less likely that shame will be triggered. Self-regulation is first learned during childhood through internalization of the external regulatory mechanisms used by caretakers. If there are areas around which caretakers experience shame that they are unable to self-regulate, there is no model for the child to base her self-regulation on, which makes it likely that she will experience similar shames. On the other hand, if the caretaker is able to self-regulate his experience, he will be able to first soothe the child’s shame-induced distress and then help the child by increasing her level of stimulation so that she reenters a state of optimal activation and homeostatic balance.
Nathanson (1992) grouped manifestations of shame in interpersonal relationships into four categories: attack self, attack other, avoidance and withdrawal. Further, McClintock (2001) described ways in which social groups and communities use shame to reinforce unspoken rules. Any of these behaviors can impede interactive repair and reinforce maladaptive shame because they all foster disconnection and impede restoration of the “interpersonal bridge.” (Kaufman, 1992) In addition, there are specific ways in which these expressions of shame influence sexual development and sexual expression. Familiarity with how shame works facilitates responding to it.
Through interactive exercises and discussion, we will examine some of the patterns among shame reactions between individuals and group members. Using Schore’s work as a foundation, we will then consider how shame dynamics, as described by Nathanson and McClintock, influence sexuality. Finally, we will return to the question of adaptive versus maladaptive shame and discuss how to discern between the two in order to move towards authenticity and well-being. . At the end of this session, participants will be able to:
The Joys of Sex Education: In class and online comparison
One of the joys of teaching sex is seeing attitudes change toward more positive views of sexuality. This paper will review sexual attitude measures of students taken before and after the term. Both traditional classroom and online classes have been taught, using the same text book, lecture notes and test banks. In both cases discussions are involved. In the classroom, 50 minute discussion periods are required each week. In the online class, online discussion boards are used to discuss specific question, wherein each student is required to submit a response to one of 3 or 4 question and two responses to other students comments. Much more open discussion and self revelation takes place online than in face to face classrooms. The traditional term is 16 weeks with 5 meeting hours a week. The summer online class is 5 weeks, with 20 chapters in the text covered in 24 days. There is a clear and significant difference in attitude change between these two delivery methods. There is little measurable change from pre to post test in the online class while the traditional class shows significant changes. Differences between the delivery methods will be discussed.
Illuminating Sexualities: Perspectives for considering sexual encounters in psychotherapy. CE
Hedges, Lawrence E., PhD, ABPP, Director, The Listening Perspectives Study Center
It is well understood that human sexuality has evolved exponentially in complexity since the days of the jungle and plains. Dr. Hedges will consider eight perspectives from which therapists listen to the subtleties of sex and sexuality as it manifests in the psychotherapy encounter:
Sexual Encounters in Relational Psychotherapy CE
Hedges, Lawrence E., PhD, ABPP, Director, The Listening Perspectives Study Center
After a brief review of eight perspectives for listening to sex and sexuality in the clinical encounter, Dr. Hedges will present a series of case vignettes authored by major writers in the field that illustrate various dimensions of sex, gender identity, sexuality, and sexual orientation as they appear in transference, countertransference, and resistance. Discussion of case material will follow.
Learning objectives: At the end of this session, participants will be able to:
A Function and Pleasure Oriented Treatment Model for Sexual Obstacles. CE
Marta Helliesen, Ph.D., Private Practice, New York
This paper proposes an inter-disciplinary treatment model for psychogenically induced sexual obstacles affecting arousal, orgasm, desire and intimacy. The goal of the treatment is to transform these obstacles into vehicles for sexual function, to integrate disconnected parts of self into a whole erotic self, and to promote optimal sexual health (as in acknowledgment, acceptance and integration of a person’s particular sexual desires). The model combines Gestalt psychotherapy, breath work, relaxation techniques, therapeutic touch, and neurobiological theories in a unique configuration of clinical sex therapy.
Based in neuroscientific and clinical theories, this method aims to lower anxiety, to interrupt conditioned anxiety responses affecting sexual function, and to induce long lasting behavioral changes by simultaneously stimulating the cognitive and somatic aspects of the brain.
The model focuses on the whole person, acknowledging all biopsychosocial aspects that affect the client’s sexuality. Instead of isolating and treating the symptom and fitting the client’s problem into a pre-determined diagnostic category, the model sees the sexual obstacle as a manifestation of an imbalance in the person’s intra and/or inter-personal environment. It takes into consideration the complex and multifaceted circumstances underlying the person’s symptom. The treatment teaches the client how to self-support through body awareness and breath, enabling him/her to be present in the erotic body versus the cognitive mindset. The model recognizes the uniqueness of every person’s sexual desires and needs, and helps the client to explore and discover what pleasure means and feels like to them, and how to communicate this to their partner.
This model has a unique emphasis on the inter-personal therapist/client relationship and the transformation of self in the relational context. It underlines how essential it is that the therapist has integrated, and is continuously aware of, her/his own sexuality. While ideally the model is gender neutral, there is no such thing as completely gender neutral. The therapist/client interaction will always be influenced by the gender dynamic between the client and the therapist, independent of the gender of either one. Thus rather than denying the influence of gender, this model requires it to be integrated into the clinical approach, emphasizing the importance of the therapist’s awareness of his/her own gender fluidity in the never static therapist/client relationship.
The method utilizes the moment-to-moment therapist/client dynamic, a safe therapeutic touch, eye contact and breath as tools to help the client embody his or her erotic self. Sex is first and foremost a sensory and emotional experience and many sexual problems arise, and persist - because people, including clinicians, approach and treat sexuality from a cognitive and/or mechanical angle.
The theory and application of the model will be discussed and illustrated by use of hypothetical case studies, and the obstacles for its application will be discussed in light of the current sociopolitical milieu in the USA. Learning objective: At the end of this session, participants will be able to describe the function and pleasure oriented treatment model.
Television's Portrayal of Sexual Pleasure and Sexual Minorities
Herold, Edward, PhD, University of Guelph, and Rivard, Sylvie, MSW, RSW, Laurentian University:
Sex is a major focus of television programming. Many topics are presented today that would not have been covered even just a few years ago. Programs such as Sex and the City and Queer as Folk have expanded the boundaries of what is considered acceptable on television. However, a major turning point was the conservative political reaction to the Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident. This presentation will analyze the role of television in its presentation of sexual pleasure in general and of sexual minorities, in particular. It will discuss trends, issues and controversies. Comparisons will be made of trends in the United States with those in other Western countries. The presentation will highlight the Sex Files series which has been produced by the Canadian Discovery Channel. The Sex Files is one of the most comprehensive documentary series that has ever been produced on the topic of sexuality. Learning Objectives: At the end of this session, participants will be able to:
Administering a modified Kinsey sex history for clinical use. 6 Hours CE
Hersh, David S., Ed.D., Private Practice, Nelson, BC, Canada
I've taught my clinical version of a modified Kinsey sex history to students at IASHS. My clinical version of the sex history was endorsed by Wardell Pomeroy on one of his taped lectures at the school. I've also taught it privately to a number of colleagues over the years. I will show the video of Wardell taking a sex history of Janice Epp.
I present each student with the following:
In preparation for class, I request students read Chapter 2 on Interviewing from the Kinsey Male volume, where they will see the original Kinsey form and learn about interviewing technique.
This is not a course for the experienced clinician, but might be additive to students or new clinicians. Participants will be asked to share some personal, sexual information with each other in order to learn to use the tool.
At the end of this session, participants will be able to:
Category-Specificity of Heterosexual Male and Female Sexual Interest
Research has demonstrated that the sexual interest of men is category-specific. That is, men who identify as heterosexual will show significantly greater interest in female sexual stimuli than male sexual stimuli, while homosexual men show a clear preference for male stimuli. For women, the relationship between their sexual orientation and sexual interest appears to be far more complex. Heterosexual women appear to evidence far more similar levels of interest for both male and female sexual stimuli than do men. The extent to which these sex differences are a function of the ways in which sexual interest is measured (e.g., plethysmography vs. self-report) is not clear.
