This thesis dealt with the attitudes towards physical intimacy
of 20 males and females who attended college in southern New Hampshire.
It recorded many of the attitudes, feelings and behaviors that college
students have towards sexual activity. The information was gathered
by the use of three questionnaires. The questionnaires were administered
to 10 females and 10 males so there is an equal sample of the two sexes.
The thesis hypothesized that the attitudes towards physical
intimacy of males and females are more similar than people have come to
expect. Males and females have similar attitudes and drives but there
are social contexts that may keep these feelings and attitudes suppressed
in females. The literature that has been studied both supports and
refutes the thesis statement. It is fairly inconsistent but leans
towards males being the stereotypical aggressor in interpersonal relationships,
and tend to be more open about their opinions and attitudes towards physical
intimacy than females. Which is included within the body of the paper
to show what other research has been done and how this thesis relates to
previous research. The hypothesis was supported for many of the results
that were analyzed but there were also several significant main effects
which showed that women and men were in fact different in their attitudes
towards physical intimacy
Previous studies about the attitudes towards physical
intimacy in terms of males and females have been inconsistent. Studies
have looked at both the differences and the similarities between the sexes
in this area. For the most part, the research shows more differences
between males and females than they do similarities. But there is
some support for the hypothesis that the attitudes of males and females
are fairly similar. Although their sexual activity may seem very different
from that of males, it is risk and reputation that are the main factors
that control femaleís attitudes towards sexual situations.
The literature will show, amongst other things, that it is not their lack
of interest in physical intimacy, but outside influences that make women
control their intimate behaviors. The purpose of the study is to
prove that this is true. That men and women are similar in their
attitudes towards physical intimacy.
In a study done about intimacy and sexual
satisfaction in unmarried couples done by Moret, Glaser, Page and Bargeron,
in 1998, the authors discussed some of the qualities of males and females.
According to the authors, males are seen as those who will have sex at
any given moment with just about any woman. Men do not expect any
type of relationship afterwards, and in most cases, would prefer not to
be in a relationship. Men are seen as more likely to engage in masturbation
and casual sex. Another stereotype of males that was also supported is
that they achieve sexual satisfaction without intimacy far more than do
women. Men are seen as viewing intimacy as engaging in sexual activity
as well as going out and doing things together. For men, sexual activity
is a way to gain social status among their male friends, the more sexual
conquests, the higher the standing in their male social group. Males
are also stereotyped as not being concerned with love or respect towards
their sexual partners. Men can also be more vocal about their sexual
interests than can women. If they see a woman that they are interested
in a bar or on the television they will let their male and female friends
know about it. This is the expected behavior of men so it is dismissed
as "oh, he's just a guy" or "boys will be boys" (Moret, Glaser, Page &
On the other hand, the researchers found that the
stereotype for the female sex is one that is much more reserved in comparison
to the aggressive male. Women are seen as wanting to be involved
in a relationship before engaging in sexual activity. They put more
emphasis on the actual act of making love with someone they love or have
strong feelings for, instead of a "one night stand" with someone they hardly
know. Women would prefer to spend time with a possible sexual partner
first before having sex. This gives them the opportunity to engage
them mentally instead of just physically. Women are not just attracted
to a man with a good body and personality, they put more emphasis on status,
both social and financial, as well as how well-liked he is. They
also are more concerned about how they are treated, and whether or not
their partner will be able to take care of them. Women also have
to be much more responsible when it comes to sex because they are the ones
who can become pregnant or ruin their reputation whenever they engage in
sexual activity. Women see intimacy as deep personal talks, and being
close, unlike men who view it as activities shared together (Moret, Glaser,
Page & Bargeron, 1998). Therefore, their motivations are similar,
they just have a different way of going about it. Both males and
females want to get close, but the closeness for women is more emotional,
whereas the closeness for men is more physical.
A study that is similar, and supports the findings
of Moret, Glaser, Page and Bargeron, was done by Regan and Berscheid in
1995. In this study there were 108 participants, 56 women and 52
men. These participants were given a set of free-response questions
that dealt with their beliefs about sexual desire. The study found
that men and women have varying ideas about what caused sexual desire in
the opposite sex. Both agreed that there were different causes for
male and female sexual desire. The causes for males were seen as
intraindividual and erotic environmental factors, and the causes for females
were interpersonal and romantic environmental factors. These findings
are similar to those of Moret, Glaser, Page and Bargeron, in that sexual
desire for males is depicted as more physical, and for females it is more
emotional. Both males and females felt that physical attractiveness
and personality were sexually desirable characteristics. Males and
females differed, however, in their views of their own sexual characteristics.
