||This article has been nominated to be checked for its neutrality. (December 2007)|
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2007)|
A sexual inhibition is a conscious or subconscious constraint or curtailment by a person of behaviour relating to specific sexual matters or practices or of a discussion of sexual matters.
Though a person can be regarded as being sexually inhibited if he or she irrationally fears of or is excessively averse to any sexual practice or discourse, the term is normally not applied to a person who refrains from certain sexual activities on moral and rational grounds or due to a psychological disorder. On the other hand, a person can be regarded as having low sexual inhibitions when he/she welcomes a variety of non-conventional erotic practices. Hypersexuality is typically associated with lowered sexual inhibitions, and alcohol and some drugs can affect a person's social and sexual inhibitions. Hypersexuality is at times viewed in terms of sexual addiction.
A particularly uninhibited individual might be branded in contemporary society as being a slut, stud or pervert while someone who is very inhibited may be considered sexually frigid or prudish. See Asexuality.
Examples of inhibitions
Some inhibitions are expressed in terms of preferences for specific sexual practices and may be based on cultural attitudes. For example, cultural attitudes towards oral sex range from disgust to reverence. It has been considered taboo, or at least frowned upon, in many cultures and parts of the world. Preferences for specific sexual practices among female same-sex relationships have been studied. It was found that not all women who have sex with women engage in oral sex (i.e., cunnilingus). Some state that they dislike it due to not liking the experience or due to psychological or social factors, such as considering it unclean. Others believe that it is a necessity or largely defines lesbian sexual activity, attributing lesbian women who dislike oral sex as a problem. Often, lesbian couples are likely to define a woman's dislike of oral sex as a problem more than heterosexual couples are, and commonly seek therapy to overcome an oral sex inhibition. Similarly, there are lesbians who like anal sex and others "who cannot bear the thought of it". People give various reasons for their dislike of oral sex. Some say that since it does not lead to procreation, it is therefore unnatural. Others believe that it is a humiliating or unclean practice (an opinion that is, at least in some cases, connected with the symbolism attached to different parts of the body).
In most cultures, sexual intercourse with a person not one's marriage partner has legal, moral and interpersonal implications, which inhibit people's sexual activities in a variety of ways. In cultures that value virginity, some adolescent girls avoid vaginal sexual intercourse, choosing instead to fellate their boyfriends (which normally would be a less preferred activity, see above) to create and maintain intimacy. A female who cannot conceive by normal means and requires assistance to conceive may be constrained by social and sexual inhibitions and taboos from accepting a sperm donor or a friend to perform an intravaginal insemination, and the friend may be similarly inhibited; and opting instead for the more expensive and arduous artificial insemination.
A fear of being nude in front of others can be regarded as a sexual inhibition. Some people feel uncomfortable being nude in front of another person, even in private with their sex partner. For example, a person may feel comfortable being nude only during a sexual activity, and then only with subdued lighting, or covered by a sheet or blanket. Some people decline medical examinations that involve disrobing. In an interview in March 2007, Halle Berry said that her toplessness in Swordfish (2001) was "gratuitous" to the movie, but that she needed to do the scene to get over her fear of nudity, and that it was the best thing she did for her career. Having overcome her inhibitions, she went on to a role in Monster's Ball, which included a nude scene. In 2002, Eva Green in her first film role needed director Bernardo Bertolucci's guidance during the filming of the nude and sex scenes in The Dreamers (2003), but was embarrassed when her family saw the film. Some actresses prefer not to expose their bodies to others and use a body double even for exposure of breasts.
Causes of inhibitions
A person's sexual inhibitions are a product of the person's personality, as well as personal experiences. Nevertheless there are a number of sources which have a great influence on the development of actual behaviour. Social conditioning and fashions also has an influence. (See the nature vs nurture debate.)
As a young person matures sexually, he or she will be exposed to myriad mixed signals of what various people regard as the normal behavior in a particular situation. On the other hand, other will hold such behavior to be unacceptable. Sexual inhibitions may result from, for example, repression of sexual behaviour as a child, societal restraints on sexual behaviour, ignorance, sexual myths, and disparity between the partners. For example, many women suffer from the “good girl syndrome” because they were taught that only “bad girls” will do a striptease for their lover, masturbate, give oral, have anal or even initiate sex when they want it. Women are often raised with shame and guilt about their body so they are inhibited about the size or shape of their breasts, the look and smell of their vagina, losing control during orgasm as well as asking for what they want in bed.