In the present study, category-specificity of male and female sexual interest was evaluated in self-identified heterosexuals. Sexual interest was assessed in two ways: (1) Participants were asked to subjectively rate the sexually appeal of a set of sexually provocative pictures using a seven point Likert-type scale; and (2) by unobtrusively measuring the length of time participants spent viewing each picture prior to making their rating. Each stimulus picture was of a man or a woman in either a bathing suit or underwear. A total of 50 pictures (25 male, 25 female) were viewed. We anticipated that both male and female heterosexual participants would rate opposite sex pictures significantly more sexually appealing than they would rate same sex pictures. Further, we hypothesized that participants would view opposite sex pictures significantly longer than same sex pictures.
Heterosexual men showed a strong category specific response on their subjective ratings of the sexually provocative pictures. They rated the female pictures as moderately to highly sexually appealing (M = 5.38) and the male pictures as not at all sexually appealing (M = 1.42). This difference was significant (t = 109, p < .001). In contrast, the heterosexual women rated the male pictures (M = 3.8) in the moderately sexually appealing range, which was only slightly (but significantly, t = 13.0, p < .001) higher than their ratings for female pictures (M = 3.06). Consistent with these differences, the heterosexual men spent substantially and significantly (t = 27, p < .001) greater amounts of time viewing each of the female pictures (M = 3.4 seconds) than they did viewing the male pictures (M = 1.72 seconds). On the other hand, the women showed very little, but still significant (t = 4, p < .001) difference in the amount of time spent viewing each of the male (M = 2.8 seconds) versus female (M = 2.6 seconds) pictures.
Results of this study are consistent with a growing body of literature suggesting that male sexual interest is more strongly category-specific than is the sexual interest of women.
No Sex, No Problem: The modern asexual community
Founded in 2002, the Asexual Visibility and Education Network offers a supportive environment for self-identified asexual people to discuss their lives and experiences. Founder David Jay discusses the emergence of the community and the evolution of asexual identity. Unlike celibate people, who choose to abstain from sex, asexual people report an intrinsic disinterest in sexual activity akin to a sexual orientation. A disinterest in sex does not necessarily reduce the desire for intimacy or physical touch, and asexual people generally report the same range of emotional needs as sexual people. Jay calls into question the practice of diagnosing disinterest in sex as pathological, arguing that asexuality is within the realm of healthy human sexual diversity.
AVEN defines an asexual person as “a person who does not experience sexual attraction.” The organization has a dual mission - providing a supportive, safe space for asexual people to discuss their experiences and increasing the level and caliber of discussion about asexuality in the world. The AVEN website has over 5,500 members worldwide, has been reproduced in eight languages and has been featured in media outlets such as the New York Times, BBC World Service Radio, and ABCs 20/20. Asexual people report a range of experiences. The vast majority of asexual people are sex-positive; recognizing and celebrating sex as a positive component in many people's lives.
Asexual people face a complicated set of challenges. In a society which places a great deal of emphasis on sexual activity, asexual people often struggle to figure out where they fit. Intimate relationships, pleasure, attractiveness, gender and adulthood are all thought of as fundamentally interwoven with sexuality. As asexual people explore these aspects of our lives we are creating new ways of thinking about a wide range of issues, from monogamy to physical touch.
She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain: Unspoken truths about sexual desire and self-esteem in women beyond 50. CE
Kliger, Leah, MHA, University of Washington-Seattle; and Nedelman, Deborah, Ph.D., Women Beyond 50
Every day, 5000 women in the nation celebrate their 50th birthdays—and sex is a vital concern for them. Yet, in our youth obsessed culture, the 44 million U.S. women over fifty are marginalized as asexual, uninterested and undesirable—or in need of a pill that fixes their problems. In addition to the impact of aging on physiology and body image, cultural beliefs about the sexual realities of the elderly are very powerful barriers to maintaining positive sexual self-esteem. Regardless of the frequency of sexual activity, having a strong sense of one’s self as a sexual being is crucial to emotional, intellectual, and spiritual well-being.
This interactive workshop will provide a picture of the results of our three-year study conducted from 2001-2004. We surveyed 408 women from 50-95 years of age from across the United States using an original instrument; conducted 11 focus groups with 120 women in ten US cities; and conducted sixty to ninety minute telephone interviews with 55 women in this age group. The population studied consisted of volunteers secured through an informal network and were not randomly selected. An attempt was made to assure the population studied was roughly representative of the key demographics of the population in this age group and included women from 48 states and the District of Columbia.
We will present our findings and offer the attendees a robust portrait of the broad range of older women’s attitudes, perceptions, and expectations about sexuality. We will briefly examine the impact of the media and culture on sexual self worth, describe the qualities of sexual desire in mature women, and give examples of how women across the United States have faced their fears about sexual aging.
The oldest of the baby boomers will soon be reaching 60, and are seeking answers to their questions about the changing nature of their sexuality. Counselors and therapists will be seeing more women in this age group (those born between 1946 and 1964) in their offices. Sex educators will need to devise new strategies and methods for reaching this population in an informed manner. This workshop is designed to increase the attendees’ awareness of their own beliefs and expectations regarding aging and sexuality. By challenging negative stereotypes and discussing the true life stories of a number of our study participants, we will offer attendees’ an opportunity to adjust their thinking so that they are more open to appreciating their clients’ perspectives.
1. Identify the key factors that impact the subjective experiences of sexual desire and self esteem in older women.2. Demonstrate an increased understanding of older women's sexuality as an enhancement to your teaching and/or existing practice and offer a more accepting environment for your students and clients.
Good Things come in Smaller Packages: Using group work in sexuality education. CE
Koch, Patricia, Ph.D., and panel, Pennsylvania State University
In many settings (e.g. colleges, community workshops), the audience may be larger than wanted in order to promote optimal learning about sexuality. This creates a challenge for sexuality educators to impact affective and behavioral learning and not just teach cognitive information. This workshop will present ideas for the structure, content, and process of smaller group learning experiences for various sexual topics. Peer educators will share their experiences in facilitating college students’ sexual learning using actual lessons and activities. Research into the effectiveness of sexuality education using smaller group experiences will be presented as well.
Learning objectives: At the end of this workshop, the participants will be able to:
Hypnosis and Sextherapy: A special approach
President, World Association for Hypnotherapy and Sexual therapy
Patient: Male 23 years
Diagnosis: Premature ejaculation
Material Methods: Combination of hypnotherapy and behavioural therapy
Male patient comes to therapy. Cause of his visit is premature ejaculation, which lasts for over one year. He is in a stable and long term partnership. The sexual intercourse with his partner usually does not last longer than 30 seconds. In order to prolong the cohabitation, he has been trying to visualize a train which is cutting his penis. This visualization method and many other similar visualizations had no effect on premature ejaculation.
According to the patient, the partner is supportive and reacts with understanding. There is a huge expectancy on success of hypnotherapy by both the partner and the patient.
Therapy: I talk about the importance of motivation and expectation with the patient. The patient is open to his emotional status and is able to speak about his problem in details. After a short talk I start to ask him what symbol would he use for erection and what for ejaculation.
Here follows classical hypnotic induction and lead imagination. The patient is visualizing a small river which is entering the house and the water is filling a big cup on the kitchen desk very slowly. In his first picture the water fills the cup and runs over slowly. In his second picture he is offered the suggestion to freeze the water surface. After that we do the whole once again, the first visualization combined with the second.
Before ending the trance state, the patient gets the instructions for some exercises (Master and Johnson) stop-go exercises. Here I start to end the hypnotic trance state and just before the awakening I recall the frozen water surface again (for a short moment).
