A separate discussion of female sexuality is necessary primarily because the role assigned to the functional component of a woman’s sexual identity rarely has been accorded the socially enforced value afforded male sexuality.
While the parallel between sexes as to physiological function has gained general acceptance, the concept that the male and female also can share almost identical psychosocial requirements for effective sexual functioning brings expected to protest.
Only when a male requests treatment for symptoms of sexual dysfunction, and possible contributing factors are professionally scrutinized in the clinical interest of symptom reversal, are the psychosocial influences noted to be undeniably similar to those factors which affect female responsivity.
Then such factors as selectivity, regard, affection, identity, and pride (to name a few of the heterogeneous variables) are revealed as part of the missing positive or present negative influence or circumstances surrounding the sexual dysfunction.
Man has had society’s blessing to build his sexual value system in an appropriate, naturally occurring context and woman has not. Until unexpected and usually little understood situations influence the onset of male sexual dysfunction, his sexual value system remains essentially subliminal and its influence more presumed than real.
During her formative years, the female dissembles much of her developing functional sexuality in response to societal requirements for a “good girl” facade.
Instead of being taught or allowed to value her sexual feelings in anticipation of an appropriate and meaningful opportunity for expression, thereby developing a realistic sexual value system.
She must attempt to repress or remove them from their natural context of environmental stimulation under the implication that they are bad, dirty, etc.
She is allowed to retain the symbolic romanticism which usually accompanies these sexual feelings, but the concomitant sensory development with the symbolism that endows the sexual value system with meaning is arrested or labeled for the wrong reasons, objectionable.
The reality of female sexual function today aside from its vital role in reproduction, still implies shame, although such a dishonorable role has been rather difficult to sustain with objectivity.
The social assignment of the role of sin to female sexuality has not contributed to a desirably consistent level of marital harmony. Nor has society always found it easy to eliminate recognition of female sexuality while still supporting and maintaining the male’s role of tacit permission to be sexual with honor, or even praise.
Especially is this true of a society that continues to celebrate events before and after the fact of sexual expression (marriage, birth, etc.), and mourns the female menopause because it is presumed to signify the demise of sexual interest.
Since, as far as is known, elevated levels of female sexual tension are not technically necessary to conception, the natural function of a woman’s sexuality has been repressed in the service of false propriety and restricted by other unnecessary psychosocial controls for equally unsupportable reasons.
The negation of female sexuality, which discourages the development of an effectively useful sexual value system, has been an exercise of the so-called double standard and its socio-cultural precursors.
Residual societal patterns of female sexual repression continue to affect many young women today. They mature acutely aware of repercussions from sexual discord between their parents and among other valued adults, so they grope for new roles of sexual functioning.
Discomfort in the communication of sexual material still prevails between parents and their children.
The young frequently are condemned, by lack of information about what is sexually meaningful, to live with decisions equally as unrewarding sexually as those made by their parents.
In other words, because of cultural restraints, the members of younger generations must continue to make their own sexual mistakes, since they, like previous generations, rarely have been given the benefit of the results of their parents’ past sexual experience; good, bad, or indifferent as that experience may have been.
The necessary freedom of sexual communication between parents and sons and daughters cannot be achieved until the basic component of sexuality itself is given a socially comfortable role by all active generations simultaneously.