Early conditioning by not only parents and guardians, but society, can play a paramount role in the development of sexual inhibitions. When the child is young, they begin to understand the concept of gender identity, and begin to associate themselves as either a boy or a girl. This will also eventually lead to the discovery of the genitalia. Touching/playing/showing of the genitalia is generally considered inappropriate behaviour and the child may be admonished. The child learns the taboo of the genitalia and generally accepts them. If the child witnesses any sort of sexual behaviours between persons he is familiar with, after all of this anti sexual conditioning, the child may become confused and thus it may lead to sexual inhibition as the child grows. However this depends on the response of the child. Many times, if the child witnesses their parent(s) engaging in sexual acts, the child may see them acting frantically, and thus the child would interpret it in a negative manner, again leading to sexual inhibitions. But if the parent(s) or another party are abusing the child, he/she may grow to engage in more atypical sexual behaviour.
Society has a profound effect on a person's perception of sex. For example, parents may pass on their anti-sex ideas onto their children at a young age, but the media imposes conflicting ideas on the youths as they grow older.
- Social inhibition
- Hypoactive sexual desire disorder
- Religion and sexuality
- "The History of Fellatio", Salon.com, May 22, 2000.
- Belge, Kathy. "Do All Lesbians Like Oral Sex?". About.com. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- Naomi B. McCormick (1994). Sexual Salvation: Affirming Women's Sexual Rights and Pleasures. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 284 pages. ISBN 0275943593, 9780275943592 Check
|isbn=value (help). Retrieved April 18, 2012.
- Ginny Vida, Karol D. Lightner, Tanya Viger (1996). The New Our Right to Love: A Lesbian Resource Book. Simon and Schuster. pp. 317 pages. ISBN 0684806827, 9780684806822 Check
|isbn=value (help). Retrieved April 18, 2012.
- Jerry J. J. Bigner, Joseph L. L. Wetchler (2012). Handbook of LGBT-Affirmative Couple and Family Therapy. Routledge. pp. 507 pages. ISBN 1136340327, 9781136340321 Check
|isbn=value (help). Retrieved April 18, 2012.
- Kat Harding (2006). The Lesbian Kama Sutra. Macmillan. p. 144. ISBN 0-312-33585-7, 9780312335854 Check
|isbn=value (help). Retrieved 2011-02-03.
- Buschmiller, Rev. Robert. "Oral Sex in Marriage". Presentation Ministries. Retrieved July 24, 2010.
- Pina-Cabral, Joao de (1992). "Tamed Violence: Genital Symbolism is Portuguese popular culture". Man. N.S 28 (1): 101–120. doi:10.2307/2804438. JSTOR 2804438.
- Jayson, Sharon (2005-10-19). "'Technical virginity' becomes part of teens' equation". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-08-07.
- Carpenter, Laura M. (2001). "The Ambiguity of "Having Sex": The Subjective Experience of Virginity Loss in the United States - Statistical Data Included". United States: The Journal of Sex Research. Retrieved 2010-01-03.
- Bryan Strong, Christine DeVault, Theodore F. Cohen (2010). The Marriage and Family Experience: Intimate Relationship in a Changing Society. Cengage Learning. pp. 615 pages. ISBN 0-534-62425-1, 9780534624255 Check
|isbn=value (help). Retrieved October 8, 2011.
- Laura M. Carpenter (2005). Virginity lost: an intimate portrait of first sexual experiences. NYU Press. pp. 295 pages. ISBN 0-8147-1652-0, 9780814716526 Check
|isbn=value (help). Retrieved October 9, 2011.
- Sonya S. Brady, PhD and Bonnie L. Halpern-Felsher, PhD (2007). "Adolescents' Reported Consequences of Having Oral Sex Versus Vaginal Sex". Pediatrics 119 (2): 229–236. doi:10.1542/peds.2006-1727. PMID 17272611.
- Sexual Behavior in the Human Female: By the Staff of the Institute for Sex Research, Indiana University, Alfred C. Kinsey ... [et al.] ; with a New Introduction by John Bancroft. Indiana University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-253-33411-X
- Jam Showbiz Movies, 22 March 2007: Halle Berry bares her soul
- Stealing beauty, a February 2004 article from The Guardian
- Harris, Richard Jackson (1 April 1999). "A Cognitive Psychology of Mass Communication". Lea's Communication Series (Lawrence Erlbaum). ISBN 0-8058-3088-X. Retrieved 11 September 2009. "... the use of body doubles, even for attractive stars, is common."
- Jeffries, Stuart (26 January 2007). "He's the Bond girl, not me". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 27 August 2007.
- How To Overcome Inhibitions and Revel in Sexual Intimacy
- "Sexual Behaviour, Human". Encyclopædia Britannica (Deluxe CD ed.). 2003.