Female sexual subjectivity and well-being: Comparing late adolescents with different sexual experiences

Abstract

We compared females(N = 449, age 16–20) with different patterns of sexual experiences (i.e., sexually inexperienced, sexually experienced noncoital, and sexually experienced coital with early, middle, or normative age of first sexual intercourse; experience/no experience with self-masturbation; experience/no experience with noncoital orgasmic responsiveness) on measures of well-being in the sexual domain. These measures included a multidimensional measure of female sexual subjectivity (i.e., sexual body-esteem, entitlement to pleasure, efficacy in achieving sexual pleasure, and sexual selfreflection) and two measures of sexual agency. Self-esteem and happiness were used as indicators of general well-being. Females with more sexual experience were higher in sexual subjectivity and sexual agency. There were few group differences in general well-being. Results have practical and policy implications for the design and implementation of sexuality education programs that supplement a focus on risk reduction with emphasis on the potential positive outcomes of sexual exploration.

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Correspondence to Sharon Horne or Melanie J. Zimmer-Gembeck.

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Horne, S., Zimmer-Gembeck, M.J. Female sexual subjectivity and well-being: Comparing late adolescents with different sexual experiences. Sex Res Soc Policy 2, 25–40 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1525/srsp.2005.2.3.25

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Key words

  • noncoital sexual behavior
  • sexual pleasure
  • self-masturbation
  • orgasm
  • emerging adults