The Issues Of The Sexual Morality Sociology Essay

4780 words (19 pages) Essay

1st Jan 1970 Sociology Reference this

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Sexual morality refers to the beliefs and practices by which a culture, group, faith, etc. regulates their members’ behaviour in matter of sexual activities. Many cultures and religions have rules regarding sexual behavior which they consider moral and it is said by persons in those cultures and religions that those acting outside of those rules are immoral or wrong. These rules sometimes distinguish between sexual activities that are practiced for biological reproduction (sometimes allowed only when in formal marital status and in fertile age) and other activities practiced for the pleasure of sex only (or mainly).

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In this sense, a concept of sexual morality can be expressed in any of the possible directions, and groups exist that recommend restrictive behaviours as well as groups that recommend totally free self-determination, as well as a variety of intermediate positions.

The respective efficacy of these rules depends on the social position of the group that develops them, on its eventual political representativity, on its relationships with the laws of the related country.

Views on sexual morality have varied greatly over time and from culture to culture. Usually, they derive from religious beliefs, but some writers have pointed out that social and environmental conditions play a part in the development of a given society’s views on sexual morality.

In Western pluralistic societies of the 20th and 21st centuries, there often exists debate on not only whether there is a common morality, but on whether it is right to expect such a common view. In most western societies, laws allowing a wide range of sexual relationships between consenting adults are the norm, although that legal range varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The debate thus often includes a sub-argument of what is legal vs. what is moral.

In previous centuries and in many non-western cultures of the 20th and 21st centuries, there has been less room for debate. This does not mean, however, that views on sexual morality have ever been homogenous.

For example, in Hellenic society, homosexual behavior was often encouraged and accepted as part of the socialization and upbringing of young men, especially those in the military. These relationships were in addition to heterosexual relationships entered into for the establishment of families and the production of progeny so that property would be inherited and kept within a larger kinship group. The importance of the kin-group and the maintenance of its property was such that, under certain circumstances, Athenian law allowed an uncle to marry his niece in order to keep family property together. It could be therefore argued that the needs of the family constituted a higher morality that helped to define the sexual mores of the society as a whole.

In Roman society, sexual morality concentrated more on the social status of those involved, and their taboos concentrated on high-status men committing any kind of sexual act that was thought of as passive or submissive. Providing that the sexual act was dominant in nature, and the man had a high social status Roman society made little distinction between the type of sexual partner and type of sexual act.

Another example is the contrast between traditional European and traditional Asian or African views of permitted familial relationships. British law and custom, for example, frequently forbade intermarriage between those related by marriage. However, in rural regions of India, Nepal, and surrounding nations, fraternal polyandry, in which two (or more) brothers marry the same woman, is culturally accepted. Likewise, European mores generally advocate monogamy strongly. Polygamy is widely practiced by many societies throughout Asia and Africa, and polyandry is the accepted norm in a few Indian and African societies.

Moreover , exual ethics (also referred to as sexual morality) refers to those aspects of ethics that deal with issues arising from all aspects of sexuality and human sexual behavior. Broadly speaking, sexual ethics relates to community and personal standards relating to the conduct of interpersonal relationships, and deals with issues of consent, sexual relations before marriage and/or while married, including issues of marital fidelity and premarital and non-marital sex, issues related to sexuality, questions about how gender and power are expressed through sexual behavior, questions about how individuals relate to society, and questions about how individual behavior impacts public health concerns.

OBJECTIVES

To know the reality of the world and act accordingly

To have the knowledge before being affected by sexual morality

To be able to care for others and know their rights

To help prevent more sexual morality victims directly or indirectly

EXPLANATION

Sexual Morality In A Nutshell

Sexual morality refers to the beliefs and practices by which a culture, group, faith, etc. regulates their members’ behaviour in matter of sexual activities. Many cultures and religions have a sexual morality that they would like to apply even to non adherents; sometimes force has been used in spreading concepts of morality. These rules sometimes distinguish between sexual activities that are practiced for biological reproduction (sometimes allowed only when in formal marital status and in fertile age) and other activities practiced for the pleasure of sex only (or mainly). In this sense, a concept of sexual morality can be expressed in any of the possible directions, and groups exist that recommend restrictive behaviours as well as groups that recommend totally free self-determination, as well as a variety of intermediate positions. The respective efficacy of these rules depends on the social position of the group that develops them, on its eventual political representativity, on its relationships with the laws of the related country. Views on sexual morality have varied greatly over time and from culture to culture. Usually, they derive from religious beliefs, but some writers have pointed out that social and environmental conditions play a part in the development of a given society’s views on sexual morality.

In Western pluralistic societies of the 20th and 21st centuries, there often exists debate on not only whether there is a common morality, but on whether it is right to expect such a common view. In most western societies, laws allowing a wide range of sexual relationships between consenting adults is the norm, although that legal range varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The debate thus often includes a sub-argument of what is legal vs. what is moral. In previous centuries and in many non-western cultures of the 20th and 21st centuries, there has been less room for debate. This does not mean, however, that views on sexual morality have ever been homogenous. For example, in Hellenic society, homosexual behavior was often encouraged and accepted as part of the socialization and upbringing of young men, especially those in the military. These relationships were in addition to heterosexual relationships entered into for the establishment of families and the production of progeny so that property would be inherited and kept within a larger kinship group. The importance of the kin-group and the maintenance of its property was such that, under certain circumstances, Athenian law allowed an uncle to marry his niece in order to keep family property together. It could be therefore argued that the needs of the family constituted a higher morality that helped to define the sexual mores of the society as a whole.