Females saw femininity as an important female sexual characteristic, and
males saw social and financial status as an important sexual characteristic
for males. The results also found that more women than men felt that
desire for sexual activity was caused by external influences. They
did not, however, expand on what exactly these external factors were.
(Regan and Berscheid, 1995). The external influences were most likely
peer pressure, family influence, media, etc. These influences can
play a huge role in whether or not females engage in sexual activity.
In the thesis study, peer pressure is addressed as one of the factors involved
in a womanís choice about physically intimate relationships.
In another study done in 1998, Christopher and Madura
studied the relationship between the aggressiveness of males and the aggressiveness
of females. Which is another issue that will be studied in the thesis.
The participants came from a large university in the southwest, and consisted
of 380 males and 241 females. The questions asked of the participants
basically dealt with whether or not they had ever used any degree of force
to have sex with their partners, and if so, what types of force.
The participants were first supposed to refer to their most recent girlfriend
or boyfriend, and then to a past experience with someone else.
The findings for this study were quite clear in
that it was the males who were found to be the aggressors more so than
the females. This was for both men who were exclusively dating, as
well as for men who were just casually dating different women. Males
used many more coercive strategies than women, such as reminding their
partners of past sexual behaviors, pleading and lying. It was also
found that women did not need to be the aggressors because if their partners
were in any way attracted to them then males would give in to their advances
no matter how subtle. Therefore, females don't have to outwardly
show that they are interested in sex in order to get it. They just
have to be willing. Whereas men have to initiate it in most cases
(Christopher & Madura, 1998).
In the thesis study there will be situations where
the male is the aggressor, but also where the female is the aggressor.
This will show how people feel about a role reversal which puts the woman
as the initiator and the male in a situation where he can give in to her
advances or not.
Another study about teenagers dealing with physical intimacy dealt
with parental relationships and risk taking of adolescent males and females
in terms of physical intimacy. The participants included 375 students
in grades 9-12. The questions were intended to find out which of
the participants in the study were high risk and which were low risk, or
in between. High risk was defined as a high possibility of engaging
in sexual activity. Low risk was defined as a low possibility of
engaging in sexual activity.
Overall, the findings of this study were that there
were more females in the low risk category than were males. This
is because of several factors such as anxiety about pregnancy, as well
as influence from their parents, especially their fathers, who play a more
active role in keeping their daughters from becoming high-risk individuals.
It was also found that females viewed sexual intimacy as an internalized
process. They were more concerned with love and emotional commitment
as reasons for having sex. They also tended to look towards future
consequences of their sexual actions than did males. Males, on the
other hand, were found to be more in the high-risk categories. Sex
for males was an extremely externalized process. They felt pressure
not only from their peers, but also from society, such as in magazines
and television (Rodgers, 1999).
This study shows some differences between the two
sexes. Males may have been more High-risk than females, but the reasons
stated for why are very reasonable. It is not socially acceptable
for women to take risks when it comes to sex, and more importantly it is
unwise. Females have to overcome much more than males when it comes
to having sex. Like it is said by Naomi Wolf (1996) in her book about
women and their promiscuity, the sex drive for a female is as equally intense
as that of a male, and is realized just as early. Yet they suppress
these feelings because of a fear they have of entering what they call the
"sluts dominion". This being the possibility of being labeled a slut
if they were to act on their sexual urges (Wolf, 1996). Because of
labels like this, it is hard for females to be the initiators when it comes
to sexual activity. That is why they leave it to the males, even
though they may be just as interested.
Two recent studies are similar in that they both
find less of a difference in attitudes regarding physical intimacy between
the two sexes. In one study done in 1993 in South Africa 90 students
were tested, 45 female and 45 male. The questions asked in this study
were to be answered yes, no, or don't know. They focused solely on
premarital sex, whether or not virginity was important, should youths experiment
with sex before marriage, etc. (Mayekiso, 1994).
