Heterosexual Men’s Sexual Desire: Supported by, or Deviating from, Traditional Masculinity Norms and Sexual Scripts?
- 895 Downloads
Sexual script theory and masculinity theory suggest that men should demonstrate high levels of desire in order to abide by social norms and expectations. The current study explored the degree to which men’s descriptions of their sexual desire supported or deviated from these theories’ propositions. Thirty men between the ages of 30 and 65 (M age = 42.83) in heterosexual long-term relationships (M duration = 13 years, 4 months, range = 2 years, 11 months – 39 years, 4 months) were interviewed about their experience of sexual desire. Grounded theory methodology from an interpretivist perspective was used to analyze the data. The majority of participants described having high and constant levels of sexual desire and just over half reported never turning down an opportunity to engage in a sexual encounter. However, most men also indicated that their sexual desire was sometimes feigned in order to appear more masculine or to prevent upsetting their female partner. It is suggested that researchers, therapists, and sex educators be mindful that men face pressures to exhibit sexual desire in stereotypically masculine ways and that outward demonstrations of sexual interest may not always be accurate representations of men’s true experiences.
KeywordsSexual desire Men Sexual scripts Masculinity Sexology Psychology of men
The current study was part of a larger exploration of men’s sexual desire that would not have been possible without the guidance and support of Drs. Robin Milhausen, Cynthia Graham, and Leon Kuczynski.
- Bancroft, J. (1997). Researching sexual behavior. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
- Baumeister, R. F., Catanese, K. R., & Vohs, K. D. (2001). Is there a gender difference in strength of sex drive? Theoretical views, conceptual distinctions, and a review of relevant evidence. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 5, 242–273. doi: 10.1207/S15327957PSPR0503_5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Charmaz, K. (2002). Qualitative interviewing and grounded theory analysis. In J. F. Gubrium & J. A. Holstein (Eds.), Handbook of interview research (pp. 675–694). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications Inc..Google Scholar
- Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing grounded theory: A practical guide through qualitative analysis. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Daly, K. J. (2007). Qualitative methods for family studies and human development. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Fontana, A., & Frey, J. H. (1994). Interviewing: The art of science. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 361–376). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Hatfield, E., & Walster, G. W. (1978). A new look at love. Lantham: University Press of America.Google Scholar
- Helgason, A. R., Adolfsson, J., Dickman, P., Arver, S., Fredrikson, M., Göthberg, M., et al. (1996). Sexual desire, erection, orgasm and ejaculatory functions and their importance to elderly Swedish men: A population-based study. Age and Aging, 26, 285–291. doi: 10.1093/ageing/25.4.285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kijiji. (2017, March 10). Canada’s free, local classifieds site. Retrieved from www.kijiji.ca.
- Kimmel, M. S. (2005). The gender of desire: Essays on male sexuality. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
- Murray, S. H., & Milhausen, R. R. (2012b). Factors impacting women’s sexual desire: Examining long-term relationships in emerging adulthood. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 21, 101–115.Google Scholar
- Zilbergeld, B., & Ellison, C. R. (1980). Desire discrepancies and arousal problems. In S. R. Leiblum & L. A. Pervin (Eds.), Principles and practice of sex therapy (pp. 65–106). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar