1 Ashley Adams & Whitley Holt Hanover College The Effects of Gender and Sociosexual Orientation on Perceptions of Casual Sex*We were interested in investigating what factors influence one’s judgments on others, specifically in regards to casual sex since it seemingly growing among young adultsAshley Adams & Whitley HoltHanover College
2 Casual SexCasual sex is defined as a sexual encounter that may or may not involve intercourse between two people without the expectation of developing a relationship (Paul et al., 2000)Rates of casual sex are thought to be increasing among both males and females, but the increase seems to be especially strong among females (Oliver & Hyde, 1993)
3 Double StandardWomen are permitted to engage in sexual relations only within a committed love relationship, whereas men are permitted to have as many sexual partners as they want without condition (Milhausen & Herold, 1999)Sex is encouraged for males, and discouraged for females (Levesque, et al., 2007; O’Sullivan & Byers, 1992)*Milhausen & Herold state that the conditional double standard refers to women being permitted to engage in sex only within a committed love relationship, whereas men are permitted to have as many sexual partners as they want without condition*Some researchers suggest that sex is actually encouraged for males, one reason may be because it is seen as reinforcing one’s masculinity*Throughout the past males who engage in casual sex are evaluated less harshly than females who engage in casual sex
4 Mixed EvidenceDespite an increase in permissiveness in sexual attitudes and behaviors among women, the sexual double standard continues to thrive (Leigh, Aramburu, & Norris, 1992; Oliver & Hyde, 1993; Paul & Hayes, 2002)Other research suggests that the double standard has diminished due to an increase in female liberation (Fraley, 2005; Sprecher, et al., 1987; Levesque, et al., 2007)*More recent evidence is mixed on if the double standard is still present. Studies like Leigh, Aramburu, & Norris (1992), Oliver & Hyde (1993), and Paul & Hayes (2002) believe the double standard is still thriving. Others studies like Fraley (2005), Sprecher et al (1987), and Levesque et al (2007) believe that females who engage in casual sex are not judged any more harshly than males who engage in the same behavior.
5 Past ResearchMain focus on perceptions of the initiators of casual sexOther important factors:Gender of the participantSexual attitudes and behaviors of the participant*One reason for the mixed evidence may be that past research has tended to focus on perceptions of the initiators of casual sex without paying enough attention to other important factors that may influence how people judge individuals who engage in casual sex, including the gender of the participant and the sexual attitudes and behaviors of the participant.*There is fairly clear evidence that the gender of the participant is an important factor to consider. Many studies indicate that males have more positive attitudes toward casual sex than females. For example, a classic study done by Clark & Hatfield address the fact that gender of the participant is an important factor.
6 Gender of the Participant Gender differences in receptivity to sexual offers (Clark & Hatfield, 1989)Participants were university students questioned by male and female confederates“Would you go to bed with me?”Majority of men agreed to the sexual encounter, while all women refusedConcluded men are much more likely to engage in casual sex than femalesSuggests that males may judge casual sex less harshly than females*Clark & Hatfield’s study shows us that men are more receptive to casual sex offers than females*Which suggests that males may judge casual sex less harshly than females due to them participating in casual sex much more frequently. While this shows that gender of the participant is important, it does not address whether the gender of the participant will influence the double standard. That is, do men judge women more or less harshly than women judge women who engage in casual sex.*Another factor that is likely to influence perceptions of casual sex, as stated before, is the participant’s sexual attitudes and behaviors, which is what sociosexual orientation looks at.
7 Sociosexual Orientation Refers to one’s tendency to prefer sexual engagement with or without commitmentOne explanation for the decline in the double standard could stem from the shift of sociosexual orientationsFrom restricted to unrestrictedWomen are more likely to engage in casual sex than they have been in the past*Sociosexual orientation refers to one’s tendency to prefer or engage in sex with or without commitment*A restricted sociosexual orientation refers to a person who prefers sex with commitment/in a relationship, while unrestricted refers to a person who prefers sex without commitment, otherwise known as casual sex.*One explanation for the possible decline in the double standard could stem from a shift in these orientations from restricted to unrestricted. Which may be due to the increase in women engaging in casual sex today.*While sociosexual orientation is believed to be an important factor, it has not been addressed how influential it is on one’s perceptions.
8 Research QuestionWhat are the factors that influence how one evaluates individuals who initiate casual sex?Gender of the initiator of the sexual actGender of the participantSociosexual orientation of the participant*In the current study we are interested in how these three variables (gender of the initiator, gender of the participant, and the sociosexual orientation of the participant) influence how one perceives an individual who has engaged in casual sex. We examined each of these factors alone, and their interactions.
