David LaMannaIntro to Anthropology 15 November 2017 What’s Love Got to Do With It? Meredith Small references the factthat sex and sexual behavior are embedded in our culture and everyday lives.
She writes about the red light districts of the world, decorated with differentsexual figures (Small, 2). Because of these magazines, television shows,billboards, and other types of risquee entertainment, sex has become anindustry that is apart of our daily lives and makes us look at sex “not aspatterns of behavior that evolved as part of our nature but as something to behidden, whispered about, perhaps be ashamed of.” (Small, 4). Small suggeststhat under the artifice of sex that is depicted in the public, lies a sexualanimal that is embedded in our biology. The culture that we live in today has”separated sex from reproduction and hung it with trappings of culture”(Small,4). Sex through culture is set off in a world of its own. It is separated bythis perceived notion that humans have about it.
However, just like anythingelse we do, it is apart of how we are supposed to act according to ourevolution and biology. An example of the cultural valuesand biology clashing as far as sexual behavior is concerned, is birth control.Birth control was made so a man and woman could have sexual intercourse withoutimpregnating the woman. Because of theindustry of sex that Small refers to in her book, it has become popular to havesex for pleasure, rather than for reproduction which is the cultural side ofhuman’s sexual behaviors. Overall, sexual behavior in our society is embeddedwithin the entertainment and other sources of the public, however the culturethat has been built around it, juxtaposes the biology of humans to have sex inorder to reproduce. 2. According to Meredith F. Small,there is a definite relationship between mating and marriage and thatrelationship is that “marriage provides easy sexual access for both partners.
“(Small, 12). As sexual activity is in our biology and our evolution because ofreproduction, marriage is “intended to formalize the system in which childrenare born and raised”(Small, 12). However, many times, marriage occurs betweentwo parties because of alliances between families being formed, or because ofpolitics. Therefore, according to Small, “in a sense, sex is the last thingthat marriage guarantees.”(Small, 12). Looking from a universal vantage point,marriage accomplishes these things as well as the ability to make a family. Inaddition, marriage can have financial benefits for the two people involved.
These include perks like a marital tax deduction, social security benefits,filing taxes jointly along with many others (13 Legal Benefits). In manycultures, there are arranged marriages where the parents of two families telltheir son and/or daughter who they are to marry, so there is no love involvedin those cultures primarily, but it can grow. Love is involved in other casesdespite this tradition in some cultures. Monogamy, according to Small, isvery rare in the animal world, however it seems interesting then that marriageis practiced by so many people around the world (Small, 12). In addition, afterdigging up fossils and researching them it seems that we were not monogamous inthe past (Small, 19). Studies show that over 73% of cultures worldwide admit toextramarital affairs(Broude).
It seems that similarly to how culture hasdictated sexual behavior, it is also dictating monogamy in many cultures.Marriage is followed by many cultures around the world and because of that, ithas become the cultural ideal that causes monogamy, which is unnatural, to occur.3. Homosexuality and sexuality as awhole, according to Meredith Small, after researching the subject, derives fromthe biology of each human (Small, 169). It is how they are wired, however thisis not what everyone always thought up until 1952. In fact, Small states,”Before the sexual revolution and gay liberation, most people assumed thathomosexuality was a product of a twisted childhood. Psychoanalyst SigmundFreud, and many other scientists believed that homosexuality was caused by achildhood with an oppressive mother and an aloof father that led to a mentaldisarray (Small, 167). However, in the 1950’s Evelyn Hooker was able todisprove that theory, by looking at scans of both homosexual and heterosexualmen, and seeing that their brain scans were not different, and that homosexualmen were not put under more stress than heterosexual men.
She believed thatinstead of a sociological disorder, homosexuality was a sexual deviance(Small,168). Now it is accepted by many psychologists and other scientists thatsexuality is how a person was made biologically (Small, 169). Recent researchhas found that although there are no “homosexual genes”, there are some genesthat make it more likely that a person is homosexual (Ghose). Overall, scientists have not beenable to stamp an exact difference between homosexual and heterosexual humans,however there are some differences that occur in the majority of homosexualsbut not in all of them (Small, 184). A UCLA group has found that the anteriorcommissure of the brain is larger in females than in males, and it is evenbigger in homosexual males, however another lab has different findings of this(Small, 182). There have also been other differences found between thesuprachiasmatic nucleus in homosexual males, however these findings areinconsistent therefore there is no definite proof of the differences (Small,182).
Furthermore, according to Small, “None of these studies have declaredthey know the roots of homosexuality, only that male homosexual brains sometimesand in some places seem to end up wired a bit differently”(Small, 184). Becauseof this, there is no definite difference between homosexuals and heterosexualsbiologically known yet, however many scientists have hunches. Many people might believe that”homosexuality is a lifestyle choice”, and that all homosexuals are actuallystraight, however they just want to be homosexual.
I disagree with thisassumption, because as a straight man, I know that some men find a certain typeof woman more attractive than other men do. For instance, a male may think thatblonde’s are the only attractive woman, therefore only want to be with blondewomen. The men who are like this do not get to choose who they find attractive,it is how they are wired, and it is not a choice of theirs. Therefore, I thinkthat homosexuality is not a choice in that homosexual men and women are justwired to be attracted to the same sex. 4.
Thequestion beckons what the differences between sexual behavior are between menand women. According to Small, “Men have more sex partners over a lifetime thanwomen. More men than women approve of casual sex. Me have more extramaritalaffairs than women, although women are catching up.” (Small, 120). Men are alsoconfirmed to seek out sex more than women are, so it is understood that men,biologically, are more inclined to have sex than women.
Because of evolutionand the biology of men, they have been naturally selected to want to spreadtheir genes around to as many women as possible. Women’s primary reproductiveaim is to want to have sex to conceive therefore it is irrational to believethat they would want to have sex often, except to conceive (Small, 121).However, Small thinks that women would not want to have sex on a regular basiswith strangers rather than men because of the culture that we live in.
Shebelieves that “For women, sex with a stranger is fraught with the danger ofviolence, and this is always added into the equation, at least in thiscountry”(Small, 122). In addition, women have been told their entire lives tonot interact with strangers, with the chance of violence always in the mix.Because of this, the culture has influenced them in such a way that they arenot prone to wanting to have sexual relations with a man unless they get toknow them. Men on the other hand, have no fear of strangers, therefore they areinclined to want to have sex with strangers just for the sake of sex (Small,122). 5. Small makes it evident throughouther book that love itself really does not have much to do with it. She states,”No one has to love his or her partner to have sex with them or conceive aninfant with them:(Small, 208).
Despite this, as humans, although the act ofsexual intercourse is disconnected from love itself, the act of love is connectedto sex in many instances (Small, 209). She is able to make a dedication to Timstating “For Tim, Because Love Has Something To Do With It.” because sheunderstands that humans are individuals and that they are “all looking for lovein some form or another”(Small, 210). Sex, alone is something that does notneed love for it to occur between the sexual animals that humans arebiologically, however when love is involved, sex is something that can be asignificant part of a loving relationship (Small, 208). Works Cited Broude and Greene, 1976.Small, Meredith F.
What’s Love Got to Do with It?: theEvolution of Human Mating. Anchor Books/Doubleday, 1996.”13 Legal Benefits of Marriage.” Theknot.com, www.
“Being Gay Not a Choice:Science Contradicts Ben Carson.” LiveScience,Purch, 5 Mar. 2015, www.livescience.com/50058-being-gay-not-a-choice.html.