Sexuality is a normal part of being human. It refers to the capacity, as we mature, to develop behavior patterns, emotions, and sensations related to reproduction and sexual expression. It also can be deﬁned as a person’s attitudes, values, goals, and behaviors based on the person’s perception of his or her gender. A per- son’s concept of sexuality inﬂuences many aspects of his or her life, including priorities, aspirations, preferences, social contacts, interpersonal relationships, self-evaluation, expression of emotions, and career. In short, sexuality touches nearly every aspect of our lives.
Male Sexuality and Sexual Behavior
Gender and sexuality evolve together and become inextricably intertwined. Parents often interact with their children in different ways depending on the chil- dren’s sex. Girls may be caressed and patted while boys are tickled and rough- housed.
Sexual values and feelings usually are established and reinforced during childhood. Children between ages 5 and 10 often tell stories that have sexual or romantic themes. Girls are more likely than boys to tell romantic stories and less likely than boys to tell sexually explicit stories. This fundamental difference may explain some of the difﬁculties in understanding and communication that some- times occur between men and women.
During adolescence, changes in development cause boys and girls to diverge even more dramatically. Both sexes are going through a major biological event— for girls, menstruation; for boys, the ability to ejaculate. A boy’s sexuality is primarily located in his genitals during puberty. Within 2 years of puberty, all but a relatively few boys have experienced orgasm, usually brought on by masturbation. Girls this age tend to focus more on developing relationships than on their sexuality.
For males, masturbation is touching or massaging their penis for sexual pleasure or to achieve an erection and ejaculation. Male sexual impulses, initially acted out through masturbation, are linked to physiological changes, brought on by increased production of the male hormone testosterone during puberty. At this age, boys are easily aroused. Male adolescents have frequent erections, often without apparent stimulation of any kind.
Masturbation was once considered abnormal. Today it is viewed as a normal, healthy sexual activity that starts in puberty and can continue throughout life. There is no evidence that masturbation causes any physical injury or psycholog- ical harm. For many adolescent boys masturbation is their major sexual activity, and many engage in it frequently. For many men, also, masturbation remains a satisfying, if less important, component of their sexuality.