Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 107–123 | Cite as

Sexual climate and reported rape: A state-level analysis

  • David Jaffee
  • Murray A. Straus


Data on the US states are used to study two aspects of sexual climate: sexually liberal attitudes and sex magazine readership, and their relationship to reported rape. The two sexual climate measures are correlated (r =0.50), but each also seems to measure a different facet of sexual climate: tolerance for the sexual behavior of others in the case of the Sexual Liberalism Index, and perhaps sexuality per se in the case of sex magazine readership. States in the Northeast have the highest average sexual liberalism score, and states in the West have the highest average readership of sex magazines. The relationship between sexual climate and the incidence of reported rape was investigated using multiple regression. Results indicate no relationship between sexually liberal attitudes and rape, but that sex magazine readership, urbanization, poverty, and a high percentage of divorced men are each significantly associated with the incidence of reported rape. The findings are interpreted within a theoretical model that posits rape as a function of social disorganization and hypermasculine gender roles and sexuality.

Key words

rape sexual climate pornography states sexual crime 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Jaffee
    • 1
  • Murray A. Straus
    • 1
  1. 1.Family Research LaboratoryUniversity of New HampshireDurhamUSA

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