How Gendered Attitudes Relate to Women’s and Men’s Sexual Behaviors and Beliefs

Abstract

This study examines associations between endorsement of a sexual double standard, gender role attitudes, and sexual behaviors and beliefs. First year university students in the northeastern United States (N = 434; 52 % female; 33 % Black, 29 % Latino, 39 % White; ages 17–19) participated during their first year of college. Endorsement of a sexual double standard was associated with more conventionally gender-stereotyped sexual behaviors and beliefs, specifically, more sexual partners and fewer perceived barriers to condom use for young men, and more perceived barriers to condom use for young women. Women who were more conventional about men’s roles in society tended to use condoms less, whereas women who were more conventional about women’s roles tended to use condoms more. Men who were more conventional about men’s roles tended to have fewer sexual partners. Findings suggest the importance of examining gender’s role in sexual behaviors and beliefs by assessing multiple gendered attitudes, rather than simply considering biological sex.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grant #R-01 HD 41720 to Eva S. Lefkowitz. We are grateful to Shelley Hosterman, Eric Loken, Susan McHale, Lisa Meyer, Kristie Patton, Lyndsey Sturm, and Amber Thompson for their help with study design, data collection, data scoring and entering, data cleaning and statistical analyses.

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Correspondence to Eva S. Lefkowitz.

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Lefkowitz, E.S., Shearer, C.L., Gillen, M.M. et al. How Gendered Attitudes Relate to Women’s and Men’s Sexual Behaviors and Beliefs. Sexuality & Culture 18, 833–846 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12119-014-9225-6

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Keywords

  • Gendered attitudes
  • Sexual behaviors and beliefs
  • Sexual double standard
  • College students
  • Condoms