Another example is the contrast between traditional European and traditional Asian or African views of permitted familial relationships. British law and custom, for example, frequently forbade intermarriage between those related by marriage. However, in rural regions of India, Nepal, and surrounding nations, fraternal polyandry, in which two (or more) brothers marry the same woman, is culturally accepted. Likewise, European mores generally advocate monogamy strongly. However, polygamy is a much more common social pattern worldwide, with some 80 percent of world cultures considering it acceptable. Polygyny is widely practiced by many societies throughout Asia and Africa, and polyandry is the accepted norm in a few Indian and African societies.

In the United States, what many conservatives call “traditional morality” is held to prohibit all non-marital sex, because of the moral belief that sexual relations should occur only between husband and wife. This view of morality thus disapproves of some or all of the following–premarital, extramarital, and homosexual relations–whether consensual or not.

There are people who disagree with this traditional view. Generally they believe that sex is a natural behavior which should be only minimally restricted by legislation or other imposed moralities. Even among the most liberal views of sexual morality in the US, there is generally agreement that involving non-consenting partners (or those unable to give consent legally) in sexual relationships should be restricted and punishable under the law.

Social constructions of sex continued to evolve throughout the twentieth century in Western societies. The pioneering surveys conducted by Alfred C. Kinsey and his colleagues (Kinsey et al. 1953; Kinsey, Pomeroy, and Martin 1948) found widespread premarital and extramarital sexual behavior among both men and women. This challenged the popular view that women were not interested in sex, or less interested in it than men. The work of William Masters and Virginia Johnson (1966) demonstrated that the processes of sexual arousal were similar for men and women, in contrast to the earlier view that they were different. These findings led to what has been termed the “eroticization of female sexuality” (Seidman 1991), the view that men and women were equally erotic. However, there are some gender differences in sexual behavior. Surveys in the United States (Smith 1991), Britain ( Johnson et al. 1994), and France (Spira et al. 1992) find that men report a larger number of sexual partners than women, both lifetime and in the recent past. Studies also find that men are more accepting of sexual activity in casual relationships than are women (Oliver and Hyde 1993).

DISCUSSIONS

Gender Discrimination

In Wikipedia the definition for discrimination is given as the prejudicial treatment of an individual based solely on their membership (whether voluntary or involuntary) in a certain group or category. Discrimination is the actual behavior towards members of another group. It involves excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to other groups. The United Nations explains: “Discriminatory behaviors take many forms, but they all involve some form of exclusion or rejection.” Discriminatory laws such as redlining have existed in many countries. In some countries, controversial attempts such as racial quotas have been used to redress negative effects of discrimination.

The main discrimination we want to discuss is gender discrimination. The Wikipedia also defines it as the gender discrimination and sexism refers to beliefs and attitudes in relation to the gender of a person, such beliefs and attitudes are of a social nature and do not, normally, carry any legal consequences. Sex discrimination, on the other hand, may have legal consequences. Though what constitutes sex discrimination varies between countries, the essence is that it is an adverse action taken by one person against another person that would not have occurred had the person been of another sex. Discrimination of that nature in certain enumerated circumstances is illegal in many countries.

Currently, discrimination based on sex is defined as adverse action against another person, that would not have occurred had the person been of another sex. This is considered a form of prejudice and is illegal in certain enumerated circumstances in most countries. Sexual discrimination can arise in different contexts. For instance an employee may be discriminated against by being asked discriminatory questions during a job interview, or because an employer did not hire, promote or wrongfully terminated an employee based on his or her gender, or employers pay unequally based on gender.

In an educational setting there could be claims that a student was excluded from an educational institution, program, opportunity, loan, student group, or scholarship due to his or her gender. In the housing setting there could be claims that a person was refused negotiations on seeking a house, contracting/leasing a house or getting a loan based on his or her gender. Another setting where there have been claims of gender discrimination is banking; for example if one is refused credit or is offered unequal loan terms based on one’s gender.

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Another setting where there is usually gender discrimination is when one is refused to extend his or her credit, refused approval of credit/loan process, and if there is a burden of unequal loan terms based on one’s gender. Socially, sexual differences have been used to justify different roles for men and women, in some cases giving rise to claims of primary and secondary roles.

While there are alleged non-physical differences between men and women, major reviews of the academic literature on gender difference find only a tiny minority of characteristics where there are consistent psychological differences between men and women, and these relate directly to experiences grounded in biological difference. However, there are also some psychological differences in regard to how problems are dealt with and emotional perceptions and reactions which may relate to hormones and the successful characteristics of each gender during longstanding roles in past primitive lifestyles. Unfair discrimination usually follows the gender stereotyping held by a society. The United Nations had concluded that women often experience a “glass ceiling” and that there are no societies in which women enjoy the same opportunities as men. The term “glass ceiling” is used to describe a perceived barrier to advancement in employment based on discrimination, especially sex discrimination.

