Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 179–189 | Cite as

Ethnic, Gender, and Acculturation Influences on Sexual Behaviors

Original Paper

Abstract

Much research has been conducted on ethnic differences in sexuality, but few studies have systematically assessed the importance of acculturation in sexual behavior. The present study assessed general differences in normative sexual practices in healthy Euro-American, Asian, and Hispanic populations, using measures of acculturation to analyze the relative effects of heritage and mainstream cultures within each group. A total of 1,419 undergraduates (67% Euro-American, 17% Hispanic, 16% Asian; 33% men, 67% women) completed questionnaires which assessed sexual experience and causal sexual behaviors. In concordance with previous studies, Asians reported more conservative levels of sexual experience and frequency of sexual behaviors, fewer lifetime partners, and later ages of sexual debut than Euro-American or Hispanic counterparts. Hispanic reported sexual experiences similar to that of Euro-Americans. There was a significant interaction between mainstream and heritage acculturation in predicting number of lifetime sexual partners in Asian women such that the relationship between heritage acculturation and casual sexual behavior was stronger at lower levels of mainstream acculturation. On the other hand, in Hispanic men, higher levels of mainstream acculturation predicted more casual sexual behavior (one-time sexual encounters and number of lifetime sexual partners) when heritage acculturation was low but less casual sexual behavior when heritage acculturation was high. These results suggest that, for sexual behavior, Hispanic men follow an “ethnogenesis” model of acculturation while Asian women follow an “assimilation” model of acculturation.

Keywords

Ethnic differences Gender differences Acculturation Sexuality Asian Hispanic Euro-American 

