Multidisciplinary Analysis of Human Sexuality and Diversity
MultidisciplinaryAnalysis of Human Sexuality and Diversity
MultidisciplinaryAnalysis of Human Sexuality and Diversity
Theunderstanding of human sexuality varies across disciplines. Thepresentation of human sexuality in literature differs according tothe location of the setting and the goal of the education. Forinstance, the Sumerians believed to have invented writing, expressedromanticlovethrough poems that illustrated passion and sexual desire. Accordingto Hatfield and Rapson (2008), one such poem was found buried amongSumerian tablets and was inscribed by one of King Shu-Sin’s bridesto be. She said, “Bridegroom, let me caress you/My precious caressis more savory than honey” (Hatfield Feybesse, Narine& Rapson, 2016).
Thoughthe perspectives of human sexuality may differ across disciplines,romantic love is a universal phenomenon. Assuch, this paper reviews the diversity of scholarly works fromseveral disciplines about the nature of romantic love in humansexuality.
Americanshave been the target of mockery for their naïve idealization ofromantic love as a prerequisite for marriage. As the old Arab epicsdepicted their heroes as epileptic, modern Hollywood heroes areromantic lovers. However, the percentage of the individual in theordinary population with Hollywood-like romantic love is not asmassive. Similar remarks have been echoed by scholars claiming thatromantic love is a peculiar Western institution (Scherrer,& Pfeffer, 2016).Still, these confident assertions are not true. Cultures the worldover recognize the power of romantic love.
Mostanthropologists in today’s world agree that romantic love is auniversal phenomenon that does not know the boundaries of culture andtime (Davis,2015 and Karandashev, 2016).For instance, Jankowiakand his colleagues (2016) suggested that both romance and infatuationare catholic feelings. A standard cross-cultural sample of tribalsocieties reveals that young lover in almost all societies talk aboutromantic love, sing love songs, narrate the tales of love, and speakof the longings of infatuation. Young persons have often eloped whereromantic affections have conflicted with the wishes of elders’ andparents’.
Lately,evolutionary psychology has devoted a lot of resources in unravelingthe evolutionary and genetic underpinnings of love, sexual desire,and commitment to long-term companionate relationships (Jankowiak,et al., 2016).This perspective is different from other disciplines as it assertsthat romantic love and sexual desire appear to be universal.
Medicalscientists, physiologists, and psychologists have been exploring therelationship between love, sexual behavior, and sexual desire.Neurologists have concluded that romantic love is ‘mental chaos’. More recently, Cacioppo& Cacioppo (2016) identifiedbrain regions associated with love by using the FMRI imaging methods.The FMRI is a high-tech mind-reader that works by constructing “animage of the brain in which changes in blood flow induced by brainactivity) are represented as color-coded pixels” (Cacioppo& Cacioppo, 2016).
Cacioppo& Cacioppo (2016) studyused a sample size of seventeen individuals who were exposed to anFMRI scanner and given a picture of their loved to stare at whileswitching it with the photo of a friend they were not in love with.Results were coded and analyzed by digitally subtracting scans takenwhile gazing at “friends” picture from those taken while gazingat “lovers” picture. It was argued that the results should thebrain regions involved in romantic love.
Romanticlove is passionate and Cacioppo& Cacioppo (2016) discoveredthat love increased the brain sections associated with reward andeuphoria while decreasing activity levels in areas associated withfear, sadness, and anxiety. Regions that became active duringromantic love were the same as those that become active duringeuphoria in people who induce drugs like cocaine and opiates.Apparently, both the drugs and romantic love activate a circuitwithin the brain term as “blessed-out”. Moreover, the outercingulate cortex is also known to become active when individuals viewcontents that cause sexual arousal. This finding makes sense sincesexual desire and romantic love are often thought to be congruent.However, the activity in the sections involved in critical thinkingduring pain, anger, and anxiety was reduced. It was thus concludedthat when we closer to someone, assessing their personality andcharacter becomes secondary and this may explain why “love isblind”.
Cacioppo& Cacioppo (2016) alsoestablished that there is a link between romantic love and sexualarousal. Of course, this is only one-half of the equation. The otherhalf shows different results for people who have been recently jiltedfrom a romantic relationship, indicating that love could indeed bemental chaos.
