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Lecture 1: What is Sex?

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Transcript

Hi I'm Dr. Rich Piana and welcome back. Welcome to session three. This is where all the fun starts talking about sex. And you're going to see that I'm pretty open minded guy sexuality in the college classroom for 28 years, and I taught in the community as a sexually transmitted disease investigator for 10 years before that. So I've kind of seen it all and read about it all and thought about it for 40 years. And I'm not in a college environment anymore.

So my hands are not tied by political correctness. So what you're going to hear in this course, and in this session, is really you know, my overview based on my experience and writing one of the best selling college textbooks out there on what are the essential elements about human sexuality, that you need to understand that your client needs to understand, you know, without all the noise out of the politically correct political correctness. So I'm warning up front, I'm bound to offend somebody by being so frank and honest. But listen with an open mind. And you decide for yourself how much you're going to use. But every step of the way, I'll explain, you know, where this content where this material came from.

So it's not like I'm pulling it out of the air or making it up. So we're going to want to reduce myself, I think there's two activities in this lecture. So make sure you've printed off the activities associated with session three, lecture two, and let's get started. Reduce myself. Okay, so what is sex? You might ask yourself, you know, why do I need to spend time in this lecture defining sex?

Everyone knows what sex is, right? Well, maybe is oral sex, sex. Is masturbation sex is anal intercourse sex. You're gonna see there's a lot of variation in how people perceive this stuff. 80% of my students, for example, and my clients don't think that oral sex is sex. 90% of my students and clients don't think that masturbation is sex.

And 50% of my female students and clients in one or more cultural groups still would consider themselves virgins after having anal intercourse or oral sex. Now, my own personal views tend to be totally different than that. But again, if I went into a counseling session, assuming everyone perceived sex the way I did, I'd be in big trouble. So the point isn't whether these beliefs are right or wrong. The point You can never assume that your view of sex is shared by your clients. I'd like you to find the activity sexual words brainstorming from your activities PDF file, I'm going to do it and explain to you why I've done this activity with every client and every human sexuality class I've been associated with for the past 30 years.

And the purpose of it is to really set the stage for a serious discussion about sex. You know, because of their upbringing, many clients are uncomfortable discussing genitalia and sex and have a hard time even formulating the words. So this activity is really designed to break the ice and then begin a serious discussion of the subject. The other thing that it allows you to do and you know, you're always kind of assessing what your clients vocabulary and knowledge and comfort level is. So in going through this activity, you'll get a good sense of that and you know, Be able to adjust the way you present your sexual content to this client. So take a moment, get the activity, I'm going to get a quick drink of water and then we're going to do it.

Okay, so here are the instructions. And you want your client to think of all the names you can for the male and female genitalia, and for different types of sex. So you would use all the words say write down all the words both proper and slang that you've been exposed to growing up in your culture, make up three separate lists, male genitalia, female genitalia, and sex. And just list them all. Now, take your time right now and do that. I'd like you to spend a couple of minutes and just list all the different names.

You can think of Regarding male and female genitalia, and then sex. Now you may want to compile a running list, or just take your time and really come up with this long list. And then you would see what your clients lists are like. Now, I have a list that has about 20 different terms for male genitalia, ranging from everything from the purple headed yogurt thrower to CoQ penis, Dick, right, and a list of female genitalia ranging from cotton pussy all the way down to the bearded taco. And I have everything listed for sex ranging from blow jobs to fingering to making out to dry humping, to whatever. So again, if you've done this for a while, you come up with these, you know, long extensive lists, and they're actually Funny.

I mean, I've had things that I add to my list every year that I've gotten from students from different cultural groups, and it's hilarious and we have a good laugh over it. And you know, I'll say I've never heard that one and they'll say, Oh, this one I never heard yours. So it's a good way to just, you know, get funny, get down and see what's on people's minds. And then you ask them, so now you have your list. What are your thoughts, personal scripts, mental images and emotions regarding these words. And you know, we've gone through that whole AC coaching theory part.

So you know, with both scripts, images and emotions are and then you would wrap up by saying, How do your thoughts personal scripts, mental images and emotions, about sexual language contribute to you being stuck? And you may even go one step further, you know, what are your partner's thoughts about the words you use your sexual language? And how does that mesh you know with you, so are you You and your partner on the same page. Do you have words that you like to use that your partner doesn't? Does that make for problems? And I've experienced that even in my own sexual relationship.