Emotions presumably play an important role in sexual response and dysfunction in men. Yet few studies have investigated differences in affect between sexually dysfunctional and functional men or changes in dysfunctional men resulting from successful treatment.
In this case report we can see how fast hypnotherapy can “open up” the patient on an emotional level which is very important during the therapy. Through work with symbols and metaphors we can approach the symptom on a unconscious level and let the symbols “make their own story”, resolve the problem. Very important aspects are the exercises from the behavioural therapy approach which is given in trance to the patient as suggestions. Here the patient gets “something to do” and his motivation for therapy is increasing, while the source of the problem is being solved through symbol and metaphor work.
Smooth Moves or Sweet Talk: Which Better Predicts Satisfaction Over Time? CE
Lever, Janet, Ph.D., California State University, Los Angeles
This initial report on new research hopes to answer two questions: (1) Why are people so satisfied with their sex lives when the sex reported seems so routine? and (2) How many people actually try the tips on “rekindling bedroom sparks” found in sex experts’ books and articles, and which tips still work over time? Prior research shows that frequency of sex declines sharply after two years, but research also shows that most Americans say they are sexually and emotionally pleased with their partners. Other sex behaviors don’t correlate strongly with happiness. This research is designed to contrast couples’ first six months together vs. the present time to examine the tradeoffs that compensate for lesser frequency (e.g. does sexual communication or affection improve with time? Do older women have more reliable orgasms?) What promotes a healthy and happy sexual lifestyle across the lifespan? We hope to fill in factors missing from the literature. Learning objective: At the end of this session, participants will be able to: Identify the factors that promote a healthy and happy sexual lifestyle over the lifespan.
Women's Sexual Self-awareness in Sex Counseling in Taiwan
Marital counseling has been prevailing in Taiwan over the last two decades, whereas sex counseling has just begun and is not yet well recognized. The purpose of this study was to stress the importance of sex counseling and present its effect on female clients, focusing on their sexual self-awareness. Four cases were analyzed and discussed.
The four female clients started to become sexually aware and able to identify their own sexuality in the counseling process, after taking the initiative for sex counseling and revealing their sex life and sexuality.
Their homogeneities were as follows: initiative and high motivation, general marital problem presented first with sexual need underneath, lack of sex communication between the couple, sex life arising principally from traditional/cultural expectation or demand, middle-age wake-up, informational or situational stimulus external to the marital relationship, and no sexual dysfunction but poor sex knowledge. Five major interventions were applied according to the client’s situation: sexual self-awareness, sexual identity, grief work, empowerment, and masturbation training.
Exploration and discussion of sexual awareness and sexual identity were encouraged in the initial sessions in order to raise client’s perception of herself and her marital relationship and facilitate progress in counseling.
The clients obtained positive self-concept with a greater self-confidence relating to sexuality and relationship and now were able to communicate with their spouses on sex and relationship issues by the termination of counseling. Additionally, there might be some limitations to counseling female clients in Taiwan, as such transference and counter transference, the counselor’s sex, age and marital status.
Enhancement of Sexual Pleasure in Non-Dysfunctional Couples: Lessons learned from sex therapy with dysfunctional couples. CE
LoPiccolo, Joseph, Ph.D., University of Missouri
Some of the procedures used in therapy for couples who have sexual dysfunctions can also enhance the enjoyment of sexuality in non-dysfunctional couples. Our culture's attitudes about sexuality often make it difficult for couples to talk openly about their sexuality. This inhibition blocks them from communication about thoughts and emotions experienced during lovemaking. Couples also have difficulty in initiating or refusing sexual activity. In a similar manner, possible exploration of new sexual activities is limited by anxiety and fear of negative reactions from the partner.
This presentation describes a program for a small group of non-dysfunctional couples to learn ways to increase communication and learn how to increase their sexual satisfaction. Research on this procedure supports its' effectiveness.
However, small group sessions are not acceptable or practical for most people. Based on working with one couple at a time in sex therapy, the procedures used in the group sessions have been adapted to working with one couple.
Learning objective: At the end of this workshop, the participants will be able to: Describe treatment procedures that can be used to prevent development of specific sexual dysfunctions and increase the pleasure a couple gains from their sexual interactions.
Sexual Health in Partnered Lesbians: Debunking the Myths
Though the last decade has seen a surge of interest in female sexuality, this movement seems to have had little effect in mobilizing research on lesbian sexuality. Little is known about either normative sexual behavior or about the incidence of sexual difficulties in this population. Some researchers have argued that lesbian couples may have sex less frequently than heterosexual or gay couples, hence the term “lesbian bed death”, but little empirical research exists to either confirm or disconfirm this myth.
In an effort to examine lesbian sexuality, 100 women involved in a primary lesbian relationship were asked to complete a measure investigating sexual difficulties and dysfunction with various aspects of sex with their current partner. Results were compared to previous research on both heterosexual and gay couples.
Similar to heterosexual and gay couples, the majority of the women in the sample rated their relationships very highly, stating they were either “happy” or “very happy”. These women also reported a high level of sexual satisfaction in their relationships. In contrast to other women, lesbians reported significantly fewer sexual difficulties than heterosexual women, but no differences emerged between the lesbian women and either heterosexual or gay men. The most common problem reported was “reaching orgasm too quickly”. Regression analyses showed that age was a significant predictor of frequency of sex and number of difficulties reported for self.
Analyses suggest that the sexual life of lesbians is more robust than often reported. Relational dynamics that are possibly protective of lesbian sexual relationships include the very sexual practices that distinguish lesbian from heterosexual sex, the fact that women may know better how to please women than do men, and that lesbian couples tend to evidence greater cohesion than do heterosexual and gay couples. Clinical implications of re-assessing the nature and importance of sex to lesbian couples are discussed.
"You're Going to Put What WHERE?" Shifting the cultural paradigm of the annual GYN exam
Traditional education prepared physicians to expect passivity from their patients -- a body to be examined and treated. In turn, most women avoid or postpone their annual pelvic exam in part because they consider it too invasive, humiliating, painful and unnecessary. Fortunately, this does not have to be the case. In fact, most pain and discomfort associated with the well-woman evaluation (apart from pelvic or vaginal infections) is due to practitioner error -- going too fast and not paying attention to the small, but essential details that make all the difference in the patient's perspective and experience of her genital anatomy and sexual health.
The old-school paradigm encouraged women to feel deep-seated shame and embarrassment about their genitalia (and therefore, about themselves as sexual beings.) Looking at, touching or entering the female genitalia has been traditionally fraught with fear and anxiety. Women have learned to internalize negative attributes about their genitalia, including being unmentionable ("down there"), unattractive (to be kept hidden from view), unclean (hence the need for "sanitary" napkins), and having an unpleasant odor (in need of feminine "hygiene" spray).
Because our genitalia are difficult to visualize without use of a mirror and flashlight, most females have little idea about what's what or where, which keeps women uninformed about their own bodies and the joys of sexual pleasure. To enact this cultural paradigm shift, it is essential that female genital anatomy cease to be examined and evaluated from under "protective" draping and in ominous silence. As we bring these otherwise "dark" hidden recesses to light, we empower females with knowledge and education about the function of their genitalia, thus celebrating and reinforcing the inherent joys of one's body.
Toward that end, Health Education Advocates (HEA) provides specialized training to healthcare practitioner students and professionals in the art and science of performing well-woman examinations from a female-centered point of view. HEA workshops emphasize not only clinical anatomy and precise technical skills, but also gentleness and sensitivity through respectful use of language, nonverbal behavior, and purposeful touch. By encouraging the female to sit up and use a mirror during the examination, we begin to educate her about specific aspects of genital anatomy and actual exam procedures. This leads to a more relaxed patient who becomes an active partner and participant in her healthcare. In so doing, we effectively transform the female patient's experience of the annual GYN exam from one of dread and disease-focus to that of understanding, appreciating and embracing the inherent beauty of her genital anatomy.
Implementing this effective and positive shift in the cultural paradigm will:
Healthcare Attitudes of Individuals in the Alternative Sexual Lifestyle; Bondage and Discipline, Sadism and Masochism
BDSM is a consensual sexual orientation or behavior among two or more adults, which may include the use of physical stimulation to produce sexual arousal and psychological awareness. Physical stimulation may leave marks that may be visible during a medical evaluation.
We undertook a study examining BDSM participant’s attitudes toward accessing medical care while displaying marks sustained during BDSM play. A questionnaire was answered by self identified BDSM respondents (n=786); 50.9% were female, 49.1 male and 64.4% had been in a BDSM relationship for the previous six months. We concluded that BDSM participants did not avoid appointments because of visible injury but they did alter their “play” plans for scheduled visits. BDSM injury requiring medical intervention occurred at significant levels for women and less of for men. BDSM participants did not believe that disclosure of their lifestyle was important. The majority of BDSM patients remain unknown to their physician.
Harem Fantasies: Historical and Contemporaneous Perspectives and Realities
Massarik, Fred, Ph.D., Masserick Library
This workshop will address perspectives-fantasies and realities-relating to the concept “Harem.” This session will review the historic and conceptual background of the Harem concept in literature, travel writing, and various professional publications. Then, the realities and perspectives of Harem fantasies will be explored as found in current art and literature. The implications for sex education and psychotherapy will be explored. Participants will have the opportunity to voluntarily share their own perspectives and issues related to working with clients.
Learning objectives: At the end of this session, participants will be able to:
Diversity of Sexual Expressions of a Male Population who Like Brachioproctic Eroticism (Fisting).
Brachioproctic eroticism is the medical term for what is known as anal fisting or handballing. This is a human sexual behavior that involves inserting the entire hand and sometimes part of the arm in the anus. This sexual practice can go from the carefull and slow introduction of the fingers into the anus until the whole hand is inserted. When the hand is totally inserted the fingers can remain straight or clench into a fist, then the hand starts rotating to enhance the anal pleasure. A more extreme form of fisting is called “punching” and it means that the fully clenched fist is inserted and withdrawn from the anus.
The aim of this paper is to analyze the data contained in the profiles of the people registered in a chat or contact web page dedicated to fisting among men. Permission from the owner of the website was obtained via e-mail, after explaining the reason of the research and to assure confidentiality of the name of the page and the username of the profiles.
Although it is believed that fisting is not a common sexual activity, more than 20,000 profiles were found in that website. White ethnicity accounted for 79 %, followed by Hispanics 6.4 % and Blacks 6.2 %. Age range varied from 18 to more than 60 years old. Other variables such as body type, interest in type of relation, smoking, alcohol, drugs, preference of safe sex, role in fisting, anal intercourse, sexual toys, and other erotic expressions were analyzed. In relation to fisting role, the analysis revealed that 32% are top, 8% versatop, 32 % versatile, 13 % versabottom, and 15 % bottom.
A surprising finding was that only 46 % ask for Safe Sex Only, 43 % said they do Not Have Preference and 11 % want Unprotected Sex. Further analysis is done combining role and protected sex preference.
There is a small bibliography of brachioproctic eroticism, and this sexual activity implies potential health risks. During the past 2 decades fisting was a taboo even in erotic or “pornographic” commercial videos or films. Some were taken to court for obscenity charges.
In the AIDS era it is surprising that less than a half of men with this sexual practice engage in unprotected sex. As sexologists, we are obligated in knowing more about these types of practices that seem to be increasing in our populations, in order to educate safe practices for a better sexual life, sexual health and joys of sexuality.
Sexual Pleasure and People with Physical Disabilities: Exploring new perspectives and innovative strategies. CE
Mona, Linda R., Ph.D.; & Gardos, P. Sandor, both of MyPleasure.com
Clinical and academic discussions about the sexual lives of people with physical disabilities (PWD) have focused historically on medical aspects of the body and sexual functioning. Specifically, issues around sexual arousal dysfunction in women with disabilities and erectile and ejaculation difficulties in men with disabilities have been at the forefront of theoretical and research discussions for many years. With the surging of more social definitions of disability in place in the 1970’s and 1980’s, a wider sexual lens began to appear among educators and clinicians with interests centering around internal psychological dimensions (e.g., sexual self-esteem, identity), external factors (e.g., environmental and monetary barriers to dating and sexual expression), and sexual expression (e.g., strategies for sexual positions) of PWD. However, there has continued to be lack of attention and energy in addressing disability and sexual expression and pleasure from an accessibility perspective. That is, the barriers faced and solutions used for sexual activity by PWD are rarely described and discussed both inside the disability community and by service providers for these individuals. As a result, PWD have little knowledge about where to obtain information and ask sexuality-related accessibility questions and those individuals working with PWD often have very few resources to offer about successful sexual position strategies, successful relationships, and how people receive assistance with sexual expression if they have limited mobility.
For the purposes of this presentation, a brief discussion about the changing theoretical perspectives on disability will be offered to place sexuality information within an appropriate context. The ways in which these models have affected discussion of sexuality within the disability rights agenda will be offered to better explain the issues encountered by disability advocates and sexuality service providers. Then, the use of personal assistance services for sexual activity will be reviewed to highlight accessibility issues around masturbation and partner sexual activity. This information is intended to provide a framework for discussion of sexuality and accessibility information so that specific data driven information can them be offered.
Information gathered from three years of an online disability and sexuality chat room was analyzed and thematic trends of these discussions were elicited. Data revealed interesting information about barriers to sexual expression and solutions to combat these obstacles. Themes will be described in detail and specific suggestions offered for clinicians working with people with disabilities. Furthermore, sexuality-related products and ideas for adapting these products will be demonstrated and participants will be able to witness the ways in which sexual aids can be adapted for people with varying mobility impairments. In summary, connections between adaptations to disability in general and sexual expression among PWD will be drawn with hopes of illustrating the importance of conceptualizing these issues from a broader view.
Learning objective: At the end of this session, participants will be able to: describe at least two common themes discussed by people with disabilities in clinical settings and identify two strategies to address these issues within this population.
A Unified “New View” of Female and Male Sexual Problems: Clinical, Philosophical, and Socio-Political Implications
Several authors were asked to draft a “New View” classification applicable to men. In doing so, we investigated the extent to which a unified system could apply equally to all people, regardless of gender. We were able to evolve the New View classification in just such an inclusive way, which we will present.
Our unified model has philosophical implications for issues such as interpersonal power, and the role of social norms in people’s experiences of their own bodies. An even bigger challenge is the way this evolution of a unified “New View” paradigm forces professionals to re-think our many common beliefs about the differences between male and female sexuality. Specifically, if a unified model can comprehensively describe sexual problems independent of gender, it suggests that the similarities between male and female sexuality are far more important than some practitioners and scholars assume.
We will describe how well this view fits with clinical experience. We will discuss how stereotypes about gender and sexuality that are common among clinicians, physicians, and researchers often lead to clinical interventions that are not only of limited benefit, but can even maintain the very symptoms that patients and clinicians are working to change.
Artificial orifices and sex dolls: A folkloric and historic inquiry into a type of sexual apparatus
This study focused on a specific subset of male-use sexual contrivances: an orifice designed to receive the penis and provide a pleasurable frictional enclosure. These devices range from non-representational cylinders to designs that imitate the oral, vaginal, and anal areas of both genders. These orificial representations expand to include more of the human form until an entire body is reproduced, exemplified by the sex doll.
This presentation is a report of what I found out about orificial contrivances using archival and cultural sources. It looks at what kind of orificial devices were and are available to users, what they do with these devices, and how they and others feel about this use. The study is America-centric, touching on devices from other cultures as they were visible to an American audience.
Several names have been used to refer to these orifices, such as artificial vagina, cunnus succedaneus, masturbation sleeve, sucking mask, and pocket pussy. 'Merkin' is a slang term, analogous to the word 'dildo.' The fuller body constructions have been variously called sex doll, love doll, party doll, seaman's bride, dame de voyage, silent partner, and recently there is the brand name Real Doll.
Orifice-type sex devices have a long history. They were referred to by most early sexologists -- Ellis, Bloch, Parke, Stekel, etc. Kinsey also has a few words on artificial vaginas as a masturbation device. I have found very little other professional commentary on artificial orifice sexual contrivances. Therefore most of my research has been original excavations in the primary literatures of sexuality, including sexually explicit works.
These penetratable sexual devices have received less attention in media, commercial, and scholarly research than phallic-shaped or vibrating devices. However, there are many cultural and folkloric manifestations of the motif of orifice users and uses. I hypothesize that motifs surrounding the motives and identities of users have changed from one of secretive perversion diagnosed to a more open and playful sexual variation. However, my findings illustrate a less straightforward evolution.
This study is meant to make the motif of orificial sex devices available to the scientific community. It is also a celebration of one small aspect of our erotic heritage. The presentation is copiously illustrated with still and moving images of orificial devices from the past 100 years. These images range from advertisements to images of sexual devices in use. As such, this work is also a critical statement about what counts as evidence when doing sexological research.
Do Men Pretend Orgasm?
Charlene L. Muehlenhard, Ph.D., and Sheena K. Shippee
Do men ever pretend to experience orgasms? The purpose of this study was to investigate whether men pretend orgasm and, if so, to compare men and women with respect to prevalence, methods, and motives for pretending. 180 male and 101 female college students completed a qualitative questionnaire anonymously. We found that approximately half of the women, and a quarter of the men, reported having pretended orgasm. In this presentation, we will discuss women’s and men’s reports of how and why they pretended. We will also discuss definitional and conceptual dilemmas that we encountered.
Expressing the Joys of Sexuality After Widowhood
One wants a loving marriage to last forever, but as the Buddhists teach us, impermanence is a fact of living and dying. So how does one recover, “let go” and move forward from the loss of a beloved spouse or partner? How does this process differ if it is a long slow death or sudden? Grief and grieving have no “correct” time-line. Healing the sexuality processes will be examined.
Most therapists agree that it is worth the risks for the one left behind to reach out. Starting over will never be the same, but issues of how does one begin dating again must be faced. There are obviously no set rules of dating as a mature individual.
Exercises that one may do to begin answering these questions might include making a list of Negotiables/Non-negotiables/”Funnies”. Generic non-negotiables, values and attributes may be categorized as Emotional, Intellectual, Beauty (be aware of wonder), Morals, Recreational, Fun!, Sexual, Social, Spiritual, and Physical.
Non-negotiables may include appearance, smoking, drinking, number of body piercing and tattoos, place of residence, politics, pet owners and how they treat them, how they speak of their significant others (present and former), etc.
“Funnies” may include how they put the roll of toilet paper on (if they do it at all).
Three other exercises will be demonstrated. The above processes, questions, and exercises may seem daunting and/or exciting, but most therapists feel the risks are worth the efforts in one's personal growth.
A bibliography will be included.
The Left Coast Goes North in Three Positive Approaches
To try to further sex positivity, both research and education have clearly been necessary. But definitive favorable actions in public discourses are rare. Occasionally courts in this country rule with sex-positive results (e.g. Lawrence vs. Texas). Less common still are successful attempts in political arenas to have sex-positive legislation passed. Even then, the result may be partly negative. (The spate of apparently pro-breastfeeding laws passed in the last few years in over 30 states affirms the indecency of women’s breasts by continuing to severely restrict their appearance.)
The best we may usually hope for is politicians' being convinced not to pass sex-negative legislation. That is hardly ideal, considering the variety of such legislation already in place.
Within all this lies occasional labor protest (e.g. in favor of unionizing sex workers) or political protest (e.g. Breasts not Bombs). Few political groups exist, however, that may clearly be identified as body- and sex-positive, in contrast to those with an agenda that is decidedly the opposite.
In this country, it has become increasingly difficult to achieve substantial progress in sexual causes, especially with an administration that values irrational biases over rights and science. But in two English-speaking countries very far apart, attempts have begun to activate for sex positivity by means of political parties—newly formed with prominent, attention-getting agendas.
In New South Wales in Australia is The Naturist Lifestyle Party, promoting equal treatment for women’s breasts in public, more areas for nude recreation, and less restriction on nude living from government. It plans to have candidates for a state election in 2007.
This presentation concentrates on the other country, Canada, where The Sex Party first ran candidates in a provincial election in British Columbia in May 2005.
The party is the creation of John Ince, its leader. Ince has produced three major creations to further goals of sex understanding and positivity. The first is his store, The Art of Loving, in Vancouver, opened in 2002. The second is his book, The Politics of Lust, published in 2003 in Canada and 2005 in the USA. The third is the political party, founded in 2005 with Ince as its leader. This presentation will discuss all three and describe how they have affected the discourses of sex in Canada, especially media. It will also evaluate their effectiveness both locally and beyond.
Embodied Sex Therapy: Integrating Psychoneurobiology, Somatic Psychology, and Sexual Health. CE
Resnick, Stella, Ph.D. Private Practice
Recent findings from a variety of life sciences can have a valuable impact on how we do therapy with clients with sexual concerns. This seminar begins with a brief review of relevant data from developmental neuroscience and studies in sexuality that reveal the non-verbal somatic roots of intimacy, tolerance for pleasure, the shaping of sexual desire, and capacity for satisfaction.
The material supports a body-based perspective that helps clients become more aware of the subtle cues accompanying their sexual feelings and emotions. These deeper cues can be observed in physical sensations, body tensions, breathing patterns, movements, gestures and corresponding imagery. This perspective also holds that, while sex therapists often focus on improving the sexual life of their clients, with psychotherapists dealing with everything else, the sexual self, sexual health, and sexual satisfaction cannot be separated from issues of personal growth, authenticity, self-acceptance and ability to be happy in a relationship.
Several case examples will be offered showing how body-based methods have played an important role in helping clients achieve emotionally gratifying sexual pleasure. An experiential segment of this presentation will give participants an opportunity to experiment with a variety of body-based methods that can be integrated into their current therapeutic practice.
Pepper’s World Hypotheses: Implications for theories of human sexuality
“Theory is not a superfluous distraction, but a necessity. It is the problem-identifier and the information-interpreter in the research process. Without it there is no way to explain the facts” (Gagnon & Parker, 1995, p. 3). These authors carry on to argue that theory and theorizing are especially important during epistemological crises and paradigm shifts in a field, such as those currently facing the study of human sexuality or sexology.
I outline a metatheoretical model for understanding the fundamental assumptions of models and theories of human sexuality. This paper is based on the philosophical work of Stephen Pepper (1942/1970); his model has been applied to theories of child development (Reese, 1991; Reese & Overton, 1970) and family interaction (Rose, 2003, 2005). I suggest that Pepper’s (1942/1970) model of world hypotheses offers a unique way of organizing and understanding theories of human sexuality.
Pepper’s (1942/1970) metatheoretical model allows us to classify models and theories of human sexuality in terms of the goals (i.e., description, prediction) and the scope (i.e., reductionism, holism) of each theory. Additionally, the same approach can also be used to classify theories according to the cause of behavior. I suggest that Pepper’s world hypotheses formism and organicism are the bases for essentialist models and theories of human sexuality.
Constructionist models and theories have their roots in Pepper’s world hypotheses mechanism and contextualism.