In the United States in 1995, the Glass Ceiling Commission, a government-funded group, stated: “Over half of all Master’s degrees are now awarded to women, yet 95% of senior-level managers, of the top Fortune 1000 industrial and 500 service companies are men. Of them, 97% are white.” In its report, it recommended affirmative action, which is the consideration of an employee’s gender and race in hiring and promotion decisions, as a means to end this form of discrimination. In 2008, women accounted for 51% of all workers in the high-paying management, professional, and related occupations. They outnumbered men in such occupations as public relations managers; financial managers; and human resource managers. The China’s leading headhunter, Chinahr.com, reported in 2007 that the average salary for white-collar men was 44,000 yuan ($6,441), compared with 28,700 yuan ($4,201) for women.

The PwC research found that among FTSE 350 companies in the United Kingdom in 2002 almost 40% of senior management posts were occupied by women. When that research was repeated in 2007, the number of senior management posts held by women had fallen to 22%.

Transgender individuals, both male to female and female to male, often experience problems which often lead to dismissals, underachievement, difficulty in finding a job, social isolation, and, occasionally, violent attacks against them. Nevertheless, the problem of gender discrimination does not stop at trand ender individuals nor with women. Men are often the victim in certain areas of employment as men begin to seek work in office and childcare settings traditionally perceived as “women’s jobs”. One such situation seems to be evident in a recent case concerning alleged YMCA discrimination and a Federal Court Case in Texas. The case actually involves alleged discrimination against both men and blacks in childcare, even when they pass the same strict background tests and other standards of employment. It is currently being contended in federal court, as of fall 2009, and sheds light on how a workplace dominated by a majority (women in this case) sometimes will seemingly “justify” whatever they wish to do, regardless of the law. This may be done as an effort at self-protection, to uphold traditional societal roles, or some other faulty, unethical or illegal prejudicial reasoning. Affirmative action also leads to white men being discriminated against for entry level and blue collar positions. An employer cannot hire a white man with the same “on paper” qualifications over a woman or minority worker or the employer will face prosecution.

The UNICEF claims on gender discrimination that birth histories and census to-date reveal an unusually high proportion of male births and male children under five in Asia, most notably in India and China, suggesting sex-selecting foeticide and infanticide in the world’s two most populous countries, despite initiatives to eradicate these practices in both countries. More than 115 million children of primary school age do not attend school. For every 100 boys not attending primary school, there are 115 girls in the same situation. Research shows that educated women are less likely to die in childbirth and more likely to send their children to school.

A UNICEF survey of selected countries finds that on average, children with uneducated mothers are at least twice as likely to be out of primary school than children whose mothers attended primary school. More than 130 million women and girls alive today have been subjected to female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), which can have grave health consequences, including the failure to heal, increased susceptibility to HIV infection, childbirth complications, inflammatory diseases and urinary incontinence.

The younger girls are when they first have sex, the more likely it is that intercourse has been imposed on them. According to a World Health Organisation study, 150 million girls and 73 million boys under the age of 18 experienced forced sexual intercourse or other forms of physical and sexual violence in 2002. Globally, 36 per cent of woman between the ages of 20-24 were married or in union before they reached 18. Premature pregnancy and childbirth is often a dangerous consequence of child marriage. An estimated 14 million girls between 15-19 years old give birth every year. If a mother is under 18, her baby’s chances of dying in the first year of life is 60 percent greater than that of a baby born to a mother over 19. Babies born to mothers under 18 are more likely to suffer from low birth weight, under nutrition and delayed physical and cognitive development.

High rates of illiteracy among women prevent them from knowing about the risks of HIV infection and ways to protect themselves. Elderly women may face double discrimination on the basis of both gender and age. Women tend to live longer than men, may lack control of family resources and can face discrimination from inheritance and property laws. This is what gender discrimination means where the male and female are discriminated in some ways.

Pornography

Pornography or porn is the portrayal of explicit sexual subject matter for the purposes of sexual excitement and erotic satisfaction.

Pornography may use any of a variety of media, ranging from books, magazines, postcards, photos, sculpture, drawing, painting, animatio, sound recordingn, film, video, or video game. However, when sexual acts are performed for a live audience, by definition, it is not pornography, as the term applies to the depiction of the act, rather than the act itself. Thus, portrayals such as sex shows and striptease are not classified as pornography.

A pornographic model poses for pornographic photographs. A pornographic actor, also called porn star, acts in pornographic films. In cases where few actor skills are required a performer in pornographic films is also called a pornographic model.

Pornography has often been subject to censorship and legal restraints on publication on grounds of obscenity. Such grounds and the very definition of what is or is not pornography have differed in different historical, cultural and national contexts. Over the past few decades, an immense industry for the production and consumption of pornography has grown, with the increasing use of home video and the Internet, as well as the emergence of social attitudes more tolerant of sexual portrayals. Amateur pornography has become widely popular and generally distributed via the Internet for free.

