Sexuality & Culture

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 686–704 | Cite as

Sexual Double Standard: A Review of the Literature Between 2001 and 2010

  • Gabriela Sagebin BordiniEmail author
  • Tania Mara Sperb


The present article is a review of 26 studies on the sexual double standard. This phenomenon consists of different rules and standards of sexual behavior for men and women. Only scientific articles reporting empirical research published between 2001 and 2010 and available online in full were included. Our review was focused on the evidence of the existence of the sexual double standard and on the methods that have been used in the studies in this field. Most studies used quantitative methods based on scales or vignette tasks with a target to be evaluated by respondents. There was greater variability of results among the 6 studies using qualitative methods. These studies employed different interview techniques, focus groups and participant observation. There were also 2 studies reporting the use of mixed methods. The results of the studies showed that the sexual double standard still can be identified nowadays, although it seems that sexual behaviors and situations influenced by this phenomenon are changing. Today, premarital sex and sexual intercourse outside of committed relationships are more accepted for both genders. However, evaluations of other facets of sexuality continue to be based on different criteria for men and women.


Sexual double standard Gender Sexuality Attitudes Literature review 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support provided by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Level Personnel (CAPES) from Brazil.


References marked with an asterisk indicate studies included in the review

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil

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