Sexual Disorders Essay, Research Paper
Sexual disorders are categorized into three general groups. The groups are sexual dysfunctions, sexual deviations, and homosexuality. These are not necessary abnormal, but what is considered out of the norm by either the mental health establishment, or society, or both. The first group, sexual dysfunctions, have increased significantly over the last decade. Which, in turn, has increased the progress in the study and treatment of sexual dysfunctions. One important aspect that came out of William masters and Virginia Johnson s research is classifying the various forms of dysfunctions. Closely related is Kaplan s system which groups sexual dysfunctions according to the phase in the sexual response cycle in which they occur. There are three phases in the sexual response cycle. The first one, called the desire phase, involves sexual fantasies and interest in sexual activity. Failure to feel this in either a man or woman is called hypoactive sexual desire. The second phase is called the excitement phase. In this phase, the sexual fantasy, or encounter is usually followed by physiological changes. The absence or weakness of these responses is called erectile dysfunction (or impotence) in men, and general sexual dysfunction in women. The third phase is called the orgasm phase. This is the phase of sexual response. If the man is unable to exert control, and ejaculates very quickly, this is called premature ejaculation. If, on the other hand, ejaculation is greatly delayed, or does not happen at all, this is called retarded ejaculation. A delay or absence of orgasm in women is called orgastic dysfunction. There are two more types of sexual dysfunction that do not fit completely with this typology. The first is a female disorder called vaginisimus. This occurs when, during coitus, the walls of the vagina contract involuntarily, making insertion of the penis difficult or impossible. The second disorder is dyspareunia, or pain during intercourse. This occurs in both sexes, but is usually a female complaint. To make these types even more specific, Kaplan subdivides these disorders into two dimensions. They are primary and secondary. Primary dysfunction has been with the individual as far back as their earliest sexual experiences. In a secondary dysfunction the response has been normal on at least one occasion, but is abnormal at the time of diagnosis. Sexual inadequacy is a common fear among men and women alike. Many psychologists state that this fear is almost always present in cases of individuals growing up of strict religious orthodoxy households, and that were taught that sex is sinful and repulsive. One woman seen by Masters and Johnson was told by her mother on her wedding day: It would be her duty as a wife to allow her husband privileges . The privileges were never spelled out. She also was assured that she would be hurt by her husband, but that it would go away in time. Finally and most important, she was told that good women never expressed interest in the thing . Her reward for serving her husband would be, hopefully, in having children. (Acocella 266) Sexual deviations, which are now spoken of casually, were talked about in whispers no more than twenty-five years ago. There are ten different areas of sexual deviations. These ten are: fetishism, transvestitism, exhibitionism, voyeurism, pedophilia, incest, rape, sadism, and masochism. Fetishism is the strong sexual attraction to inanimate objects. The most common objects of fetishism are women s shoes, underpants, wigs, and fur. One case was cited about a man being sexual gratified by the sight of well-formed automobile exhaust pipes. Virtually all of the reported cases of fetishism involve males. This does not necessarily mean that there are not any cases involving females, but, it just means that females are much less likely to be arrested, or even reported, than males. A woman with obvious sexual quirks or abnormalities may attract attention or scorn, but most people do not consider her dangerous. Males, on the other hand, with this behavior, tend to be viewed as a public menace. Transvestites are similar to fetishists in that they are sexually excited by inanimate objects. But, transvestites go one step further, and actually put on their fetishes, which are the clothes of the opposite sex. Because of the association with female clothing, transvestitism is easily confused with homosexuality, but they are two quite separate patterns. Some homosexuals do cross-dress, but these individuals are referred to as drag queens . ..according to one study of 262 transvestites (Buckner, 1970), the cast majority of transvestites think of themselves as heterosexuals. (Acocella 273) Transvestitism is thought to be relatively rare, but as with female sexual aberrations, the reported rarity may be due to lack of public exposure of public alarm. Many transvestites lead quiet, conventional lives, cross-dressing in their own homes. Unlike transvestites, transsexuals-most of whom, again, are males-believe that they truly do belong to the opposite sex. They consider their gender an ugly mistake. Cross-dressing on a regular basis, they do not feel the sexual arousal transvestites feel, but they feel relaxed. There have been few reported cases of transsexual cures -that is, of transsexuals reoriented into their biological gender, usually by changing their behavioral techniques. Exhibitionism and voyeurism are the two sex offenses most often reported to the police. And, while both cases have victims involved, exhibitionists and voyeurs are rarely dangerous. Despite this fact, they are almost always dealt with very harshly in court on the assumption that if their case is tried lightly , they will go on to more serious crimes, such as rape. However, they are extremely likely to do so. In the most typical of exhibition cases, there is usually a young male, probably in an unhappy marriage. He experiences an irresistible impulse to exhibit himself, and goes to a public place, such as a city park, or department store, and finds an appropriate victim-most likely a young woman or girl-and