Sex Roles

, Volume 52, Issue 3, pp 175–186

The Sexual Double Standard: Fact or Fiction?


    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Illinois
    • Department of PsychologyMC 716
  • R. Chris Fraley
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Illinois

DOI: 10.1007/s11199-005-1293-5

Cite this article as:
Marks, M.J. & Fraley, R.C. Sex Roles (2005) 52: 175. doi:10.1007/s11199-005-1293-5


In contemporary society it is widely believed that men are socially rewarded for sexual activity, whereas women are derogated for sexual activity. To determine whether a sexual double standard exists, both undergraduate (n = 144) and Internet (n = 8,080) participants evaluated experimental targets who were described as either male or female and as having a variable number of sexual partners. Targets were more likely to be derogated as the number of sexual partners increased, and this effect held for both male and female targets. These results suggest that, although people do evaluate others as a function of sexual activity, people do not necessarily hold men and women to different sexual standards.


double standardsexualitysex partnersattitudes toward sexgender normsgender differencessexual activitygender equalitypromiscuity.
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© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005