Presentation on theme: "The Nature of Adolescents’ Non-romantic Sexual Relationships and Their Link With Well-being Catherine M. Grello Deborah P. Welsh University of Tennessee."— Presentation transcript:
The Nature of Adolescents’ Non-romantic Sexual Relationships and Their Link With Well-being Catherine M. Grello Deborah P. Welsh University of Tennessee
Abstract In previous research, we found that 77% to 85% of sexually experienced adolescents reported having engaged in casual sexual relationships (Grello, Welsh, Harper, & Dickson, 2002). In this project, we administered questionnaires to 234 college students to understand the nature of their non-romantic sexual relationships and to examine how these relationships are associated with their functioning. More than 38% of our sample reported having engaged in at least one sexual relationship during the previous year with a non-romantic partner. Drugs and alcohol appear to play a significant role in casual sexual experiences. Most casual sex partners were friends and most understood the nature of the relationship. Males were more likely to engage in such relationships than females. Having a combination of perceived low physical attractiveness and low romantic appeal significantly increases the likelihood of engaging in casual sex. Perhaps, for these adolescents casual sex is a misguided attempt to compensate for these negative perceptions.
Sample Survey of College Students’ Romantic and Non-Romantic Relationship Questionnaire was administered to 234 undergraduate students enrolled in Psychology 110 at a large southern university in the fall 2001. –The survey was designed to assess psychological functioning, relationship experiences, and sexual behaviors in romantic and non-romantic relationships. Students received extra-credit for participation. Three students were excluded from analyses because they were married.
Descriptive (N=241) Gender. –32% male. –68% female. Age. –54.4% = 18. –27.4% = 19. –8.3% = 20. –9.9% = 21 or older. Ethnicity. –89.5% Caucasian. –1.3% Hispanic/Latino. –5.8% African American. –3.4% other. Educational status. –68.9% college freshman. –17.4% college sophomore. –8.7% college junior. –5% college senior. Ever have casual sex? –38.2% yes. »53% of all males. »31% of all females). –61.8% no.
Measures Self-Perception Profile (Harter, 1988). Silencing the Self (Jack & Dill, 1991). Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D, Radloff, 1977). Romantic Experiences (Levesque, 1993). –Love styles –Relationship Experiences Couples Communication (Grello & Harper, 2002).
Drugs/Alcohol When an adolescent engages in casual sex drugs or alcohol are often a factor. Percentage Reporting Drugs/Alcohol during Casual Sex Percentage
Casual Sex 60% of adolescents who reported having casual sex did not regret the encounter. However, only 40% would do it again if they had the opportunity. 55% reported using contraception during casual sex. 22% reported involvement in a romantic relationship when they had casual sex.
Where do they meet? What do they expect? Adolescents meet their casual sex partners in many places, including bars, parties, and school functions. Their expectations of these relationships are clear: –7.9% thought it was the start of a new romantic relationship. –23.6% said they knew it was a new casual sex relationship. –57.6% thought it would be a one time encounter. –11.2% stated that they were experimenting sexually. Bar Party School Internet Other Event Percentage
How Did They Know Their Casual Partner? Most casual sex partners are individuals who are considered a friend. Percentage
Factors Associated With Engaging in Casual Sex Age is significant. Older adolescents are more likely to report having engaged in a casual sexual relationship F(4,231)=2.538, p<.05. Gender was significant. Males report engaging in casual sexual relationships more often than females F(1,240)=11.313, p<.001. Having a low perception of physical attraction combined with a low perception of romantic appeal is significantly associated with casual sex for males ( 2 =12.778, p<.001) and females ( 2 =10.109, p<.001).
Those who enter into casual sexual relationships engage in significantly more self silencing behaviors F=(1,139)=5.230, p<.05. This is especially true for males F=(1,139)=15.801, p<.001. Drug (F(1,146)=7.230, p<.01) and alcohol (F(1,146)=13.789, p<.001) use during sex was significantly higher for those who reported engaging in casual sex. Adolescents who reported having had casual sex transitioned to intercourse at a younger age than those who did not report engaging in casual sex F(1,146)=10.090, p<.01.
Adolescents who enter into in casual sexual relationships have more frequent sexual behaviors and intercourse in their romantic relationships F(1,133)=20.618, p<.001. No differences were found for frequency of affectionate behaviors. Having 4 or more sex partners in the past year increases the likelihood of engaging in casual sex F(5,151)=10.038, p<.001. Males who report that they engage in casual sex relationships had more partners than females who engage in casual sex F(1,94)=7.171, p<.01.
Gender Differences Among Those Who Engage In Casual Sex Females have higher perceptions of their physical attractiveness F(1,89)=9.191, p<.01. Males have fewer communications with their romantic partners F(1,55)=9.444, p<.01 and they self silence more F(1,55)=8.706, p<.01.
Relationship Experiences Main effects: –Communication (giving): Adolescents who have casual sex are less self- disclosing and honest with their partners. F(1,143)=7.090, p>.01. Main effects: –Commitment (giving): Those who have casual sexual relationships are less committed to their partners F(1,143)=6.328, p<.05. –Specialness (giving): Those who engage in casual sex do not make their partners feel that their relationships are unique or special F(1,143)=7.387, p<.01.
Interaction: –Painfulness (giving): Males who reported having casual sex relationships admit to causing more pain, upset and frustration in their romantic relationships F(1,143)=7.365, p<.01. –Specialness (getting): Males who engage in casual sex do not feel that their romantic partners make them feel special or unique F(1,143)=4.366, p<.05. Interaction: –Possessiveness (giving): Males who engage in casual sex tend to be more jealous and dependent on their partners F(1,143)=8.874, p<.01. –Toleration (getting): Males who engage in casual sex believe their partners are less willing to compromise and to change for them F(1,143)=3.995, p<.05. –Togetherness (getting): Males who engage in casual sex feel that their partners are less connected with them F(1,143)=9.168, p<.01.
Love Styles 6 love styles were examined to assess adolescents style of interaction with romantic and sexual partners. –Ludus – game playing love, sex is for fun not love. –Mania – obsessive love, “need” love and “fear” love. –Storge – compassionate love, love is based in friendship. –Pragma – practical objective love, compatibility is important. –Agape – self-sacrificing love, all giving and altruistic. –Eros – physical love, love that is quick and intense. Main effect: Adolescents who report having casual sexual relationships are more often Ludus F(1, 144)=5.557, p<.05. Interaction: Adolescent females who engage in casual sex are more often Eros F(1,144)=6.648, p<.05.
Conclusions This study explored the nature and meaning of casual sex in late adolescents. More than 38% of our sample of college students (55.5% of sexually experienced adolescents) reported having engaged in at least one sexual relationship during the previous year with a non- romantic partner. Drugs and alcohol appear to play a significant role in casual sexual experiences. In this sample 68% of adolescents reported using drugs or alcohol before or during casual sex. Most casual sex partners were friends, although 22% had just met their partner. When they engage in intercourse with a casual sex partner, 92% understood the nature of the relationship. Consistent with our previous research, age and sexual experience increases the likelihood of casual sex. Males were more likely to engage in such relationships than females. Having a combination of perceived low physical attractiveness and low romantic appeal significantly increases the likelihood of engaging in casual sex. Perhaps, for these adolescents casual sex is a misguided attempt to compensate for these negative perceptions.