Sexual behaviour is exhibited in adults who may choose to participate or not to participate in the act. It is a sensitive topic that may violate human values and rights if not conducted well. Family, ethnicity, religion, hormones and neurotransmitters influence it. Sex education has enhanced my understanding that endocrine glands secrete sexual hormones such as testosterone into the bloodstream during sexual arousal. Calabrò notes that various neurotransmitters, such as oxytocin and serotonin, are responsible for desire, arousal, orgasms, pleasure and attachment feelings in an individual (Calabrò et al., 2019). Traditional families are often more sexually conservative. Poverty, racism and discrimination affect the sexual behaviours of most individuals. Asian communities have demonstrated a higher percentage of people who have never had sex (Ford et al., 2019). Major religions have sanctioned and prohibited same-sex marriages; Buddhism and Hinduism have no clear positions.
I have been made aware that sexual intercourse occurs after arousal in a cycle that continues with time, consisting of excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution stages. The vagina experiences lubrication, increased blood concentration, the clitoris and nipple erect, and the labia minora turns pink and increases in size as the labia majora pulls away from the introitus during the excitement phase. Sex flushes and sensations all over the body are felt as the individual progresses to the plateau stage. Nipple and breast size increases as the upper vaginal part expands. The labia turn bright red or darker red. The orgasm consists of uterine contractions, rhythmic contractions in the lower vaginal part, peak blood pressure and vigorous contractions that expel blood in the tissue. It lasts longer than in the penis. In the resolution stage, blood leaves the genitals, erections disappear, muscles relax, heart rate decreases, and the skin feels sweaty.
Knowledge from this course has provided insights that the penis in the excitement phase takes 5 seconds for blood to fill. Testicles increase by 50% and pull closer to the body. The glans enlarges in the plateau stage as nipples erect and a pre-ejaculatory fluid is secreted from the Cowper’s gland duet to the sex flushes. Contractions in seminal vesicles, van deferens and the prostate are exhibited in the orgasm stage. One can experience multiple orgasms before ejaculation. The resolution stage is characterized by decreased glans and a refractory stage where a person cannot orgasm for a specific time.
I understand that women are motivated to indulge in sexual behaviour through intimacy, thoughts, feelings, emotional closeness and a focus on stimuli that leads to arousal. Men are motivated by physical arousals that may be spontaneous. They also have a quicker sexual response cycle. In certain situations, individuals exhibit solo sexual behaviours meant to overcome sexual anxiety to orgasm. They result from fantasies of particular desires, favourite sexual experiences, partners, locations, and maybe acting out. Ford notes that these behaviours have been shown to relieve sexual tension, help in self-exploration, and assist in physical relaxation (Ford et al., 2019).
Partnered sexual behaviour is initiated by foreplay. It includes kissing, massage, hugging, dry humping, oral sex and phone sex. It is self-defined as it prepares a woman for intercourse with a man. Sex may also involve manual stimulation. It gets the vulva or the penis physically caressed. Mutual masturbation with lube that is water-based is also manual sex. A perspective shift about oral sex has made me understand that other partners who engage in oral sex have mixed feelings about it, with some viewing it as less intimate while others view it as most intimate. Vaginal intercourse is most familiar with heterosexuals. Calabrò advises that it needs communication and lubrication and involves four positions (Calabrò et al., 2019). Anal intercourse is gaining popularity as nerve ending in the anus causes orgasm. It has the greatest transmission rates of HIV, with the fragile tissue being vulnerable to tears, discomfort and pain. Same-sex behaviours are exhibited by 18% of women and 7% of men. Gay men exhibit a high rate of oral sex, with lesbians engaging in manual stimulation.
Understanding human sexual behaviour has been most helpful and meaningful in this course. Understanding how we express ourselves sexually with biological concepts has been impactful in this course. I have also learnt that humans remain sexually active even in old age. However, physical health problems significantly impact their sexual functioning. Women experience pain and decreased sexual response. Men exhibit erectile issues and decreased sexual response. Others experience a loss of sexual intimacy after their partner dies, also known as sexual bereavement.
My professional career will involve practical applications of this knowledge. I will teach, instruct and educate patients seeking sexual and reproductive health services. I have learnt to embrace adversity in people’s sexual behaviour, preferences and gender diversity in all cultures. Pregnancy and childbirth process knowledge will enhance my career progression from general nursing to a specialized nursing career, such as a paediatrician or a maternal health nurse. I have also gained insights that are useful in the field of gynaecology and male reproductive health care.
Sexual feelings, thoughts, behaviours, and attraction to other individuals are all part of human sexuality. I now know that several variables, such as intimacy, sensuality, sexual identity, sexual health, and reproduction, impact it. A person may find both men and women attractive or both. Sex-specific factors, including genes or hormones, will likely cause sexual orientation. It has the same rhythm as biological sex. It defines how biological reproduction occurs through self-representations based on psychology and sociology.
Calabrò, R. S., Cacciola, A., Bruschetta, D., Milardi, D., Quattrini, F., Sciarrone, F., … & Anastasi, G. (2019). Neuroanatomy and function of human sexual behaviour: A neglected or unknown issue? Brain and Behavior, 9(12), e01389.
Ford, J. V., Corona Vargas, E., Finotelli Jr, I., Fortenberry, J. D., Kismödi, E., Philpott, A., … & Coleman, E. (2019). Why pleasure matters: Its global relevance for sexual health, sexual rights and wellbeing. International Journal of Sexual Health, 31(3), 217-230.