MORAL PRESPECTIVE

Benefits of Safe sex

Sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies can be greatly reduced by practicing safe sex. Even thought no method of safe sex is 100% effective, it is still much better than not using any protection. The methods of protection, while not foolproof, still greatly reduce the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease or an unwanted pregnancy.

So, if you choose to engage in sexually activity, it’s always important to use some form of protection. The following will outline some of the options available including abstinence and monogamy, both male and female condoms, and oral contraception.

Abstinence is still the best and safest method of preventing both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. It is 100% effective. Although it is the only foolproof method, it is not the most popular choice. The next best option if you are unwilling to practice abstinence, is to engage in sexual activities with only one person, in a monogamous relationship.

A monogamous relationship means that both you and your partner engage in sexual activity with no one but each other. While monogamy is not an effective method of birth control, it does minimize the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. As long as both you and your partner are free of diseases and remain committed to each other, you will remain free of diseases. Abstinence and monogamy are both highly effective safe sex methods. Abstinence is effective at preventing both pregnancy and diseases while monogamy helps to prevent diseases only.

The condom is one of the better methods available for avoiding sexually transmitted diseases. When they’re properly used they are also 97%-98% effective in preventing pregnancy. Male condoms are easily accessible in drug stores, grocery stores, and even vending machines. They are also inexpensive. There are male and female versions of the condom available. Male condoms are more popular. The male condom is a thin sheath, usually made of latex that fits over the penis and acts as a barrier to the exchange of bodily fluids during intercourse. Even if they aren’t used correctly, they are still very effective in preventing pregnancy (88%-90% effective). So even though they are effective, they are still not 100% reliable. The risk still exists, however small, of getting pregnant or contracting a sexually transmitted disease.

The female condom is a polyurethane sheath that lines the entire vagina. The closed end is inserted into the vagina and the open end remains outside the body. It’s been available only since the 1990’s and is not as readily available at the male condom. If you can find it, you will also pay more for it, since it costs more than a male condom. It is however, just as effective as the male condom in preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

There are oral contraceptives available as well that are very effective in preventing pregnancy. These however, do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases. An oral contraceptive is a pill that is taken daily which uses hormones to prevent pregnancy. If used correctly, the pill is 97-99% effective.

As with any drug, there are side effects that come along with pill usage. Most of these side effects are mild. Some side effects include weight changes, nausea, irritability and breast tenderness. Even though these aren’t severe, they can be avoided altogether. Today there are numerous varieties of pills on the market. Talk to your doctor and find out which is best for you. Again, while oral contraceptives are effective against preventing pregnancy, they do not work against contracting sexually transmitted diseases. If you are not sure that your partner is free of disease, you should consider using another form of safe sex method as a back up to prevent these diseases.

If you want to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, it is best to take all the measure you can to practice safe sex. So while abstinence is the only 100% effective method against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, there are other options out there to explore that offer good benefits. Monogamy is effective in protection against sexually transmitted diseases, while condoms and birth control pills are effective against unwanted pregnancies.

Safer Sex (“Safe Sex”) at a Glance can reduces our risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD), using condoms makes vaginal or anal intercourse safer sex, using condoms or other barriers makes oral sex safer sex, having sex play without intercourse can be even safer sex, and safer sex can be very pleasurable and exciting.

CONCLUSION

As a conclusion the major change in the discourse about sex is the uncoupling of sex from marriage. As sexual gratification became accepted as an end in itself, people began to challenge the belief that intimate sexual activity should be limited to marriage. A liberal discourse emerged, which argued that sexual intimacy involving consenting people who are not married nor planning to marry is acceptable. In the 1970s, some argued that extramarital sexual intimacy is acceptable if the spouse approves (O’Neill and O’Neill 1972). This discourse led to expansion of available sexual lifestyles, including nonmarital relationships, cohabitation, and open marriage.

Since the mid-1960s, in the United States and elsewhere in the West, a minority discourse has developed that separates sex from love. According to this view, engaging in sexual intimacy for physical pleasure, or to express affection for one’s partner, is legitimate. This discourse is the basis of a best-selling sexual advice book of the 1970s, The Joy of Sex (Comfort 1972), and its sequel, The New Joy of Sex (Comfort 1991). This discourse views male and female as essentially equal in sexual potential and in the right to sexual gratification. It challenges the double standard that sexual intimacy outside marriage or a committed relationship is acceptable for men but not for women. This discourse is consistent with the view that sex need not be limited to heterosexual couples. Thus, it facilitated the movement toward acceptance of casual heterosexual and homosexual contacts and living in committed gay and lesbian relationships.

The most visible change in the United States and other Western cultures since the mid-1970s is the increasing explicitness of public discourse about sexuality. Explicit sexual representations are found in newspapers, magazines, novels, and films. The individual’s desire for sexual fulfillment is used to sell lipstick, colognes, beer, clothing, travel, and automobiles. Personal advertisements, singles magazines, and dating services cater to the desire to find the (nearly) perfect spouse or the perfect sexual partner. The sex industry provides lubricants, vibrators, erotic clothing, and explicit videos to people seeking sexual fulfillment. Thus, stimuli associated with arousal are almost everywhere, creating a culture in which the sexual is ever-present. This sexualization of the culture undoubtedly contributes to the occurrence of sexual activity in places and among persons formerly prohibited.