The findings for this study found little difference
between males and females in terms of desire, but more in terms of sexual
attitudes than in sex drive. Both males and females felt that it
was important to engage in sexual activity before marriage, although there
were slightly more males in agreement than females. Females felt
the same as the males in many aspects but were just less enthusiastic about
These findings show that there may not be such a
large difference between males and females as was previously thought.
Although it was only a small study, it does reveal surprising results.
It showed that females felt almost the same as males. Even though
the views held by the females weren't as decisive as the males, they are
still important in that they show that males and females have similar attitudes
Another study that deals with sexual attitudes and
drives, dealt with sexual fantasies. The study was done in 1990 in
Canada with 98 subjects, 44 men and 54 women. The subjects were similar
in age (around 30), and economic and marital status. They were simply
asked to think of three sexual fantasies that they have. The fantasies
were then categorized into six groups. These included: traditional,
facilitative, exploratory, heterosexual variations, homosexual variations
The results for this study were actually very surprising.
The highest percentage of male and female fantasies were traditional heterosexual
fantasies such as close, intimate, long-term relationships. The percentage
for males was 55.8%, whereas the percentage for women was only 41.4%.
The second highest for males was exploratory, which includes sex with multiple
partners, sex in a unique environment, and anal sex. The second highest
for women was facilitative, which included fantasy with masturbation, fantasy
with intercourse, and sexual aids (Rokach, 1990).
This study shows that males and females ultimately want the same thing,
a loving relationship with a healthy sex life. Females, however,
in this study fantasized more about masturbation and sexual aids than did
men. Thus showing that they had a healthy sex drive, it was just aimed
at safer activities than just intercourse. In terms of need for sexual
gratification, women were the same as men, but because of attitudes towards
women who have these fantasies, women arenít supposed to express these
In a study dealing with adolescentís attitudes towards
sexual activity, as opposed to fantasies. Jacqueline De Gaston and
Stan Weed, in 1996, found some differences and similarities between the
two sexes. They studied 1,800 junior high students with a questionnaire
about sexual activity. As far as differences that they found, females
were less likely to have ever had sex than males, they found that there
was less pressure for them to engage in sexual activity than males and
found that there was actually more support for abstinence and they felt
that their sexual urges could be easily controlled. Males on the
other hand felt that they were more pressured by their peers, they had
less control over their urges, they felt as though they would most likely
have sex before marriage if they hadnít already and they were more likely
than females to have already had sex or engaged in some sort of petting.
The similarity for the two sexes was in terms of sexual activity in non-virgins.
For members of each sex that had already had sex there was little to no
difference between frequency and recency of intercourse (De Gaston &
In this study the results as far as differences were fairly common.
But things changed dramatically when females reported that they had already
lost their virginity. When this occurred females engaged in sexual
activity just as much as males. Thus showing that once their virginity
was lost they became much more similar to males and felt that there was
less of reason to abstain from sexual activity. This can be related
to the thesis in that females are more similar to males when they are both
equally knowledgeable sexually.
In terms of communication between the sexes in regards
to social situations, there has been found many similarities as well as
differences. Hickman and Muehlenhard did a study in 1999 that dealt
with the communication (or miscommunication) between males in females in
social situations and sexual consent. 378 undergraduate men and women
filled out questionnaires that asked about their attitudes towards signs
that they gave for consent and how they interpreted the consent signs of
others. There were no differences found in the ratings of date behaviors,
but males tended to rate their behaviors as representing consent whereas
women felt that they did behaviors that didnít necessarily mean consent.
Therefore it was found that males and females sometimes used different
signs for consent and were confused about what the opposite sex meant.
Maleís attitudes towards what they thought females wanted were different
than what she actually reported. They did, however, also agree that
no response was consent for sexual activity for both sexes (Hickman &
This study shows that sometimes the attitude or
interpretation of the behaviors of the opposite sex can be different from
what the individual may actually want. Although males and females
report to engaging in similar behaviors, they donít always mean the same
thing. This is how often times females can get themselves in trouble
because males misinterpret what women really mean. They feel that
if they were giving the same sign to a woman then it would mean consent,
but this is not always the case. Basically what is shown in this
study is that males and females different in how they perceive each other.
They donít always know what the other wants, which results in them changing
their attitudes towards the opposite sex to fit the schema that they have
A study that found some common differences between
the attitudes towards sexual behavior between the two sexes was one done
by Regan and Dreyer in 1999. For this study, the participants consisting
of male and female college students were to answer an essay format survey.
The questions that were asked were about what motives and reasons did they
have for engaging in casual sexual activity. The findings were similar
between genders in some aspects, but different in others. Both males
and females agree that reasons for casual physical intimacy were sexual
desire, sexual attractiveness to another individual, sexual experimentation,
physical pleasure and alcohol use. Males, however, differed from
women in terms of social and environmental factors. Reasons for this
activity for males were, it is normal behavior for guys and it enhances
status in their peer group. Differences for women were more interpersonal
than social environmental like the males. One of their main reasons
was that engaging in sexual activity with their partner would increase
the chances of the two getting into a committed relationship. Therefore
even though these women still engaged in casual sexual encounters, their
intent was not only for physical pleasure, etc., but in most cases they
were looking for possible commitment from the individual they were becoming
intimate with (Regan & Dreyer, 1999).
In another study, Byers and OíSullivan found
that there were several similarities between sexual coercion in males and
females. They found that both men and women engage in sexual coercion.
When engaging in sexual coercion, both males and females use similar behaviors.
Sexual Coercion is used in similar scenarios for both males and females.
The one difference, however, between the two sexes is that females tend
to feel more guilty and distressed after an encounter that was the result
of sexual coercion. Both sexes, however, report at least some amount
of stress after experiencing sexual coercion (Byers & OíSullivan, 1998).
This study, as well as all of the others shown
here have some mixed ideas about the sexual attitudes of males and females.
Some showed the typical view of males and females and their attitudes towards
physical intimacy, yet some showed a little bit of a variation. This
research will take these studies further in its attempt to show that the
sexual attitudes of males and females are actually more similar than we
may think. The stereotypes that have been typically labeled as belonging
to males may also be applied to females in many instances. Females,
however, have a different way of showing their feelings, or are embarrassed
to show them at all. Hopefully this thesis will delve into these
topics further and result in a conclusion that supports the hypothesis,
and sheds some light on the similarities between the sex drives of men
The method for this study is going to be in the
form of a questionnaire. There will be two original surveys with
many different questions dealing with responses to two hypothetical situations.
One scenario will have a female aggressor and the other will have a male
aggressor. The questions will mostly be aimed towards attitudes towards
physical intimacy. The questions will be set up on a likert scale
where participants can answer 'strongly agree', 'agree' or 'strongly disagree',
or something else along these lines (see appendices 1 and 2). Another
sexual inventory that has been used in previous studies will be used to
aid with possible questions used in the questionnaire. This will
be the Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI) (see appendix 5). This will
define the sex role of the participants involved in the study.
The participants for this study will be students
attending college in southern New Hampshire. An even sample of males
and females, 10 of each sex should suffice. That way there will be
an equal sample of the two sexes, which will be advantageous because the
study will be comparing and contrasting the two.
Half of the female participants will be given the
female aggressor questionnaire and half will get the male aggressor questionnaire.
The same will be true for the male participants. All subjects will
be administered the BSRI. Upon completion of the two surveys, the
participant will be done with the study.
For the results, two different tests were run.
One test that was run was a two way ANOVA. For the two way Analysis
of Variances gender of the participants and sex of aggressor were tested.
The second type of analysis that was conducted was a set of Pearson Product
Movent correlations, between sex role score, which was calculated from
the BSRI, and answers to selected questions on the sexual attitudes questionnaire.The
ANOVAs were only run on specific questions from the questionnaire that
were pertinent to the study. The questions that were selected were:
questions 2, 5,6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19 & 20.
The first question that had significance was question
number 5. This question was: "Do you think Jonís reputation will
be boosted by having physically intimate relations with Sara?" A
main effect was found for gender for this question, F(1,19)=14.519, P<.05.
The total mean for males was 2.8, whereas the total mean for females was
4.2 (see table 1). Therefore females felt that Jonís reputation would
be boosted more so than the males did (see table 9)
Significance was also found for question 6.
Question 6 goes as follows: "To what extent do you think Saraís reputation
will be boosted by having physically intimate relations with Jon?"
A significant interaction was found between gender and sex of aggressor
for this question, F(1,19)= 6.25, P<.05 (see table 2). The total
mean for both genders was the same at 2.1, but the means for the sex of
aggressors were different. For male respondent, male aggressor the
mean was 1.6, and for male respondent, female aggressor the mean was 2.6.
