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What are the different ways to study sexuality?


Bio-medical research looks at the mechanism underlying sex. Research in bio-medicine has the most impact which is most practical concerning the sex lives of individuals. These include drug treatment (concerning reproductive cancers), hormone-based abortion and contraception, technologies that treat infertility, methods to prevent STIs, etc.

Usually, research in biomedicine is conducted on animals but since the invention of modern imaging technologies, we have been capable of researching humans to better understand brain function during sexual encounters.

The decipherment regarding the human genome project unraveled many truths previously unknown to humanity. This allowed us to ascertain the sex of individuals as well as detecting any abnormalities. There is current research being conducted attempting to focus in on those genes which might influence important traits like a person’s sexual orientation.

The studying of parts of the brain has allowed conceptions to shift from learned cultural phenomena to more like innateness based on traits.


Studying behavior and mental processes have branched into a plethora of subdisciplines. Social Psychology contributes most significantly to our understanding of sexuality. Social Psychology has to do with looking at the way humans relate to other people, and how they think about and influence them. One example test was performed with college students. Half of the students where shown rape scenes. After a few days, the students were asked questions, and the students who saw the rape scenes were more favorable towards sexual violence than the control group. This showed that exposure to scenes of violence could predispose certain men to enact sexual assaults. Social Psychology allows for us to learn this about sexuality.


Studying societies and large social structures allows for an exceptional way to contribute to studying human sexuality. A sociologist is able to research in what ways sexual orientation may vary with race, age, religious beliefs, political views, national origin, etc. Through the utilization of public surveys, large data is able to be gathered to create particular views of different societies.

Problems with Surveys

Though surveys help gather large amounts of data to better represent a population, sometimes the data may not be as accurate as possible. Many people might be sensitive in disclosing personal sexual information, especially if it is information one regards as shameful.

Even very large random sample surveys may not accurately represent minorities within minorities. The data can become skewed quickly when taken nested minorities into consideration.

Economic Approach to Learning About Sexuality

What are the costs and benefits of one’s sexuality? Sometimes, the answer can’t be expressed in dollar amounts. Sometimes the cost is your time, or it might cost you your shame. Studying the risks one is willing to take helps us understand sexuality tremendously. People are constantly, unconsciously or consciously, regarding the costs and benefits of encounters they regard (or want to regard) as sexual. The benefit isn’t always monetary, it may be something like protection, or a family.

9 Sex Facts I learned the first week of my Human Sexuality Class

  • Social Psychology is the study of our relationship with others.
  • In the women’s movement of the 1970s and 80s we see arguments for:
    • a woman’s right to have full control of their body
    • a man’s shared responsibility to provide pleasure
    • their right to look for sexual pleasure in relationships
    • freedom from coercion regarding sex
  • Transgender is defined as one who identifies with the opposite sex or even rejecting any gender norms.
  • The 1960’s sexual revolution allowed for greater acceptance by the public regarding sex before marriage.
  • Simon LeVay’s research concerning the evaluation of the brains of straight and gay men revealed that the hypothalamus differs in size.
  • For most of history organized Christianity did not allow sex outside of marriage.
  • Using college students or any specific population is unlikely to give us a representative dataset of the general population
  • Castration was performed in Italy on young males to preserve their childlike singing voices. Slaves and prisoners were also castrated to keep tighter control over them. Castration was mostly unwilling in the past, today it is usually undertaken willingly.
  • An influx and increase in population are usually linked to higher possibilities of STIs.

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