Gender Differences in Attitudes Towards Physical Intimacy
                                  Jared Roberts
 How Similar Are Males and Females in their Sexual Attitudes?
Abstract Introduction Method
Results Discussion Relevant Links

Abstract

   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

 

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Introduction

    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 & Bargeron, 1998).
    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 it.
    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 towards sex.
    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 and impersonal.
    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 feelings.
    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 & Weed, 1996). 
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 & Muehlenhard, 1999).
    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 created. 
    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 and women.
 

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Method
 

Materials: 
    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.
Participants:
    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.
Procedure:
    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. 
 

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Results
 

    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 the aggressor. 
    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 14).
    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 Jon. 

 

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Discussion
 

    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 the questionnaire. 
     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 of participants. 
     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. 
 

 
 
 

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