shows her his penis. The exhibitionist s gratification comes from the woman s response, which is generally fear, horror, and revulsion. Observing the victim s reaction, the exhibitionist experiences complete sexual pleasure. In voyeurism, as in exhibitionism, there is usually an element of normal sexual activity. Voyeurs are often withdrawn both socially and sexually from the outside world, which makes it harder for them to learn more appropriate interpersonal skills. Sadism and Masochism are closely related to the word aggression . And, it is not uncommon to bite or scratch during intercourse. However, in sadism and masochism, the element of physical cruelty-giving and receiving-assumes a central role in sexual functioning. The term sadism is taken from the name of Marquis de Sade, whose novels included numbers erotic scenes featuring the delights of whipping a woman. Masochism is named for an Austrian novelist, Leopard on Sacher-Masoch, whose male characters took great delight when physically abused by women. The patterns of sadism and masochism turn up primarily in men. Cruelty degrees range from sticking others with pins to acts of murder and mutilation. The masochist may only need to suffer mild pain, or he may be chained or whipped. The sadist may also reach orgasm through pain alone, or the abuse stage may just be foreplay , leading eventually to intercourse. Many of the cases of sadism and masochism are dual patterns, which include one of each type of person pairing up in a relationship to satisfy both of their tastes. Some sadomasochistic relationships are sometimes found within otherwise conventional marriages, but, most individuals prefer homosexual lifestyles. Pedophilia, along with incest and rape, is a aberration which has many sufferers. Serious psychological damage is the result of these behaviors. Most cases involve a male generally in his thirties or forties, married or divorced, and, have children of their own. The victim is a young girl, one who is well known to the pedophile; typically a neighbor, relative, or a friend of the family. And, it is not unlikely that a child s innocently uninhibited show of affection is what triggers the first episode. Once the first episode has taken place, this relationship may last for months, or even years if it is not found out and if the child does not tell his or her parents. The pedophile has been described in much the same way as the exhibitionist and voyeur. This would be referring to a man who has failed socially, sexually, as well as in the adult world and thus goes in search of a less threatening relationship, such as a innocent child. Most societies have had throughout their histories a sort of taboo on incest. Kinsey and his co-workers (1948) reported that .5 percent of the males interviewed in their study admitted to acts of incest, and in view of the fact that incest tends to remain a well-kept family secret, the incidence is probably considerably higher (Coon 689). While, brother-sister incest is the most common, there are traces of father-daughter incest, but mother-son incest is very rare. Brother-sister incest usually occurs accidentally in lower-class families where brothers and sisters share the same beds. In father-daughter incestuous relationships, the elements seem clearer. Even though most people assume the father to be a promiscuous male, taking his daughter as just one of his many unselective sexual contacts , this is more than likely not true. Many reports state that most incestuous fathers confine their extramarital sexual experiences with their daughter or daughters only, starting with eldest and going down the line as the years pass. Furthermore, fathers who seduce their daughters are likely to be highly moralistic and be devoutly attached to religious doctrines. And, in some cases, the relationship may even be encouraged by the mother as a way of escaping her husband s sexual advances. It is hard to estimate the incidence of rape, because many individuals have different ideas or standards what constitutes rape. Some states classify any act of a man trying to force himself upon a woman as rape, while other states say that intercourse has to occur, and, there must be a witness. Psychological damage is apparent in both parties. The person who committed the act is usually a victim to an anti-social personality-following their impulses, and seizing whatever they want. In addition to physical harm, the victim will most likely suffer from physiological damage, manifested in nightmares, loss of appetite, phobic reactions, and difficulty in returning to normal sexual functioning. The word homosexuality designates sexual activity towards one s own sex. In most societies, it is a very common practice, but has also been severely stigmatized and severely punished. Today, many homosexuals face a tough question; Should I come out? The answer is not simple, because it has an immediate effect upon that person s life. Some states have passed laws against discrimination of any kind towards homosexuals. And, in 1973, the Board of Trustees of the American Psychiatric Association voted to drop homosexuality from the list of sexual disorders. However, they left a diagnostic category for homosexuals who were disturbed by their sexual orientation and wished to change it. This category is called ego-dystonic homosexuality, and it does not include people who are suffering from adjustment problems because the society they live in do not accept their sexuality. While the human sexual impulse is capable of gratification through a wide range of outlets, Western society tends to regard heterosexual coitus as the only normal outlet. In the years to come this might differ slightly, due to the rapidly changing ideas of the modern world. Opening the doors of thought will lead minds into knew ways of thinking, which in turn shows the youth of tomorrow not to be ashamed of who they are.
Acocella, Joan Ross. Abnormal Psychology: Current Perspectives. New York: Random House. 1972. Coon, Dennis. Introduction to Psychology: Exploration and Application. Santa Barbara City College: West Publishing Company. 1977.