Obviously, being a sexuality educator and someone that's talked about sex for 50 years, and my wife isn't someone like that it's made it interesting at times to have discussions I have to remember to kind of scale back my own craziness. So you want to use your clients answers to the sentence stems to kind of now lead into a serious discussion about sex and just kind of mentioned, you know, talking about sex really differs from talking about other issues, because we all have our different ethics and morals and values and hangups about sex. You know, we will view sex differently. So in order for you and I client counselor to kind of talk about this We're going to hit some areas where maybe I say something in a way that you're not used to, or you use a word that I'm uncomfortable with. So kind of makes talking about sex different than talking about algebra, or, you know, geography or some other subject.

All right, alright. So that then moves us into a discussion of, you know, what is human sexuality, and then into what is sexual identity, which is really the key. That's the core of the next three core sessions. So we're going from kind of a general, you know, URIs look at sex words, to kind of talking about what what is human sexuality, and then specifically what sexual identity. So sex is more than just body parts and behavior, right? It's more than genitalia and acts.

Human Sexuality really encompasses all of the components of being a sexual creature and the dimensions of sexuality are the biological the cultural goals. Legal, psychological, social, political, economic and behavioral. So if you took something like birth control for example, there's definitely a biological component because birth control methods work based on a certain biological realities like you know, life sperm meeting AIG and things like that. There are also biological components to birth control based on female and male anatomy, there are cultural components to birth control, you know, based on which cultural group you grow up in, and you know, then go to the broader social group. There are political aspects of birth control, and you can just look at how politics affects law and how law affects economic realities. You know, inexpert inexpensive and affordable birth control versus the opposite.

Now, there are psychological components to birth control People might use a method but feel very anxious or depressed or worried about it. And then there are behavioral components, you know what people actually do when they're alone between the sheets with their partner. So if you took one aspect of human sexuality, which would be contraception, you could look at how all of those components play out. So Taken together, these dimensions of sexuality kind of shape our sexual identity, and sexual identity is how clients see themselves as sexual people in the present moment, who am I as a sexual person now. And sexual identity is the key variable you want to focus on in AC sex coaching. While all the other stuff is interesting.

You really don't want to get into a political, social economic issue, or Debate or discussion with clients who are coming to you because they're stuck on an interpersonal issue. Meanwhile, all that stuff is fascinating. I try and keep the political part of it out of your work and just really try and help them with the psychosocial, you know, the relationship part and what's going on between your ears part because clients often get stuck on the troubling thoughts, the painful emotions, the mental images, and the personal scripts that relate to their sexual identity. So, now again, I'm giving you the composite of the components of sexual identity, some sex educators might say there might be more, there might be less. But these are the five dimensions that I've found that really cut across all of the research and all of the other books and the ones that I teach to my students and clients.

You have biological sex, gender identity, gender role, sexual orientation, and sexual behavior. And I've highlighted biological sex because we're going to cover that one in this lecture and each of these topics This along a continuum that can shift and I'll show you that on the next slide. And each of these five dimensions can contribute to being stuck. So here's what I mean about the continuum. So if you look at the biological continuum, you know, male, female, male and female, and that's based on chromosomes and genetic inheritance, there's really a continuum you have men with their chromosome appearing on one end, women at the other end and intersex folks who are combination of both because of genetic abnormalities are in the middle. Then you have the gender continuum, and you have very masculine men and very feminine women at the extremes and transgendered folks in the middle who kind of see themselves as equal blends of both or you know, as blends of both.

And again, I every time I would, you know, mention the word transgender and actually transgender transgendered sometimes is enough to get people's blood boiling. So it's it's a very sensitive area. I want to try and be as sensitive to transgender folks as possible. But I know that some of my language will come off and kind of, you know, show a bias towards my 66 years of heterosexuality and knights let you know that up front and apologize if it offends any of you. There's a sexual orientation continuum. And you have exclusive heterosexuals exclusive homosexuals.

And then people got can go either way in the middle bisexuals, and people slide to either side of any of these positions. And then the sexual behavior continuum, where you have people that are not interested at all in sexual activity, and people that are very, very interested, and then people who would have what researchers would say would be an average interest and I'm not sure Getting into numbers. Because once you say how many times per week is average, everybody says, Oh my god, I'm either having more than that. So I must have normal or less than that. So my relationship must suck. So I want to stay away from the numbers.

