Leanna Wolfe, Ph.D.
   Research for this project came from several modalities. First it    came from teaching college level anthropology and ...
   196 Respondents    ◦ 113 female    ◦ 83 male   Average Age – 21    ◦ Age range 15-29   Ethnicities    ◦   100 Hispan...
MethodologyI surveyed people randomly that included people I had neverspoken to or seen before as well as some whom I have...
DATING PATTERNS                  GROUPS                  SINGLE PERSON                  BOTH                  OWN ETHNICIT...
Dating Outside Ones Ethnicity70605040302010 0     Total   Hispanic   Asian   Armenian   Males   Females
Parents Same Religion/Ethnicity?120100 80                                                   Religion 60                   ...
Important to Marry Same Religion10080                                                       Yes60                         ...
Important to Marry Same Ethnicity90807060                                                     Yes5040                     ...
Most Korean families firmly believe in Christianity andmost Korean parents make it a top priority for theirchildren to als...
From my data it appears that Armenianmen only date women from otherethnicities, but with no intention ofmarrying them. The...
SEXUAL EXPERIENCEArmenians   AsiansHispanics                                       ORAL SEX Females                       ...
I had an amazing time with this research project. Ilearned a lot about my culture and learned that I was notthe only one b...
Most people would say I’m sort of a rebel going againstcultural norms, but who’s to say how many other people aredoing it?...
Armenian Girl Friends
Traditional Chinese culture believes that both men and womenshould be virgins before they are married because it symbolize...
One interesting point I came across while analyzing my datawas that two of the Armenian males when responding to thequesti...
Mothers Virginity100 80 60                                         Yes 40                                         No      ...
Fathers Virginity8060                                             Yes40                                             No20  ...
Even though in most Asian cultures people are expectedto remain virgins until marriage, most of those surveyedwere not eve...
Sex is a very private topic that is only kept between theindividuals and is not something that is shared. The onlyconditio...
Important for Partner to be a Virgin?807060                                                         Yes5040               ...
Important for You to be a Virgin Before Marriage?80706050                                                           Yes40 ...
I thought that by praying harder allthose sexual thoughts would go away.Days would pass and all I could thinkabout was sex...
The most important thing parents teachtheir offspring about sexuality isvirginity. They want their girls to bevirgins unti...
Armenians consider it a sin to speak about sex or anything ofits nature. The words that pertain to a person’s private part...
In the 80s and early 90s most of the Hispanics used to followtheir customs. This meant getting married in white throughthe...
Hispanic Girl Friends
I already have two children but I would have preferred to besingle until I was 25 so I could be free like a bird. I do not...
Getting PermissionWhen I was in confirmation classes in the 11th and 12thgrades, a priest came to speak to us. I asked him...
How Culture is UsedParental expectations are offered as a publicly expressedcultural excuse for abstaining. For some young...
Culture As A CoverNo one was every going to know about it because beingArmenian having premarital sex is completely unacce...
MARITAL AGE353025                                           MOTHER20                                           FATHER15   ...
   All ethnicities seek to marry at age 27   Armenians most seek to marry one another    (83%) while Hispanics have the ...
I learned a lot doing this project—mostly that I wasn’t theonly non-virgin and that there were others who were a littlereb...
From this research I found out that while earlier generationsfollowed the traditional Chinese cultural norms, the newgener...
I think that there is definitely a shift in the Latino culture, howeverthe shift has been for the better. Thanks to those ...
The generation gap between Armenian men of thisgeneration and their fathers’ generation is almost non-existent. The men ar...
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sex & culture

  1. 1. Leanna Wolfe, Ph.D.
  2. 2.  Research for this project came from several modalities. First it came from teaching college level anthropology and sexuality classes in Los Angeles classrooms where ethnicity and religion emerged as major factors in why students behaved (or reported that they behaved) the ways that they do. Beginning in the summer of 2006 students enrolled “Gender Sex and Culture” at LA Valley College and “Evolutionary Perspectives on Sex and Gender” at Cal State LA were invited to research their own ethnic/ religious communities. Students helped to design the survey, administered it to 10 respondents apiece, learned how to code their data and wrote short reports explaining their preliminary findings. This presentation consolidates all the student-coded data as well as comments and interpretations offered by student researchers in their individual reports. Many of the researchers had never before stepped back to look at their own cultures as sexual scientists.
