Professor James McKenna
November 15 2017
What’s Love Got to Do With It?
is largely interwoven within modern society. Meredith Small echoes this
notion, as she argues that “Sexuality surrounds us, but it is not
necessarily part of us in an easy way.”
This assertion is valid and applicable when examined in any
context, and it is often epitomized throughout the lives of children.
Sexuality is unavoidably interjected within the lives of children, as
sexual knowledge is developed through everyday act such as watching
television, movies, or surfing the internet. The infuse on of sexuality as a result of media sources is exemplified in the
common experience that most children have in which they are forced to
react to a sex scene while watching a movie with a member of their family.
Further, sex plays an active role in interpersonal relationships by
affecting the way people converse and interact with each other. For
example, college students are constantly forced navigate sexual scripts,
and they often base interactions with their peers based on the existence
or potential of sexual interest. More, the inescapable nature of sex
within college student’s interpersonal relationships can also introduce
feelings of scepticism and uncertainty about friendships, as students
often wonder if a friend of the opposite sex is genuinely interested in
friendship or if they are merely trying to have a sexual relationship with
the extensive role of sexuality within our society Small explains that cultural
values and biology are at times at odds. The competing nature of biological
sexuality and cultural values can also be seen within the lives` of young
people. Small writes, “Human babies are extremely dependent from the moment of
birth and nurse for several years, and both parents seem to be involved in
caretaking” (Small, page 9). Our cultural values suggest that a couple should
only have sex or reproduce after they have gone through the marriage process
and have made a commitment that both partners will be together to take care of
the child. This is not always the case, as many teens and young people go
through puberty and have biological urges to become sexually active long before
they are married. Further, some children are not brought up within the ideal
family structure, thus their environment contradicts what cultural scripts
suggest. For example, some children who are born out of wedlock often grow up
in a separated home where the mother and father are not actively raising the
child together in the same home. In this situation, the child’s biological
needs are in conflict with their environment as well as cultural values.
to Small “Marriage is a human universal. In all cultures, men and women
pair off, two by two, establishing a family unit.” (Page 9) By saying this
Small is making an argument that the human race has universally evolved to
become monogamous. Monogamy is evident within the context of marriage.
Personally, marriage signifies a union in which two people vow to dedicate
their lives to one another. Within this union of marriage, sexual
encounters are dedicated and restricted to their partner. Small’s argument
that monogamy came about through evolution rather than through cultural
change alone can be seen through utilization what is known about man’s
early ancestors. While, it is known
that our predecessors partake in what we know today as marriage,
evolutionary changes can arguably account for mankind’s shift to monogamy.
The female body provides an insight in which this can be understood.
Modern man’s predecessor’s bodies were different as men were much bigger
than women. Small argues that this size difference suggests that males
were often fighting over females to mate with, thus they had a need for
increased size. Today, female bodies have significantly evolved and
experienced a relatively large amount growth making them comparable to the
bodies of their male counterparts. The fact that male bodies did not continue
to evolve to be larger and stronger suggests that size was not longer
needed to continuously secure mates, which in turn suggests that
monogamous practices have been an evolutionary development rather than a
a person born gay, or did they learn to be gay?” This question has been
widely debated over the past ten years and has played a major role in the
development and progression of governments around the world. Four major
scientific studies that have been conducted within this time have found
significant evidence that suggests a connection between sexual behavior
and people’s chromosomal makeup. Dean Hamer MD., a doctor who specializes
in genetics, paved the road for arguments tying sexuality to chromosomal
make up, as he published evidence that many families possess a specific
chromosome that is handed down from a mother to a son. On the other hand,
John Money uses his research to argue that sexuality can only determinate
by who that person falls in love with in an intimate way and there is no
way to tell who a person is going to fall in love with right after birth
or during their childhood. This psychological argument is directly
contradicted by a study, conducted at UCLA, that found evidence that
heterosexuals have chromosomes that are not present in homosexuals and vis
versa. Michael Bailey and Richard Pillar’s research also supports claims
that sexuality is biological. Bailey and Pillar studied twins and found
that if one identical twin is gay, there is close to a 50% chance that the
second twin will also be gay. More, further research found that this connection is
not necessarily true for fraternal twins. Because identical twins share
the same DNA and chromosomes and fraternal twins do not, the findings of
this research suggest that sexuality is biologically determined. Taking
all of the competing research into account, it is still definitely
uncertain whether or not a person is born gay. Additionally, Small brings
up a valid point, in arguing that the environment in which the person grew
up in should also be studied when analyzing sexuality. Personally, I would
disagree with the argument that being gay is a lifestyle choice. People
are not capable of controlling their genetic makeup or the environment in
which they are raised. As research shows that both of these things are
strongly linked to sexuality, the argument that people choose their
sexuality is arguably a non sequitur.
to Small there are big differences between what men and women seem to be
interested in when it comes to sexual relations and sexual behavior. Regarding sexual behavior for women are
almost always attractive to males, not necessarily proceptive according to
their cycles, and don’t need to be receptive to have sex, sexually
flexible, which means that woman don’t suddenly become sexual only when
they are near ovulation(Small 17).
Women are sexual just about anytime during their ovulation
cycle. The flexibility is a distinct
feature of our species that must have had a significant impact on
male-female relations(Small 17).
When it comes to relations Small believes women are interested in 4
things when having sex. Those 4
things are the excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution(Small 84). Women also want a man that can provide
for her and her offspring. High
socioeconomic status, lots of resources or a rosy future. This man women seem to be drawn to is
older, established, higher status men for mates(Small 128). With men the main reason we have sexual
relations is to spread and deliver sperm, pass on genes(Small 104).
Finding a monogamous partner is not the goal, their main goal is to pass
on genes as much as possible. This
is why men are more attracted to young, healthy women that are fertile and
“show no signs of having sex with other men”(Small 128). The biocultural perspective believes
that biological it’s the competition and the need to have fresh sperm that
makes us want to spread our genes.
Behaviorally women are “choosy about their mates, stingy with their
sexuality, and very careful when faced with the possibility of sharing
their genetic material”(Small 129) while men with “their low-cost,
abundant sperm are only interested in spreading their genes around want
sexual variety, high number of partners and ready to copulate at the drop
of a hat.”(Small 128)
the dedication of a book has to do with the relationship between two
people and how that person has inspired the writer in one way or another.
On the superficial level, if the dedication is considered on its own, this
can be assumed about Small and Tim, but once it is considered within the
greater context of the book the dedication takes on a new meaning.
Throughout her book, Small discusses sexuality as a result of biological
differences between males and females and reproductive led evolutionary
changes. Despite Small’s focus on the scientific and biological aspects of
sexuality, she also argues that evolution has led to mankind to monogamy.
Even if monogamous relationships are a product of the need for
reproduction, when someone spends all of their time with someone else and
only gives themselves sexually to that person it is easy to see how
feelings of love can develop.
Therefore, the dedication makes me think that Tim may be monogamous
partner of Small. Their relationship is obviously more than sexual Small.
Nonetheless, it is hard to tell the true nature of Small and Tim’s
relationship without further information. Still, the dedication does not
necessarily contradict Smalls writing throughout the rest of the book.