But the sense I want you to get is that most of this stuff is fluid and it kind of moves. Okay. Probably the most fixed continuum is the biological, and we're going to talk about that for the remainder of this lecture. Now, biological sex as much as people want to disagree with this is determined by chromosome pairings. An xx pair is female and an XY pair is male and humans have 23 pair and just one pair contains the sex chromosomes. Now, these create male and female anatomical and physiological differences that influence your clients sexual identities throughout their lives.

Now the extent of the influence varies tremendously. But the fact that I have a penis influences the way I see myself for my entire life unless I choose to remove my opinions, okay? Because it's there and it exerts an influence. So that's what I mean by biological and anatomical and physiological different the fact that a woman can conceive and bear a child, you know, until she reaches menopause is a physiological reality that makes her different from a male. Now, sexual differentiation is the process of sex specific development. So what actually happens at conception is sperm meets egg and from that point on, there begins this differentiation between the biological sexes, you know at at conception, male and female stem sexual structures are the same They actually start from the same embryonic tissue.

Now at about seven weeks prenatal, that's when you begin to see this differentiation process begin. And it all is reliant on this TDF which is called the testes determining factor. Now this is released in genetic males, causing a penis and testicles to develop in a genetic male, if there's no TDF, they will not differentiate, and it will cause intersex development. So there'll be a biological man without male genitalia. And again, the purpose of this course in this lecture is not to get into all the possible genetic abnormalities and all the different things that they can result in. The base point is to show you that we all come from the same embryonic tissue and you know it takes a special shot of this releasing factor to Get a genetic male to actually start to grow and differentiate from a female.

So the sexual differentiation begins at seven weeks prenatal and it's most noticeable at three times in human development at seven weeks prenatal, as I mentioned, at puberty, and that menopause. Okay, let me just talk a little bit about that. We already talked about seven weeks prenatal bleh puberty, what happens is the pre wiring that's done at conception, both physiologically and in the brain, in biological men and biological women's starts to kick in. So, full adult genital size is starts to begin at puberty. And more importantly than the continued growth of the genitalia is the release of hormones. That bears you know, hormones begin to release from the male and the female sex organs.

So you have testosterone starting to be released from the testes, you have estrogen and progesterone starting to be released from the ovaries. And you have this pattern of development that started at conception, that now begins to continue. And something really interesting about the prenatal brain, the prenatal brain depend depending on whether it's xx or xy is actually bathed in prenatal hormones. And those prenatal hormones kind of set the biological clock so that at puberty, things will continue. So they begin prenatally, but the brain is pre wired so that at puberty, for example, in a biological female, she will begin to release her hormones on a cyclic pattern. That means every 28 or 30 days or however long her cycle is, she will have a fluctuating cyclic pattern of her release, you know estrogen and progesterone in different quantities.

Men's brains are not wired that way. And men's hormones at puberty kick in and a flat thermostat base kind of approach where a certain blood level is to be maintained. And the thermostat which is the pituitary gland in the brain determines how much of male hormone is in the bloodstream. And if more is needed, it triggers the testes to release more. So men have an entirely different hormone release pattern than women do. And it's all true.

It's all determined by xx or xy chromosomes and pre wiring of the prenatal male or female brain. And that menopause, women cease becoming fertile, population shuts down and they're no longer able to conceive. And men continue to be fertile until they die until they cease producing sperm. They may be Less fertile, but they continue to be fertile. So there are some differences as a result of differentiation that kick in a key development stages. And here are some similarities between men and women, right genetic men and genetic and genetic males genetic females, other than the sex chromosomes.

Both start with the same genetic material, so the other 22 pairs are identical. Both start with the same internal structures. Both are similar in size and strength until puberty kicks in. So if you got an eight year old girl, an eight year old boy, pretty much the same, they can do the same things, climb trees do whatever they want. It is only when purity kicks in that those size and strength differentials begin to change. And as you all know, with weight training and nutrition and stuff, both size and strength differentials are shrinking every year.

But until puberty, they're more the same. We're similar than different. Both change at puberty and both change and older. adulthood and both produce testosterone. Now a lot of people don't know that women produce a small amount of testosterone in their ovaries and adrenal glands. And you all know that men produce this also in the testes, but they also produce a small amount in your adrenal glands.