General psychological theories will be given as examples (e.g., learning theory is an example of a mechanistic theory, Reese & Overton, 1970), and I will propose that various theories and models of human sexuality are best understood as having their roots in Pepper’s (1942/1970) world hypotheses. I will argue that Kinsey’s model (Kinsey, Pomeroy, & Martin, 1948), for example, is a classic example of a formistic theory (i.e., descriptive, reductionistic, and essentialist); Gagnon and Simon’s (1973) model of sexual scripts is a contextual theory (i.e., descriptive, holistic, and constructionist).
The value of Pepper’s (1942/1970) metatheoretical model is that it allows us to go beyond the essentialist-constructionist dichotomy, while at the same time expanding our understanding of the fundamental assumptions of these two primary approaches to sexuality theory.
Sex Differences in the Specificity of Sexual Behavior, Fantasy, and Attraction
For most men, sexual arousal appears to be quite category-specific. Heterosexual men demonstrate far greater arousal (subjectively or objectively assessed) to females than they do to males while homosexual men show just the opposite pattern. In contrast, women’s sexual arousal, particularly when assessed plethysmographically, appears to be far less category-specific, irrespective of the woman’s self-identified sexual orientation (Chivers et al, 2004). Further, bisexual males have been shown to demonstrate physiological arousal to either men or women, but not generally to both (Rieger et al., in press). This complicated pattern of category-specificity in men’s and women’s sexual arousal was evaluated further in the present study. Specifically, we explored the utility of retrospectively reported sexual fantasies, behaviors, and romantic attractions as indices of sexual interest among men and women of all sexual orientations. We tested the hypothesis that, across at least some measures, women’s sexual interest will be less category-specific than that of men. The present study assessed the retrospective self-report of three dimensions of sexual orientation (sexual fantasy, romantic attraction, and sexual behavior) across three categorical classifications of current sexual orientation (heterosexual, bisexual, and gay). The primary purpose of this study was to determine the degree to which an individual's recent sexual fantasies, sexual behaviors and romantic attractions related to their categorical, self-identified, sexual orientation, including any sex differences in these relationships. Ratings of sexual orientation were made by 762 currently self-identified heterosexual, bisexual, and gay men and women, aged 36-60, via a self-report questionnaire. Scores on the three dimensions of sexual orientation were based on the 7-point Kinsey scale, then combined as follows; heterosexual, 0-1, bisexual, 2-4; homosexual, 5-6. Consistent with previous findings (Rieger et al., in press; Chivers et al., 2004), Chi-square tests revealed that men’s self-reported sexual behavior, fantasies, and romantic attractions, follow a category-specific pattern. This held true for heterosexual, bisexual, and gay men. Similarly, homosexual and bisexual women’s self-reported sexual behavior, fantasies, and romantic attractions showed the same category-specific pattern as the men. However, as in Chivers et al. (2004), heterosexual women’s sexual fantasies and romantic attractions (but not their behaviors) were significantly less category-specific than those of men. Specifically, 25% of heterosexual women’s sexual fantasies (compared to < 10% of heterosexual men’s fantasies) and 13% of their romantic attractions (compared to < 5% of men’s attractions) were bisexual or same-sexed. Our data are consistent with several recent papers (Chivers et al, 2004; Rieger et al., in press) suggesting that women’s expression of sexual interest and attraction is much more complex than men’s. How category-specific this expression was for women varied as a function of their sexual orientation and the specific dimension of interest/attraction studied. The self-report of sexual fantasy (compared to sexual behavior or romantic attraction) appears to be the dimension most reflective of the non-specificity in women’s sexual arousal observed when such arousal is assessed plethysmographically. The theoretical and clinical implications of these findings are discussed.
A Theory and Celebration of Male Sexual Arousal by Females: The foundations of male heterosexuality
On the basis of evolutionary theory, the proposal is made that males are innately predisposed to respond with increasing levels of pleasurable sexual excitement when they see and/or have sexual relations with real, live, nude females presenting increasing levels of beauty, especially during puberty and adolescence. Male sexual delight in response to beautiful females is considered to be an emotion involving neurochemical, autonomic, somatic, behavioral and self-perception of excitement reactions (in this descending order of automaticity and unconsciousness), that prepares and orients males to continue, and to repeat, the enjoyable experiences (i.e., an approach orientation). This emotional response forms the foundation for male sexual desire for females. Research methodology is outlined to test hypotheses concerning male sexual arousal by, and male sexual desire for, females, derived from evolutionary theory and emotion concepts, with special emphasis given to the construct validity of proposed arousal and desire measures. Consideration is given to enhancement of pleaurable male sexual arousal, male vs. female sexuality, male sexual adjustment, dysfunction and orientation, and to a general theory of hedonistic emotional arousal.
Attachment Orientations, Romantic Love, and Sexuality: Correlational and experimental evidence. CE
Shaver, Phillip R., PhD, University of California, Davis
Over the past 20 years, attachment theory (Bowlby, 1982) has provided a framework for studying and understanding adult relationships, especially romantic and sexual ones. Beginning with Shaver, Hazan, and Bradshaw's (1988) conceptualization of romantic love as a confluence of three "behavioral systems" - attachment, caregiving, and sex - hundreds of studies have been conducted to see how attachment orientations, or styles, shape romantic relationships. In recent years, correlational studies have been bolstered by experimental studies capable of delineating bidirectional causal pathways between attachment and sexuality. This talk will provide an overview of what has been learned, along with examples of key studies.
Learning Objectives: At the end of the session, participants will be able to:
When Sex is Work: Exploring diversity in the relations street-based sex workers have with their clients
In an earlier study examining the sexuality of street-based sex workers, my colleagues and I found that women were less likely than men to enjoy sexual activities with their clients and much less likely to experience orgasm. No such differences were found in sexual pleasure in the personal lives of these women and men (Weinberg, Shaver & Williams 1999). But, sexuality is more complex than the physical enjoyment of hand-jobs or giving and receiving oral sex -- it also includes emotional and relational elements. Thus, along with the gender difference regarding sexual enjoyment with clients, there is likely to be much diversity within gender categories in the way sex workers relate sexually and otherwise with their clients. Drawing on a study of 107 sex workers (women & men) conducted in Montreal and Toronto in 1993 & 1994, this paper will explore the extent and nature of this diversity.
New Forms, New Venues: Sexual fine art outside the porn paradigm
Over the last 30 years, but particularly in the last decade, the world of sexual fine art -- art that focuses specifically and unapologetically on sex as a proper and important subject of deliberation -- has blossomed.
Photographers, painters, sculptors, film makers, graphic artists increasingly offer visual sex depiction not primarily to turn people on and get people off, but rather because they want to say something more complex, more thoughtful, more innovative, and more significant about sex than "Oh, look! Sex! And we get to watch!"
The emergence of sexual fine art has brought about the development of new venues to display and promote this work, compensating for the nearly universal refusal of established fine art institutions to venture into the controversies that surround directly sexual work. This panel will given an overview of both the new sexual fine art and its emerging venues, including erotic art festivals, serious Internet sex publications, and independent book publishing.
BDSM: A Subcultural Analysis of Sacrifices and Delights
Those who practice Bondage and Discipline (BD), Dominance and Submission (DS), and Sado-Masochism (SM) are considered sexually unusual. According to Dailey, “the sexually unusual are those whose choice of sexual expression tends to be viewed in our society as sharply ‘deviant’ or ‘weird’ [and] they are often considered either sick or criminal” (1988, p.7). While every major city has a number of support groups and clubs catering to the BDSM lifestyle, academic research on this lifestyle is sparse. In addition, much of the previous research has focused on the psychopathology of the activities in which BDSM participants engage with primarily an emphasis on males in the lifestyle.