9 Method Participants 262 Participants Age range: 18-24 years old 18-19: 42%20-21: 28%22-24: 30%Female: 68%Heterosexual orientation: 85%Currently attending college: 79%Currently in a relationship: 50%*Data was collected online
10 Method Procedure Online Survey Informed Consent Scenarios After consenting, participants were randomly assigned to two conditionsScenariosIn each condition, participants were asked to read three scenarios, each describing a situation in which an individual initiated casual sexThe gender of the initiator was manipulatedRevised Sociosexual Orientation InventoryDemographicsDebriefing*the sexual act initiated was always a heterosexual one*the gender of the initiator was the same in all three scenarios*debriefing followed by a comment box
11 Scenario Example“Matt and Jane were both students at a university. They had seen each other around campus, and became acquainted when they enrolled in the same class. Matt asked Jane if she would like to hang out and study for the upcoming exam. Jane suggested that they could go to her apartment since she lived alone. That night Matt arrived at Jane’s apartment and they began studying. After an hour they decided to take a break. Jane put her hand on Matt’s thigh and offered to give him a back rub. Then she leaned over to Matt and began to passionately kiss him. They began to remove their clothing and had sexual intercourse” (Kowalski - Revised, 1992).*Example of female initiator scenario, for the male initiator version we simply switched the positions of the Matt & Jane’s namesTwo of the scenarios we used were revised versions from previous research, and we created the third scenario.
12 Method Evaluation of Initiator Combined all scenarios α=.91 After each scenario, participants were asked four questions in which they evaluated the initiator of the sexual encounterExample: “How positively do you perceive Jane?”Evaluations were made on 5-point Likert scalesCombined all scenarios α=.91Since the participants responded similarly to the questions and scenarios we were able to average their answers* Jane was just one of the initiator names used
13 Method Revised Sociosexual Orientation Inventory “Assesses one’s willingness to engage in uncommitted sexual relations” (Penke, 2011)Uses a 5-point Likert ScaleAll 9-items α= .87SOI-R example questions“How many different partners have you had sex with in the past 12 months?”“With how many different partners have you had sexual intercourse without having an interest in a long-term committed relationship with this person?”The SOI-R puts people into the categories of restricted or unrestricted. Restricted refers to someone who has the tendency to have sex exclusively in emotionally close & committed relationships while unrestricted refers to having sexual relationships with low commitment & investmentAll 9 items are averaged, with one question being reversed scored, in order to put the participant into the restricted or unrestricted category
14 Data Analysis Between-subjects design 3-way ANOVA Factors: Gender of the scenario initiator (male, female)Gender of the participant (male, female)SOI-R category placement (unrestricted, restricted)*1st combined all male & female initiator data files* We also examined interactions
15 Results No significant effect for gender of initiator Significant main effect for gender of the participantSignificant main effect for SOI-RNo significant interactions*1st restate research question: We were investigating what factors influence how one evaluates individuals who initiate casual sex* No significant interactions
16 Gender of Initiator F (1, 252) = 2.072, p = 0.151 *This graph represents the effect of the gender of the initiator. There is a trend in favor of the male initiators being perceived more positively than the female initiators; however this difference is not statistically significant.
17 Gender of Participant F (1, 252) = 13.75, p < 0.001 *This graph represents the gender of the participant. The male participants viewed the initiator more positively than the female participants.
18 Participant SOI-R Score F (1, 252) = 52.11, p < 0.001*1st bar represents less positive/more restricted attitudes toward casual sex
19 Conclusion No double standard was found Male initiators were not judged more positively than female initiatorsMale participants evaluated the initiators more positively than womenThis was consistent with the results from Clark & Hatfield’s study, that men have a more positive view on casual sexPeople who have more positive attitudes towards casual sex viewed the initiators more positively*These were all main effects….*Male participants evaluated the initiators more positively than women, regardless of the gender of the initiator*Overall, we found no double standard and no interactions
20 Limitations Age range of sample Use of hypothetical scenarios *One main limitation was that our study tell us how college-age individuals think about casual sex, it does not address how older adults feel. Such as if people are becoming more or less critical about casual sex as they age.*Another big limitation was the use of hypothetical scenarios. It does not necessarily tell us how participants would respond to real-life situations or to situations that involve people that they know.
21 Future DirectionsWould perceptions be different if the initiators’ past sexual behavior was stated at the beginning of the scenario?Milhausen & Herold (1999)Studied the attitudes and sexual behaviors of university women“The number of partners a woman has had is a strong predictor of their acceptance of men with many partners”*We are curious how strongly it would influence the participant’s perceptions if the number of people the initiator had prior sexual encounters with was stated in the scenario, and comparing this with the participant’s past sexual behavior*Milhausen & Herold (1999) found the more sexual partners women had, the more accepting they were of men who also had many sexual partners