Biological sex - external genitalia, internal genitalia, chromosomal
Gender identity- the psychological sense of being male or female
Sexual orientation - enduring emotional, romantic, sexual or affectional attraction to individuals of a particular gender. (It refers to feelings and self-concept.) Persons may or may not express their sexual orientation in their behaviors.
Affectional orientation - “who you hang out with”
Erotic orientation - “who turns you on”
Romantic orientation - “who you fall in love with”</p>
Sexual identity is the inner sense of oneself as a sexual being, including how one identifies
in terms of gender and sexual orientation; it is also the expression of the individual in the socio-political realm.
Other Important Issues/Questions
How is sexual orientation determined? Probably by complex interactions of biological (including genetic, hormonal), psychological
and social factors (life experiences) in early childhood.
What are some of the factors that might influence a woman’s sexual development? Early role models, religious teachings, cultural
heritage, early sexual experiences, both positive and negative.
What is the the sexual response cycle? A woman’s body follows a predictable pattern. Four stages of the sexual response cycle
are part of a gradual, continual pattern: 1. excitement, 2. plateau, 3. orgasm, 4. resolution.
Common Sexual Problems:
diminished or lack of ability to achieve arousal
lack of interest in initiating or participating in sexual intimacy
feeling of being repulsed by sexual contact.
Factors that can cause sexual problems:
interpersonal conflict (most common)
fear of pregnancy
illness, fear of loss of control
effects of drugs or alcohol
anicipation of discomfort or pain
emotional reaction to mastectomy/hysterectomy
lack of knowledge (the most common cause)
not understanding her body’s responses well enough to communicate what is pleasurable to her
too shy or embarrassed to talk about her sexual needs
side effects of medication
drug and alcohol abuse
poor communication between partners
unrealistic expectations about sexual performance
lack of trust and commitment
unresolved conflicts can often lead to the lack of enjoyment or ability to have sex. </p>
Some concerns about orgasm that can diminish sexual excitement:
undue emphasis on experiencing orgasm or achieving orgasm at same time
focus on performance (rather than mutual pleasure)
focus on technique (rather than feelings)</p>
Failure to achieve orgasm can stem from:
lack of trust
fear of surrendering to the sexual experience
use of drugs or alcohol
problems of a male partner like: impotence, the inability to achieve or sustain an erection
common side effect of some medications, alcohol and drug abuse, some surgery</p>
What to do if you think you might have a problem
Remember: you are not alone. It is common to experience at some time in life:
Many problems are transient or can be worked out with patience and a caring partner.
If there is physical pain, seek medical evaluation for a physical cause.
It is crucial to have open and honest discussions with your partner.
If you have feelings you do not understand or have difficulty coping with guilt, fear, conflict, or shyness, don’t be afrain to visit a counselor.
Be willing to find resources to help you develop skills in communication, relaxation and pleasuring techniques.