Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 38, Issue 6, pp 974–986 | Cite as

Sexual Coercion in Men and Women: Similar Behaviors, Different Predictors

  • Elizabeth A. Schatzel-Murphy
  • Danielle A. Harris
  • Raymond A. Knight
  • Michael A. Milburn
Original Paper

Abstract

A growing body of literature supports the contention that both women and men employ various seductive, manipulative, intoxication, and even forceful tactics of sexual coercion to obtain sexual contact from unwilling partners. Although the self-reported coercive behavior of men and women may appear similar in many respects, predictors of such behavior seem to vary in important ways across gender. In addition to examining the prevalence of coercive behaviors reported across gender, the present study examined the extent to which four variables found in models of male sexual coercion predicted self-reported use of sexual coercion in a sample (n = 186) of college men and women: prior sexual abuse, sexual dominance, sociosexuality, and sexual compulsivity. Although prior sexual abuse seemed to be part of a cycle of sexual coercion among both men and women, key predictors of sexual coercion among men were sexual dominance and sociosexuality, whereas the key predictor of sexual coercion among women was sexual compulsivity. These findings support the notion that whereas men may behave coercively to obtain or maintain an impersonal sense of power and control, women may behave coercively to achieve some level of interpersonal connection when feeling out of control.

Keywords

Sexual coercion Dominance Compulsivity Sociosexuality Sexual abuse Gender 

References

  1. Anderson, P. B. (1996). Correlates of college women’s self-reports of heterosexual aggression. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 8, 121–131.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, P. B. (1998). Variations in college women’s self-reported heterosexual aggression. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 10, 283–292.Google Scholar
  3. Anderson, P. B., & Newton, M. (2004). Predicting the use of sexual initiation tactics in a sample of college women. Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, 7. Available at http://www.ejhs.org/volume7/Anderson/text.html.
  4. Anderson, P. B., & Struckman-Johnson, C. (Eds.). (1998). Sexually aggressive women: Current perspectives and controversies. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  5. Bailey, J. M., Kirk, K. M., Zhu, G., Dunne, M., & Martin, N. G. (2000). Do individual differences in sociosexuality represent genetic or environmentally contingent strategies? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 537–545.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Bentler, P. M. (1990). Comparative fit indices in structural models. Psychological Bulletin, 107, 238–246.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Black, K. A., & Gold, D. (2003). Men’s and women’s reactions to hypothetical sexual advances: The role of initiator socioeconomic status and level of coercion. Sex Roles, 49, 173–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brown, M. W., & Cudeck, R. (1993). Alternative ways of assessing model fit. In K. A. Bollen & J. S. Long (Eds.), Testing structural equation models (pp. 445–455). Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  9. Brownmiller, S. (1975). Against our will: Men, women, and rape. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  10. Buss, D. (1996). Sexual conflict: Evolutionary insights into feminism and the “Battle of the Sexes”. In D. M. Buss & N. M. Malamuth (Eds.), Sex, power, conflict: Evolutionary and feminist perspectives (pp. 296–318). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Byrne, B. M. (2001). Structural equation modeling with AMOS: Basic concepts, applications, and programming. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  12. Campbell, A. (1993). Men, women, and aggression. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  13. Carnes, P. (1997). Sexual anorexia: Overcoming sexual self-hatred. Center City, MN: Hazelden.Google Scholar
  14. Christopher, F. S., Madura, M., & Weaver, L. (1998). Premarital sexual aggressors: A multivariate analysis of social, relational and individual variables. Journal of Marriage and Family, 60, 56–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Eysenck, H. J. (1976). Sex and personality. London: Open Books Publishing Ltd.Google Scholar
  16. Finkelhor, D., Hotaling, G., Lewis, I. A., & Smith, C. (1990). Sexual abuse in a national survey of adult men and women: Prevalence, characteristics, and risk factors. Child Abuse and Neglect, 14, 19–28.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Gold, S. R. (1999). Sex, power, conflict: Evolutionary and feminist perspectives. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 28, 390–395.Google Scholar
  18. Grabell, A., & Knight, R. (in press). Examining childhood abuse patterns and sensitive periods in juvenile sexual offenders. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment. Google Scholar
  19. Hogben, M., & Waterman, C. K. (2000). Patterns of conflict resolution within relationships and coercive sexual behavior of men and women. Sex Roles, 43, 341–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hunter, J. A., & Mathews, R. (1997). Sexual deviance in females. In D. R. Laws & W. O’Donohue (Eds.), Sexual deviance: Theory, assessment, and treatment (pp. 465–480). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  21. Kendall-Tackett, K. A., Williams, L. M., & Finkelhor, D. (1993). Impact of sexual abuse on children: A review and synthesis of recent empirical studies. Psychological Bulletin, 113, 164–180.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Knight, R. A., & Cerce, D. D. (1999). Validation and revision of the Multidimensional Assessment of Sex and Aggression. Psychologica Belgica, 39, 187–213.Google Scholar
