Sex Roles

, Volume 29, Issue 9–10, pp 645–669

Nontraditional gender roles and the sexual experiences of heterosexual college students

  • Ilsa L. Lottes


The purposes of this study of heterosexual college students were (1) to specify gender differences and similarities in sexual beliefs and experiences, (2) to determine the prevalence of women enacting traditional male roles in dating and sexual interactions, and (3) to examine the relationship between women's enactment of traditional male roles and their sexual experiences. Findings for this predominantly Caucasian sample indicated that there were no significant gender differences in age of first intercourse, frequency of intercourse, oral sex participation, prevalence of coitus and anal sex, rating of how often sex partners satisfied their sex needs and desires, and reactions to recent intercourse. Although less than men's frequencies, sizable proportions of women acknowledged they had multiple sex partners and sex without emotional involvement. Support for an increased proportion of females engaging in the traditional male roles of initiating sexual involvement and dates and paying date expenses was also found. Findings also suggested that there are no simple patterns between women's sexual experience and nontraditional roles but that this association depends on the specific role as well as the status and quality of a woman's current sexual relationship. Findings were discussed in terms of their potential to contribute to women's sexual decisions.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ilsa L. Lottes
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyUniversity of Maryland Baltimore CountyBaltimore

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