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Key Ideas

  • Humans of all ages feel a sexual drive, but during adolescence the intensity of this drive increases into a sexual awakening. Sexual behaviors include behaviors one engages in by oneself and behaviors one engages in with another person.
  • Sexual behavior has two parts, each driven by physical and psychological components-sexual arousal and sexual response. It is not entirely dependent on hormones, as it is with many animals, but is closely linked with our feelings and thoughts.
  • Sexual orientation refers to being heterosexual or homosexual. No one completely understands the interaction of genetics, hormones, and psychological and cultural factors in determining sexual orientation.


This section looks at what causes the sexual drive, how sexual stimulus leads to sexual response, and some common sexual behaviors. It begins by investigating the correlation between hormones and sexual interest. Human sexual behavior, however, is more complex than simple biology and is greatly influenced by feelings and relationships. The first activity helps students realize that when they fall in love reason sometimes seems to fly out the window. This exercise requires them to think about the qualities they would like in a mate before they are caught up in a romantic relationship. The next portion of the section deals with sexual stimulation, both physical and psychological, and the responses it provokes. The final issue addressed in the section is the most common types of sexual behavior, both solitary and sociosexual. The difference between heterosexual and homosexual orientation is defined.



\checkmark describe the relationship between sexual drive, sexual stimulation, and sexual response.

\checkmark identify how they should be treated by others in a loving relationship.

\checkmark identify the warning signs of falling in love.

\checkmark recognize that falling in love sometimes clouds our judgment.


ejaculation, erection, erotic cues, estrus, heterosexual orientation, homosexual orientation, masturbation, nocturnal orgasm, orgasm, semen, sexual dreams, sexual drive, sexual fantasy, solitary, vaginal lubrication

Student Materials

Activity 3-1: Help! I'm Falling in Love

  • Activity Report
  • Colored pencils or thin markers; Heavy white paper or construction paper; Scissors

Teacher Materials

Activity 3-1: Help! I'm Falling in Love

  • Activity Report Answer Key
  • Sample card (Optional)

Advance Preparation

See Activity 3-1 in the student edition.

Activity 3-1: Help! I'm Falling in Love

  • Gather supplies.
  • If you wish, make a sample card to show students.
  • If you want a more uniform result, have the papers precut to your specifications.

Interdisciplinary Connections

Language Arts A Mini Activity uses fairy tales to view romance. Discussion groups help students develop communication skills and can lead to essay or journal writing.

Art Activity 4-1 involves an art project.

Background Information

It's time to bite the bullet. Sex is a tough topic with which to deal when referring to behavior rather than reproduction. There are some good sources to help you (although the topic remains difficult). For general introductions to sexual physiology (stimulation and response), as well as sexual behavior, consider the following college level textbooks.

Sexual Interactions by A. R. and E. R. Allgeier, 4th ed. (Lexington, Mass.: D. C. Heath, 1995).

Core Concepts in Human Sexuality by B. Strong, C. De Vault, and B. W. Sayad, (Mayfield, 1996).

If you have a particular interest in sexual survey material, the most reliable and informative is Sex in America by R. F. Michael, et al. (Boston: Little, Brown, 1994).

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Date Created:

Feb 23, 2012

Last Modified:

Apr 29, 2014
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