For female respondent, male aggressor the mean was 2.6, and for female
respondent, female aggressor the mean was 1.6 (see table 2). The
means were exactly opposite for the different aggressors. Therefore
the sex of the aggressor in the scenario had a large affect on what the
participant answered. Males felt that Saraís reputation would be
boosted more if she engaged in intimate physical relations with Jon if
she was the aggressor, but her reputation would not be boosted if she was
not the aggressor. On the other hand females felt that Saraís reputation
would be boosted more if the male was the aggressor, and less if she was
For question 11 a main effect was found for genders
of respondent, sex of aggressors and between a significant interaction
was found for gender and sex aggressor. Significance for genders
was F(1,19)=4.741, P<.05, for sex of aggressor F(1,19)=7.407, P<.05,
and for the interaction between the two it was F(1,19)=10.667, P<.05
(see table 3). Question 11 goes as follows: "Would Jon be more
likely to engage in physically intimate relations with Sara if he could
be guaranteed that nobody would find out?" The total mean for male
was 3.1, whereas for females it was 2.3 (see table 3). Therefore,
males felt that Jon would be more likely to engage in physically intimate
activities with Sara if nobody would find out more so than women did.
For males, however, the mean for male respondent, male aggressor was 2.0,
and the mean for male respondent, female aggressor was 4.2 (see table 3).
Therefore men felt that Jon would more likely engage in the activity with
Sara if nobody would find out- if she was the aggressor, but less so if
he was the aggressor. Whereas males felt that Jon was less likely
to engage in physical activities with Sara if the aggressor was female
(mean of 4.2), females felt the opposite. They felt that Jon was
less likely to engage in physically intimate activities with Sara if nobody
would find out-if she was the aggressor. The mean for this was 2.2
(see table 3), (see also table 10 and table 11).
There was significance found for question 12 also.
This question goes as follows. "To what extent may Sara be pressured
by her friends to engage in a physically intimate relationship?" A main
effect was found for sex of respondent, F(1,19)=10.8, P<.05. The
total mean for males for this question was 2.8, and the total mean for
females was 1.9 (see table 4) This means that males felt that Sara
would be more pressured by her friends to engage in a physically intimate
relationship than would females (see table 12).
Significance was found for question 19 as well.
For this question a main effect was found for gender, F(1,19)=6.923, P<.05
(see table 5). The question goes as follows: "Do you feel that
it is ok for Jon to engage in a physically intimate relationship even though
he doesnít know Sara very well?" The total mean for males in
this question was 3.3, whereas for females it was only 1.8 (see table 5).
This means that males felt that it was ok for Jon to engage in physically
intimate relations with Sara even though they donít know each other very
well. Females on the other hand tended to think that it was not ok,
as they were on the lower end of the scale (see table 13).
The last question that significance was found for
was question 20. This question goes as follows: "Do you feel
that it is ok for Sara to engage in a physically intimate relationship
even though she doesnít know Jon very well?" Amain effect was found for
gender, F(1,19)=6.5, P<.05. The total mean for males was 3.1,
and for females it was 1.8 (see table 6). These results show that
males felt that it was ok for Sara to engage in a physically intimate relationship
even though she doesnít know Jon very well. Females, on the other
hand, felt that it was not ok for Sara to engage in physically intimate
relations with Jon as they were on the lower end of the scale (see table
Along with the ANOVA, correlations were also peformed.
But the correlations were used to find a relationship between sex roles,
which were defined using the BSRI, and specific questions in the questionnaire.
Significance was found between feminine sex role and answers to question
number 19, r= -.649 (see table 7). The negative correlation shows
that as the feminine sex role score increased, the 1-5 likert scale rating
on this question decreased (see table 15). Thus the more feminine
the sex role, the less the participant felt that it was ok for Jon to engage
in physically intimate relations with Sara.
Significance was also found between feminine sex
role and answers for question 20, r= -.611 (see table 8). This negative
correlation shows that as the feminine sex role score increased, the 1-5
likert scale rating on the questionnaire decreased (see table 16).
