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Chapter 3 Hormones and Sexuality


Chapter 3 Hormones and Sexuality For use with text, Human Sexuality Today, 5th edition. Bruce M. King Slides by Callista Lee What are hormones? Hormones are chemical ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Chapter 3 Hormones and Sexuality

Chapter 3Hormones and Sexuality
  • For use with text,
  • Human Sexuality Today,
  • 5th edition.
  • Bruce M. King
  • Slides by Callista Lee

What are hormones?
  • Hormones are chemical substances secreted by the
    ductless glands of the Endocrine System directly
    into the bloodstream which carries them to other
    parts of the body where they exert their
    influence on other glands or target organs.
  • The pituitary gland, located just beneath the
    brains hypothalamus is part of the Endocrine

Brain Pituitary Gonad feedback loop in women
  • Hormones produced by the gonads (the ovaries in
    women) are released into the bloodstream and are
    read by the pituitary gland which will alter
    its output of FSH and LH in response.

Reproductive hormones
  • Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) governs the
    production of ova in women and sperm in men. FSH
    is produced by the pituitary gland.
  • Luteinizing hormone (LH) triggers ovulation in
    women and the production of androgens (male
    hormones) in men. LH is also produced by the
    pituitary gland.
  • Both FSH and LH are under the control of
    gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) which is
    produced in the brains hypothalamus.

The menstrual cycle its all about eggs
  • Each ovum (egg) is surrounded by cells which form
    a protective follicle.
  • At birth, each ovary has about 300,000 to 400,000
    primordial (immature) follicles.
  • Each month about 1000 follicles begin but never
    complete the maturation process.
  • At puberty only about 200,000 follicles/ova
    remain and some will now complete the maturation
    process each menstrual cycle.

Changes within the ovaries
  • Menstruation actually takes place at the end of
    the menstrual cycle, after a mature ovum has been
    released (ovulation) but has failed to become
    fertilized by sperm.
  • The blood-rich endometrial lining of the uterus
    that had thickened in anticipation of a pregnancy
    sloughs off (menstruation) while other follicles
    in the ovaries begin the maturation process for
    the next cycle.

Myth of the 28-day cycle
  • 28 days is only the statistically average length
    of an adult human womans menstrual cycle.
  • Consistent 28-day cycles are not very common.
    Variance between and within individuals is to be
  • What we refer to as Day 1 of the cycle is
    actually the first day of menstrual bleeding
    (menstruation) at the end of the process.

Hormonal, ovarian and uterine changes during a
28-day cycle
  • Since your face is not on the cover of this
    textbook, dont expect your cycle to look exactly
    like this one each month.
  • Allow for differences from month to month and
    between individuals.

Menstrual Cycle Days 5 - 13Preovulatory Phase
  • In this follicular or proliferative phase the
    pituitary secretes relatively high levels of FSH.
  • The growing follicle becomes a temporary
    endocrine gland, secreting increasing amounts of
    estrogen which inhibits FSH production in the
  • When estrogen levels reach their peak, the
    pituitary releases a surge of LH.

Menstrual Cycle Day 14Ovulation
  • Again, day 14 is only an average ovulation
    occurs anywhere from 12 16 days before the next
    menstrual flow.
  • The LH surge signals the onset of ovulation
    within 12 to 24 hours.
  • The Graafian (mature) follicle has moved to the
    surface of the ovary where the follicle will
    rupture, expelling the ripe ovum into the
    abdominal cavity.

Menstrual Cycle Days 15 - 28 Postovulatory Phase
  • This phase is also called the luteal or secretory
    phase because the cells of the follicle remain in
    the ovary, renamed the corpus luteum, where
    they will produce large amounts of progesterone.
  • Progesterone inhibits release of LH from the
    pituitary gland and further prepares the
    endometrial lining of the uterus to receive a
    fertilized egg.

Menstrual Cycle Days 1 to 4 Menstruation
  • In most cycles fertilization and implantation do
    not occur. The corpus luteum deteriorates and
    both progesterone and estrogen levels decline.
  • This decline in the hormones needed to maintain
    the endometrium leads to the degeneration of the
    endometrial lining which is sloughed off and shed
    over a 3 to 6 day period along with blood and
    cervical mucus.

  • Pheromones are chemical substances secreted
    externally by animals that convey information to
    and produce specific responses in members of the
    same species.
  • For example, when a female cat goes into heat
    male cats will pick up her scent and become
    sexually aroused.

Menstrual Synchrony
  • Women who live together and are regularly exposed
    to the pheromones (detected non-consciously) in
    each others sweat often experience changes in
    the length of their individual menstrual cycles
    so that they become synchronized.
  • Women with abnormal cycles tend to develop more
    normal cycles when exposed to male sweat.

Aphrodisiac Colognes?
  • Although perfume makers have long been hopeful to
    develop an aphrodisiac based on human
    pheromones, there is not yet any evidence to
    suggest that human sexual desire and behavior is
    affected by natural body odors.
  • Even menstrual synchrony may be due to factors
    much more complex than simple exposure to the
    natural odors of others.

