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Critical Thinking and Sexual Decision Making

Checkpoint – Critical Thinking and Sexual Decision Making Brianna Nichole Foster PSY/265 10/20/2011 Yvonne Moore Critical thinkers maintain a healthy skepticism. They examine definitions of terms, weigh premises, consider evidence, and decide whether arguments are valid and logical. When making an important decision in your life, it can be extremely helpful in thinking critically about certain situations. For example, sex or sexual intercourse is something all people should take seriously. Sure, when people think about sex, they tend to think more on the positive side of the effects of sex.

However, there is much more to take into consideration: are you young? What would happen if you were to get pregnant? Are you in high school? What if your partner has a(n) STD? Do you have effective protection? Are you mentally ready for that type of commitment? There are more questions to think of that many people don’t tend to think about when making the decision to become sexually active. There are eight principals of critical thinking that you can turn to when making an important decision. The first principal is to be skeptical.

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When it comes to sex or any sexual intercourse, there is a chance that you could feel pressured to engage into it and/or someone is trying to persuade you into engaging into it. Don’t believe all is true until you have personally weighed the evidence yourself. Truth is some partners will say anything to get someone else to engage in sexual intercourse with him/her. He or she could state that it is OK to not use a condom and that he or she will be safe about it. The fact to this is that using no condom is very dangerous. Sure, you may not get pregnant, but what about the possibility of a STD.

Your partner may say he or she is clean, but how sure are you that, that is completely true? Do you have a personal note from his or her doctor with lab-test results on it? The next principal is to examine definitions and terms. In some cases some people want to be in love before he or she begins to engage in sexual activities; but love can be blind. How exactly would you define love? Would it be a head-over-heels infatuation, or would it be defined as deep feelings and commitment based on a more realistic appraisal of a loved one? More so, do you share these feelings with your partner?

What if you truly believe you are “in love”, decide to make that commitment to him or her, and then afterwards your partner decides that he or she doesn’t want a relationship with you anymore? Following examining definitions and terms, examining the assumptions or premises of arguments would be the next principal in critical thinking. Consider the scenario: You’re a fourteen year old girl and you have a sixteen year old boyfriend who is desperately trying to get you to engage into sexual intercourse with him. Say that you agree to and a month later you and your boyfriend break up.

Even worse, the following month, you get back a positive result from a pregnancy test. What would you do? Here are the facts, your fourteen years old, a child yourself, and barely in high school. You’re not old enough to get a job and you can’t afford to drop out of school. Would the thought of aborting the pregnancy cross your mind? You would have to consider whether you are pro-life (against abortion, believes that the fetus is a living human being) or pro-choice (for abortion, believes that it is not yet a living human being).

The argument that abortion is murder rests in part on the premise that the embryo or fetus is a human being. Being caution in drawing conclusions from evidence is the next principal in critical thinking. Research findings have shown that married people who cohabited before marriage are more likely to eventually get divorced than are those who didn’t cohabit first. It may seem at first glance that cohabitation is a cause of divorce. However, that is not completely true. There are many couples out there who have cohabited before marriage, got married, and are still married without getting a divorce.

It doesn’t matter about when you get together with someone; it is how compatible and committed you are with that person that will keep the relationship burning. Consider Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love. He doesn’t suggest that an effective relationship is based on when a couple got together and began to cohabit; he suggested that love is based on three components: commitment, intimacy, and passion. He suggests that the amount of love in a relationship depends on the absolute strength of these three components.

The sixth principal is to consider the kinds of evidence upon which conclusions are based. Some conclusions, even seemingly “scientific” conclusions, are based on anecdotes and personal endorsements. They are not founded on sound research. For example, the fifth principal’s example on how married people who cohabited before marriage are more in likely to get a divorce, where as those who don’t cohabit don’t get divorced. Although this statement is true for some people, it isn’t true for all people. Although it was researched and scientifically proven for some people, it isn’t true for all people.

Another example would be a partner telling his or her partner that she won’t get pregnant if they don’t use a condom, even if he does “pull out”. Although the statement may seem like it would be true, there are still many things to worry about, even getting pregnant. The man still has pre-cum and if the woman is ovulating at that time, then there is a possibility that she could get pregnant. Another worry is STD’s. It is stated that condoms prevent STD’s, but not all. There is the HPV (human papillomavirus).

This virus is extremely contagious, even if a condom is worn, because not only is it on the genital area, but the surrounding area as well, and with that contact, the virus can be spread. The seventh principal is to not oversimplify. Consider the statement “homosexuality is inborn”. There is some evidence that sexual orientation may involve inborn predispositions, such as genetic influences. However, biology is not destiny in human sexuality. Gay male, lesbian, and heterosexual sexual orientations appear to develop as the result of a complex interaction of biological and environmental factors.

Finally, the last principal in critically thinking is to not over generalize. Consider the belief that gay males are effeminate and lesbians are masculine. Yes, some gay males and lesbians fit these stereotypes. However, many do not. Over generalizing makes us vulnerable to accepting stereotypes. I can think of certain sexual situations that using these principals would help in making certain decisions about whether or not to engage in sexual activity. Consider this scenario: I have just gone on a date with a guy I ran into on school campus.

Let’s say the date went wonderful and we arranged a few other dates and we began to start “seeing” each other. Let’s say on the fifth date he finally makes his move and makes it obvious that he wants to have sex. Thinking about it logically, I still wouldn’t “know” the guy, so I would be extremely skeptical on whom he is as a person. I don’t have sex with people I don’t know or who I’m not in a somewhat steady relationship with. At this time in the relationship, I wouldn’t be confused between infatuation and love. It would be infatuation, nd commitment in the relationship hasn’t even been built yet. If anything the relationship has barely stepped out of just being friends. Hypothetically speaking, if I were to agree to have sex with him, what if I got pregnant? I don’t believe in abortion. I understand, on small occasions why some women get this (ex. Being raped), but I would much more be prone to give the child up for adoption if I were to even decide to give the child up for whatever reason. I don’t believe that people are more apt to get a divorce if they cohabit together. I think people get divorces because 1. They either rush into the relationship too soon before forming a steady foundation, and 2,) adultery. It seems that the public is having a difficult time staying committed to one partner. With the relationship at the stage that it is in now, I wouldn’t be thinking about marriage at the time. Of course I would be thinking “hey, can I see myself with this guy for awhile”, but marriage is still way out of the question. If I did engage in sexual intercourse with him and he tried to not use a condom, I would end the moment right then and there. That, for me, is just trouble waiting to happen.

To me, that would show a huge irresponsibility on his part. He doesn’t know me well enough to know if I have any STD’s, and he obviously isn’t thinking or caring too much about the possibility of getting pregnant. It only takes one time. Most people don’t believe that something like that would happen to them, but it does, all the time. From the scenario, no I wouldn’t have had sex with my date. It obviously wasn’t the right or responsible thing to do at the time. The situation would have been different if we had been in a relationship for some time, and I felt like he was honest and had good intentions.


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