Advertisement

Power Affects Sexual Assertiveness and Sexual Esteem Equally in Women and Men

  • Joris Lammers
  • Janka I. Stoker
Original Paper

Abstract

Common stereotypes hold that men and women differ strongly in their attitudes toward sex and that such differences are amplified by social power. In contrast, an emerging literature suggests that social power affects both sexes similarly, thus potentially attenuating differences between the sexes. Four samples obtained in the Netherlands, the U.S., Britain, and South-East Asia (total N = 1985) test the effect of social power (operationalized as self-reported amount of power over others at the work place) on validated self-report measures of sexual assertiveness and sexual esteem. Across all samples, power was associated with greater sexual assertiveness and sexual esteem—equally for men and women. Furthermore, effects of power were larger and more consistent than differences between men and women. These findings add to an emerging literature, suggesting that often-observed differences between male and female sexuality actually reflect power differences. This suggests that such differences decrease with greater social equality.

Keywords

Power Sexuality Gender differences Gender equality 

References

  1. 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.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00224490309552164.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson, C., & Galinsky, A. D. (2006). Power, optimism, and risk-taking. European Journal of Social Psychology, 36, 511–536.  https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Briñol, P., Petty, R. E., Valle, C., Rucker, D. R. D., & Becerra, A. (2007). The effects of message recipients’ power before and after persuasion: A self-validation analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 93, 1040–1053.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.93.6.1040.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Buss, D. M. (1989). Sex differences in human mate preferences: Evolutionary hypotheses tested in 37 cultures. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 12, 1–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Buss, D. M. (1995). Psychological sex differences: Origins through sexual selection. American Psychologist, 3, 164–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Buss, D. M., & Schmitt, D. P. (1993). Sexual strategies theory: An evolutionary perspective on human mating. Psychological Review, 100, 204–232.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Cartwright, D. (1959). A field theoretical conception of power. In D. Cartwright (Ed.), Studies in social power (pp. 183–220). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Crandall, C. S., & Sherman, J. W. (2016). On the scientific superiority of conceptual replications for scientific progress. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 66, 93–99.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2015.10.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dahl, R. A. (1957). The concept of power. Behavioral Science, 2, 201–215.  https://doi.org/10.1002/bs.3830020303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. De Waal, F. (1982). Chimpanzee politics. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Dépret, E., & Fiske, S. T. (1993). Social cognition and power: Some cognitive consequences of social structure as a source of control deprivation. In G. Weary, F. Gleicher, & K. L. Marsh (Eds.), Control motivation and social cognition (pp. 176–202). New York, NY: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Diamond, J. (2012). The Petraeus paradox: Why do so many powerful men get caught with their pants down? Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jed-diamond/petraeus-sex-scandal_b_2199187.html. Accessed 13 August 2018.
  13. Dunn, M. J., & Hill, A. (2014). Manipulated luxury-apartment ownership enhances opposite-sex attraction in females but not males. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, 12, 1–17.  https://doi.org/10.1556/JEP.12.2014.1.1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dunn, M. J., & Searle, R. (2010). Effect of manipulated prestige-car ownership on both sex attractiveness ratings. British Journal of Psychology, 101, 69–80.  https://doi.org/10.1348/000712609X417319.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Eagly, A. H. (1987). Sex differences in social behavior: A social-role interpretation. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  16. Eagly, A. H., & Wood, W. (1999). The origins of sex differences in human behavior: Evolved dispositions versus social roles. American Psychologist, 54, 408–423.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066x.54.6.408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Eastwick, P. W., & Finkel, E. J. (2008). Sex differences in mate preferences revisited: Do people know what they initially desire in a romantic partner? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94, 245–264.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Emerson, R. M. (1962). Power-dependence relations. American Sociological Review, 27, 31–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fast, N. J., Sivanathan, N., Mayer, N. D., & Galinsky, A. D. (2011). Power and overconfident decision-making. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 117, 249–260.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.obhdp.2011.11.009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fiske, S. T. (1993). Controlling other people: The impact of power on stereotyping. American Psychologist, 48, 621–628.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Galinsky, A. D., Gruenfeld, D. H., & Magee, J. C. (2003). From power to action. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 453–466.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.85.3.453.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Galinsky, A. D., Magee, J. C., Gruenfeld, D. H., Whitson, J. A., & Liljenquist, K. (2008). Power reduces the press of the situation: Implications for creativity, conformity, and dissonance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 1450–1466.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0012633.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Guinote, A. (2007). Power and goal pursuit. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33, 1076–1087.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167207301011.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Guinote, A. (2010). The situated focus theory of power. In A. Guinote & T. Vescio (Eds.), The social psychology of power (pp. 141–173). New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  25. Hull, C. L. (1943). Principles of behavior: An introduction to behavior theory. New York, NY: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
