oa South African Family Practice - Sexuality : how it is defined and determined? : review article

Volume 46, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 2078-6190
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6204



Human sexuality can be defined as the ways in which people experience and express themselves as sexual beings. This would include their perception of themselves as male or female and their capacity for erotic experiences and responses. The lack of genital sensation through injury for instance or the fact that somebody does not engage in sexual intercourse or fantasy does not preclude him or her from being sexual. <br>Sexuality and the feelings associated with it do not start in adolescence and disappear at the age of retirement. It begins long before birth and continues up to the day a person dies. <br>The study of human sexuality draws on many disciplines. Biologists are interested in the physiological mechanisms of sexual arousal and response. Medical science informs us about sexually transmitted infections like HIV/AIDS and the organic bases of sexual dysfunctions. Psychologists study the effect of perception, learning, thought, motivation, emotion and personality on sexual behaviour and attitudes. Sociologists focus on the contexts of sexual behaviour pertaining to the relationships between sexual behaviour and religion, race and social class. Anthropologists concentrate on cross-cultural similarities and differences in sexual behaviour, while scientist from many disciplines look into possible parallels between the sexual behaviour of humans and other animals.

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