The present research involves the qualitative analysis of fifty completed intensive interviews with both males and females who self identify to be in the BDSM subculture, as well as observational data gathered over the past two years. This is an ongoing research project with a broad emphasis to bring about some understanding of the BDSM community. We have researched issues of identity, relationships, concealment strategies, use of rhetoric, as well as gender issues since women have typically not been studied. This presentation will employ a subcultural analysis while examining the stigma experienced by those in the lifestyle and the resulting concealment strategies employed day-to-day, but will also examine the use of sexual discourses, communication, and rhetoric as a means of shaping the acceptance of a lifestyle in a society reluctant to discuss it. Thus, we examine the fact that the lifestyle embodies both sacrifices and delights and how both are negotiated.
The Reemerging Role of the Sacred Prostitute
In a culture where “sexuality” and “spirituality” are antithetical concepts, who serves in the role of the sacred prostitute? And what is a sacred prostitute today?
No longer does a king/priest and queen/priestess perform the hieros gamos (“sacred marriage”) as in ancient Sumer and other societies. The contemporary sacred prostitute no longer has a public temple where she or he can conduct ceremonies openly. There is little or no lineage down through which the “sexual mysteries” can be revealed from high priest/ess to initiate. Legally, socially, religiously, the modern sacred prostitute is out in the cold.
Yet, with increasing knowledge becoming available about “sacred sexuality” practices from ancient cultures, the role of the modern-day sacred prostitute is reemerging. Today the ceremonies and teachings are often a fusion of Hindu and Buddhist Tantra, Chinese Taoism, Native American shamanism, and pre-Christian European metaphysics along with practical techniques from contemporary psychological, somatic, and Western sexological methodologies.
The women and men in the contemporary versions of this ancient role are known sometimes by such names as “sacred intimate,” “tantrika,” “daka/dakini,” “sexual healer,” “sacred whore,” “tantra teacher,” or “sexual shaman.”
The members of this panel have all been involved in the reemerging sacred-prostitute role both as practitioners and teachers of others evolving into this role. The last decade a number of sociological and technological factors have converged allowing this reemergence. This panel will discuss these factors and provide insights into a sexological phenomenon that is only beginning to be recognized.
Kenneth Ray Stubbs, Ph.D., is editor of Women of the Light: The New Sacred Prostitute and producer of the 90-minute documentary The Sacred Prostitute. He will present a conceptual and sociological overview of the sacred prostitute in the contemporary West.
Ina Gregory, M.A., M.F.C.C., is a practicing psychotherapist and a teacher of Chuluaqui Quodoushka, a ceremonial sexuality tradition originating from the ancient Mayan and Toltec shamanic cultures. She will discuss the integration of these practices into contemporary, everyday life.
David Cates, B.A, has been involved in variations of sacred-sexual healing work for thirty years. As cofounder of the Daka/Dakini Conference for men and women in the sacred-prostitute role, he will present his observations of trends in the last six conferences on both the East and West coasts as practitioners “come out of the closet” and begin evolving into a more professional expression of the contemporary sacred prostitute.
The Joy Of Polyamorous Relationships
Polyamory is a flourishing movement in the United States and in many other countries around the world. In recent years, polyamory has gained attention and recognition in the media in part a response to the debate over same sex marriage. However, many people mistakenly believe it is either swinging or associated with the Mormon version of polygamy. Many people point to the open marriage experiments of the 60s and 70s as proof that multi-partnered relating does not work.
Polyamory is a meaningful alternative to compulsory monogamy. It is not about cheating or casual sex, it is about intimate loving relationships with more than one person. Polyamorous relating has many different styles and practices. There is much diversity and much crossover with other alternative communities such as the BDSM, swing and Tantric communities, polyamorous-oriented people share a common desire to experience the fulfillment of joyful connections that come from multi-partnered relating.
Polyamory is the freedom to say "yes" to loving sexual relationships with trust, honesty and integrity at its core. In groups and at conferences many people focus on the challenges of polyamory. In this presentation we will explore the joyful side of polyamorous relating, what makes polyamorous relationships work, how these relationships are different than traditional monogamy, and the joy and pleasure that loving more than one person in a sexual and loving relationship is bringing to a growing number of people.
Understanding the lived experiences of married self-identified heterosexual African Americans/Blacks who engage in male-to-male sexual encounters
Self-identified heterosexual men who enter heterosexual marriages and at the same time engage in male-to-male sexual encounters are largely an under-researched subculture. However, there is evidence to suggest that this is not a new phenomenon but one that is rarely examined (Wolf, 1985; Humphreys, 1970). How these men manage to live in a heterosexist world, manage their current life experiences with their same-sex liaisons, and conduct themselves in their marriages is the focus of this presentation. In addition, this research examines the identity management of self-identified heterosexual African American/black married men who engage in male-to-male sexual encounters.
The term African-American/Black is used here to recognize the heterogeneity among persons of diverse ethnic groups of African ancestry and the multiple types of oppression experienced by Africans who were involuntarily brought to the United States (Wright, 1993). In this research I will refer to this group as married black men who identify as heterosexual having sex with men, otherwise known as MBMSM. Very little knowledge is known whether this subculture of the African American/black male community appear to be closeted or non-closeted men. The study explores the ways in which MBMSM understand and interpret the paradoxes between their personal identities (private self) and social identities (public self) and how these life experience stories relate to the effort to manage the male-to-male sexual encounter stigma in their respective communities.
Particular attention is paid to exploring these identity discrepancies in the lives of a small sample of MBMSM living in South Carolina. Personal identity, according to identity theorists, is the ability to see the self as a unique individual, completely distinct from others (Stets & Burke, 2003) as opposed to the concept of social identity in which the process of the self is shifted from being a distinct individual to a member of a social group (Hogg et al., 1995).
This presentation consists of examining the background of the study, provides an overview of the methodology, explains the purpose of the study, and describes the significance to the field of sexuality research.
Preliminary findings will also be discussed.
“We’re still doing pretty fine after twenty years”: The Joys (and Differences) of Sexual Behavior Among Middle-Aged, Married Adults.
By far, research on adult sexual behavior has focused more on young adults than on adults in middle- or later-adulthood. Although research has shown that physical intimacy and affection are important even within marital/co-habitating couples where one member is frail or experiencing the onset of dementia (Svetlik et al., 2005), the majority of published research among heterosexually-identified couples appears to focus on younger adults (a consequence, likely, of convenience sampling). An exception to samples comprised mostly of young adults includes studies of urban gay men (e.g., GUMS [Gay Urban Men’s Study], the MPowerment Project, etc.) where larger-scale community samples have been available.
One focus of studies sampling heterosexually-identifying dating or married couples is the extent to which women and men report differences in sexual attitudes, preference of sexual behavior (e.g., oral sex), and the reasons or motives individuals cite for sexuality. Although “gender differences” are cited routinely as common in many areas, research by Hyde and colleagues has shown that gender differences assumed to be so endemic are, in fact, often small or so negligible as to be insignificant. Specifically, gender differences in verbal ability (Hyde & Linn, 1988), mathematics (Hyde, Fennema, & Lamon, 1990), and moral orientation (Jaffee & Hyde, 2000) — areas of widely assumed gender polarities — actually reflect more gender similarity than difference. However, research has shown fairly consistent male-female differences within the spheres of sexual activity, why persons report engaging in sex, and the enjoyment they receive from it.
The current study sampled over 100 married couples. Members of each couple were asked to complete a questionnaire focusing on sexual attitudes, the nature of dyadic communication, sexual activity/behavior, the motives (or reasons) for why they engage in partnered sexual activity, and those features of their sexual life that they most (and least) like. All scales displayed acceptable psychometric properties.