  23. Knight, R. A., Prentky, R. A., & Cerce, D. D. (1994). The development, reliability, and validity of an inventory for the multidimensional assessment of sex and aggression. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 21, 72–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Knight, R. A., & Sims-Knight, J. E. (2003). The developmental antecedents of sexual coercion against women: Testing alternative hypotheses with structural equation modeling. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 989, 72–85.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Krahé, B., Scheinberger-Olwig, R., & Bieneck, S. (2003a). Men’s reports of nonconsensual sexual interactions with women: Prevalence and impact. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 32, 165–175.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Krahé, B., Waizenhofer, E., & Moller, I. (2003b). Women’s sexual aggression against men: Prevalence and predictors. Sex Roles, 49, 219–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lisak, D. (1991). Sexual aggression, masculinity, and fathers. Signs, 16, 238–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Malamuth, N. M. (1996). The confluence model of sexual aggression: Feminist and evolutionary perspectives. In D. M. Buss & N. M. Malamuth (Eds.), Sex, power, conflict: Evolutionary and feminist perspectives (pp. 269–295). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Malamuth, N. M. (1998). An evolutionary-based model integrating research on the characteristics of sexually aggressive men. In J. G. Adair, D. Belanger, & K. L. Dion (Eds.), Advances in psychological science (Vol. 1, pp. 151–184). Hove, UK: Psychology Press Ltd.Google Scholar
  30. Malamuth, N. M., Heavey, C., & Linz, D. (1993). Predicting men’s antisocial behavior against women: The “interaction model” of sexual aggression. In G. N. Hall, R. Hirschmann, J. R. Graham, & M. S. Zaragoza (Eds.), Sexual aggression: Issues in etiology, assessment, and treatment (pp. 63–97). New York: Hemisphere.Google Scholar
  31. Muehlenhard, C. L., & Cook, S. W. (1988). Men’s self-reports of unwanted sexual activity. Journal of Sex Research, 24, 58–72.Google Scholar
  32. O’Sullivan, L. F., & Byers, E. S. (1993). Eroding stereotypes: College women’s attempts to influence reluctant male sexual partners. Journal of Sex Research, 30, 270–282.Google Scholar
  33. O’Sullivan, L. F., Byers, E. S., & Finkelman, L. (1998). A comparison of male and female college students’ experiences of sexual coercion. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 22, 177–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Paolucci, E. O., Genuis, M. L., & Violato, C. (2001). A meta-analysis of the published research on the effects of child sexual abuse. Journal of Psychology, 135, 17–36.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Russell, B. L., & Oswald, D. L. (2001). Strategies and dispositional correlates of sexual coercion perpetrated by women: An exploratory investigation. Sex Roles, 45, 103–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sarrel, P., & Masters, W. H. (1982). Sexual molestation of men by women. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 11, 117–131.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Shakelford, T. K., & Goetz, A. T. (2004). Men’s sexual coercion in intimate relationships: Development and initial validation of the Sexual Coercion in Intimate Relationships Scale. Violence and Victims, 19, 541–556.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Shapiro, B. L., & Schwarz, J. C. (1997). Date rape: Its relationship to trauma symptoms and sexual self-esteem. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 12, 407–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Shapiro, C. M. (1999). Effects of childhood sexual abuse on risky sexual behaviors among adolescent and young adult females. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences & Engineering, 59(9-B), 5171.Google Scholar
  40. Shea, M. E. C. (1998). When the tables are turned: Verbal sexual coercion among college women. In P. Anderson & C. Struckman-Johnson (Eds.), Sexually aggressive women: Current perspectives and controversies (pp. 94–104). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  41. Simpson, J. A., & Gangestad, S. W. (1991). Individual differences in sociosexuality: Evidence for convergent and discriminant validity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 60, 870–883.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Struckman-Johnson, C. (1988). Forced sex on dates: It happens to men, too. Journal of Sex Research, 24, 234–241.Google Scholar
  43. Struckman-Johnson, C., Anderson, P. B., & Struckman-Johnson, D. (2000, August). Tactics and motives of sexually aggressive men and women. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  44. Struckman-Johnson, C., & Struckman-Johnson, D. (1994). Men pressured and forced into sexual experience. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 23, 93–114.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Struckman-Johnson, C., & Struckman-Johnson, D. (1998). The dynamics and impact of sexual coercion of men by women. In P. B. Anderson & C. Struckman-Johnson (Eds.), Sexually aggressive women: Current perspectives and controversies (pp. 121–169). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  46. Struckman-Johnson, C., Struckman-Johnson, P. B., & Anderson, D. (2003). Tactics of sexual coercion: When men and women won’t take no for an answer. Journal of Sex Research, 40, 76–86.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Waldner, L. K., Vaden-Goad, L., & Sikka, A. (1999). Sexual coercion in India: An exploratory analysis using demographic variables. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 28, 523–538.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Waldner-Haugrud, L. K., & Magruder, M. (1995). Male and female sexual victimization in dating relationships: Gender differences in coercion techniques and outcomes. Violence and Victims, 10, 203–215.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Walser, R. D., & Kern, J. M. (1996). Relationships among childhood sexual abuse, sex guilt, and sexual behavior in adult clinical samples. Journal of Sex Research, 33, 321–326.Google Scholar
  50. Widom, C. S., & Morris, S. (1997). Accuracy of adult recollections of childhood victimization: Part 2. Childhood sexual abuse. Psychological Assessment, 9, 34–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Yost, M. R., & Zurbriggen, E. L. (2006). Gender differences in the enactment of sociosexuality: An examination of implicit social motives, sexual fantasies, coercive sexual attitudes, and aggressive sexual behavior. Journal of Sex Research, 43, 163–173.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Zurbriggen, E. L. (2000). Social motives and cognitive power–sex associations: Predictors of aggressive sexual behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 559–581.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth A. Schatzel-Murphy
    • 1
  • Danielle A. Harris
    • 2
  • Raymond A. Knight
    • 3
  • Michael A. Milburn
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MassachusettsBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Justice StudiesSan José State UniversitySan JoseUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyBrandeis UniversityWalthamUSA

Personalised recommendations