Biological Foundations and Adult Sexuality

Subject: Psychology
Pages: 4
Words: 853
Reading time:
4 min
Study level: Bachelor

Interaction between hormones and behavior and effect on adult sexuality

Biological activities in the human body are triggered by hormones. These are chemicals that are secreted from different glands in the body whenever it is necessary to perform required functions. They act as messengers and are generally needed for the human body to work well (Balthazart, 1983).

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One of the most crucial roles played by hormones is the maintenance of body balance concerning both internal and external factors especially in homeostasis (Christen, 1991). Chemical reactions for different biological processes in the body can best take place with the help of hormones. When these chemicals are produced either in a small or excessive amount than required by the body, it may lead to a situation called hormonal imbalance and hence eruption of some diseases (Pfaff, 2002). An individual’s behavioral trend is also determined by the number of hormones being secreted by glands.

Peptides and steroids are the two types of hormones that tend to control the behavioral pattern of a person. Behavior that arises from sexual characteristics is controlled by sexual hormones called steroids. The threshold of adolescence among teenagers is largely facilitated by steroid hormones. Additionally, steroids also control the cycle of fertility. Cholesterol is the main ingredient in the production of steroids (Pfaff, 2002). A female sex hormone that is secreted in the ovaries called estrogens is crucial in shaping the subsidiary sexual behavior among females.

Behavioral characteristics and patterns are also controlled by peptides.

When androgen levels are excessively high among female characters, it may easily lead the person to have a desire for homosexuality or bisexual behavioral patterns. When females reach puberty, their glands produce sex hormones that further promote their growth. For instance, their hips become wide and their breasts enlarge. Later, they start to menstruate ready to bear pregnancy.

Biological psychology processes on sexual differentiation

Right from the time of conception, sexual differentiation along genetic lines does take place. According to Lips and Nina (1978), there are a total of 23 pairs of chromosomes. Hereditary patterns in human beings are determined by the 22 pairs of these chromosomes while the remaining pair determines the sexual characteristics and is unique for both genders. An “XX” chromosome will lead to a female embryo while a male embryo will require an “XY”-chromosome combination.

During the development of the embryo, hormones are injected into the bloodstream of the growing embryo. These hormones specifically control the development of reproductive systems is it in males or females. The brain is also preset by the hormones to determine a female or male character. After the fetus has been born, the environment plays a very noble role in shaping the gender of the newborn. Psychologists believe that it is how we are treated and brought up by our parents that we develop certain characteristics. At birth, we are psychologically neutral and we develop into “psychological beings” depending on the type of nurture and care we receive at that tender age. Nature also plays a very crucial role in shaping gender through the action of hormones. This is only permissible biologically but not psychologically. Both the nature and nurture theories are prudent in understanding the biological and psychological processes of sexual differentiation.

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Key biological changes in sexual development

Both genders mature sexually in a completely different pattern and sequence. The genes and the environment determine the onset and pace at which males and females mature. To begin with, the scrotum and testes among boys grow big as an indication of key biological change towards sexual maturity. Moreover, the penis enlarges alongside the prostate and seminal vesicles. They also grow hair in the pubic area, armpits as well as on the face as beards. The ejaculation age range between 12 and 14 years and is influenced by several factors. For example, psychological factors are very prudent in determining the ejaculation age. Their voices grow deep and their shoulders broaden (Gaulin et al., 1997).

Among most girls, they begin to visibly mature after puberty with the enlargement of their breasts. The growth spurt then follows and later, they grow hair in their private body parts. About 2 years after their breasts have fully grown, the menarche appears. The menstrual cycle then persists throughout until they reach menopause when they can no longer conceive.


In summing up this paper, it is imperative to note the significant roles played by hormones in shaping gender and behavioral patterns. Hormones are very powerful chemicals that act as messengers in an animal’s body. They are secreted from respective glands to perform different functions. Homeostasis is largely controlled by hormones to ensure that the body’s balance is maintained regardless of the surrounding external factors.

Hormones also assist in facilitating different chemical processes in the body which are necessary for the biological needs of the human body. Chemical reactions required for different biological processes in the body can best take place with the help of hormones.

On the other hand, chromosomes are responsible for determining hereditary factors such as those related to sexuality. The chromosomes also determine gender characteristics right from the time of conception.


Balthazart, J. (1983). Hormonal correlates of behavior. Avian Biol. 7, 221–365.

Christen, Y. (1991). Sex differences: modern biology and the unisex fallacy. New Brunswick, USA and London: Transaction Publishers.

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Gaulin, S. J. C., Silverman, I., Phillips, K., & Reiber, C. (1997). Activational hormone influences on abilities and attitudes: Implications for evolutionary theory. Evolution and Cognition, 3, 191–199.

Lips, H. M., and Nina L. C. (1978). The psychology of sex differences. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

Pfaff, W. D. (2002). Hormones, brain, and behavior, Volume 5, California: Academic press.