Sex Roles

, Volume 38, Issue 9–10, pp 781–800 | Cite as

Sexuality and Motherhood: Mutually Exclusive in Perception of Women

  • Ariella Friedman
  • Hana Weinberg
  • Ayala M. Pines


The purpose of the present two studies was todemonstrate the existence of a split between motherhoodand sexuality in men's and women's perception of awoman, and to explore the effects gender, parental status and age have on it. In the first study,117 men and 121 women (ages 20-60) all Jewish, werepresented with one of three descriptions of a targetwoman varying her level of sexuality. They were told that she is married, has two children and worksoutside her home, and were asked to rate her on 4dimensions of mothering. In the second study, 45 men and45 women, all Jewish, were presented with one of the three descriptions of the target woman, butwithout the information about her marital/parentalstatus, and were asked to write a short story about her.The findings of the two studies demonstrate the existence of the split. Both quantitative andqualitative analyses concur in showing that sexualityand motherhood are mutually exclusive in the perceptionof women: The more sexual a woman is perceived to be, the less she is seen as a good mother.The split between sexuality and motherhood is somewhatstronger among men than among women and among parentsinvolved in active parenting than among olderparents.


Social Psychology Parental Status Effect Gender Active Parenting Short Story 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ariella Friedman
  • Hana Weinberg
  • Ayala M. Pines

There are no affiliations available

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