Social and Cultural Views of Human Sexuality Paper

Social and Cultural Views of Healthy and Unhealthy Human Sexuality

Grand Canyon University: PCN 530

Social and Cultural Views of Healthy and Unhealthy Human Sexuality


Human sexuality, described as how we express ourselves as sexual individuals. The way that we experience and express ourselves has been around from the beginning of time and is something that many individuals from anthropologist, to psychologist, share his or her expertise on the subject (Rathus, Nevid, & Fichner-Rathus, 2014). There are many different attitudes when it comes to sex and sexual behavior. There are also many different beliefs as to the roles of men and women as it relates to sexuality. Within the scope of this document, one will explore historical perspectives on human sexuality. There are many perspectives throughout society, but we will evaluate just two. The contemporary cultural perspective on human sexuality and the cultural attitudes toward male and female sexuality of the historical and contemporary perspective explored. One will see the different roles of men and women as the perspective that we explore are different. When looking at the contemporary perspective, one will discover that there is an openness to many things forbidden in other historical perspectives.

Two historical perspectives on human sexuality

There are several historical perspectives of human sexuality, to name a few there is the perspective of the ancient Hebrews, the Ancient Greeks, Ancient Rome, the Early Christians, Islam, India and so many more. There are two historical perspective that we will take a closer look. The Ancient Greeks, and the Early Christians. As we compare and contrast the two one finds a vast difference in the beliefs and values of these two groups. The ancient Greeks is a group that is familiar to many with gods such as, Zeus, Apollo, Aphrodite and others. The aspects of Greek sexuality can be alarming to those who are conservative; Greeks sexual practices in the ancient world include male-male sexual behavior, pedantry, and prostitution (Rathus, Nevid, & Fichner-Rathus, 2014). Pederasty actually means love of boys, and no social stigma placed among prostitutes who served and courtesans. The Greeks viewed all people as bisexual and this practice is not frowned upon as long as the family structure is not interrupted. The women of ancient Greece faced what would be challenging in today’s society. According to Rathus, Nevid, & Fichner-Rathus (2014), They did not receive a formal education, were subject to their spouse and were under the authority of a male through her life. Males on the other hand were treated superior to woman and the authority figure in their homes. Women were not allowed to go out into public without the presence of a male. Early Christian on the other hand are very different and have a different aspect to human sexuality. According to Maculloch (2011) the early Christians commanded that brides be virgins and not practice sex before marriage. Adultery and fornication among the early Christian and even today is forbidden, and sexual temptation viewed as a distraction from one’s spiritual devotion (Rathus, Nevid, & Fichner-Rathus, 2014). One noticed that within the Greek aspect of human sexuality that a man could put his wife away in divorce but with the early Christians divorce prohibited. Other things like masturbation, men sleeping with men sexual behavior, women sleeping with women, oral sex, and anal intercourse are looked at as an abomination in the sight of God (Rathus, Nevid, & Fichner-Rathus, 2014). Early Christian men are taught to love their wives, and to treat them with dignity and respect unlike the Greek men.

One contemporary cultural perspective on human sexuality

The contemporary perspective on human sexuality is very different from what we have read previously but resembles the Greek belief more than the early Christian perspective. The contemporary cultural has a very open mindset; things, prohibited in the Early Christian, are accepted now with no regard for consequences. Many people in the contemporary culture practice sex without contraception. Masturbation is normal for many and men with men and women with women is becoming all too common. The treatment of women varies within this culture there is the up rise of domestic violence in which men mistreat women and women consider themselves in many arenas to be equal with men. As there is no expert in the field of human sexuality there is also no right or wrong when the subject it explored. Those with religious beliefs that are against certain things are not wrong for his or views. Neither is the individual who thinks differently about human sexuality. Of course one cannot make one agree with or believe his or her perspectives but in his or her own world the perspective is accepted. In today’s culture, one can see gay and lesbian groups evolving seemingly everywhere. Gay and lesbian marriages are now legal in several states and many are accepting these groups as normal behavior. The media in today’s culture plays a major role in human sexuality, the impact that our commercials has on today’s society and also movies, and music, has given this generation a more open outlook on human sexuality and our youth are leaning things early that our older generation stayed away from.


Human sexuality is a subject there is no one mold for one to follow. With so many different historical values, and different perspective one cannot determine what is right and wrong when it comes to another’s belief. When looking at the Ancient Greek, the Early Christian, and the contemporary perspectives one can see how vast the subject of human sexuality is. How men treat women now opposed to how men treated women in Ancient Greece is a world of difference. Even among the gay and lesbian community words such as queer, which was once, an offensive statement is accepted in that community.


MacCulloch, D, (2011) Christianity: The first three thousand years. New York: Viking

Rathus, S., Nevid, J., & Fichner-Rathus, L. (2008). Human Sexuality in a world of Diversity

(9th ed., pp. 1-646). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education.

Bays, D. H. (2012). Christianity in Contemporary China: Socio-cultural Perspectives. China

Review International19(3), 458-460