  3. 3.  196 Respondents ◦ 113 female ◦ 83 male Average Age – 21 ◦ Age range 15-29 Ethnicities ◦ 100 Hispanics ◦ 34 Asians ◦ 24 Armenians HISPANIC ARMENIAN ◦ 16 Whites ASIAN ◦ 12 Blacks WHITE ◦ 10 Others BLACK OTHER
  4. 4. MethodologyI surveyed people randomly that included people I had neverspoken to or seen before as well as some whom I have arelationship with. To avoid lies and errors in my data I toldeveryone before I handed out the survey that because someof the information was personal, I would not look at it afterthey gave it to me. Rather I would stick it in a pile of othersurveys and would only analyze the data at the time I was tointerpret it so I would not be able to link faces toinformation. I felt this way I would get more honestanswers. Imelda Vargas Hispanic Researcher
  5. 5. DATING PATTERNS GROUPS SINGLE PERSON BOTH OWN ETHNICITY OTHER ETHNICITIES
  6. 6. Dating Outside Ones Ethnicity70605040302010 0 Total Hispanic Asian Armenian Males Females
  7. 7. Parents Same Religion/Ethnicity?120100 80 Religion 60 Ethnicity 40 20 0 Total Hispanic Asian Armenian
  8. 8. Important to Marry Same Religion10080 Yes60 No40 For Parents20 0 L n e e c n TA ia ni al al ia en M pa m As TO Fe m s Hi Ar
  9. 9. Important to Marry Same Ethnicity90807060 Yes5040 No30 For Parents2010 0 L n e e c n TA ia ni al al ia en M pa m As TO Fe m sHi Ar
  10. 10. Most Korean families firmly believe in Christianity andmost Korean parents make it a top priority for theirchildren to also marry a Korean who is also Christian.Children grow up realizing the importance of religion andculture and seek mates that have this quality to fulfilltheir parents’ requests. They do not wish to disappointtheir parents and have them shamed in front of neighborsand friends. Pride is also another important aspect in theKorean culture. Kiyeon Kook Korean Researcher
  11. 11. From my data it appears that Armenianmen only date women from otherethnicities, but with no intention ofmarrying them. They only date thesewomen to fool around with them.Then they expect to find an Armenianwoman who is still a virgin to settledown with. Most of the women Isurveyed do date outside their ethnic Armine Alagoziangroup and reported that it Armenian Researcheris not important for the person they marry to be Armenian, but itwas important to their parents. Our parents’ generation felt it wasimportant to marry within their ethnicity and it appears that theparents want their children to marry within as well. It is mostly themales of our generation who agree with their parents’ views onendogamy.
  12. 12. SEXUAL EXPERIENCEArmenians AsiansHispanics ORAL SEX Females NOT A VIRGIN Males Total 0 20 40 60 80 100
  13. 13. I had an amazing time with this research project. Ilearned a lot about my culture and learned that I was notthe only one blind to sex. My fellow male Filipinos werealso not taught about it by their parents. I thought thatsince I was a girl, they would not want to teach me oreven say the word “sex” in our household, but I learnedthat it was not just me. It was the Filipino culture. All myfriends, not just the ones who participated in my researchproject, said that their parents did not say a word to themabout sex. Hearing that makes me feel a lot better. I donot feel as bad as I did before because I was in the closetabout a lot of things. This opened my eyes to learn newthings. Vanessa Prudencio Filipina Researcher
  14. 14. Most people would say I’m sort of a rebel going againstcultural norms, but who’s to say how many other people aredoing it? I enjoy giving head, I love having anal sex, I lovemaking out, I like penis, I like my boobs, and I like the factthat I can have multiple orgasms. I am who I am, and justbecause I’m not perfect doesn’t mean I’m not happy. 21 year old Armenian Female
  15. 15. Armenian Girl Friends
  16. 16. Traditional Chinese culture believes that both men and womenshould be virgins before they are married because it symbolizespurity as well as respect for one’s partner. However, the datashows us this value is no longer true. As Chinese Americanshave been influenced by Western culture, the belief in being avirgin before marriage is considered nonsense. Oral sex,however, may not be practiced widely. Several participants toldme that asking a partner to give oral sex seems to be degradingthat individual. This perspective is rarely seen in Westernculture…. Mark Wang Chinese Researcher
  17. 17. One interesting point I came across while analyzing my datawas that two of the Armenian males when responding to thequestion regarding oral sex asked how they should go aboutanswering it. They explained that they have received oral sex,but have not performed it. This makes me wonder if this is acase of male pride and ego. Maybe they felt they were too goodto perform oral sex on a woman or felt it was a degrading act. Armine Alagozian Armenian Researcher
  18. 18. Mothers Virginity100 80 60 Yes 40 No Dont Know 20 0 Hispanic Asian Armenian Total
  19. 19. Fathers Virginity8060 Yes40 No20 Dont Know 0 Hispanic Asian Armenian Total
