Enjoyment of Sexualization and Feminism: Relationships with Sexual Self-Schema and Psychosexual Health
Feminists have debated whether enjoyment of sexualization (ES)—when women find sexualized attention from men rewarding—represents empowerment or patriarchal oppression. The purpose of this study was to investigate the psychosexual correlates of ES—sexual self-schema (SSS) and psychosexual health—among heterosexual college women (n = 754) and men (n = 389). Among women, ES was associated with a SSS in which women saw themselves as more heterosexual, more attractive, more open to unconventional sex acts, and having greater sentimentality about romantic relationships. Regarding psychosexual health, ES was not linked with general self-esteem but was associated with higher sexual esteem and lower sexual depression. Among men, ES was not related to SSS or psychosexual health. Overall, among women, ES was linked with positive outcomes, and it may represent women conforming to societal norms and using sexualized attention in order to obtain romantic intimacy. Rather than internalized misogyny, ES may represent an open approach to sexuality in which women take advantage of their sexualized position in society for their own empowerment.
KeywordsFeminism Sexy seven Sexual self-schema Self-objectification
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all participants in the study.
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