Sexual morality refers to the beliefs and practices by which a culture, group, faith, etc. regulates their members’ behaviour in matter of sexual activities. Many cultures and religions have rules regarding sexual behavior which they consider moral and it is said by persons in those cultures and religions that those acting outside of those rules are immoral or wrong. These rules sometimes distinguish between sexual activities that are practiced for biological reproduction (sometimes allowed only when in formal marital status and in fertile age) and other activities practiced for the pleasure of sex only (or mainly).

In this sense, a concept of sexual morality can be expressed in any of the possible directions, and groups exist that recommend restrictive behaviours as well as groups that recommend totally free self-determination, as well as a variety of intermediate positions.

The respective efficacy of these rules depends on the social position of the group that develops them, on its eventual political representativity, on its relationships with the laws of the related country.

Views on sexual morality have varied greatly over time and from culture to culture. Usually, they derive from religious beliefs, but some writers have pointed out that social and environmental conditions play a part in the development of a given society’s views on sexual morality.

In Western pluralistic societies of the 20th and 21st centuries, there often exists debate on not only whether there is a common morality, but on whether it is right to expect such a common view. In most western societies, laws allowing a wide range of sexual relationships between consenting adults are the norm, although that legal range varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The debate thus often includes a sub-argument of what is legal vs. what is moral.

In previous centuries and in many non-western cultures of the 20th and 21st centuries, there has been less room for debate. This does not mean, however, that views on sexual morality have ever been homogenous.

For example, in Hellenic society, homosexual behavior was often encouraged and accepted as part of the socialization and upbringing of young men, especially those in the military. These relationships were in addition to heterosexual relationships entered into for the establishment of families and the production of progeny so that property would be inherited and kept within a larger kinship group. The importance of the kin-group and the maintenance of its property was such that, under certain circumstances, Athenian law allowed an uncle to marry his niece in order to keep family property together. It could be therefore argued that the needs of the family constituted a higher morality that helped to define the sexual mores of the society as a whole.

In Roman society, sexual morality concentrated more on the social status of those involved, and their taboos concentrated on high-status men committing any kind of sexual act that was thought of as passive or submissive. Providing that the sexual act was dominant in nature, and the man had a high social status Roman society made little distinction between the type of sexual partner and type of sexual act.

Another example is the contrast between traditional European and traditional Asian or African views of permitted familial relationships. British law and custom, for example, frequently forbade intermarriage between those related by marriage. However, in rural regions of India, Nepal, and surrounding nations, fraternal polyandry, in which two (or more) brothers marry the same woman, is culturally accepted. Likewise, European mores generally advocate monogamy strongly. Polygamy is widely practiced by many societies throughout Asia and Africa, and polyandry is the accepted norm in a few Indian and African societies.

Moreover , exual ethics (also referred to as sexual morality) refers to those aspects of ethics that deal with issues arising from all aspects of sexuality and human sexual behavior. Broadly speaking, sexual ethics relates to community and personal standards relating to the conduct of interpersonal relationships, and deals with issues of consent, sexual relations before marriage and/or while married, including issues of marital fidelity and premarital and non-marital sex, issues related to sexuality, questions about how gender and power are expressed through sexual behavior, questions about how individuals relate to society, and questions about how individual behavior impacts public health concerns.

OBJECTIVES

To know the reality of the world and act accordingly

To have the knowledge before being affected by sexual morality

To be able to care for others and know their rights

To help prevent more sexual morality victims directly or indirectly

EXPLANATION

Sexual Morality In A Nutshell

Sexual morality refers to the beliefs and practices by which a culture, group, faith, etc. regulates their members’ behaviour in matter of sexual activities. Many cultures and religions have a sexual morality that they would like to apply even to non adherents; sometimes force has been used in spreading concepts of morality. These rules sometimes distinguish between sexual activities that are practiced for biological reproduction (sometimes allowed only when in formal marital status and in fertile age) and other activities practiced for the pleasure of sex only (or mainly). In this sense, a concept of sexual morality can be expressed in any of the possible directions, and groups exist that recommend restrictive behaviours as well as groups that recommend totally free self-determination, as well as a variety of intermediate positions. The respective efficacy of these rules depends on the social position of the group that develops them, on its eventual political representativity, on its relationships with the laws of the related country. Views on sexual morality have varied greatly over time and from culture to culture. Usually, they derive from religious beliefs, but some writers have pointed out that social and environmental conditions play a part in the development of a given society’s views on sexual morality.

In Western pluralistic societies of the 20th and 21st centuries, there often exists debate on not only whether there is a common morality, but on whether it is right to expect such a common view. In most western societies, laws allowing a wide range of sexual relationships between consenting adults is the norm, although that legal range varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The debate thus often includes a sub-argument of what is legal vs. what is moral. In previous centuries and in many non-western cultures of the 20th and 21st centuries, there has been less room for debate. This does not mean, however, that views on sexual morality have ever been homogenous. For example, in Hellenic society, homosexual behavior was often encouraged and accepted as part of the socialization and upbringing of young men, especially those in the military. These relationships were in addition to heterosexual relationships entered into for the establishment of families and the production of progeny so that property would be inherited and kept within a larger kinship group. The importance of the kin-group and the maintenance of its property was such that, under certain circumstances, Athenian law allowed an uncle to marry his niece in order to keep family property together. It could be therefore argued that the needs of the family constituted a higher morality that helped to define the sexual mores of the society as a whole.

