Social Norms Essay

1408 Words6 Pages
Any individual act of sexuality is shaped by social norms and values. It is what encourages the individual to think the way they do about the action. Norms are the collective expectations of how people should act within society. It is a practice of everyday life that is seen as normal and accepted by humanity. (Flood 2012a). The term sexuality refers to the expression of one’s bodily desires, be it through actions or through ones imagination (Abbott, Pamela & Wallace 2005). Society classifies acts of sexuality or certain sexual behavior as appropriate or inappropriate. This leads to social norms regarding sexuality being formed. They shape sexual behavior in society (Flood 2012b). These social norms may vary depending on one’s social status. Social norms are, to a great extent, influenced by forms of social difference like gender, race or ethnicity and class. This essay’s focus will be on how these three social differences have shaped social norms related to sexuality. By applying the cultural lens to sexuality, the social norms regarding sexuality can be identified (Mills 1959). Most people conform to the norms practiced by the culture they exist in. People tend to do things in a way that is similar to those they identify with or find comparable. The cultural aspect of the sociological imagination allows one to see how social norms are shaped by social difference (Flood 2012b). One form of social difference is gender. The term gender refers to the biological categorization of humans according to their genitals (Weiten 2010). Males and females are expected to follow different etiquette concerning sexuality. The different organization of male and female lives has encouraged the development of different social norms (Baumeister & Vohs 2004). Society mostly accepts heterosexuality as normal which has led to there being social norms regarding how males and females
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