  20. 20. Even though in most Asian cultures people are expectedto remain virgins until marriage, most of those surveyedwere not even sure if their parents were virgins. Theparents are supposed to teach their children to keep theirvirginity until marriage and yet they do not talk aboutwhether or not they were virgins. On the other hand,most Asian families do not talk about anything related tosex at home, so that might be another reason why thepeople surveyed were clueless about whether theirparents were virgins when they married. Marcella Wong Chinese Researcher
  21. 21. Sex is a very private topic that is only kept between theindividuals and is not something that is shared. The onlyconditions under which this topic is touched upon withinHispanic culture is when it is used as advice. It is verycommon to hear mothers say, “I got married at___and now Irealize that it was too young. I would like it if you went toschool and got a good job before you get married like me.”This is the reason why children find out the age their parentsgot married, not because it is a casual topic of conversation. Imelda Vargas Hispanic Researcher
  22. 22. Important for Partner to be a Virgin?807060 Yes5040 No3020 Dont Know10 0 l es n n es ic ta ia ia an al To al en As M m isp m FeH Ar
  23. 23. Important for You to be a Virgin Before Marriage?80706050 Yes40 No30 Dont Know2010 0 Hispanic Asian Armenian Males Females Total
  24. 24. I thought that by praying harder allthose sexual thoughts would go away.Days would pass and all I could thinkabout was sex and how it would feel.I would think of how it would be myfirst time with my boyfriend. I wouldbe almost there—ready to do it and Iwould pull away. I would pull awaybecause every time I would try to getintimate , a picture of the Virgin ofGuadalupe would pop up in my head.This is how it was in everyrelationship. At times I thought I wasgoing crazy visualizing these pictures. Female Hispanic Virgin
  25. 25. The most important thing parents teachtheir offspring about sexuality isvirginity. They want their girls to bevirgins until marriage. I noticed thatthe subjects who reported that “it isimportant to them to be a virgin whenthey marry and vice a versa” were theones who are the virgins right now.They believe what their parents havetold them. Those who aren’t virginsanymore may be influenced by othercultures or media. Other cultures maynot emphasize virginity as much asThai culture. If subjects live away Vikanda Meechanfrom Thai culture long enough, they do Thai Researchernot see virginity as valuable anymore.
  26. 26. Armenians consider it a sin to speak about sex or anything ofits nature. The words that pertain to a person’s private partsare considered foul words that only people living in the streetswould use. A good Christian Armenian woman is expected tomaintain her virginity until her wedding day. A woman’svirginity is viewed as sacred; it is the one thing that keeps herfrom being considered more than the dirt on the floor of anArmenian man. Ayarpi Reganyan Armenian Researcher
  27. 27. In the 80s and early 90s most of the Hispanics used to followtheir customs. This meant getting married in white throughthe church and for the female to be a virgin. Being a virginuntil you got married was the best gift you could give yourhusband. Being a virgin was what you were valued for. Ifyou got pregnant outside of marriage you had to get marriedeven if you did not like him/her. Ana Lara Hispanic Researcher
  28. 28. Hispanic Girl Friends
  29. 29. I already have two children but I would have preferred to besingle until I was 25 so I could be free like a bird. I do notconsider virginity to be as important as others do. Mypreference would be to marry someone who is not a virgin so hecould have had experience. If he was a virgin then I wouldhave to worry about him trying to experience it with otherpeople. In conclusion most Hispanics do not follow theirparents’ traditions. We have seen that being a virgin is notsomething that is valued. Now we get to decide who we want tobe. Being a single parent is now something that is common.So, do you follow your family traditions or not? Ana Lara Hispanic Researcher
  30. 30. Getting PermissionWhen I was in confirmation classes in the 11th and 12thgrades, a priest came to speak to us. I asked him if I had sexwith someone I truly cared about and loved and it was notjust lust, would that still be considered a sin in the eyes ofGod? His answer was “no.” I have to admit that I felt thatgave me the okay. I lost my virginity on prom night andmostly because I wanted to. Hispanic Female
  31. 31. How Culture is UsedParental expectations are offered as a publicly expressedcultural excuse for abstaining. For some young people thiscultural excuse protects them from engaging in sexualexploration they fear or are uncomfortable with. For othersthe cultural excuse functions as a cover-up for clandestinebehaviors. Still others are caught in the middle. They seelimited value in engaging in arranged / endogamousmarriages and yet felt stymied in regards to defying theirparents and their communities. Ultimately, culture functionsboth as an excuse for maintaining distance from mainstreampractices and values as well as a protection for those whosebehaviors and activities belie their family’s expectations.