Therefore, the more feminine the sex role, the less the participant felt
that it was ok for Sara to engage in physically intimate relations with
The purpose of this study was to find out whether
or not there is a real difference between the genders in their attitudes
towards physical intimacy. The hypothesis stated was that there would
be little to no difference and that males and females are more similar
in their attitudes towards physical intimacy than most people think.
Although no differences were predicted, a significant
main effect was found for gender on several of the questions on the sexual
attitudes questionnaire, as well as for two of the questions on the BSRI.
The majority of these significant results refute the hypothesis in that
differences in attitudes towards physical intimacy between males and females
were found. Some of these significant findings, however, donít necessarily
refute the hypothesis in the idea that some of the significance found supports
the hypothesis that males and females are similar.
ANOVAs were done for thirteen out of the twenty
questions on the sexual attitudes questionnaire. These were questions
that were the most pertinent to the study, and they included numbers: 2,5,6,7,8,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,
19 & 20. Out of these thirteen questions, significance was found
for 5,6,11,12,19 & 20.
Significance was found for question 5 between genders
which asked: "Do you think that Jonís reputation will be boosted
by having physically intimate relations with Sara?" These results found
were very similar regardless of sex of aggressor. This shows that
females believe that the reputation of males is boosted by them engaging
in physically intimate activity and men, on the other hand, donít feel
like it really makes a difference. This refutes research done by
Moret, Glaser, Page & Bargeron in 1998. They stated that they
found in their study that sexual activity for men was a way of gaining
social status among their male friends. The more sexual conquests,
the higher the standing in their male social group (Moret, Glaser, Page
& Bargeron, 1998). This was also what was found in the study
done by Regan and Dreyer in 1999. This study found that males engaged
in casual sexual behavior with females because of status enhancement, amongst
other reasons (Regan & Dreyer, 1999). Apparently with the results
shown here, this is not the case at all. Females believe that this
is the case, that men are going to go bragging to their friends about their
sexual conquests, but this is not true for men according to this study.
Therefore, the significance for this particular study shows that males
are not as bad as females tend to believe. This is one example where
the significance of a particular question supports that there may not be
as well defined differences between the two sexes as previously thought.
For question 6, a significant interaction was found
between gender and sex of aggressor. The question went as follows:
"To what extent do you think Saraís reputation will be boosted by having
physically intimate relations with Jon?". This shows that the sex
of the aggressor was a factor in what the respondent answered to the question.
None of the means showed that Saraís reputation would be really boosted,
but there was a difference found. Maleís showed that they felt that
the femaleís reputation would be boosted more if she was the aggressor
than if the male was the aggressor. Females felt that her reputation
would be boosted more if the male was the aggressor than if she was the
aggressor. These findings are odd in that males and females have
conflicting views on how a femaleís reputation is perceived. In this
study, males felt that a womanís reputation would be safer if she was the
aggressor, but less so if the male was the aggressor. This is inconsistent
with some studies, such as work by Naomi Wolf about the promiscuity of
women. In this work, Wolf proposes that women are very conscious
about their sexual activity because of fear of how they may be seen in
the eyes of others. It makes sense that women feel that their reputations
would be more boosted if they werenít the aggressor because men are stereotypically
the aggressor. But for men to see womenís reputations boosted when
they were the aggressors runs contrary to expectations. Wolf wrote
that femaleís were afraid to get involved physically because of fear of
entering the "sluts dominion". But for this question apparently males
donít feel that this is the case (Wolf, 1996). This may be because
if the female is the aggressor then it is because she is really interested
in the individual that she is engaging in the activity with, but if he
is the aggressor then she may be just giving in to sexual acitivity with
someone who she is not very interested in.
For question 11, a significant effect was found
for gender of respondent, sex of aggressor and a significant interaction
was found for gender and sex of aggressor. This question asked: "Would
Jon be more likely to have physically intimate relations with Sara if he
could be guaranteed that nobody would find out?" The findings showed
that males felt that Jon would be more likely to engage in physically intimate
relations with Sara if nobody would find out, more so than women did.
Men also felt that Jon was more likely to engage in physically intimate
relations with Sara if he could be guaranteed that nobody would find out-
if she was the aggressor. But he would be less inclined if he was
the aggressor. This shows that males wouldnít want anybody to find
out about their sexual conquests if the female was the aggressor because
maybe she wasnít somebody that he was interested in but he gave in to her
advances. Thus he wouldnít want anybody to find out. If he
was the aggressor then it was somebody that he was most likely interested
in and wouldnít mind others finding out. Women, on the other hand,
were no different in terms of sex of aggressor. They felt that it
wouldnít really matter to Jon if others found out about his exploits.