References

  1. Abramson, P. R., & Imai-Marquez, J. (1982). The Japanese–American: A cross-cultural, cross-sectional study of sex guilt. Journal of Research in Personality, 16, 227–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Afable-Munsuz, A., & Brindis, C. D. (2006). Acculturation and the sexual and reproductive health of Latino youth in the United States: A literature review. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 38, 208–219.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Ahrold, T. K., & Meston, C. M. (2008). Ethnic differences in sexual attitudes of U.S. college students: Gender, acculturation, and religiosity factors. Archives of Sexual Behavior. doi:10.1007/210508-008-9406-1.
  4. Ahrold, T. K., Woo, J. S., Brotto, L. M., & Meston, C. M. (2007). Acculturation effects on sexual function: Does minority group visibility matter? Poster presented at the meeting of the International Academy of Sex Research, Vancouver, BC.Google Scholar
  5. Alexander, M. G., & Fisher, T. D. (2003). Truth and consequences: Using the bogus pipeline to examine sex differences in self-reported sexuality. Journal of Sex Research, 40, 27–35.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Berry, J. W. (1997). Immigration, acculturation, and adaptation. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 46, 5–34.Google Scholar
  7. Berry, J. W., Phinney, J. S., Sam, D. L., & Vedder, P. (2006). Immigrant youth: Acculturation, identity, and adaptation. Applied Psychology, 55, 303–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brindis, C., Wolfe, A. L., McCarter, V., Ball, S., & Starbuck-Morales, S. (1995). The associations between immigrant status and risk-behavior patterns in Latino adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 17, 99–105.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Brotto, L. A., Chik, H. M., Ryder, A. G., Gorzalka, B. B., & Seal, B. N. (2005). Acculturation and sexual function in Asian women. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 34, 613–626.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Brotto, L. A., Woo, J. S. T., & Ryder, A. G. (2007). Acculturation and sexual function in Canadian East Asian men. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 4, 72–82.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Cain, V. S., Johannes, C. B., Avis, N. E., Mohr, B., Shocken, M., Skurnick, J., et al. (2003). Sexual functioning and practices in a multi-ethnic study of midlife women: Baseline results from SWAN. Journal of Sex Research, 40, 266–277.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Cochran, S. D., Mays, V. M., & Leung, L. (1991). Sexual practices of heterosexual Asian-American young adults: Implications for risk of HIV infection. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 20, 381–391.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Derogatis, L. R., & Melisaratos, N. (1979). The DSFI: A multidimensional measure of sexual functioning. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 5, 244–281.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Driscoll, A. K., Biggs, M. A., Brindis, C. D., & Yankah, E. (2001). Adolescent Latino reproductive health: A review of the literature. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 23, 255–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Flannery, W. (2001). An empirical comparison of acculturation models. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 1035–1045.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ford, K., & Norris, A. E. (1993). Urban Hispanic adolescents and young adults: Relationship of acculturation to sexual behavior. Journal of Sex Research, 30, 316–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fraser, D., Piacentini, J., Van Rossen, R., Hien, D., & Rotheram-Borus, M. J. (1998). Effects of acculturation and psychopathology on sexual behavior and substance use of suicidal Hispanic adolescents. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 20, 83–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hahm, H. C., Lahiff, M., & Barreto, R. M. (2006). Asian American adolescents’ first sexual intercourse: Gender and acculturation differences. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 38, 28–36.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Harvey, S. M., & Spigner, C. (1995). Factors associated with sexual behavior among adolescents: A multivariate analysis. Adolescence, 30, 253–264.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Huang, K., & Uba, L. (1992). Premarital sexual behavior among Chinese college students in the United States. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 21, 227–240.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Johnson, A. M., Wadsworth, J., Field, J., Wellings, K., & Anderson, R. M. (1990). Surveying sexual attitudes. Nature, 343, 109.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Kahn, J. A., Rosenthal, S. L., Succop, P. A., Ho, G. Y. F., & Burk, R. D. (2002). Mediators of the association between age of first sexual intercourse and subsequent human papillomavirus infection. Pediatrics, 109, 5–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kann, L., Kinchen, S. A., Williams, B. I., Ross, J. G., Lowry, R., Grunbaum, J. A., et al. (2000). Youth risk behavior surveillance—United States, 1999. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 49, 1–32.Google Scholar
  24. Laumann, E. O., Nicolosi, A., Glasser, B., Paik, A., Gingell, C., Moreira, E., et al. (2005). Sexual problems among women and men aged 40–80 years: Prevalence and correlates identified in the global study of sexual attitudes and behaviors. International Journal of Impotence Research, 17, 39–57.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Lewis, L. J. (2004). Examining sexual health discourses in a racial/ethnic context. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 33, 223–234.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Marin, B. V., Tschann, J. M., Gomez, C. A., & Kegeles, S. M. (1993). Acculturation and gender differences in sexual attitudes and behaviors: Hispanic vs. non-Hispanic white unmarried adults. American Journal of Public Health, 83, 1759–1761.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Meston, C. M., & Buss, D. M. (2007). Why humans have sex. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 36, 477–507.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Meston, C. M., Heiman, J. R., Trapnell, P. D., & Paulhus, D. L. (1998). Socially desirable responding and sexuality self-reports. Journal of Sex Research, 35, 148–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Meston, C. M., & O’Sullivan, L. F. (2007). Such a tease: Intentional sexual provocation within heterosexual interactions. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 36, 531–542.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Meston, C. M., Trapnell, P. D., & Gorzalka, B. B. (1996). Ethnic and gender differences in sexuality: Variations in sexual behavior between Asian and non-Asian university students. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 25, 33–72.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Meston, C. M., Trapnell, P. D., & Gorzalka, B. B. (1998). Ethnic, gender, and length-of-residency influences on sexual knowledge and attitudes. Journal of Sex Research, 35, 176–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Newcomer, D., & Udry, J. R. (1988). Adolescent’s honesty in a study of sexual behavior. Journal of Adolescent Research, 3, 419–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Okazaki, S. (2002). Influences of culture on Asian Americans’ sexuality. Journal of Sex Research, 39, 34–41.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Oliver, M. B., & Hyde, J. S. (1993). Gender differences in sexuality: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 114, 29–51.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Orshan, S. A. (1999). Acculturation, perceived social support, self-esteem, and pregnancy status among Dominican adolescents. Health Care for Women International, 20, 245–257.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Padilla, A. M. (1980). Acculturation: Theory, models, and some new findings. In A. Portes (Ed.), The new second generation (pp. 9–25). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  37. Raffaelli, M., Zamboanga, B. L., & Carlo, G. (2005). Acculturation status and sexuality among female Cuban American college students. Journal of American College Health, 54, 7–13.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Ryder, A. G., Alden, L. E., & Paulhus, D. L. (2000). Is acculturation unidimensional or bidimensional? A head-to-head comparison in the prediction of personality, self-identity, and adjustment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 49–65.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Sabogal, F., Marin, G., Otero-Sabogal, R., Marin, B. V., & Perez-Stable, E. J. (1987). Hispanic familism and acculturation: What changes and what doesn’t? Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 9, 397–412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sabogal, F., Perez-Stable, E. J., Otero-Sabogal, R., & Hiatt, R. A. (1995). Gender, ethnic, and acculturation differences in sexual behaviors: Hispanic and non-Hispanic white adults. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 17, 139–159.CrossRefGoogle 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. Sue, S. (1983). Ethnic minority issues in psychology: A reexamination. American Psychologist, 38, 583–592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Tang, C. S., Lai, F. D., Phil, M., & Chung, T. K. H. (1997). Assessment of sexual functioning for Chinese college students. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 26, 79–90.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Thornton, A., & Young-DeMarco, L. (2001). Four decades of trends in attitudes toward family issues in the United States: The 1960s through the 1990s. Journal of Marriage and Family, 63, 1009–1037.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Tschann, J. M., Flores, E., Marin, B. V., Pasch, L. A., Baisch, E. M., & Wibbelsman, C. J. (2002). Interparental conflict and risk behaviors among Mexican American adolescents: A cognitive-emotional model. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 30, 373–385.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. United States Census Bureau Population Division. (2008). http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/006808.html. Retrieved 7 March 2008.
  47. Upchurch, D. M., Aneshensel, C. S., Mudgal, J., & McNeely, C. S. (2001). Sociocultural contexts of time to first sex among Hispanic adolescents. Journal of Marriage and Family, 63, 1158–1169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wong-Rieger, D., & Quintana, D. (1987). Comparative acculturation of Southeast Asian and Hispanic immigrants and sojourners. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 18, 345–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Woo, J. S. T., & Brotto, L. A. (2008). Age of first sexual intercourse and acculturation: Effects on adult sexual responding. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 5, 571–582.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Young, P. M. (2006). Asian American adolescents and the stress of acculturation: Differences in gender and generational levels. Dissertation Abstracts International, 66, 3183.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

Personalised recommendations