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What are Gender differences in regard to intimacy?

Gender differences in intimacy stem from the role that each gender plays in an intimate relationship. Because women and men differ in so many ways, there are gender differences when it comes to intimacy. The text states that “there are fundamental differences between women and men. These differences are of the utmost importance in patterning all of our social experiences, including intimate relationships.” (Santore, pg. 289-290) These difference are not just biological, and have a social link as well. Men define intimacy differently than women and each gender has a different expectation of what intimacy is or what it means. Generally speaking, men and women have held different positions within society which allows them to experience social life differently, in turn means that they experience intimacy differently. If a man views himself from a capitalist perspective, may view intimacy with a practical and unemotional viewpoint because that is how he has experienced life and socialized. A woman who is a stay at home mother or housewife in charge of the home and well being of the family will have a stronger emotional connection to intimacy. (Santore, pg. 290) The differences in intimacy that are reflected by each gender comes from the way that each individual was socialized and how they experienced life. It comes from the individual’s own interpretation of what intimacy is in a relationship. Due to the fact that men and women have different social expectations, then they in turn have different intimacy expectations.

2. Are internet dating sites sexual institutions? How?

A social institution is defined as a group of people who have come together for a common purpose. These institutions are a part of the social order of society and they govern behavior and expectations of individuals. When referencing a dating site, many individuals are coming together to seek a common thing, intimacy with someone else, some form of relationship or companionship. Each individual there is seeking another individual for some purpose. Because of this, and referencing the definition of what a social institution is, then yes, internet dating sites can be classified as sexual institutions. Individuals within these dating sites are looking for an intimate action with another person, most seeking sexual contact, making this a form of sexual institution. Sexual institutions provide the ability for people to come together to be socially sexual which is what most individuals use internet dating sites for, seeking intimacy from others.

Fischer, Nancy L. & Steven Seidman. New Sexuality Studies. 3rd edition. New York: Routledge, 2016.

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