The Sexual Double Standard and Gender Differences in Predictors of Perceptions of Adult-Teen Sexual Relationships
- 1.5k Downloads
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.
KeywordsAdult-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.
- Bay-Cheng, L. (2003). The trouble of teen sex: the construction of adolescent sexuality through school-based sexuality education. Sex Education, 3, 61–74.Google Scholar
- Bell, S. T., Kuriloff, P. J., & Lottes, I. (1994). Understanding attributions of blame in stranger rape and date rape situations: an examination of gender, race, identification, and students’ social perceptions of rape victims. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 24, 1719–1734.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Cocca, C. E. (2004). Jailbait: The politics of statutory rape laws in the United States. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
- Duggan, L. M., Aubrey, M., Doherty, E., Isquith, P., Levine, M., & Scheiner, J. (1989). The credibility of children as witnesses in a simulated child sex abuse trial. In S. J. Ceci, D. F. Ross, & M. P. Toglia (Eds.), Perspectives on children’s testimony (pp. 71–99). New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
- Kimmel, M. (2008). Guyland: The perilous world where boys become men. New York: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
- Measor, L. (2000). Young people’s views on sex education. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Simon, W., & Gagnon, J. H. (1987). A sexual scripts approach. In J. Greer & W. T. O’Donohue (Eds.), Theories of human sexuality (pp. 363–383). New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
- Tanenbaum, L. (2000). Slut! Growing up female with a reputation. New York: Seven Stories.Google Scholar
- University of Nevada, Las Vegas. (2007). Student statistics. Retrieved from: http://www.unlv.edu/about/facts.html.
- Winks, P. L. (1982). Legal implications of sexual contact between teachers and students. Journal of Law and Education, 11, 437–477.Google Scholar