Student Center | Instructor Center | Information Center | Home
Dimensions of Human Sexuality, 6/e
Student Center
Career Opportunities
Sexuality Image Ga...
Go Ask Alice

Chapter Objectives
Chapter Overview
True or False

Help Center

Thinking About Human Sexuality
Dimensions of Human Sexuality 6/e Cover Image


aphrodisiac  Substance believed to increase sexual responsiveness, pleasure, or capacity. 8
applied practitioner  A professional who applies scientific knowledge to assist others (e.g., a sex therapist). 15
asceticism  A philosophy advocating extreme self-denial, self-discipline, and often celibacy. 10
attitude  A relatively stable positive or negative evaluation of some "object" (person, group, idea, behavior, etc.). 22
cause-and-effect relationships  How changes in one variable affect, or cause change in, a second variable (e.g., the effects of sleep deprivation on sexual responsiveness. 18
child molestation  Sexual abuse of a child by an adolescent or an adult. 486
clinical case study  An in-depth psychological or physical study of an individual patient. 19
coitus interruptus  Withdrawal of the penis from the vagina before ejaculation. 7
control group  In an experiment, the group that is not exposed to some treatment or variable. 18
critical thinking  Awareness and avoidance of biases and presumptions in evaluating information, claims, and arguments. Using facts and logical reasoning to reach conclusions. 21
dogma  A principle or doctrine believed by its advocates to be absolutely true. 10
empirical data  Information or knowledge derived from scientific observation or experimentation. 3
experiment  A research method in which one of two or more equivalent groups is exposed to a treatment to measure its effect on some variable of interest. 18
experimental group  The group in an experiment that is exposed to some treatment or variable. 18
gender  A societally constructed status to which one is assigned (boy or girl, woman or man). Distinguishable from the biological category of sex (male or female). 22, 288
hetaerae  Courtesans. An educated and cultured class of female sexual companions for affluent Greek men in ancient Greece. 9
observation  The describing or recording of ongoing, visible behavior. 18
pederasty  Sexual contact between adult men and adolescent boys. 8
pedophilia  A general erotic preference for children. 447, 486
penile strain gauge  Device used to measure penile engorgement during sexual arousal. 18
phallus (phallic)  The penis (related to the penis). 6
plethysmography  Measurement of the size or state of an organ based on the amount of blood flowing through it (e.g., plethysmograph of the vagina during arousal). 16
random assignment  Assigning research participants to groups in such a way that each participant has an equal chance of being in any group. 18
replicate  To redo or reproduce a study to determine if the findings are dependable or occurred by chance. 3
representative sample  A survey target group that has the important (relevant) characteristics of the whole population. 17
research  Scholarly or scientific study designed to increase knowledge. 15
response rate  The proportion of those contacted in a survey who actually respond. 16
sample  A portion that represents a whole population (in a scientific study). 15
sample of convenience  A survey target group that is easily available or from whom it is easy to collect data. 17
self-report bias  The tendency to offer a generally favorable description of one's own behavior or attitude. 15
sex  A biological status, typically based on the appearance of one's genitals (male or female). Also, genital contact between individuals for the purpose of pleasure and/or reproduction. 22, 288
sexual double standard  Belief that certain behaviors (especially sexual) are acceptable for one gender but not for the other. 22
sexual harassment  sexual coercion that occurs in situations of unequal power. 475
survey  A method of studying a topic by forming specific questions and asking them of a specific group. 16
transsexualism  Intense and prolonged psychological discomfort with one's sexual anatomy, often to the degree that one seeks surgery to "correct" the condition. 22, 304
transvestism (transvestite)  See cross-dressing.
vaginal photoplethysmograph  Device used to measure engorgement of the vaginal walls during arousal. 18
variable  Any factor that can vary in level, size, or intensity. 18
volunteer bias  Behavioral and attitudinal differences that exist between those who are likely to volunteer and those who are not. 16