What's interesting is even though women produce less testosterone overall, a lot of people speculate that they need less to become sexually aroused. testosterone is the sexual arousal hormone. So it's interesting that you know, it's produced in both men and women but in different quantities. Now, what are some of the differences between genetic males and genetic females? Well, as I mentioned, women have a cyclical hormone release pattern, and men have a constant hormone release pattern. What does that mean?

Bottom line is men don't get their period. They don't menstruate, and they don't have fluctuating hormones, women do. Women can get pregnant men cannot. Women can go through menopause and lose their fertility completely men do not. So you might think about, you know, well, what's the big deal? Well, the implications are men and women are both similar and different.

Now what the important thing is, is how clients perceive these similarities and differences, because the way they perceive them can result in getting stuck. And the other key thing to remember about this is, you can say, you know, men and women are different and the biological sex. It has in influences rather, that are different, but they don't determine sexual identity. So for example, the fact that a woman can menstruate oscillate and get pregnant and carry a pregnancy to term and men can't influences the way they perceive themselves and they perceive They're femaleness. But it doesn't determine then how what they're ultimately going to do in terms of acting out their gender role. And how what kind of female they're going to be whether they even use the fact that they can get pregnant, you know, conceive and get pregnant.

But the reality that they can get pregnant at any time and can conceive is something men just don't even think about don't have to deal with. So that might influence their sexual identity, but it doesn't determine the fact that men cannot conceive and bear a child doesn't mean that they can't be nurturing and they can't really want to be a father and want children and want to be a nurturer. And none of this these biological differences influences career choice, or ability to succeed or ability to create or ability to dominate or ability to be strong. None of these biological differences determine sexual identity, they just influence them. So I think the key thing to understand is how your client perceives all this. Because your clients see these genetic differences, these biological sex differences, as things that are majoring causing them to get stuck, or things that they just accept as differences.

And then they go on and they live their life and have the kind of relationship they want. But knowing that there are differences and knowing that people can perceive them differently, is key for you as a coach. So I have an activity that I'd like you to do. It's called similarities and differences. And the purpose is to help clients explore their thoughts and feelings related to the similarities and differences between men and women and how this affects them in their relationship. So if you haven't printed off the activity yet, take a moment to do that.

And I'll grab another sip of water. Okay. Alright, so the instructions are going to have the clients go back and review the two slides describing how biological men and biological women are similar and different. And then he asked them if they think that men and women are more similar or more different have them write this down. Do you think men and women are more similar when we're different regarding their biological sex? And then ask them to describe their own thoughts, personal scripts, mental images and emotions about their biological sex?

How do you think how do you feel? What's the narrative would have images in your own mind your movie, your sexual movie about being a man being a woman? And then ask them how these programs in their mind their thoughts, feelings, scripts, contribute to them being stuck in their sexual relationship rough because remember, they're coming to you cos they're not getting And most out of your sex life and you help them identify where that's going on and that's their rut. So how do their thoughts feelings, scripts, images, and, and mental images, you know, contribute to that. Okay. So that's it.

That's the end of session three, lecture one. And let me just get out of here and come back to myself. Okay, so again, yep, there's a lot of political correctness issues and what I just discussed and try and get beyond those try and get beyond my language and my approach and my heterosexuality and the fact that I'm 66 years old, we've been married for 46 of those years, and just look at the key components of sexual identity. And understand that regardless of how limiting or non limiting you think biological sex is, biological men and biological women and intersex people are different. Now I don't talk a lot about intersex folks because they represent a small percent of the population. And it would just take forever to cover all of the possible variations.

But because of, you know, biological sex, there are definite differences throughout life and your clients perceive those differences differently. Some accept them and say, that's fine, I'm going to move on and move on and do what I want to do with my life. And others are more traditional, say, because I am a man or a woman, I must do this, think this feel this. And if that's the case, there's nothing wrong with having a traditional take on it. The only time it's a problem is if it's contributing to that sexual rut that your clients are in. So that's the whole purpose in exploring this and have them explored.

There's no right wrong, good, bad, you know, you can be anywhere on any of those continuum. So I don't really care where a person is on the continuum. What I do care about is your position on the continuum and your partner's position on the continuum continuum. Is that causing problems or problems in your relationship? And if so, you know, we need to start planning about how to come to some agreement, so that you can be you and your partner can be your partner and you can live happily ever after. Okay, I hope you enjoyed this lecture.

Hope you enjoy my approach. You're going to be stuck with it for about 16 more sessions. Thanks. I'm going to reduce myself and see you in the next session.

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