Often the concept of sexual activity is relegated to intercourse, which is not always necessary. The mere touch of a loved one can increase the levels of the “feel good” hormones and neurotransmitters, thus bringing together the biological and psychological components of sexual activity.
An identification of the phases involved in the sexual response cycle, including a criticism in the application of the Masters and Johnson (1966) theory of sexual response to the female sexual experience. Breaking the cycle down into the four phases limits the psychological influence on the sexual experience, which may play a larger role in women, as compared to men. Ignoring the difference may limit the effective and appropriate treatment of sexual dysfunctions in women.
The diversion from the Masters and Johnson model of sexual response allows for the psychological aspects that were missing from the 1966 design. Basson (2001) found that the drive and motivation for sexual activities stem from a desire for intimacy, rather than lust, which is more common in the male sexual response. By including the psychological aspects, counselors have more points that can be addressed during sessions to assist clients.
The comparison of these two models allows for the identification of the differences. The Basson model includes the psychological aspects that the Masters and Johnson model neglects when examining the sexual response, especially as it pertains to the female sexual response.
Contrary to what many individuals think, human sexuality is more fluid than many realize. While some may identify as strictly heterosexual or strictly homosexual, sexuality can be more accurately defined as occurring along a continuum, instead of a discreet category.
The comparison of these two scales help to show that the definition of sexual orientation can be a bit tricky, as there are many variables present. The Klein scale takes into account feelings and activities that occurred in the past, present, and ideal, which may differ between one another. There may be some inner turmoil if an individual’s past and present have differed from their ideal relationship. Counselors can use these tools to help their clients who are experiencing a sexuality incongruence.
Often the views of a religion on the sexual practices can psychologically scar an individual. Internalized homophobia can occur in same-sex relationships, especially when one member grew up in a religious family. The idea the one’s life is wrong, immoral, or a sin can lead to depression and even suicide (Frost & Meyer, 2009).
Building upon the previous stages of sexual development, individuals gain valuable skills that can be employed in future stages. However, according to Freud, if the goals for each psychosexual stage are not met, there can be consequences. Additionally, using the developmental theory of Erik Erikson, a lack of achieving the goals associated with each stage can result in a feeling of isolation, stagnation, and even depression (Rosenthal, 1981).
Communication is key in any relationship, whether it is between heterosexual or homosexual couples, a breakdown in communication can be detrimental to the relationship. Additionally, honest and open communication with mental health workers can help clients to life a full life on both an individual and relational basis.
Biological Aspects:Chemicals Sexual activity, which is not limited to intercourse, hasboth physical and emotional components. The release ofhormones and neurotransmitters, including oxytocin, canlead to a feeling of love and security. Oxytocin levelsincrease during orgasm, which combined with dopamine,create an addictive desire for closeness (Argiolas & Melis,2004).
Female Sexual Response:Masters And Johnson (1966)o The Sexual Response Cycle, proposed by Masters andJohnson (1966), consists of four phases, which arebiological in nature: excitement/arousal, plateau, orgasm,and resolution. The linear model was thought to beapplicable to both men and women, however it may not bean accurate description of female sexual response.
Female Sexual Response:Basson (2001)o The Basson model, more holistic in nature, includesemotional intimacy, sexual stimuli, and relationshipsatisfaction (Basson, 2001) among other phases. Divertingfrom the linear model proposed by Masters and Johnson(1966), the circuitous design allows for female sexualdysfunctions to be separated from male causes.
A Comparison of Two ModelsMasters and Johnson (1966)Basson(2001)
The Complexities of SexualOrientation Sexuality is rarely a black or white issue. TheHeterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale, created byKinsey, Pomeroy, and Martin (1948) and the Klein SexualOrientation Grid (Klein, 1993) both attempt to measurethe complicated definition of sexual orientation.
Sexual Orientation ScalesHeterosexual-homosexual rating scale(Kinsey, Pomeroy, & Martin, 1948)Klein Sexual orientation grid(klein, 1993)
Cultural Influence on Sexuality One’s culture can often have a great influence over thedevelopment and experience of sexuality. From thecircumcision procedures performed on both male andfemale, to the religious condemning of homosexuality(Adamczyk & Pitt, 2009), culture can contribute to bothphysical and psychological trauma.
Psychosexual Developmento During the adolescent years, strong emotional attachmentsare often forged, with sexual activity typically proceedinginto the adult years. Over time, a decrease in hormonelevels occurs, which brings changes in sexual function anddesire. However, couples can still maintain their intimacylevels through medical and psychological interventions.
References Adamczyk, A., & Pitt, C. (2009). Shaping attitudes about homosexuality: The role ofreligion and cultural context. Social Science Research, 38, 338-351.doi:10.1016/j.ssresearch.2009.01.002 Argiolas, A., & Melis, M. R. (2004). The role of oxytocin and the paraventricular nucleusin the sexual behavior of male mammals. Physiology and Behavior, 83(2), 309-317.doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2004.08.019 Basson, R. (2001). Female sexual response: The role of drugs in the management of sexualdysfunction. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 98, 350. doi:10.1016/S0029-7844(01)01452-1 Frost, D. M., & Meyer, I. H. (2009). Internalized homophobia and relationship qualityamong lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 56(1), 97-109.doi:10.1037/a0012844 Kinsey, A. C., Pomeroy, W. B., & Martin, C. E. (1948). Sexual behavior in the human male.Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Co. Klein, F. (1993). The bisexual option. New York: Harrington Park Press. Masters, W. H., & Masters, V. J. (1966). Human sexual response. Boston, MA: Little,Brown. Rosenthal, D. A. (1981). From trust to intimacy: A new inventory for examining Eriksonsstages of psychosocial development. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 10, 525-537.