Another example is the contrast between traditional European and traditional Asian or African views of permitted familial relationships. British law and custom, for example, frequently forbade intermarriage between those related by marriage. However, in rural regions of India, Nepal, and surrounding nations, fraternal polyandry, in which two (or more) brothers marry the same woman, is culturally accepted. Likewise, European mores generally advocate monogamy strongly. However, polygamy is a much more common social pattern worldwide, with some 80 percent of world cultures considering it acceptable. Polygyny is widely practiced by many societies throughout Asia and Africa, and polyandry is the accepted norm in a few Indian and African societies.

In the United States, what many conservatives call “traditional morality” is held to prohibit all non-marital sex, because of the moral belief that sexual relations should occur only between husband and wife. This view of morality thus disapproves of some or all of the following–premarital, extramarital, and homosexual relations–whether consensual or not.

There are people who disagree with this traditional view. Generally they believe that sex is a natural behavior which should be only minimally restricted by legislation or other imposed moralities. Even among the most liberal views of sexual morality in the US, there is generally agreement that involving non-consenting partners (or those unable to give consent legally) in sexual relationships should be restricted and punishable under the law.

Social constructions of sex continued to evolve throughout the twentieth century in Western societies. The pioneering surveys conducted by Alfred C. Kinsey and his colleagues (Kinsey et al. 1953; Kinsey, Pomeroy, and Martin 1948) found widespread premarital and extramarital sexual behavior among both men and women. This challenged the popular view that women were not interested in sex, or less interested in it than men. The work of William Masters and Virginia Johnson (1966) demonstrated that the processes of sexual arousal were similar for men and women, in contrast to the earlier view that they were different. These findings led to what has been termed the “eroticization of female sexuality” (Seidman 1991), the view that men and women were equally erotic. However, there are some gender differences in sexual behavior. Surveys in the United States (Smith 1991), Britain ( Johnson et al. 1994), and France (Spira et al. 1992) find that men report a larger number of sexual partners than women, both lifetime and in the recent past. Studies also find that men are more accepting of sexual activity in casual relationships than are women (Oliver and Hyde 1993).

DISCUSSIONS

Gender Discrimination

In Wikipedia the definition for discrimination is given as the prejudicial treatment of an individual based solely on their membership (whether voluntary or involuntary) in a certain group or category. Discrimination is the actual behavior towards members of another group. It involves excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to other groups. The United Nations explains: “Discriminatory behaviors take many forms, but they all involve some form of exclusion or rejection.” Discriminatory laws such as redlining have existed in many countries. In some countries, controversial attempts such as racial quotas have been used to redress negative effects of discrimination.

The main discrimination we want to discuss is gender discrimination. The Wikipedia also defines it as the gender discrimination and sexism refers to beliefs and attitudes in relation to the gender of a person, such beliefs and attitudes are of a social nature and do not, normally, carry any legal consequences. Sex discrimination, on the other hand, may have legal consequences. Though what constitutes sex discrimination varies between countries, the essence is that it is an adverse action taken by one person against another person that would not have occurred had the person been of another sex. Discrimination of that nature in certain enumerated circumstances is illegal in many countries.

Currently, discrimination based on sex is defined as adverse action against another person, that would not have occurred had the person been of another sex. This is considered a form of prejudice and is illegal in certain enumerated circumstances in most countries. Sexual discrimination can arise in different contexts. For instance an employee may be discriminated against by being asked discriminatory questions during a job interview, or because an employer did not hire, promote or wrongfully terminated an employee based on his or her gender, or employers pay unequally based on gender.

In an educational setting there could be claims that a student was excluded from an educational institution, program, opportunity, loan, student group, or scholarship due to his or her gender. In the housing setting there could be claims that a person was refused negotiations on seeking a house, contracting/leasing a house or getting a loan based on his or her gender. Another setting where there have been claims of gender discrimination is banking; for example if one is refused credit or is offered unequal loan terms based on one’s gender.

Another setting where there is usually gender discrimination is when one is refused to extend his or her credit, refused approval of credit/loan process, and if there is a burden of unequal loan terms based on one’s gender. Socially, sexual differences have been used to justify different roles for men and women, in some cases giving rise to claims of primary and secondary roles.

While there are alleged non-physical differences between men and women, major reviews of the academic literature on gender difference find only a tiny minority of characteristics where there are consistent psychological differences between men and women, and these relate directly to experiences grounded in biological difference. However, there are also some psychological differences in regard to how problems are dealt with and emotional perceptions and reactions which may relate to hormones and the successful characteristics of each gender during longstanding roles in past primitive lifestyles. Unfair discrimination usually follows the gender stereotyping held by a society. The United Nations had concluded that women often experience a “glass ceiling” and that there are no societies in which women enjoy the same opportunities as men. The term “glass ceiling” is used to describe a perceived barrier to advancement in employment based on discrimination, especially sex discrimination.

