Human Sexuality and Gender/History of Sexuality

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Judeo-Christian Influence[edit | edit source]

With Christian and Jewish beliefs stemming from the Old Testament of the Bible (also known as the Torah), there came about laws and rules about sexuality. “In the first five books of the Old Testament, the primary source of Jewish laws, there are rules about sexual conduct” (Masters 11). There are laws forbidding adultery, as stated in the Ten Commandments, and other acts (such as homosexuality) are condemned. The Old Testament talks frequently about sex and how it is a “creative and powerful force” (Masters 11) and how it should be between man and woman, and that it should not be limited to reproductive purposes. Any form of sexual relations outside of marital union was otherwise regarded as sinful.[1]

Ancient Sexology[edit | edit source]

Most people would assume that in the ancient world the topic of sexuality was taboo, but in reality they had several books about sex. The very first sexual manual was written during the Greco-Roman period between the third and first centuries. The Art of Love by Philaenis of Samos was the very first original sex manual, and was one of the few to be written by a woman. During this time The Art of Love was the guide for all topics that pertained to sex. This book informed the readers about different sexual positions and also different methods to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. In this book she also showed the readers how to use certain types of cosmetics to help entice a lover. The Kama Sutra is an ancient Indian sex manual, written in the sixth century. This book states the Hindu priorities and the aims of life. The chapters of the Kama Sutra address sexual union, the proper ways a wife should conduct herself, and how to make oneself attractive to prospective partners. The Perfumed Garden of Sensual Delight is an Arabic work of erotic literature and sex manual that was written sometime between the years 1410-1434. The Perfumed Garden comes with warnings and advice on sexual techniques and also with remedies for sexual health problems.[2]

Age of Consent[edit | edit source]

The age of consent throughout history has usually coincided with the age of puberty. Early on, the age of consent was a familial or tribal matter. It never became clear on what age this change occurred, but it involved the consent of the female. In most cultures, the onset of puberty was between ages 12 and 14, which ultimately ended up being the age of consent.[3]

The age at which a person can legally give consent varies across the world. Most countries have a minimum age of consent between 13 and 18. Some have a minimum age of 12 years old, some as high as 20 years old and other countries require you to be married before engaging in sexual intercourse. In addition a few countries also have a different age limit for men and women. Many countries ban homosexual intercourse outright and other countries have a higher age of consent for homosexual intercourse (although all European Union countries have now equalized the minimum age for heterosexual and homosexual intercourse).[4]

According to the law in many US states, people who have sexual intercourse with a drunk partner are committing rape [1].


References[edit | edit source]

  1. Masters, W. H., Johnson, V. E. (1988). Human sexuality. 3rd ed. Glenview, Ill.: Scott, Foresman/Little, Brown College Division, Scott, Foresman.
  2. Welch, Kelly. Think Human Sexuality. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2011. Print (6-7)
  3. Bullough, V. L. (2004). Age of Consent: A Historical Overview. Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality, 16(2/3), 25-42. doi:10.1300/J056v16n02_03
  4. http://www.avert.org/aofconsent.htm