A common stereotype holds that men are more preoccupied with sex than women are. To test the validity of this stereotype, and the degree to which women and men conform to sexually restrictive gender roles, we asked participants to describe and rate their beliefs about sex. We then factor analyzed these beliefs and achieved a simple structure of four factors: (a) Personally and Physically Pleasurable, (b) Beneficial to the Self-in-relationship, (c) Personally Costly, and (d) Sex as a Violation of Social Injunctions. We used scores on these subscales to compare women’s and men’s sexual stereotypes and behaviors. Although men showed significantly greater interest in sex on three of the four factors, when we examined sex in an intimate relationship, women and men were more alike than different. The data provide evidence that gender roles are malleable and that women and men are free to choose the degree to which they conform to sexually restrictive gender roles. Limitations and future directions are discussed.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 28, 2007
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