In the United States in 1995, the Glass Ceiling Commission, a government-funded group, stated: “Over half of all Master’s degrees are now awarded to women, yet 95% of senior-level managers, of the top Fortune 1000 industrial and 500 service companies are men. Of them, 97% are white.” In its report, it recommended affirmative action, which is the consideration of an employee’s gender and race in hiring and promotion decisions, as a means to end this form of discrimination. In 2008, women accounted for 51% of all workers in the high-paying management, professional, and related occupations. They outnumbered men in such occupations as public relations managers; financial managers; and human resource managers. The China’s leading headhunter, Chinahr.com, reported in 2007 that the average salary for white-collar men was 44,000 yuan ($6,441), compared with 28,700 yuan ($4,201) for women.

The PwC research found that among FTSE 350 companies in the United Kingdom in 2002 almost 40% of senior management posts were occupied by women. When that research was repeated in 2007, the number of senior management posts held by women had fallen to 22%.

Transgender individuals, both male to female and female to male, often experience problems which often lead to dismissals, underachievement, difficulty in finding a job, social isolation, and, occasionally, violent attacks against them. Nevertheless, the problem of gender discrimination does not stop at trand ender individuals nor with women. Men are often the victim in certain areas of employment as men begin to seek work in office and childcare settings traditionally perceived as “women’s jobs”. One such situation seems to be evident in a recent case concerning alleged YMCA discrimination and a Federal Court Case in Texas. The case actually involves alleged discrimination against both men and blacks in childcare, even when they pass the same strict background tests and other standards of employment. It is currently being contended in federal court, as of fall 2009, and sheds light on how a workplace dominated by a majority (women in this case) sometimes will seemingly “justify” whatever they wish to do, regardless of the law. This may be done as an effort at self-protection, to uphold traditional societal roles, or some other faulty, unethical or illegal prejudicial reasoning. Affirmative action also leads to white men being discriminated against for entry level and blue collar positions. An employer cannot hire a white man with the same “on paper” qualifications over a woman or minority worker or the employer will face prosecution.

The UNICEF claims on gender discrimination that birth histories and census to-date reveal an unusually high proportion of male births and male children under five in Asia, most notably in India and China, suggesting sex-selecting foeticide and infanticide in the world’s two most populous countries, despite initiatives to eradicate these practices in both countries. More than 115 million children of primary school age do not attend school. For every 100 boys not attending primary school, there are 115 girls in the same situation. Research shows that educated women are less likely to die in childbirth and more likely to send their children to school.

A UNICEF survey of selected countries finds that on average, children with uneducated mothers are at least twice as likely to be out of primary school than children whose mothers attended primary school. More than 130 million women and girls alive today have been subjected to female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), which can have grave health consequences, including the failure to heal, increased susceptibility to HIV infection, childbirth complications, inflammatory diseases and urinary incontinence.

The younger girls are when they first have sex, the more likely it is that intercourse has been imposed on them. According to a World Health Organisation study, 150 million girls and 73 million boys under the age of 18 experienced forced sexual intercourse or other forms of physical and sexual violence in 2002. Globally, 36 per cent of woman between the ages of 20-24 were married or in union before they reached 18. Premature pregnancy and childbirth is often a dangerous consequence of child marriage. An estimated 14 million girls between 15-19 years old give birth every year. If a mother is under 18, her baby’s chances of dying in the first year of life is 60 percent greater than that of a baby born to a mother over 19. Babies born to mothers under 18 are more likely to suffer from low birth weight, under nutrition and delayed physical and cognitive development.

High rates of illiteracy among women prevent them from knowing about the risks of HIV infection and ways to protect themselves. Elderly women may face double discrimination on the basis of both gender and age. Women tend to live longer than men, may lack control of family resources and can face discrimination from inheritance and property laws. This is what gender discrimination means where the male and female are discriminated in some ways.

Pornography

Pornography or porn is the portrayal of explicit sexual subject matter for the purposes of sexual excitement and erotic satisfaction.

Pornography may use any of a variety of media, ranging from books, magazines, postcards, photos, sculpture, drawing, painting, animatio, sound recordingn, film, video, or video game. However, when sexual acts are performed for a live audience, by definition, it is not pornography, as the term applies to the depiction of the act, rather than the act itself. Thus, portrayals such as sex shows and striptease are not classified as pornography.

A pornographic model poses for pornographic photographs. A pornographic actor, also called porn star, acts in pornographic films. In cases where few actor skills are required a performer in pornographic films is also called a pornographic model.

Pornography has often been subject to censorship and legal restraints on publication on grounds of obscenity. Such grounds and the very definition of what is or is not pornography have differed in different historical, cultural and national contexts. Over the past few decades, an immense industry for the production and consumption of pornography has grown, with the increasing use of home video and the Internet, as well as the emergence of social attitudes more tolerant of sexual portrayals. Amateur pornography has become widely popular and generally distributed via the Internet for free.

MORAL PRESPECTIVE

Benefits of Safe sex

Sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies can be greatly reduced by practicing safe sex. Even thought no method of safe sex is 100% effective, it is still much better than not using any protection. The methods of protection, while not foolproof, still greatly reduce the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease or an unwanted pregnancy.

