The life of human beings varies significantly from one generation to another and from one historical period to another. All human behavior are determined by the historical and cultural context of the time people are living (Prinz, pp.1). That said, while some behavior may seem very normal for a given generation, it may be regarded as abnormal or weird by another. And as such, what may be regarded as normal is just a social construction affected by the culture. Human behavior evolves over time as technology change and age advances, the cultural views may become diluted by the universal norms resulting in notable changes.
The Emphasis of Abnormality and Normality in the Human Sexuality
Interviewing a 70-year-old woman has been very instrumental in providing valuable information regarding how marriages were viewed, sexual relationship was conducted and how people of the opposite sex related. Further, the whole perception of sex has changed, and the age at which people start sexual engagement has also changed. In this generation, matters like homosexuality are gradually being accepted in the society and legalized while in another generation it was a taboo and such people were questionable Further, in this time the number of children that one can get and be in the normal gap has also changed. The age bearing age has also changed in various ways, and the societal expectations of when and in what financial status a child should be born have also changed. In this paper, I will take a keen look and analysis at the life history of various aspects of human sexuality and how that change has been manifested in the day to day lives of people. This study will consider the enormous variations in the human sexuality conceptions and whether it has been a biological response or a cultural construction.
Around the 1950s, matters of human sexuality were treated differently from the way they are now. Sex was only acceptable within the boundaries of marriage and women who got children outside wedlock were scorned and looked with contempt as noted by Hagan, (pp.132-134). Further, the author suggests that casual and commercial sex were foreign terms. Notably, that time birth control methods were absent and as such any sexual activity would bring pregnancy something that was unacceptable. In fact, information about sex was not available in the public media as it is now. Only close relatives would share with individual matters of sex, and one had to married to acquire the information from the aunty who would open up on these issues. Sex was for childbearing and not merely an activity of pleasure (Hagan, pp.132-134). Issues of asexual orientation were unheard of and even if they existed would not be shared in public. Family planning options were only the natural method and women were not in control of their childbearing. In fact, In the 1960s, the introduction of the pill allowed the women to plan when they would get children, something that men were not in control (Sitruk and Nath. pp.13-24). It was appropriate for a woman to walk in a healthcare facility and get the pills with the consent of her husband. During those early years, family life was highly treasured, and family lived in a nuclear setup. Notably, the divorce rates were lower even if people were displeased in their marriages they chose to endure and stay together. This was so because divorce was difficult and expensive, and would only happen when that was the only option to resolve the conflict.
However, in the 2000s almost everything had taken a twist, information about sex is available in the media including TV shows. One does not require to toil so hard to acquire the information, videos or even photos that relate to sex. Sex has become highly mythical with sex allowed as a means for pleasure and not necessarily for marriage. In fact, unlike the early years where the starting point of a sexual relationship was love and thus making love,' nowadays, sex precedes love. There are people having sex with people they do not like and do not have an emotional connection even in marriages something that was not such rampant in traditional marriages (Carter et al.pp.576-593). With the increase of family planning methods, young people are starting to have sex and avoid unwanted pregnancies. And even when children are born out of wedlock, it is no longer a big deal. Sex is becoming as almost a need that people cannot live without. Such a scenario leaves one wondering whether the biological makeup of the sexual organs has changed or not. Notably, the biological makeup has not changed but the cultural perceptions of sex have significantly changed. Sex is now regarded as a need that should be met as long as the two individuals are in agreement.
Notably, from the interview, I would not undermine the impact of age on the perceptions of the concepts of human sexuality. At her age, she would explain that at a younger age when she was newly married it was something great, but over time, its importance and value has changed to seek more things. For her and most of her age mates, sex is secondary, and love is primary in their marriages. Additionally, age has affected her perception of divorce. In her 40s, she said divorce would be a consideration now that her their children were all grown adults living independently. However, in the face of challenges associated with old age, divorce would not be a good option, and she would rather have a husband with various weaknesses than being alone in their silent home. However, because of the interactions and teachings that divorce was a sign of weakness and surrender, she had to fight for her marriage regardless of the relentless pressure. In fact, she suggested that it disturbs her when she finds a case of divorce based solely on house choice or the husbands or wifes insensitivity. The ability to endure and hope that the marriage would be okay is what she had learned as she grew up and such were indelible lessons that she held on so dearly.
Regarding the period effects on the abnormalities associated with human sexuality, from the 1990s, the issues of globalization became prevalent and the world being a global village was dominant. As such, the concepts of human sexuality also were altered. With the technology and the internet, people from various regions would communicate and share information about sex. Communication also increased to the extent that people no longer needed tow write letters and wait for days before getting feedback. Communication becoming real time meant that romantic relationships would thrive more and people would meet. Additionally, asexual relationship stories would be shared across countries, and others who feared to state their asexual inclination would do that (Epps, pp.1). The individual rights changed and issues of human rights were on the rise, and therefore even the asexual would be recognized by law. Therefore, these have encouraged same-sex relationships. Something that was illegal in the 1960s and 70s would now be accepted as a normal orientation in the societal today. Had the technology and legal structures not changed to such extents the normality of the human sexuality would not have been enormous.
Apart from the period and age effects on the concepts of abnormality, cohort or generational different affect what would be regarded as normal. For example, in the generation ahead in their 70s, a romantic relationship was initiated by a gentleman, and the woman had to respond. In a sense, women were a bit conservative. However, in the 21st-century generation, women are more liberal and have the courage of asking out men they are interested, but that would have been a taboo in the 19th century (Carter, et al...pp.578). The wave of feminism was prevalent in a previous generation, and women rights were on the forefront. Such is what gave women voices even in their marriages. Notably, although feminism is still present in this generation, it has changed in structure and frameworks, and most feminists feel heroic when they walk out of a marriage that does not make them happy. Alternatively, feminists in the 19th century felt empowered to be able to command their dignity and respect as a result of financial independence.
In conclusion, the definition of abnormality is a complex one that is left to the social and cultural constructions which seem to change. Human behavior changes based on the generation they are in, their age and the historical events that seem to have a significant impact on it. These changes are dynamic, and while some appear to remain the same, they have changes that may not be noticeable at face value. Therefore, some behavior is human sexuality can be termed by one person abnormal bust seen as normal by another.
Carter, Julia, et al. "Sex, love and security: Accounts of distance and commitment in living apart together relationships." Sociology 50.3 (2016): 576-593.
Epps, Courtney. "An Exploration Of How Technology Use Influences Relational Ethic Scores Of Emerging Adult Romantic Relationships." (2016).
Hagan, Carrie Settle. "Bad Girls: Young Women, Sex, and Rebellion before the Sixties by Amanda H. Littauer (review)." The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth 10.1 (2017): 132-134.
Prinz, Jesse J. Beyond human nature: How culture and experience shape the human mind. WW Norton & Company, 2014.
Sitruk-Ware, Regine, and Anita Nath. "Characteristics and metabolic effects of estrogen and progestins contained in oral contraceptive pills." Best practice & research Clinical endocrinology & metabolism 27.1 (2013): 13-24.
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