Sexual Behaviour in Canada: Patterns and Problems

By Benjamin Schlesinger | Go to book overview

Introduction

BENJAMIN SCHLESINGER

What is human sexuality? A constantly evolving and changing constellation of gender identities, attitudes, patterns of behaviour, emotions, perceptions, and beliefs - the list is almost endless. For individual Canadians the unique experience of human sexuality in its physical and psychological aspects is influenced by present and past environment, and by real and vicarious life experiences. To every reader of this book human sexuality will have a very personal meaning.

The so-called 'Sexuality Revolution' of the past twenty years has had a tremendous impact upon individuals and families in Canadian society. Sexuality plays an important part in the life cycle of every Canadian from birth to old age, and everyone has some claim on having a good and healthy sex life, including people who have physical and mental disabilities. It is up to each person to determine and to assume responsibility for her or his own sexuality.

In order to experience a healthy and fulfilling sex life, we need to learn about and appreciate our own bodies, know our feelings and our own sexual responses, become sensitive to the physical and emotional needs of others, and develop meaningful intimacy in our sexual relationships. The morals of sex are changing in the light of increased knowledge and the new waves of liberation in our society. There is no point or virtue in holding to past views based on ignorance and repression; but equally there is no reason to forget that good and healthy sex depends on good and healthy personal relationships and mutual - at least - understanding.

In 1970 I decided to introduce the first course on human sexuality at a Canadian school of social work, and was pleased to find that by 1976 quite a few universities had included this topic in their varied professional schools (medicine,

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