  32. 32. Culture As A CoverNo one was every going to know about it because beingArmenian having premarital sex is completely unacceptable.Once I decided to do it I went to a tanning salon and got aBrazilian wax for the big day. I think it’s the best thing thathas ever happened to me. I had this wonderful secret I wouldrun to whenever I was in need. No one knew. I was seen asthis little good girl, yet had sex every week with no stringsattached. The sex was amazing. He taught me a lot, sexually.He was the first to go down on me. I would experience a feworgasms every time I got with him. Because of this experienceI am so comfortable with my body—a comfort that women intheir 30s are just discovering…and I love it. 19 year old Armenian female
  33. 33. MARITAL AGE353025 MOTHER20 FATHER15 WANT TO MARRY10 5 0 TOTAL HISPANIC ASIAN ARMENIAN
  34. 34.  All ethnicities seek to marry at age 27 Armenians most seek to marry one another (83%) while Hispanics have the least interest (20%) Asians have the least interest in marrying a partner from the same religion (26%) while Armenians have the greatest interest (87%) Following an unplanned pregnancy 20% would seek an abortion, while 41% of Armenians would do so. Asians are most likely to be virgins (44%) and least likely to engage in oral sex (29%) Hispanics are most likely to be sexually active (72%) and to engage in oral sex (69%)
  35. 35. I learned a lot doing this project—mostly that I wasn’t theonly non-virgin and that there were others who were a littlerebellious like me. It was interesting to find out that itwasn’t that important to other Armenians to marry a virgin. Armenian Researcher
  36. 36. From this research I found out that while earlier generationsfollowed the traditional Chinese cultural norms, the newgeneration has adopted some Western cultural practices andstarted to form a new culture. As this particular societycontinues to evolve, there might be conflicts between older andyounger generations. I believe these conflicts will not destroyChinese American culture, but instead they will help it to evolveinto a unique and special ethnicity. Mark Wang Chinese Researcher
  37. 37. I think that there is definitely a shift in the Latino culture, howeverthe shift has been for the better. Thanks to those changes infemale behavior as far as sexuality is concerned, we now havemore independent women who do not need a man to survive.With more women in control and secure enough to express theirsexuality without being afraid or embarrassed, the whole familydynamic can benefit. Having women that express their sexualityto a higher level than ever makes a man appreciate women evenmore. Thank God for women! Juan Aguirre Hispanic Researcher
  38. 38. The generation gap between Armenian men of thisgeneration and their fathers’ generation is almost non-existent. The men are not changing. Their views aboutwomen have not changed much either. They are not treatingwomen equally and have different standards and expectationsfor and of women. Armenian men are holding on to the sameviews and traditions that their parents (mostly fathers) havehad in terms of females and their virginity, endogamy andfemale gender roles. However, there is a change between thewomen of this generation and their mothers’ generation.Armenian women of this generation are not afraid to exploreoutside of their culture and ethnicity. They are starting to getinvolved in sexual relationships before marriage. They arealso getting married at older ages perhaps because they wantto educate themselves first and experiment with more thanone guy before marriage… Armine Alagozian Armenian Researcher

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