Create a pamphlet or small booklet that helps promote optimal human development, wellness, and mental health through prevention and education activities related to human sexuality. To this end, include information for young couples that identifies potential developmental crises and disabilities, as well as situational and environmental factors that contribute to healthy sexual behavior. Utilize language and pictures that would be understandable and generally acceptable by most adults.
Neurobiological and physiological research have contributed to our understanding of the psychobiology of love, sex, and attachment. Interpersonal attraction and the concept of romantic love, loneliness, intimacy, and communication skills that help improve relationships, as well as the sexual aspects associated with each of these topics, are addressed.
In this unit, you will learn about how different hormones play a role in the psychobiology of social bonding as well as in sexual motivation and human partnering. Sexual attraction is determined by physical attractiveness in most cultures; however, there are cultural differences in this to consider. Western cultures, for example, have a long tradition of idealizing the concept of romantic love.
To successfully complete this learning unit, you will be expected to:
1. Explore human behavior, including an understanding of developmental crises, disability, and situational and environmental factors that contribute to healthy sexual behavior.
2. Identify strategies designed to promote optimal sexual functioning.
Learning Activities Studies
Use your Understanding Human Sexuality text to complete the following:
• Chapter 8, “Sexual Arousal,” pages 188–226.
• Chapter 11, “Attraction, Love, and Communication,” pages 273–304.
Use the Library to complete the following:
• Kleinplatz, Ménard, Paradis, Campbell, and Dalgleish’s 2013 article, “Beyond Sexual Stereotypes: Revealing Group Similarities and Differences in Optimal Sexuality,” from the Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, volume 45, issue 3, pages 250–258.
• Piercy, Dolbin-MacNab, and Richardson’s 2011 article, “Affair-Proofing Relationships: Discussion Questions for Couples,” from the Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, volume 10, issue 4, pages 345–362.
Developing Prevention and Education Activities
The Human Sexual Response Cycle
The human sexual response cycle encompasses the complex physical and emotional changes that occur as humans become sexually aroused and engage in sexual activities.
The groundbreaking sex therapists Masters and Johnson initially suggested such a cycle and identified its four phases: Desire, Arousal, Orgasm and Resolution.
Although some believe that the sequence of phases may vary, the cycle is generally said to begin with the desire to engage in sexual activity, also referred to as libido.
Arousal follows desire. During arousal, VASO-con-gestion blood pressure and heart rate increase.
This phase is characterized by penile erection in males, vaginal lubrication and increased blood supply in females, and muscle tension in both. Breathing is accelerated.
Orgasm is the third phase.
For males, the orgasmic phase is characterized by ejaculation resulting from contractions of the vas deferens, the seminal vesicles, the ejaculatory duct and the prostate gland.
For females, contraction occurs in the pelvic muscles, uterus, and the anal sphincter. For both, blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration peak.
For both men and women, this phase generally lasts only a few seconds. Contrary to what many believe, it is unlikely that both partners will experience orgasm at the same time.
During the final stage, resolution, muscles relax and the body slowly returns to its normal state.
Although all human sexual response follows this same basic path, there are variations among individuals, and major differences between the genders.
The male sexual response is relatively quick, assuming direct stimulation and no dysfunctions. Desire in men is biologically driven by testosterone, although it can be affected by mental and emotional elements.
With direct stimulation of the genitals, males progress from the onset of desire to orgasm relatively quickly.
Within a brief period of time, the typical male sexual response is complete and the cycle has reached the resolution phase.
Males usually need a recovery time after orgasm, called the refractory period, before they can begin the cycle again.
For females, the cycle also begins with desire. But with lesser amounts of testosterone then men, women’s desire is usually driven more by mental or emotional factors, and develops more gradually.
During this initial stage, women need indirect stimulation. Married females take on average 20 minutes to reach the midpoint of the cycle, with another 20 minutes required to transition to orgasm. After arousal, women need direct clitoral stimulation to reach an orgasm.
Unlike men, with further sexual stimulation women are often capable of a rapid return to the orgasm phase.
One objective of sexual counseling is to help people understand how the sexual response cycle works. Understanding how the body responds during each phase of the cycle can help pinpoint the cause of sexual dysfunction.
When counseling heterosexual couples, helping them to understand and accommodate the differences between the typical male and female sexual response cycles is key.
In particular, heterosexual couples can benefit from understanding the time differences between the sexual response cycle of men and of women.
Partners of males should be aware that direct genital stimulation will usually cause a rapid progression to orgasm. Partners of females, on the other hand, should know that whether a touch feels good will be influenced by how aroused the woman is.