Monday, July 8, 2013

Personal Response on Sexual Identity

          My personal response on sexual identity has changed, my knowledge has broadened, and now I understand and can discuss in detail why and how sexual identity affects one’s life and determines how one lives life. Sexual identity refers to how one perceives oneself. As well as I have a broader understanding and knowledge of other key aspects such as value systems, critical thinking, sexual orientation, gender identity, masculinity-femininity continuum, important aspects of attraction, styles of love, and communication. Value systems provide one a framework for judging the moral acceptability of sexual options (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005). Critical thinking means one has to be skeptical of things presented in print, uttered by authority figures or celebrities, or passed along by friends to determine what is fact or fiction, reliable or unreliable (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005).
The Effect of Environment and Historical Perspectives on Sexuality
          In one’s world, physical and social aspects along with historical and scientific perspectives might affect life as far as one’s sexual orientation. Gender identity is one’s conception of oneself as male or female, and one rarely sees oneself as both or neither. Masculinity-femininity continuum refers to how masculinity and femininity may be opposite but one may find oneself somewhere in between depending on certain traits that are associated to be either female or male. Relationships with others are determined by important aspects of attraction and are defined by styles of love. Communication requires skills that can enhance relationships and sexual relations with others (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005). Some of these aspects affect one’s view of self, while some of the other aspects affect life, relationships, and sexual relations with others.
Value Systems
          Value systems our one’s sexual standards that may be affected by several sources, such as parents, peers, religious training, ethnic subcultures, the larger culture, and one’s appraisal of all these influences (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005). Seven value systems exist, which are rationalism, situational ethics, asceticism, legalism, ethical relativism, hedonism, and utilitarianism. Before Psychology 265 – Psychology of Human Sexuality, as a teenager I knew nothing about value systems. Although, I had the influence of my father guiding me through life and decision making. Therefore, before Psychology 265, as a teenager, young adult, and adult the value system that I identified with as far as my sexual decision making was rationalism. Rationalism is one’s use of reason to determine a course of action toward sexual decision making (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005). Therefore, it is the rationalist’s belief that decisions should be based on intellect and reason rather than faith or emotions (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005).
         One that is a rationalist will assess all facts in any sexual situation and weighs any consequences of various courses of action toward making a decision (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005). One who is a rationalist shares with the utilitarian, one who believes moral conduct brings about the greatest good for the greatest number, a belief that reasoning can lead to ethical behavior, but is not bound to the utilitarian code that makes choices on the basis of the greatest good for the greatest number (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005).
Critical Thinking
          To use critical thinking one has to scrutinize definitions of terms and to evaluate the premises of arguments and their logic (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005). Before Psychology 265, in different ages of my life I used critical thinking in sexual decision making, but as I aged I used critical thinking more often to the point where I only think critically before making sexual decisions. Although, I did not know or understand the principles of critical thinking which are be skeptical, examine definitions of terms, examine the assumptions or premises of arguments, be cautious in drawing conclusions from evidence, consider alternative interpretations of research evidence, consider the kinds of evidence on which conclusions are based, do not oversimplify, and do not overgeneralize (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005).
Completing Psychology 265 has not altered my value system related to sexuality, although, it has defined and reinforced my value system. Now I know what all my value system entails and how it specifically affects my sexual decision making. There has possible been a change in the role of critical thinking in my sexual decision making. Now I know and understand the principles of critical thinking, therefore I can fully achieve being a critical thinker as far as my sexual decision making. 
Sexual Orientation 
          Sexual orientation is the directionality of one’s sexual and romantic interests and erotic attractions toward members of the same sex, opposite sex, or both sexes (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005). My sexual orientation is that I am heterosexual. My sexual and romantic interest and erotic attractions are toward those of the opposite sex. Physically, I was born with male sex organs and masculine traits, therefore I am a male. Socially, I am accepted as a male and treated as such, because I display masculine traits and have lived as a male my entire life. Therefore, socially my sexual orientation as a heterosexual is socially accepted and is a social norm. Although, I do not believe physical or social aspects have affected my sexual orientation. I was born with my sexual orientation. Historical and scientific perspectives can either provide or reflect positives and negatives on one’s sexual orientation. I do not believe that historical or scientific perspectives have affected my sexual orientation. My belief is that historical perspectives are biased, and they are not-based scientific evidence or logical, but scientific perspectives provide a better understanding of why I am heterosexual.
Gender Identity
          Gender identity is one’s psychological awareness or sense of being either a female or male, and it is the more important and obvious aspects of one’s self-concept (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005). At birth my gender or sex assignment was a reflection of my anatomic sex. I was born male sexually. My awareness of my anatomic sex occurred near the age of 18 months, and at 36 months I had acquired a stable sense of my gender identity (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005). My anatomic sex is that of a male, therefore, that is what determined why my father raised me as such. Physically my appearance resembles that of a male, seeing that I have male sex organs and masculine traits, but I am capable of situational feminine traits. Socially I was viewed as a male, and accepted and treated as such.
          As far as the masculinity-femininity continuum I consider myself psychologically androgynous. Therefore I do not assume that the more masculine one is, the less feminine one must be, or the more feminine one is, the less masculine one must be (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005). Being psychological androgyny, I have the ability to fit both the masculine and feminine gender-role stereotypes, and I am able to exhibit “masculine” assertiveness and instrumental skills and “feminine” nurturance and cooperation, and I am capable of meeting the demands of different situations to express my talents and desires (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005).
          In my life, my relationships have been characterized by different aspects of attraction that help me in choosing a potential mate, and certain styles of love have defined my relationships and will continue to do so. The aspects of attraction that have been important to me are physical appearance, intelligence, and attitude. In choosing a mate I first look at one’s physical appearance, because I look for certain features and aspects that spark my interest. As far as intelligence, a potential mate must be intelligent enough to understand life, succeed in life, and possess enough intelligence to be involved in a compassionate and empathic relationship. A potential mate’s attitude is a feature that must be similar or compatible too my attitude for a successful friendship as well as relationship.
Styles of Love   
          There are six styles of love, which are romantic love, game-playing love, friendship, logical love, possessive love, and selfless love. Of these six styles romantic love, friendship, and logical love have pervaded my romantic experiences. Romantic love is characterized by the combination of passion and intimacy, friendship love is based on liking and respect rather than sexual desire, and logical love is consider a lover’s potential in life before committing (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005).
          Communication is a means for potential and current couples to learn about each other’s desires and needs, but without communication or effective communication problems can arise when one misinterprets their partner; therefore, clear communication can take the guesswork out of relationships, avert misunderstandings, relieve resentments and frustrations, and increase sexual and general satisfaction with the relationship (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005). In order for couples to communicate effectively and clearly communication skills are required. These skills include getting started in communicating, listening to one’s partner, and learning about one’s partner’s needs, providing information, making requests, delivering and receiving criticism, and coping with impasses. Without utilizing communication skills couples can become dissatisfied in their partner and in their relationship.
          Relationships may even end, but utilizing communication skills can maintain and even enhance relationships. I now know I must use these skills as well to maintain effective and clear communication in my future relationships. However, in previous relationships neither my partner nor me knew of these skills and sometimes failed at communicating effectively and clearly. I now stand by these communication skills and will use them effectively.
          Sexual identity, sexual orientation, gender identity, and masculinity-femininity continuum are aspects that all play key roles in determining who one is and how one perceives oneself, as well as how others view one. Value systems, critical thinking, important aspects of attraction, styles of love, and communication affect one’s life and life with others, potential partners and current partners as far as relationships and sexual relations.

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