Parallelto the FMRI research are the explorations by social psychologist,physiologist, and neurobiologists on the chemical substances ofromantic love, sexual desires, and behaviors. Their results seem tobe in line with those of romantic love. However, within thediscipline of psychology, scholars may have differing opinions onwhether romantic love is an emotion or not and whether it is closelyrelated to sexual desire, or they are very different constructs innature.
Culturecould impact on one`s view of love, the kind of people they choose tohave a passionate affair with, and how their romantic love works out.World cultures are known to differ in the extent to which emphasis isplaced on individualism and collectivism(Prior, Williams, Zavala, & Milford, 2016). Individualistic culture as is common in Northern America, Western,and Northern Europe allows individuals to focus on personal goalsover group interests. Individualists put stress on rights rather thanduties. The impact of this cultural orientation is also evident inpassionate love and sexual desire.
Asan American citizen and student, this study is biased onindividualistic culture and the American perspective of romantic loveand human sexuality. In my opinion, love equals happiness and bothromantic and companionate love are positive experiences. Nonetheless, the cultural framework should not be used to predictindividual vulnerability to romantic love. This is because romance isa universal phenomenon experienced by people of all cultures,ethnicity, religion and gender. There is no evidence showing thatindividualistic societies breed more romantic people thancollectivists.
Humansexuality is a complex subject made simple by multidisciplinaryapproaches to understanding of the phenomenon. Based on the findingsof this study, my perspective of the topic has shifted from seeinghuman sexuality as a diverse concept from one culture to other, tobeing able to recognize the universality of the romantic love andhuman sexuality.
Asa learner, I have been able to understand the importance of researchin investigating concepts and evaluating theories. Concepts andtheories are the building blocks of knowledge and the foundation forempirical research. Understanding a concept is therefore primary incomprehending a given topic and developing futuristic theories forfurther studies.
Inmy opinion, the assignment was insightful and educative as I was ableto learn and can claim mastery in the writing process. Therefore, Ican certainly state that from the experience and skills gained incompleting this assignment, future projects will be approached withmore ease and confidence.
Thisstudy has successfully analyzed both the cultural and biologicalfactors in human sexuality and their influence on the humanperception of romantic love. The multidisciplinary approach includesconcepts in history, evolutionary, psychology, physiology,anthropology, medical science, culture, and ethnicity. The theoriesand perspective in these disciplines offer unlimited information onhuman sexuality.
Specifically, the study offers a unique perspective on the modern humanphysiology and experience on sexuality as it relates to culture andlifestyle. Covering these topics the researcher differentiatesculture-specific perception of romantic love and what we share as aspecies. The study places the cultural perception of the UnitedStates in a global context and reduces the tendency to seenon-westerners as exotic, thereby promoting a clearing understandingof the complex phenomenon of human sexuality.
Inconclusion, there is no significant diversity in the culturalperspectives of romantic love yet gender perception of romantic loveis more evident in woman than in men. While religion and culture mayseem to be restrictive on the subject of human sexuality, individualsin history have defied all odds to share romantic love even if itmeant breaking cultural and religious taboos. Though history andfuture trends are not linear, one can expect that with thedevelopment of technology and globalization of the internet andcommunication, the world will increasingly accept gender equality andthe idea of progress over tradition.
Cacioppo,S., & Cacioppo, J. T. (2016). Demystifying the Neuroscience ofLove. EmotionReview, 8(2),108-109.
Davis,J. (2015). Sexual diversity in Africa: Politics, theory, citizenship.
Hatfield,E., Feybesse, C., Narine, V., & Rapson, R. L. (2016). PassionateLove: Inspired by Angels or Demons?. In ThePsychology of Love and Hate in Intimate Relationships (pp.65-82). Springer International Publishing.
Jankowiak,W., Shen, Y., Yao, S., Wang, C., & Volsche, S. (2015).Investigating love’s universal attributes: A research report fromChina. Cross-CulturalResearch, 49(4),422-436.
Karandashev,V. (2016). Romantic Love in Cultural Contexts.
Prior,E. E., Williams, D. J., Zavala, T., & Milford, J. (2016). What do(n’t) American undergraduate social work students learn about sex?A content analysis of sex positivity and diversity in five popularHBSE textbooks. CriticalSocial Work, 17,55-73.
Scherrer,K. S., & Pfeffer, C. A. (2016). None of the Above: TowardIdentity and Community-Based Understandings of (A)sexualities. Archivesof sexual behavior.
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