However, a number of meaningful differences emerged regarding what types of sexual activity couple members found to be important and most enjoyable. These differences fell clearly among traditional gender lines: women engaged in sexual behavior with their husbands to meet real or perceived relationship dynamics, they approved of sexual behavior in the context of a loving or marital/long-term monogamous relationship, and they disapproved of sexual intimacy between partners without an emotional component. Men enjoyed sexuality in long-term relationships, but also reported that sex without any emotional component was entirely acceptable, that orgasm and fellatio were among the most important parts of sex, that it was far more acceptable to have more sexual partners, and that physical release of tension was a reason why couples should have and enjoy sex.
Results will be discussed in terms of the gender similarity hypothesis (Hyde, 2005), and, how in at least some areas (sexual expression in at least one sample married couples), traditional notions of sexual expression relate to sexual satisfaction. In keeping with the theme of the conference, those areas of sexual behavior that were reported as maintaining the “joy of sex” will be discussed.
Creating Healthy Sexual Desire CE
Weeks, Gerald R., Ph.D., University of NV-Las Vegas
Sexual desire or "passion" in Sternberg's model of love is an essential aspect of every relationship. Difficulties with sexual desire can range from the both partners wanting to feel more desire, to discrepancies in desire, to low or loss of desire that is clinically defined as hypoactive sexual desire. The purpose of this workshop will be to discuss all these problems within the context of the problem of hypoactive sexual desire (HSD). The workshop will cover the definitions and prevalence of HSD, etiological factors, and a variety of treatment strategies. Specific desire enhancement factors will be covered such as: 1) sexual asynchrony; 2) creating a sensual/passionate environment; 3) sexual initiation; 4) the use of fantasy; 5) the use of positive sexual thinking (cognition); and 6) the use of sensate focus and its 9 functions. A variety of other techniques will also be discussed that are more specific to HSD, but the ones mentioned above can be used by every couple to revitalize desire.
1: Be able to define HSD
2: Be able to describe factors contributing to HSD
3: Be able to describe techniques that enhance desire
Case Supervision Of HSD: Application of the Intersystem Approach in Overcoming HSD. CE
Weeks, Gerald R., Ph.D., University of NV-Las Vegas
Hypoactive Sexual Desire is one of the most common and yet complex of all sexual disorders. Most models and approaches in the literature to treat this disorder are based on a unidimensional or singular theoretical approach. The Intersystem approach developed by the author and published in a text now considered a classic work will be used to help participates treat their cases. The Intersystem Approach helps the clinician simultaneously consider the individual, interactional, and intergenerational aspects of the problem. For example, the partner with HSD might have individual problems stemming from sexual abuse, interactional or dyadic problems stemming from fears of intimacy, and intergenerational problems stemming from the fact that the family colluded to hide the abuse.
The etiology of HSD is usually multifaceted and the treatment must be tailored for each couple. The Intersystem Approach allows the therapist to tailor treatment. However, in virtually every case relational factors such as underlying fears of intimacy, anger/resentment, and feelings of lack of control are key contributors. The goal of treatment is to restore sexual desire and help the couple deal with differences in level of desire.
Learning objective: At the end of this session, participants will be able to:
Nudity, Embodiment, and Sexuality. CE
Weinberg, Martin S., PhD, Indiana University and Williams, Colin J., PhD, Indiana University-Purdue
This paper examines the associations between persons’ feelings about their body, degree of comfort with their nudity, and their sexual profile. Researching 172 self-identified heterosexual university students, the research shows a number of significant relationships; however, they are specified by gender. (1) Bodily evaluations (e.g., self-rated physical attractiveness) relate more to feelings about being nude for the women than the men. (2) In turn, it is only among the women that feelings about their body and nudity relate to sexual behaviors (viz., frequency of various behaviors and numbers of partners). (3) For the men, feelings about their nudity are associated with the appeal of various sexual practices, but these feelings are not associated with their frequency of sexual behaviors or numbers of partners.
At the end of the session, participants should have: (a) learned more about how “nudity” is a social construction and the various meanings that can be given the unclothed body, (b) how these meanings are related to gender, and (c) how they enter into the “embodiment of sexuality” in Western cultures and thus can shape feelings toward and engagement in various sexual behaviors.
Learning objectives: At the end of this session, participants will be able to:
A feminist analysis of women’s experiences of sexuality and substance use
Wells & Parsons
The current research will examine the ways in which female sexuality is influenced by and reciprocally influences drug and alcohol use. Although much research has examined the impact of substance use on sexual risk-taking and victimization (Abbey, Zawacki, & McAuslan, 2000; Thompson, Kao, & Thomas, 2005), these studies often reproduce the dominant discourses of sexuality that often ignore female sexual desire and agency, a phenomenon that Michelle Fine coins, “the missing discourse of desire” (Fine, 1988). Additionally, these studies often ignore the context in which ‘sex under the influence’ occurs and the potential sociocultural influences that may influence this relationship (Tolman, 1999). This study will utilize feminist theory to examine both the pleasure and danger aspects of female sexuality (Vance, 1984) and the ways in which the sociocultural constructions of female sexuality influence (and are influenced by) substance use. In an effort to extend and contextualize our knowledge of the sociocultural influences on the relationship between female sexuality and substance use, the current study proposes a qualitative analysis of the complex relationship between female sexuality and drug and alcohol use, recognizing the roles of desire, agency in women’s lived experiences.
This study is part of a larger study that examines club drug use (ecstasy, cocaine, ketamine, LSD, crystal methamphetamine, and GHB) and sexuality among 18-29 year-olds who are socially active in New York City’s club scene. Methodologically, this study is unique in that it utilizes venue-based time-space sampling to recruit participants, which actively recruits participants (as opposed to relying on self-selection). A pre-determined list of venues (night clubs in NYC) is randomly sampled and venue patrons are randomly approached and screened for eligibility. Upon meeting eligibility requirements (must have used club drugs at least 3 times in the last year, at least once in the last 3 months, and be between the ages of 18-29), recruiters explain the nature of the project (both verbally and with recruitment materials) and attempt to obtain contact information. Individuals who provide contact information are subsequently contacted and scheduled for assessments that consist of both an in-depth interview and a computer-based survey that cover substance use, sexuality, and psychological health. Participants complete baseline interviews and follow-up interviews at 4, 8, and 12 months.
The current study analyzed qualitative data from 50 female participants who have completed a baseline assessment. Qualitative analyses utilized a grounded theory approach (Strauss & Corbin, 1990) to examine themes in the relationship between sexual behavior and drug and alcohol, while also considering the contextual factors surrounding this relationship. Several overall themes emerged, with women generally preferring the experience of sober sex, although women cited several positive aspects of sex under the influence. For example, women often cited that sexual experiences were easier to initiate and navigate while under the influence, although this came at the cost of the quality of the sexual experience. Building on Tolman’s illustration of the negative intrapsychic toll of a system that pits pleasure against safety (Tolman, 1999), this study illustrates that recognition and understanding of female sexual desire and complexity are essential to the psychological health and well being of women.
The Sanctity of Love
The battle for Marriage Equality in the United Sates of America today is at the heart of our great discourse. It informs our binary politics, religious fervor, sexual ethics, our frenzied legal system and its “activist judges.” In this passionately contentious debate over the definition of marriage, tens of millions of Americans voted for a president from their revival tents of hate. Is it the sexuality that they don’t like, or is it simply that they don’t like gay people?
As civilized countries adopt Marriage Equality Amendments (Canada’s same-sex equality; France with its “any two people” law; Holland now honoring plural marriages), and as less civilized countries around the world continue to execute sexual minorities, what will become of America? Are we still moral leaders?
Some people who hate gay people want to amend the Constitution to legalize a second-class citizenship for same-sex-loving couples. The energy of their persecutory zealousness is a special opportunity for loving Americans to rally and marshal the support to amend the Constitution, finally putting an end to the oppression of women, gender variant and sexual minority peoples.