There was significance for question 12 for
gender. This question went as follows: "To what extent may Sara be
pressured by her friends to engage in a physically intimate relationship?"
These findings showed that males felt that Sara would be more pressured
by her friends to engage in physically intimate activities than did women.
This may be because males feel pressured by their friends so they may think
that this is the same for females.
For question 19 there was significance for
gender as well. This question went as follows: "Do you feel that
it is ok for Jon to engage in a physically intimate relationship even though
he doesnít know Sara very well?" These results show that males agree
that it is ok for Jon to engage in these activities with Sara even though
he doesnít know her very well, but females donít feel that this is right
and tend to disagree. This supports the literature in the idea that
stereotypically females like to know their partners instead of just becoming
intimate with them immediately. Women view sexual activity as a more
internalized process than do men. They are concerned with love and
emotional commitment as reasons for engaging in sexual activity (Rodgers,
1999). This is why in this particular study it is shown that females
donít approve of this activity when the male does not know his partner
very well. This also refutes the hypothesis because it shows a large
difference between males and females, which is consistent with the stereotypes.
The significance for question 20 is basically the
same as question 19, and is found between gender. This question went
as follows: "Do you feel that it is ok for Sara to engage in a physically
intimate relationship even though she doesnít know Jon very well?"
These results showed that just like in question 19, males feel that it
is ok for Sara to engage in physically intimate relations with Jon even
though she doesnít know him very well, and women feel that it is not ok.
The same reasoning applies here as the previous question in the idea that
women donít approve as much as men in engaging in physically intimate activity
with people that they donít know very well.
Along with the ANOVAs which were done strictly for
the sexual attitudes questionnaire, correlations were used to find the
relationship between sex role type, defined in the BSRI, and specific questions
on the questionnaire. The negative correlations that were found show
that as the feminine sex role increases the likert scale rating on the
sexual attitudes questionnaire decreased. Therefore, the more feminine
the respondentís sex type role, the less they approved of Jon and Sara
engaging in sexual activity even though they didnít know each other very
well. This means that if the respondentís sex role is more feminine
then they tended to think more stereotypically like a female would think.
Other results that were not analyzed but are
worth taking into effect are the between questions results. Even
if there were no differences between the genders for a given question,
for some questions there were differences if the results are compared between
two questions. An example of this is the difference between question
seven and eight. In these two questions there is a large difference
between males and females. Question seven goes as follows: "Do you
think that Saraís reputation will suffer if she has physically initimate
relations with Jon?" Both males and females felt that her reputation
would suffer with scores in the middle range of the likert score.
For question eight, the question goes as follows: "Do you think that Jonís
reputation will suffer if he has physically intimate relations with Sara?"
For this question, both males and females answered towards the lower end
of the scale suggesting that they felt that Jonís reputation would not
suffer. The same held true for questions ten and eleven. For
these questions, the results showed that both males and females felt that
Sara was more likely to engage in physical intimacy with Jon if nobody
would find out, but for Jon this was less important. This supports
the thesis in that men and women may have similar attitudes towards sex,
but women feel as though their sexual exploits should be kept hidden as
much as possible.
Basically all of the results that were significant
refuted the hypothesis that males and females are actually more similar
than most literature shows. Except for possibly the significance
found in question 5 where males stated that their reputations were not
necessarily boosted in the eyes of their male peers when engaging in physically
intimate relations with females.
The results that were found to be not significant
proved the hypothesis of a null hypothesis. Out of the fourteen questions
that were analyzed, eight were found to not be significant, thus showing
that there was little to no difference between males and females for these
particular questions. This was also true in terms of the sex of the
aggressor, which is supported by findings by Byers and OíSullivan in 1998.
