Sexuality & Culture

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 169-182

First online:

Sexual Attitudes and Double Standards: A Literature Review Focusing on Participant Gender and Ethnic Background

  • Madeleine A. FugèreAffiliated withEastern Connecticut State University Email author 
  • , Carlos EscotoAffiliated withEastern Connecticut State University
  • , Alita J. CousinsAffiliated withEastern Connecticut State University
  • , Matt L. RiggsAffiliated withCalifornia State University San Bernardino
  • , Paul HaerichAffiliated withLoma Linda University

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We conducted a review of literature regarding sexual attitudes and double standards, focusing on participant gender and ethnic background. We found that men had more permissive sexual attitudes than women, and that African Americans had the most permissive sexual attitudes, followed by White Americans, then by Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans. The literature regarding sexual double standards was mixed; some studies showed evidence of continued sexual double standards and some studies showed the absence of sexual double standards. In some studies, men were more likely to endorse the sexual double standard than women. We found only one article addressing sexual double standards using ethnic background as a quasi-independent variable; this research revealed that non-North American (Russian and Japanese) samples were more likely to endorse the traditional double standard, that sex is more acceptable for men than for women.


Sexual attitudes Double standard Ethnicity Gender