Menstrual versus Estrous Cycle
  • The monthly menstrual cycle allows humans many
    opportunities for procreation throughout the
  • Regular menstruation may also allow the body to
    rid itself of potentially harmful bacteria in the
    uterus on a regular basis.
  • Most animals experience an estrous discharge and
    sexual/reproductive receptivity just once or
    twice a year.

Historical Hebrew and Modern Jewish Attitudes
  • Biblical-age Hebrews regarded menstruating women
    as impure and forbid all contact with men for 7
  • A ritual bath, the Niddah, was required before
    she could again leave her home and have any
    contact with men.
  • Orthodox Jews still adhere to these practices to
    a lesser degree.

Menstrual Taboos and Celebrations
  • In many cultures menstrual taboos emphasize the
    low status and inferiority of women (e.g.,
    Hunter-gatherer societies such as the Havik
    Brahmins, Lele, Kolish peoples).
  • However, Japanese and many Native American
    peoples celebrate a girls first menstruation as
    a positive experience and entry into womanhood.

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Current American Attitudes
  • Most Americans view menstruating women as less
    likeable, less agreeable, less clean and more
  • The large majority of Americans seldom initiate
    sex during menstruation.
  • Actually, there is nothing dirty or nasty about
    menstruation as it is a normal, healthy event.

Menstrual Problems Amenorrhea
  • Amenorrhea is the absence of menstruation for 6
    months or longer
  • Ogliomenorrhea is the absence of periods for
    shorter intervals and is common in the first few
    years following menarche (first menses)
  • Pituitary and ovarian problems
  • Low levels of body fat, especially among athletes
    or anorexics.

Menstrual Problems Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
  • 3 to 14 days prior to the menstrual period,
    during the postovulatory/luteal phase
  • Bloating, breast tenderness, abdominal swelling,
    swollen hands and feet, weight gain,
    constipation, and headaches
  • Depression, anxiety, tension, irritability and
    inability to concentrate
  • 75 of women experience some symptoms

Menstrual Problems PMS vs. PMDD
  • Most women who perceive themselves as having PMS
    are actually misattributing symptoms of stress,
    poor health and work problems.
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) occurs in
    3 8 of women and includes much more severe
    symptoms which markedly interfere with their

Causes and Treatments of PMS and PMDD
  • Normal levels of estrogen and progesterone may
    interact with brain chemicals such as serotonin
    to produce symptoms.
  • Antidepressant medications often reduce tension
    and irritability.
  • Physical symptoms are often relieved by combating
    water retention and improving diet and exercise.

Menstrual Problems Dysmenorrhea
  • Painful abdominal cramping, backaches, headaches,
    feeling bloated and nausea
  • In 7 to 15 of women symptoms are severe, most
    commonly in women under age 25.
  • Causes include pelvic abnormalities,
    endometriosis and over production of

Menstrual Problems Endometriosis
  • Endometrial tissue also grows outside the uterus,
    often involving the Fallopian tubes, ovaries,
    external surface of the uterus, vagina and pelvic
  • At menstruation this abnormal tissue will slough
    off but the blood cannot drain normally, causing
    inflammation and scar tissue to form.
  • It is found in 25 to 40 of women examined for

More on Menstrual Problems
  • Endometriosis is treated with hormone therapy,
    including birth control pills, and/or surgery.
  • Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is caused by bacteria
    that cause flu-like symptoms.
  • 85 of TSS cases are related to menstruation and
    many are linked to use of super-absorbent
  • TSS can lead to death if not treated properly.

Regulation of Male Hormones
  • The hypothalamus, pituitary gland and testicles
    operate in a feedback loop.
  • GnRH causes release of FSH which causes sperm
    production. FSH production is kept in check by
    hormones from the testicles.
  • GnRH also causes release of LH which increases
    testosterone production. High levels of
    testosterone decreases GnRH production.

Brain Pituitary Gonad feedback loop in men
  • Hormones produced by the gonads (the testes in
    men) are released into the bloodstream and are
    read by the pituitary gland which will alter
    its output of FSH and LH in response.

Hormones and Sexual Desire
  • Testosterone plays a role in both male and female
    levels of sexual desire.
  • Testosterone levels are linked not only
    biological factors but also to levels of sexual
    activity as well as exposure to non-sexual
    psychological arousal.
  • Severely low levels of testosterone are clearly
    linked to low levels of sexual desire.

Anabolic Steroids
  • Derivatives of testosterone, these synthetic
    drugs promote muscle growth by enhancing protein
    uptake in muscle cells. Both muscle mass and
    strength are enhanced.
  • Administered in proper dosages. anabolic steroids
    have therapeutic value for people recovering from
    certain illnesses.

Misuse of Anabolic Steroids
  • Athletes tend to take dosages 100 times the
    therapeutic dose.
  • Physical harm includes high blood pressure,
    serious cardiovascular disease, liver and
    prostate tumors, decrease in testicular size,
    breast lumps and impaired reproduction.
  • Psychiatric harm includes anxiety, irritability,
    depression, impaired judgment and paranoia.
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