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The Effects of Gender and Sociosexual Orientation on Perceptions of Casual Sex. Ashley Adams & Whitley Holt Hanover College. Casual Sex.

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the effects of gender and sociosexual orientation on perceptions of casual sex

The Effects of Gender and Sociosexual Orientation on Perceptions of Casual Sex

Ashley Adams & Whitley Holt

Hanover College

casual sex
Casual Sex
  • Casual sex is defined as a sexual encounter that may or may not involve intercourse between two people without the expectation of developing a relationship (Paul et al., 2000)
  • Rates of casual sex are thought to be increasing among both males and females, but the increase seems to be especially strong among females (Oliver & Hyde, 1993)
double standard
Double Standard
  • Women are permitted to engage in sexual relations only within a committed love relationship, whereas men are permitted to have as many sexual partners as they want without condition (Milhausen & Herold, 1999)
  • Sex is encouraged for males, and discouraged for females (Levesque, et al., 2007; O’Sullivan & Byers, 1992)
mixed evidence
Mixed Evidence
  • Despite an increase in permissiveness in sexual attitudes and behaviors among women, the sexual double standard continues to thrive (Leigh, Aramburu, & Norris, 1992; Oliver & Hyde, 1993; Paul & Hayes, 2002)
  • Other research suggests that the double standard has diminished due to an increase in female liberation(Fraley, 2005; Sprecher, et al., 1987; Levesque, et al., 2007)
past research
Past Research
  • Main focus on perceptions of the initiators of casual sex
  • Other important factors:
    • Gender of the participant
    • Sexual attitudes and behaviors of the participant
gender of the participant
Gender of the Participant
  • Gender differences in receptivity to sexual offers (Clark & Hatfield, 1989)
    • Participants were university students questioned by male and female confederates
      • “Would you go to bed with me?”
    • Majority of men agreed to the sexual encounter, while all women refused
    • Concluded men are much more likely to engage in casual sex than females
      • Suggests that males may judge casual sex less harshly than females
sociosexual orientation
Sociosexual Orientation
  • Refers to one’s tendency to prefer sexual engagement with or without commitment
  • One explanation for the decline in the double standard could stem from the shift of sociosexual orientations
    • From restricted to unrestricted
  • Women are more likely to engage in casual sex than they have been in the past
research question
Research Question
  • What are the factors that influence how one evaluates individuals who initiate casual sex?
    • Gender of the initiator of the sexual act
    • Gender of the participant
    • Sociosexual orientation of the participant
method participants
MethodParticipants
  • 262 Participants
  • Age range: 18-24 years old
    • 18-19: 42%
    • 20-21: 28%
    • 22-24: 30%
  • Female: 68%
  • Heterosexual orientation: 85%
  • Currently attending college: 79%
  • Currently in a relationship: 50%
method procedure
MethodProcedure
  • Online Survey
    • Informed Consent
      • After consenting, participants were randomly assigned to two conditions
    • Scenarios
      • In each condition, participants were asked to read three scenarios, each describing a situation in which an individual initiated casual sex
      • The gender of the initiator was manipulated
    • Revised Sociosexual Orientation Inventory
    • Demographics
    • Debriefing
scenario example
Scenario Example
  • “Matt and Jane were both students at a university. They had seen each other around campus, and became acquainted when they enrolled in the same class. Matt asked Jane if she would like to hang out and study for the upcoming exam. Jane suggested that they could go to her apartment since she lived alone. That night Matt arrived at Jane’s apartment and they began studying. After an hour they decided to take a break. Jane put her hand on Matt’s thigh and offered to give him a back rub. Then she leaned over to Matt and began to passionately kiss him. They began to remove their clothing and had sexual intercourse” (Kowalski - Revised, 1992).
method
Method
  • Evaluation of Initiator
    • After each scenario, participants were asked four questions in which they evaluated the initiator of the sexual encounter
      • Example: “How positively do you perceive Jane?”
    • Evaluations were made on 5-point Likert scales
  • Combined all scenarios α=.91
    • Since the participants responded similarly to the questions and scenarios we were able to average their answers
method1
Method
  • Revised Sociosexual Orientation Inventory
    • “Assesses one’s willingness to engage in uncommitted sexual relations” (Penke, 2011)
    • Uses a 5-point Likert Scale
    • All 9-items α= .87
  • SOI-R example questions
    • “How many different partners have you had sex with in the past 12 months?”
    • “With how many different partners have you had sexual intercourse without having an interest in a long-term committed relationship with this person?”
data analysis
Data Analysis
  • Between-subjects design
  • 3-way ANOVA
    • Factors:
      • Gender of the scenario initiator (male, female)
      • Gender of the participant (male, female)
      • SOI-R category placement (unrestricted, restricted)
results
Results
  • No significant effect for gender of initiator
  • Significant main effect for gender of the participant
  • Significant main effect for SOI-R
  • No significant interactions
gender of initiator
Gender of Initiator
  • F (1, 252) = 2.072, p = 0.151
gender of participant
Gender of Participant
  • F (1, 252) = 13.75, p < 0.001
participant soi r score
Participant SOI-R Score
  • F (1, 252) = 52.11, p < 0.001
conclusion
Conclusion
  • No double standard was found
    • Male initiators were not judged more positively than female initiators
  • Male participants evaluated the initiators more positively than women
    • This was consistent with the results from Clark & Hatfield’s study, that men have a more positive view on casual sex
  • People who have more positive attitudes towards casual sex viewed the initiators more positively
limitations
Limitations
  • Age range of sample
  • Use of hypothetical scenarios
future directions
Future Directions
  • Would perceptions be different if the initiators’ past sexual behavior was stated at the beginning of the scenario?
  • Milhausen & Herold (1999)
    • Studied the attitudes and sexual behaviors of university women
    • “The number of partners a woman has had is a strong predictor of their acceptance of men with many partners”
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