Sex Roles

, Volume 62, Issue 3–4, pp 264–277 | Cite as

The Sexual Double Standard and Gender Differences in Predictors of Perceptions of Adult-Teen Sexual Relationships

  • Daniel SahlEmail author
  • Jennifer Reid Keene
Original Article


We study gender differences and the effects of adult’s gender, an authority gap, and an age gap on university students’ perceptions of adult-teen sexual relationships. We specifically examine: the adult’s criminality, damage to the teen’s reputation, and emotional damage to the teen. We use a sample of 2,871 students from a Southwestern university in the U.S. who judged vignettes describing an adult-teen encounter. OLS regression demonstrated that women judged the scenarios more negatively than men. Further analyses found relationships between the experimental variables and each dependent variable and interactions by respondent’s gender and among the experimental variables. Results demonstrate a sexual double standard and highlight respondent’s gender, the age gap, and the authority context for perceptions of adult-teen relationships.


Adult-teen sexual relationships Sexual double standard Statutory rape 



The authors would like to thank Anastasia Prokos, Kathryn Hausbeck, and Alexis Kennedy for helpful comments and suggestions on previous drafts of this manuscript. Also, Mary Ellen Fromuth deserves our gratitude for having provided copies of her research instrument.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of Nevada Las VegasLas VegasUSA

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