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Gender differences associated with young people's emotional reactions to sexual intercourse


The differences between male and female adolescents' emotional reactions to their most recent occasion of sexual intercourse were examined. The sample included 932 sexually active Australian secondary school students who completed a self-report questionnaire concerning their sexual behavior. The majority of young people reported that they felt happy or good following their most recent occasion of sex. Females were more likely than males to report negative emotions such as feeling bad and used, but there was no difference between the percentage of males and the percentage of females who reported feeling guilty. Girls were more likely to feel bad, used, or guilty last time if they were drunk/high or had sex with someone who was not a steady partner. Boys who had sex with someone other than a steady partner last time were more likely to feel guilty. Peer and parental influences were also associated with feelings of guilt. Girls who were more confident that they could talk to one of their parents/guardians about sex, and boys who believed that most of their peers were sexually active, were less likely to have felt guilty.

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Received B.A. (Hons) from University of Queensland. Research interests include adolescents mental and sexual health.

Received B.A.(Hons) from University of Queensland. Interested in the areas of sex roles and sexual behavior among adolescents.

Received Ph.D. from Murdoch University. Research interests include population studies of sexual behavior and mental health.

Received M.B.B.S., M.D. from University of Sydney. Research interests include adolescent health, psychological response in disasters, coping with grief and loss and living with HIV/AIDS.

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Donald, M., Lucke, J., Dunne, M. et al. Gender differences associated with young people's emotional reactions to sexual intercourse. J Youth Adolescence 24, 453–464 (1995).

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  • Gender Difference
  • Young People
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Health Psychology
  • Negative Emotion