Human sexuality

Human sexuality is the way people experience and express themselves sexually.[1][2] This involves biological, erotic, physical, emotional, social, or spiritual feelings and behaviors.[3][4] Because it is a broad term, which has varied over time, it lacks a precise definition.[4] The biological and physical aspects of sexuality largely concern the human reproductive functions, including the human sexual response cycle.[3][4] Someone's sexual orientation can influence that person's sexual interest and attraction for another person.[5] Physical and emotional aspects of sexuality include bonds between individuals that are expressed through profound feelings or physical manifestations of love, trust, and care. Social aspects deal with the effects of human society on one's sexuality, while spirituality concerns an individual's spiritual connection with others. Sexuality also affects and is affected by cultural, political, legal, philosophical, moral, ethical, and religious aspects of life.[3][4]

Interest in sexual activity typically increases when an individual reaches puberty.[6] Opinions differ on the origins of an individual's sexual orientation and sexual behavior. Some argue that sexuality is determined by genetics, while others believe it is molded by the environment, or that both of these factors interact to form the individual's sexual orientation.[5] This pertains to the nature versus nurture debate. In the former, one assumes that the features of a person innately correspond to their natural inheritance, exemplified by drives and instincts; the latter refers to the assumption that the features of a person continue to change throughout their development and nurturing, exemplified by ego ideals and formative identifications.

Evolutionary perspectives on human coupling, reproduction and reproduction strategies, and social learning theory provide further views of sexuality.[7] Socio-cultural aspects of sexuality include historical developments and religious beliefs. Examples of these include Jewish views on sexual pleasure within marriage and some views of other religions on avoidance of sexual pleasures.[8][page needed] Some cultures have been described as sexually repressive. The study of sexuality also includes human identity within social groups, sexually transmitted infections (STIs/STDs), and birth control methods.

Development

Nature versus nurture

Certain characteristics may be innate in humans; these characteristics may be modified by the physical and social environment in which people interact.[9] Human sexuality is driven by genetics and mental activity. The sexual drive affects the development of personal identity and social activities.[10][11] An individual's normative, social, cultural, educational, and environmental characteristics moderate the sexual drive.[10] Two well-known schools in psychology took opposing positions in the nature-versus-nurture debate: the Psychoanalytic school led by Sigmund Freud and the Behaviorist school which traces its origins to John Locke.

Freud believed sexual drives are instinctive. He was a firm supporter of the nature argument; he said there are a large number of instincts but they are reduced into two broad groups: Eros (the life instinct), which comprises the self-preserving and erotic instincts, and Thanatos (the death instinct), which comprises instincts invoking aggression, self-destruction, and cruelty.[12] He gave sexual drives a centrality in human life, actions, and behaviors that had not been accepted before his proposal. His instinct theory said humans are driven from birth by the desire to acquire and enhance bodily pleasures, thus supporting the nature debate. Freud redefined the term sexuality to make it cover any form of pleasure that can be derived from the human body.[12] He also said pleasure lowers tension while displeasure raises it, influencing the sexual drive in humans. His developmentalist perspective was governed by inner forces, especially biological drives and maturation, and his view that humans are biologically inclined to seek sexual gratification demonstrates the nature side of the debate.[13] The nurture debate traces back to John Locke and his theory of the mind as a "tabula rasa" or blank slate. Later, behaviorists would apply this notion in support of the idea that the environment is where one develops one's sexual drives.[13]

Gender differences

Psychological theories exist regarding the development and expression of gender differences in human sexuality. A number of them, including neo-analytic theories, sociobiological theories, social learning theory, social role theory, and script theory, agree in predicting that men should be more approving of casual sex (sex happening outside a stable, committed relationship such as marriage) and should also be more promiscuous (have a higher number of sexual partners) than women. These theories are mostly consistent with observed differences in males' and females' attitudes toward casual sex before marriage in the United States; other aspects of human sexuality, such as sexual satisfaction, incidence of oral sex, and attitudes toward homosexuality and masturbation, show little to no observed difference between males and females. Observed gender differences regarding the number of sexual partners are modest, with males tending to have slightly more than females.[14]

Other Languages
Bân-lâm-gú: Jîn-lūi ê sèng
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Сэксуальнасьць чалавека
भोजपुरी: मानव कामुकता
български: Сексуалност
bosanski: Seksualnost
brezhoneg: Revelezh denel
한국어: 인간의 성
Bahasa Indonesia: Seksualitas manusia
Interlingue: Sexualitá homani
latviešu: Seksualitāte
lietuvių: Seksualumas
मराठी: लैंगिकता
日本語: 人間の性
português: Sexualidade humana
Simple English: Human sexuality
slovenčina: Ľudská sexualita
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Ljudska seksualnost
Tiếng Việt: Tính dục
Zeêuws: Seksualiteit
中文: 人类的性