They found that both men and women practice sexual coercion, allowing for
both sexes to be aggressors at some point. When women are the aggressors
they tend to use some of the same behaviors used by men when they are the
aggressors (Byers & OíSullivan, 1998). The questions that showed
little difference between the two sexes were: Question 2: "Would these
two individuals be more likely to engage in physical intimacy if they were
dating exclusively?" Question 7: "Do you think that Saraís reputation
will suffer if she has physically intimate relations with Jon?" Question
8: "Do you think that Jonís reputation will suffer if he has physically
intimate relations with Sara?" Question 10: "Would Sara be more likely
to have physically intimate relations with Jon if she could be guaranteed
that nobody would find out?" Question 13: "To what extent may
Jon be pressured by his friends to engage in a physically intimate relationship?"
Question 14: "To what extent is Jon less likely to engage in physically
intimate relations because he is worried about what people might say?"
Question 15 approached significance but was not significant and went as
follows: "If Sara/Jon has sex with Jon/Sara, do you feel that she/he is
giving in to having physically intimate relations with him?" Question
16: "Do you think that Sara is less likely to engage in physically intimate
relations with Jon because she is worried about what others might say?"
These questions show an overall pattern of similarities between the two
sexes. They show that several of the attitudes held by each gender
can be generalized to both. They also show that there are many common
misconceptions that are shared by males and females about their physically
intimate activities. Some of these similarities between the two sexes
are supported by research done by Regan and Dreyer in 1999. They
found that males and females both had similar reasons for engaging in casual
sex. These reasons included intraindividual factors such as: sexual
desire, experimentation, alcohol use and physical pleasure. All of
these were factors that both males and females felt were responsible for
their sexual activity (Regan & Dreyer, 1999).
There are many things in this study that could
have been done differently and things that could be changed in a similar
future study. The major setback to this particular study was lack
of participants. Although there were 20, that only left 5 participants
per cell in the design which is less than optimal. Another change
that could be made could be some of the questions on the sexual attitudes
questionnaire. For the most part they seemed to tap into the relevant
information, but some of them could be changed or other questions could
have been added. These questions could have prodded the participant
further and covered more parameters of similarities and differences between
the two sexes. The hypothetical situations could have also been altered
to include more information about the people in the story. Such as
whether or not they were virgins, since one study in particular touched
base on how females were more similar to males when they have had sex.
This study was the one done by De Gaston and Weed in 1996. They found
that males and females were very similar in their attitudes and frequency
of sexual behavior if they were both non-virgins (De Gason & Weed,
1996). This was never referred to in the questionnaire.
There were also several questions asked by the participants
such as whether or not Sara was attractive ("was she fat?"), or questions
about Jonís social standing ("was he an athlete?"). These are possibilities
that could be put into the scenario, but those ideas also would change
the face of the study to attitudes towards physical attractiveness and
perceived social status. This was not what was trying to be achieved
in this particular study. But these different options may be of interest
in the future. The sexual attitudes questionnaire for this study
has also not been recognized by the American Psychological Association
to be valid and reliable. Therefore there could be drawbacks within
Although significance was found for many of
the questions on the questionnaire, the hypothesis was not necessarily
refuted. There were many questions for which significance was not
found, which supports the hypothesis of a null hypothesis. Also some
of the significant effects donít necessarily refute the hypothesis altogether.
The significant effects that were found were also a result of how males
and females truly felt about the questions, not because of things that
were wrong with the study, except for maybe the lack of a large number
This study is very pertinent in terms of practical
applications. The questionnaire stirred up many questions from several
different individuals. All of the participants seemed very interested
in the study because it is something that they deal with everyday in their
interpersonal relationships. It helps the sexes understand each other
a little bit more and it makes one wonder about how exactly we perceive
each other in regards to physical intimacy. The topics that the study
brings up can be applied to all relationships, and peopleís every day lives.
This is what college students go through, as well as adolescents and adults.
These are some of the questions that are on everyoneís mind. The
study is especially pertinent to parents because it will allow them to
understand further what their children may be going through, and what to
do to prevent them from making the mistakes that many adolescents are making.
They can teach their children to learn from the literature instead of learning
from their own mistakes. The study is also pertinent to teachers,
clinicians, counselors, etc. who can use this relevant information to teach
students or patients about what others are feeling as well as themselves.
In closing it is important to say that although
it came from a small population, this study has some relevant results,
and brings up some good ideas. There are some changes that could
be made, but overall the study itself has many noteworthy points.
There are a few surprising results, but it is all fairly straightforward.
At the very least this study raises speculation about what differences
and similarities that we have as genders and paves the way for more studies
like it to be done.