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Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 229–257 | Cite as

The Influence of Gender on Sex: A Study of Men's and Women's Self-Reported High-Risk Sex Behavior

  • Lisa A. Cubbins
  • Koray Tanfer
Article

Abstract

An investigation is presented of the relationship between gender and five self-reported high-risk sex behaviors: ever having had casual sex, the lifetime number of vaginal sex partners, the lifetime number of anal sex partners, having had multiple vaginal sex partners over the short term, and having had multiple anal sex partners over the short term. The analysis was guided by a conceptual model that emphasized the constraints and opportunities for high-risk sex behavior that arise from an individual's structural position and cultural context. Gender differences in high-risk sex behaviors were predicted to be due to differences in men's and women's family roles, work roles, religious behaviors, and past sex experience. In addition, the effects of certain sociocultural factors on the high-risk sex behaviors were expected to be dependent on an individual's gender. The hypotheses were evaluated using national data from the United States on self-reported sex behaviors for men ages 20 to 39 years old and women ages 20 to 37 years old. Data analyses were conducted using ordinary least-squares regression and logistic regression. Findings provided mixed support for the predictions. Gender was not significantly related to short-term, self-reported high-risk sex behaviors once social and cultural factors were included in the statistical models. But it continued to predict lifetime behaviors. Several variables, including race, age, age at first sex, and marital status, had gender-specific effects on the self-reported high-risk sex behaviors. The study demonstrates how the effects of structural and cultural factors on sex behavior differ for men and women.

vaginal sex anal sex casual sex sex partners 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa A. Cubbins
    • 1
  • Koray Tanfer
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnati
  2. 2.Battelle Memorial InstituteUSA

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