So, if you choose to engage in sexually activity, it’s always important to use some form of protection. The following will outline some of the options available including abstinence and monogamy, both male and female condoms, and oral contraception.

Abstinence is still the best and safest method of preventing both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. It is 100% effective. Although it is the only foolproof method, it is not the most popular choice. The next best option if you are unwilling to practice abstinence, is to engage in sexual activities with only one person, in a monogamous relationship.

A monogamous relationship means that both you and your partner engage in sexual activity with no one but each other. While monogamy is not an effective method of birth control, it does minimize the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. As long as both you and your partner are free of diseases and remain committed to each other, you will remain free of diseases. Abstinence and monogamy are both highly effective safe sex methods. Abstinence is effective at preventing both pregnancy and diseases while monogamy helps to prevent diseases only.

The condom is one of the better methods available for avoiding sexually transmitted diseases. When they’re properly used they are also 97%-98% effective in preventing pregnancy. Male condoms are easily accessible in drug stores, grocery stores, and even vending machines. They are also inexpensive. There are male and female versions of the condom available. Male condoms are more popular. The male condom is a thin sheath, usually made of latex that fits over the penis and acts as a barrier to the exchange of bodily fluids during intercourse. Even if they aren’t used correctly, they are still very effective in preventing pregnancy (88%-90% effective). So even though they are effective, they are still not 100% reliable. The risk still exists, however small, of getting pregnant or contracting a sexually transmitted disease.

The female condom is a polyurethane sheath that lines the entire vagina. The closed end is inserted into the vagina and the open end remains outside the body. It’s been available only since the 1990’s and is not as readily available at the male condom. If you can find it, you will also pay more for it, since it costs more than a male condom. It is however, just as effective as the male condom in preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

There are oral contraceptives available as well that are very effective in preventing pregnancy. These however, do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases. An oral contraceptive is a pill that is taken daily which uses hormones to prevent pregnancy. If used correctly, the pill is 97-99% effective.

As with any drug, there are side effects that come along with pill usage. Most of these side effects are mild. Some side effects include weight changes, nausea, irritability and breast tenderness. Even though these aren’t severe, they can be avoided altogether. Today there are numerous varieties of pills on the market. Talk to your doctor and find out which is best for you. Again, while oral contraceptives are effective against preventing pregnancy, they do not work against contracting sexually transmitted diseases. If you are not sure that your partner is free of disease, you should consider using another form of safe sex method as a back up to prevent these diseases.

If you want to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, it is best to take all the measure you can to practice safe sex. So while abstinence is the only 100% effective method against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, there are other options out there to explore that offer good benefits. Monogamy is effective in protection against sexually transmitted diseases, while condoms and birth control pills are effective against unwanted pregnancies.

Safer Sex (“Safe Sex”) at a Glance can reduces our risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD), using condoms makes vaginal or anal intercourse safer sex, using condoms or other barriers makes oral sex safer sex, having sex play without intercourse can be even safer sex, and safer sex can be very pleasurable and exciting.

CONCLUSION

As a conclusion the major change in the discourse about sex is the uncoupling of sex from marriage. As sexual gratification became accepted as an end in itself, people began to challenge the belief that intimate sexual activity should be limited to marriage. A liberal discourse emerged, which argued that sexual intimacy involving consenting people who are not married nor planning to marry is acceptable. In the 1970s, some argued that extramarital sexual intimacy is acceptable if the spouse approves (O’Neill and O’Neill 1972). This discourse led to expansion of available sexual lifestyles, including nonmarital relationships, cohabitation, and open marriage.

Since the mid-1960s, in the United States and elsewhere in the West, a minority discourse has developed that separates sex from love. According to this view, engaging in sexual intimacy for physical pleasure, or to express affection for one’s partner, is legitimate. This discourse is the basis of a best-selling sexual advice book of the 1970s, The Joy of Sex (Comfort 1972), and its sequel, The New Joy of Sex (Comfort 1991). This discourse views male and female as essentially equal in sexual potential and in the right to sexual gratification. It challenges the double standard that sexual intimacy outside marriage or a committed relationship is acceptable for men but not for women. This discourse is consistent with the view that sex need not be limited to heterosexual couples. Thus, it facilitated the movement toward acceptance of casual heterosexual and homosexual contacts and living in committed gay and lesbian relationships.

The most visible change in the United States and other Western cultures since the mid-1970s is the increasing explicitness of public discourse about sexuality. Explicit sexual representations are found in newspapers, magazines, novels, and films. The individual’s desire for sexual fulfillment is used to sell lipstick, colognes, beer, clothing, travel, and automobiles. Personal advertisements, singles magazines, and dating services cater to the desire to find the (nearly) perfect spouse or the perfect sexual partner. The sex industry provides lubricants, vibrators, erotic clothing, and explicit videos to people seeking sexual fulfillment. Thus, stimuli associated with arousal are almost everywhere, creating a culture in which the sexual is ever-present. This sexualization of the culture undoubtedly contributes to the occurrence of sexual activity in places and among persons formerly prohibited.

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