  26. Hyde, J. S. (2005). The gender similarities hypothesis. American Psychologist, 60, 581–592.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.60.6.581.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Kasser, T., & Sharma, Y. S. (1999). Reproductive freedom, educational equality, and females’ preference for resource-acquisition characteristics in mates. Psychological Science, 10, 374–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kraus, M. W., Chen, S., & Keltner, D. (2011). The power to be me: Power elevates self-concept consistency and authenticity. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 974–980.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2011.03.017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kunstman, J. W., & Maner, J. K. (2011). Sexual overperception: Power, mating motives, and biases in social judgment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100, 282–294.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0021135.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Lammers, J., Dubois, D., Rucker, D. R. D., & Galinsky, A. D. (2013). Power gets the job: Priming power improves interview outcomes. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49, 776–779.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2013.02.008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lammers, J., & Imhoff, R. (2016). Power and sadomasochism: Understanding the antecedents of a knotty relationship. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 7, 142–148.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1948550615604452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lammers, J., & Maner, J. (2015). Power and attraction to the counternormative aspects of infidelity. Journal of Sex Research, 53, 54–63.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2014.989483.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Lammers, J., Stapel, D. A., & Galinsky, A. D. (2010a). Power increases hypocrisy: Moralizing in reasoning, immorality in behavior. Psychological Science, 21, 737–744.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797610368810.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Lammers, J., Stoker, J. I., Jordan, J., Pollmann, M., & Stapel, D. A. (2011). Power increases infidelity among men and women. Psychological Science, 22, 1191–1197.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797611416252.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Lammers, J., Stoker, J. I., & Stapel, D. A. (2010b). Power and behavioral approach orientation in existing power relations and the mediating effect of income. European Journal of Social Psychology, 40, 543–551.  https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.702.Google Scholar
  36. Laws, J., & Schwartz, P. (1977). Sexual scripts: The social construction of female sexuality. Hinsdale, IL: Dryden Press.Google Scholar
  37. Magee, J. C., Galinsky, A. D., & Gruenfeld, D. H. (2007). Power, propensity to negotiate, and moving first in competitive interactions. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33, 200–212.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167206294413.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Maner, J. K., Kaschak, M. P., & Jones, J. L. (2010). Social power and the advent of action. Social Cognition, 28, 122–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Meston, C. M., & Buss, D. M. (2007). Why humans have sex. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 36, 477–507.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-007-9175-2.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Morokoff, P. J., Quina, K., & Harlow, L. L. (1997). Sexual Assertiveness Scale (SAS) for women: Development and validation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 790–804.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.73.4.790.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Murray, H. A. (1938). Explorations in personality. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Oliver, M. B., & Hyde, J. S. (1993). Gender differences in sexuality: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 114, 29–51.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.114.1.29.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Petersen, J. L., & Hyde, J. S. (2010). A meta-analytic review of research on gender differences in sexuality, 1993–2007. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 21–38.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0017504.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Petersen, J. L., & Hyde, J. S. (2011). Gender differences in sexual attitudes and behaviors: A review of meta-analytic results and large datasets. Journal of Sex Research, 48, 149–165.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2011.551851.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Rickert, V. I., Sanghvi, R., & Wiemann, C. M. (2002). Is lack of sexual assertiveness among adolescent and young adult women a cause for concern? Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 34, 178–183.  https://doi.org/10.2307/3097727.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Samuels, A., Silk, J. B., & Rodman, P. S. (1984). Changes in the dominance rank and reproductive behaviour of male bonnet macaques (Macaca radiata). Animal Behaviour, 32, 994–1003.  https://doi.org/10.1016/s0003-3472(84)80212-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Schönbrodt, F. D., & Perugini, M. (2013). At what sample size do correlations stabilize? Journal of Research in Personality, 47, 609–612.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2013.05.009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Shackelford, T., Schmitt, D. P., & Buss, D. M. (2005). Universal dimensions of human mate preferences. Personality and Individual Differences, 39, 447–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Slabu, L., & Guinote, A. (2010). Getting what you want: Power increases the accessibility of active goals. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46, 344–349.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2009.10.013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Snell, W. E., Fisher, T. D., & Walters, A. S. (1993). The Multidimensional Sexuality Questionnaire: An objective self-report measure of psychological tendencies associated with human sexuality. Annals of Sex Research, 6, 27–55.  https://doi.org/10.1177/107906329300600102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Snell, W. E., & Papini, D. R. (1989). The Sexuality Scale: An instrument to measure sexual-esteem, sexual-depression, and sexual-preoccupation. Journal of Sex Research, 26, 256–263.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00224498909551510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Symons, D. (1979). The evolution of human sexuality. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Trivers, R. (1972). Parental investment and sexual selection. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Von Bredow, R. (2011). Sex and power: Powerful men have an overactive libido. Spiegel. http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/sex-and-power-powerful-men-have-an-overactive-libido-a-765316.html. Accessed 13 August 2018.
  55. Watson, R. P. (2012). Affairs of state: The untold history of Presidential love, sex, and scandal, 1789–1900. Plymouth, UK: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.Google Scholar
  56. Weber, M. (1978). Economy and society: An outline of interpretative sociology. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  57. Wiederman, M. W., & Allgeier, E. R. (1993). The measurement of sexual esteem: Investigation of Snell and Papini′s (1989) Sexuality Scale. Journal of Research in Personality, 27, 88–102.  https://doi.org/10.1006/jrpe.1993.1006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Wiederman, M. W., & Hurst, S. R. (1998). Body size, physical attractiveness, and body image among young adult women: Relationships to sexual experience and sexual esteem. Journal of Sex Research, 35, 272–281.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499809551943.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Wojciszke, B., & Struzynska-Kujalowicz, A. (2007). Power influences self-esteem. Social Cognition, 25, 472–494.  https://doi.org/10.1521/soco.2007.25.4.472.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Social Cognition Center CologneUniversity of CologneCologneGermany
  2. 2.Faculty of Economics and BusinessUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations