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Single women with high sexual interest.

ABSTRACT: This exploratory study purposely pur·pose·ly  
adv.
With specific purpose.


purposely
Adverb

on purpose
USAGE: See at purposeful.

Adv. 1.
 surveyed women who have been generally ignored in most sexuality research, namely those whose sexual experience and interest are above the norm. The objective was to analyze the relationship between their ranking of the importance of sex in their lives and (a) their sexual permissiveness, (b) their sexual desire, and (c) their concern over the potential costs of sexual behaviour. Women were recruited from Canada, Australia and the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. , from university classes or sexuality conferences, and administered a questionnaire consisting of single item measures. Marital status marital status,
n the legal standing of a person in regard to his or her marriage state.
 was controlled for by only analysing data from women who were not married (n=51). The women ranged in age from 19 to 49, with a mean age of 30. A majority of the women felt sex was a very important part of their lives. Two-thirds reported having sexual intercourse sexual intercourse
 or coitus or copulation

Act in which the male reproductive organ enters the female reproductive tract (see reproductive system).
 with more than 10 partners. Significant positive Pearson Correlations were found between subjects' ranking of the importance of sex and sex drive, likelihood of having an affair, time before having sex with a new partner, frequency of sexual intercourse and lack of enjoyment of celibacy celibacy (sĕl`ĭbəsē), voluntary refusal to enter the married state, with abstinence from sexual activity. It is one of the typically Christian forms of asceticism. . Significant negative relationships were found between the importance of sex and sexual guilt and the fear of being compared.

Key words: Women Sexual interest Sexual desire

INTRODUCTION

Sexuality research has focused heavily on sex differences in sex-related parameters, and script theory has often been used to account for these differences (McCormick, 1979). Three major concepts dealt with in discussions of sexual scripting are sexual desire, sexual permissiveness and sexual costs.

The traditional sexual script for women has imposed or implied sexual passivity and disinterest dis·in·ter·est  
n.
1. Freedom from selfish bias or self-interest; impartiality.

2. Lack of interest; indifference.

tr.v.
To divest of interest.

Noun 1.
 (Daniluk, 1993). According to according to
prep.
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

3.
 Hurlbert (1991), women in Western societies are restricted in gaining sexual experience, are taught to focus on male satisfaction during sexual relations sexual relations
pl.n.
1. Sexual intercourse.

2. Sexual activity between individuals.
, and are discouraged from expressing their sexual needs and desires. Women have been socialized so·cial·ize  
v. so·cial·ized, so·cial·iz·ing, so·cial·iz·es

v.tr.
1. To place under government or group ownership or control.

2. To make fit for companionship with others; make sociable.
 to protect themselves against sexual pressures (Holland, Ramazanoglu, Sharpe & Thomson, 1992) and sex interest and initiative has been stereotyped as a male goal, while avoiding sex, or controlling access, as the female goal (McCormick, 1979). Women are given messages that goodness and sexual enjoyment are incongruent in·con·gru·ent  
adj.
1. Not congruent.

2. Incongruous.



in·congru·ence n.
 experiences which do not fit into the female role (Daniluk, 1993). According to Ogden (1994) whose book focused on interviews with women who like sex, the message that "nice girls don't" still exists, with highly sexual females placed in roles as outcasts The Outcasts are a fictional criminal organization from the Digital Anvil/Microsoft game Freelancer.

Based on the planet Malta, the Outcasts are the descendants of colonists from the sleeper ship Hispania.
 such as prostitute prostitute n. a person who receives payment for sexual intercourse or other sexual acts, generally as a regular occupation. Although usually a prostitute refers to a woman offering sexual favors to men, male prostitutes may perform homosexual acts for money or  or slut.

Despite these stereotypes, over the last three decades, researchers have reported an increase of sexual permissiveness, and premarital intercourse has become common and acceptable for females, as well as for males (Tanfer & Schoorl, 1992). This social change, referred to as "the sexual revolution", lead to a dramatic increase in premarital sexual activity in North America North America, third largest continent (1990 est. pop. 365,000,000), c.9,400,000 sq mi (24,346,000 sq km), the northern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere. . The relaxation of societal so·ci·e·tal  
adj.
Of or relating to the structure, organization, or functioning of society.



so·cie·tal·ly adv.

Adj.
 constraints has allowed women to adopt attitudes more closely resembling those of their male counterparts (Moore & Rosenthal, 1992).

Despite these changes, some authors observe that women's desire for sex appears to be more influenced than men's by cultural and psychological factors (Demartino, 1974). Moore and Rosenthal (1992) found that most respondents in their study on the social context of adolescent sexuality believed that women had better control over their sexual drives than men, either because they were more responsible or because they had weaker sex drives to begin with. The greater societal constraints placed on female sexuality have led to the belief that women have a low desire for sex. Yet research has shown that not all males have strong sex drives, and that many women have sex drives that equal or exceed the average male's (McCormick, 1994).

Denney, Field and Quandagno's (1984) study of sex differences in sexual needs and desires concluded that women's sexual interactions are often arranged to fulfil ful·fill also ful·fil  
tr.v. ful·filled, ful·fill·ing, ful·fills also ful·fils
1. To bring into actuality; effect: fulfilled their promises.

2.
 men's desires, and that men are frequently uninformed regarding women's sexual desires. They also noted that women were more likely to be dissatisfied dis·sat·is·fied  
adj.
Feeling or exhibiting a lack of contentment or satisfaction.



dis·satis·fied
 with the typical sexual encounter because men were more likely to be "in control", and therefore to neglect women's needs (Denney et al., 1984). Holland et al. (1992) found it unusual for the women in their study to discuss sex in terms of their own pleasure. Carroll, Volk and Hyde (1985) concluded that physical pleasure in a sexual encounter often creates ambivalent am·biv·a·lent  
adj.
Exhibiting or feeling ambivalence.



am·biva·lent·ly adv.

Adj. 1.
 feelings for women. Few women in their study on motives for engaging in sex gave pleasure as a primary reason.

Fine (1988) argues that sex education in many schools suppresses a discourse of sexual desire, and promotes a discourse of victimization victimization Social medicine The abuse of the disenfranchised–eg, those underage, elderly, ♀, mentally retarded, illegal aliens, or other, by coercing them into illegal activities–eg, drug trade, pornography, prostitution. . Young women are taught to fear and defend, not to explore desire and sexual pleasure. Sex education curricula accept male adolescent sexual desire; however, girls are taught to recognize and resist the sexual desire of males, and not taught to acknowledge or recognize their own sexual desires (Tolman, 1994). Fine (1988) states that the absence of a discourse of desire may actually impede im·pede  
tr.v. im·ped·ed, im·ped·ing, im·pedes
To retard or obstruct the progress of. See Synonyms at hinder1.



[Latin imped
 the development of sexual empowerment of females.

Although women's desire has generally received limited attention in the research literature, there has been an increasing emphasis on female sexual rights and desires in liberal feminist writings. Liberal feminists advocate greater sexual freedom and pleasure for women, and seek to remove restrictions interfering with women's sexual autonomy and gratification GRATIFICATION. A reward given voluntarily for some service or benefit rendered, without being requested so to do, either expressly or by implication.  (McCormick, 1994). Tisdale (1994) emphasized the need for sexual empowerment to allow women to make their own choices. The idea of promoting sexual rights and pleasure for women is supported by many liberal feminists (Holland et al., 1992; Jackson, 1983; McCormick, 1994). McCormick (1994) notes that by rejecting traditional sexual scripts and following pro-feminist goals associated with sexual autonomy and pleasure, many women have developed a strong personal enjoyment of sex despite their socialization socialization /so·cial·iza·tion/ (so?shal-i-za´shun) the process by which society integrates the individual and the individual learns to behave in socially acceptable ways.

so·cial·i·za·tion
n.
. Hurlbert's (1991) study of the differences between sexually assertive as·ser·tive  
adj.
Inclined to bold or confident assertion; aggressively self-assured.



as·sertive·ly adv.
 and sexually non-assertive women found that sexually assertive women were more likely to report higher frequencies of sexual activity and orgasms, rated themselves as having higher subjective sexual desire, and reported greater satisfaction in their marital and sexual lives.

Are the potential "costs of sex" higher for women than for men, and do these potential costs (e.g., pregnancy, safety, reputation etc.) inhibit the nurturing and development of desire? Women continue to be raised with an awareness of the potential costs of sex and are still, to a considerable extent, given the responsibility of avoiding these costs. Fears surrounding this responsibility have influenced women's motives for engaging or not engaging in sexual intercourse (Carroll et al., 1983). For example, a survey of patrons at bars in Ontario found that women were more likely than men to decline sexual opportunities because of concern about STDs (Herold & Mewhinney, 1993). Although, these women had as many sex partners as the men, they were less likely to anticipate having casual sex, and reported more guilt and less enjoyment about causal sex than did the men. Similarly, Phillis and Gromko (1985) found that women are more constrained con·strain  
tr.v. con·strained, con·strain·ing, con·strains
1. To compel by physical, moral, or circumstantial force; oblige: felt constrained to object. See Synonyms at force.

2.
 by feelings of guilt associated with their sexual behaviours than are men. Sprecher, Barbee & Schwartz's (1995) study on emotional reactions to first intercourse found that young women reported stronger feelings of guilt than pleasure.

OBJECTIVES OF THE PRESENT STUDY

Despite the emphasis on sexual pleasure for women espoused by liberal feminists, most sexuality research has focused on women who follow the traditional sexual scripts. We have less knowledge of women who do not follow these scripts. The objective of this exploratory study was to investigate a sample of non-traditional heterosexual heterosexual /het·ero·sex·u·al/ (-sek´shoo-al)
1. pertaining to, characteristic of, or directed toward the opposite sex.

2. one who is sexually attracted to persons of the opposite sex.
 women who emphasize the importance of sex in their lives, and who have considerable sexual experience. Our goal was to test three general hypotheses about the relationship between a woman's ranking of the importance of sex in her life and her self-reported sexual desire, sexual permissiveness and perception of sexual costs. We hypothesized that women who considered sex to be highly important in their lives would: (a) be more sexually permissive permissive adj. 1) referring to any act which is allowed by court order, legal procedure, or agreement. 2) tolerant or allowing of others' behavior, suggesting contrary to others' standards.


PERMISSIVE.
; (b) have greater sexual desire; and (c) be less concerned with the potential costs of sex. We further hypothesized that levels of sexual permissiveness and perceptions of the costs of sex were more likely to be outcomes of high valuations of the importance of sex, rather than causes. In contrast, we assumed that the cause-effect relationship between sexual desire and ranking of the importance of sex would be unclear, but possibly bi-directional. Based on these general hypotheses, we tested specific hypotheses in three categories.

(1) PERMISSIVENESS Hypotheses: Women with the highest rankings for the importance of sex in their lives would be more sexually experienced, more likely to have had an affair, less likely to be satisfied by one partner for the rest of their lives, more open about discussing their sexual experiences with close female friends, more likely to have sex sooner after meeting a new partner, and more likely to have first had sex at a younger age.

(2) SEXUAL DESIRE Hypotheses: Women with the highest rankings of the importance of sex in their lives would believe they have a stronger sex drive than other women, would have sex more often, desire to have sex more often, enjoy periods of celibacy less, experience periods of intense sexual frustration Sexual frustration describes the condition in which a person is in a state of agitation, stress or anxiety due to prolonged sexual inactivity and/or sexual dissatisfaction that leads them to want more sex or better sex, or a state in which he/she is sexually aroused (accusatory  more and be more likely to state that the size of a partner's penis had an effect on their pleasure.

(3) PERCEPTIONS OF THE COSTS OF SEX Hypotheses: Women with the highest ranking of the importance of sex in their lives would have less sexual guilt, less fear of STDs, less concern of being talked about, less concern about getting a "loose" reputation, and less concern about being compared with other women.

METHOD

SAMPLING PROCEDURES Study participants were obtained using two different types of sampling pools, volunteers from social science classes at a Canadian university and an Australian university, and attendees at sexuality conferences in the United States. Announcements stated that this was a study of women and sexuality in which volunteers would be asked to complete a questionnaire. The announcement specifically encouraged participation of women who were older than their early 20s. Findings for the 51 respondents who were not currently married are reported here.

QUESTIONNAIRE

DEMOGRAPHICS The attributes of people in a particular geographic area. Used for marketing purposes, population, ethnic origins, religion, spoken language, income and age range are examples of demographic data.  Relationship status was measured by asking, "What is your present marital status?", with response categories: (1) single; (2) living together; (3) married; (4) separated; (5) divorced; or (6) widowed. For those who were not presently married, dating status was measured by, "If not married, what is your present dating situation with men?" The response categories were: (1) not dating; (2) dating more than one person; (3) steady relationship with one person; or (4) engaged.

MEASURE OF THE IMPORTANCE OF SEX The question, "How important is sex in your life?" had four response options: (1) not important; (2) fairly important; (3) very important; or (4) extremely important.

MEASURE OF SEXUAL "PERMISSIVENESS" The questions, "Approximately how many men have you had intercourse with?" and "How many men have you had intercourse with only once?" allowed openended responses. The question, "Have you had sexual intercourse with another man when you were in love with someone else?" had two response categories: "yes" or "no". The question, "Would one partner be able to satisfy you sexually for the rest of your life For The Rest Of Your Life is a British game show on ITV, hosted by Nicky Campbell. It is produced by Initial, a company of Endemol. Format
Round One
?" had four response categories: (1) definitely yes; (2) probably yes; (3) probably not; and (4) definitely not. The question, "In beginning a new relationship when would you typically first have sex?" allowed the responses: (1) first date; (2) the second or third date; and (3) after several dates. The question, "Do you discuss your sexual experiences with your close female friends?" included response options of: (1) not at all; (2) yes, only in general terms; (3) yes, in some detail; and (4) yes, in great detail.

SEXUAL DESIRE The item, "Do you think your sex drive is (1) weaker than that of other women, (2) the same as that of other women or (3) stronger than that of most women" was used to measure women's sexual desire. Desired sexual frequency was measured with the item "How many times a week would you like to have sex with a partner?" Frequency of sex was measured by "Currently, about how many times a week do you have sex with a partner?" Age at first intercourse was measured with "Age at first intercourse." These three measures were left open-ended. Acceptance of celibacy was measured by, "Do you enjoy periods of celibacy where you don't engage in sexual relations for 2 months or longer?" Response categories were "yes" or "no". Sexual frustration was measured by, "Have you ever experienced times of intense sexual frustration?" Response categories were: (1) never; (2) yes, occasionally; (3) yes, sometimes; or (4) yes, many times. The effect of penis size on sexual pleasure was measured with, "Does the size of a man's penis affect your sexual pleasure?" The response categories were: (1) yes, a longer one is more pleasurable pleas·ur·a·ble  
adj.
Agreeable; gratifying.



pleasur·a·bil
; (2) yes, a thicker one is more pleasurable; (3) yes, a smaller one is more pleasurable; or (4) no, size has no effect on pleasure.

POTENTIAL COSTS OF SEX Six items measured the potential costs of sex. Sexual guilt was measured by, "How often do you feel guilty about your sexual behaviour?" The responses were: (1) never; (2) seldom; (3) sometimes; or (4) often. The potential cost of STDs was measured by two items: "How worried are you about getting a sexually transmitted disease sexually transmitted disease (STD) or venereal disease, term for infections acquired mainly through sexual contact. Five diseases were traditionally known as venereal diseases: gonorrhea, syphilis, and the less common granuloma inguinale, ?" and "Has fear of getting a sexually transmitted disease ever stopped you from having sex with a new partner?" Four choices provided for the first item were: (1) not worried; (2) a little worried; (3) moderately worried; or (4) very worried. The response categories for the second item were: "no" or "yes". The fear of being talked about was measured by, "Have you ever worried about a sexual partner talking about you to others?" Fear about getting a reputation was measured by, "Have you ever worried about getting a `loose' reputation?" These two measures had the response categories: (1) never; (2) yes, rarely; or (3) yes, often. The item, "Do you ever worry that a sexual partner might be comparing you with previous partners?" was used to measure concern over being compared, and had the response choices "no" or "yes".

RESULTS

Fifty-one not currently married women in this analysis included 63% never married, 10% separated, 25% divorced and 2% widowed. The mean age of the sample was 30.1 with ages ranging from 19 to 49. Eighteen percent were not dating, 45% were dating more than one person, and 33% were in a steady relationship or were engaged. All of the women had experienced sexual intercourse. The mean age at first intercourse was 17.7, with the ages for first intercourse ranging from 14 to 22.

In this sample of unmarried women, 31% felt sex was an extremely important part of their lives, 43% felt sex was very important, and 26% of the women felt sex was fairly important. No one indicated that sex was not important.

SEXUAL ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOURS Women's responses to questions about their sexual attitudes and behaviours have been tabulated according to their relevance to our hypotheses about the relationships between "importance of sex" and: (1) sexual "permissiveness" (Table 1); (2) sexual desire (Table 2); and (3) concerns about the "costs of sex" (Table 3). The main findings are summarized below.

(1) Most of the women had extensive sexual experience as indicated by the high number of sexual partners and the high number of casual sex partners. A high percentage had experienced sexual relationships with one man when they were in love with another. Almost all had discussed their sexual experiences with close female friends, although in varying degrees of detail (Table 1).

(2) One-half of the women reported that they thought their sex drive was stronger than that of other women. Most did not enjoy periods of celibacy and almost all had experienced times of intense sexual frustration (Table 2).

(3) While most were concerned about the possibility of contracting an STD (Subscriber Trunk Dialing) Long distance dialing outside of the U.S. that does not require operator intervention. STD prefix codes are required and billing is based on call units, which are a fixed amount of money in the currency of that country. , most were not concerned about getting a "loose" reputation and most seldom or never felt guilty about sex (Table 3).

HYPOTHESIS TESTING hypothesis testing

In statistics, a method for testing how accurately a mathematical model based on one set of data predicts the nature of other data sets generated by the same process.
 Pearson correlations were used to analyze the relationships between the women's ratings of the importance of sex in their lives and the predictor variables previously summarized in Tables 1-3. A one-tailed test of significance was used with a .05 significance level. The results of this analysis are presented in Table 4.

SEXUAL "PERMISSIVENESS" As predicted, importance of sex was significantly correlated cor·re·late  
v. cor·re·lat·ed, cor·re·lat·ing, cor·re·lates

v.tr.
1. To put or bring into causal, complementary, parallel, or reciprocal relation.

2.
 with time before having sex with a new partner (r=.35) and likelihood of having had sex with one man when in love with another) (r=.31). Importance of sex showed no correlation with the other parameters categorized cat·e·go·rize  
tr.v. cat·e·go·rized, cat·e·go·riz·ing, cat·e·go·riz·es
To put into a category or categories; classify.



cat
 under "sexual `permissiveness"' (Table 4).

SEXUAL DESIRE As predicted, importance of sex was significantly correlated with sex drive (r=.42) and with current frequency of sexual activity The frequency of sexual activity of humans is determined by several parameters, and varies greatly from person to person, and within a person's lifetime.

The frequency of sexual intercourse might range from zero (sexual abstinence) for some to 15 or 20 times a week.
, and negatively correlated with enjoyment of periods of celibacy (r=-.31). It was not correlated with the other parameters categorized under "sexual desire".

PERCEPTION OF THE COSTS OF SEX Importance of sex was significantly correlated with fear of being compared (r=-.28) and sexual guilt (r=-.24). As predicted, women's perceptions of the other potential costs of sex (fear of STDs, fear of being talked about, fear of getting a "loose" reputation) were not significantly correlated with the importance of sex.

DISCUSSION

Contrary to the traditional script but consistent with other findings (e.g., Herold & Mewhinney, 1993), the majority of the women in this study indicated that sex was a very important part of their lives. While this finding is consistent with the emphasis that some liberal feminists have placed on sexual empowerment for women, the sampling procedure does not permit generalization gen·er·al·i·za·tion
n.
1. The act or an instance of generalizing.

2. A principle, a statement, or an idea having general application.
 either to most heterosexual women or to lesbians.

Within this sample, women who gave high ratings for the importance of sex in their lives had higher scores on measures of sexual permissiveness and sexual desire, and lower scores on some measures of their perceptions of sexual costs. For most of these correlations, it is not easy to determine cause-effect relationships. For example, the significant correlation between self-rated importance of sex and strength of sexual desire could imply that perceived importance enhances sex drive, that strong sex drive reinforces perceived importance, or that they each influence each other bidirectionally. Perhaps women who rank sex higher in importance in their lives feel more empowered in the sexual domain, and are therefore less inclined to adhere to adhere to
verb 1. follow, keep, maintain, respect, observe, be true, fulfil, obey, heed, keep to, abide by, be loyal, mind, be constant, be faithful

2.
 the traditional sexual script. For example, Apt and Hurlbert (1992) found that women who held a positive attitude toward sex were more likely to have an active desire and be easily aroused.

The general absence of a genuine discourse about desire, particularly in the education of young women, has deprived women of support to explore what feels good and bad, desirable and undesirable (Fine, 1988). Although young women speak unequivocally of experiences of sexual desire, their experiences reflect a struggle around what to do with their sexual desire, given the competing potentials for pleasure and the threats of danger/costs (Tolman, 1994). We know too little about sexual desire in young women, although perceptions of cost are not solely age-related.

At least some of the older women in our study also felt constrained by their perceptions of some of the costs of sex, specifically sexual guilt and the fear of being compared. These constraints were less strongly perceived by women who ranked sex high in importance in their lives. The increase in sexual permissiveness and premarital sex in the last few decades has allowed women more freedom with their sexuality with less worry about the costs/constraints (Tanfer & Schoorl, 1992). Hendrick and Hendrick (1987) found that women who held a more positive attitude towards sex were less troubled by sexual guilt. Our findings also showed that women who felt less constrained by the costs of sex also placed high value on its importance in their lives. These findings should not be taken to imply that the burden of protection does not still fall heavily on women. For example, Herold and Mewhinney (1993) found that women were more likely than men to decline sexual opportunities because of concern about STDs. That constraint Constraint

A restriction on the natural degrees of freedom of a system. If n and m are the numbers of the natural and actual degrees of freedom, the difference n - m is the number of constraints.
 was also prominent in the present study, although the other costs were much less so.

Table 1 Percentage distribution of responses to sexual attitude and
behaviour questions chosen to reflect degree of sexual "permissiveness"
(n=51 women).

Attitudes and        Percent
Behaviours


Approximately how
many men have
you had intercourse
with?
1-2                  10
3-5                  8
6-10                 15
11+                  67

How many men
have you had
intercourse with
only once?
1-2                  41
3-5                  21
6-10                 18
11+                  20

Have you
had sexual
intercourse with
another man
when you
were in
love with
someone else?
Yes                  65
No                   35

Would one partner
be able to
satisfy you
sexually for
the rest
of your
life?
Definitely yes       6
Probably Yes         63
Probably No          29
Definitely No        2

In beginning
a new relationship,
when would
you typically first
have sex?
1st date             13
2nd-3rd date         42
Several dates        45

Do you
discuss your
sexual experiences
with your close
female friends?
Not at all           2
General detail       29
Some detail          47
Great detail         22
Table 2 Percentage distribution of responses to sexual attitude and
behaviour questions chosen to reflect degree of sexual desire (n=51 women).

Sexual Desire Variables   Percent


Do you
think your
sex drive is
Weaker than other women   2
Same as other women       48
Stronger than most women  50

How many
times a
week would
you like
to have
sex with
a partner?
1-2                       8
3-4                       43
5+                        49

Currently, about
how many
times a
week do you
have sex with
a partner?
0                         33
1-2                       33
3+                        33

Do you enjoy
periods of
celibacy where
you don't
engage in sexual
relations for
2 months
or longer?
No                        61
Yes                       39

Have you
ever experienced
times of intense
sexual frustration?
Never                     10
Occasionally              31
Sometimes                 35
Many times                24

Does the
size of a
man's penis
affect your
sexual pleasure? (1)
Effect pleasure           38
No effect on pleasure     62

(1) The response categories (1) yes, a longer one is more pleasurable and
(2) yes, a thicker one is more pleasurable were collapsed into the response
Effects Pleasure. The response category (3) yes, a smaller one is more
pleasurable was deleted as less than 2% of the sample responded with this
choice. The response category (4) no, size has no effect on pleasure was
re-coded into the response No effect on pleasure.
Table 3 Percentage distribution of responses to sexual attitude and
behaviour questions chosen to reflect degree of concern about potential
costs of sex (n=51 women).

Cost Variables        Percent


How often do
you feel guilty
about your sexual
behaviour?
Never                 35
Seldom                33
Sometimes             28
Often                 4

How worried
are you about
getting a sexually
transmitted
disease?
Not worried           20
A little worried      39
Moderately worried    28
Very worried          14

Has fear of
getting a sexually
transmitted disease
ever stopped
you from having
sex with
a new
partner?
No                    67
Yes                   33

Have you ever
worried about
a sexual partner
talking about you
to others?
Never                 45
Rarely                49
Often                 6

Have you
ever worried
about getting
a "loose"
reputation?
No                    63
Yes, rarely           25
Yes, often            12

Do you ever
worry that a
sexual partner might
be comparing you
with previous
partners?
No                    69
Yes                   31
Table 4 Pearson Correlations between predictor variables and respondents'
rankings on the importance of sex in their lives (n=51 women).

Predictor Variables   r


Approximately how     .04
many men
have you
had intercourse
with?
How many              -.05
men have
you had
intercourse with
only once?
Have you              .31 (1)
had sexual
intercourse with
another man
when you
were in
love with
someone else?
Would one             -.10
partner be
able to
satisfy you
sexually for
the rest
of your
life?
In beginning a        .35 (1)
new relationship,
when would
you typically
first have
sex?
Do you discuss        .18
your sexual
experiences with
your close
female friends?
Age at                .08
first
intercourse
Do you                .42 (1)
think your
sex drive
is...
How many              .22
times a
week would
you like to
have sex
with a
partner?
Currently, about      .42 (1)
how many
times a
week do
you have
sex with
a partner?
Do you enjoy          -.31 (1)
periods of
celibacy where
you don't
engage in sexual
relations for
2 months
or longer?
Have you              .19
ever experiences
times of
intense sexual
frustration?
Does the              .13
size of
a man's penis
affect your
sexual pleasure?
How often             -.24 (1)
do you feel
guilty about your
sexual behaviour?
How worried           .05
are you about
getting a sexually
transmitted
disease?
Has fear              -.16
of getting
a sexually
transmitted disease
ever stopped
you from having
sex with a
new partner?
Have you ever         -.12
worried about a
sexual partner
talking about you
to others?
Have you              -.02
ever worried
about getting
a "loose"
reputation?
Do you ever           -.28 (1)
worry that a
sexual partner might
be comparing you
with previous
partners?

Note: (1) p<.05


The strongly accepting sexual attitudes and behaviours of the women in our sample may be due, in part, to the fact that they are older (mean age 30) than the usual study populations of university or high school students. For example, Demartino (1974) argued that younger women are more affected by feelings of guilt, fear and reluctance, all of which result from cultural taboos and inexperience Inexperience
See also Innocence, Naïveté.

Bowes, Major Edward

(1874–1946) originator and master of ceremonies of the Amateur Hour on radio. [Am.
, than are older women. Similarly, Kinsey, Pomeroy, Martin and Gebhard (1953) reported that women did not reach their sexual "peak" until they were in their thirties. While younger women might be in a stage of exploration and evaluation of their sexuality, our sample may have had time to develop greater acceptance and empowerment in the sexual domain. Given the breadth of their sexual experiences, these women would also have learned what they liked and disliked sexually, and how to act on that knowledge. These observations reinforce the need for contemporary researchers to focus more on women who are beyond their early twenties.

We are aware that the women who volunteered for our study probably hold more liberal sexual attitudes than those who chose not to participate. Sampling or volunteer bias is a major concern in sex research. Volunteers tend to be more sexually liberal, evidence less sexual guilt, are more sexually curious, and place a higher value on sex research (Catania, 1990). Sexually conservative people are far less likely to participate in sex research (McCormick, 1994). These observations may explain, in part, why the women in this sample seemed generally unconstrained by the potential costs of sex. Our sampling methods may also have biased the results, as volunteers were recruited from sexuality conferences and university classes. Indeed, this bias was to some extent intentional in·ten·tion·al  
adj.
1. Done deliberately; intended: an intentional slight. See Synonyms at voluntary.

2. Having to do with intention.
, as we wanted strong representation of women who considered sex to be a very important part of their lives. This is not a demographic study.

Given the bias toward homogeneity Homogeneity

The degree to which items are similar.
 within our sample, it is perhaps surprising that we found a number of significant relationships (7 of 19 parameters) between importance of sex and the predictor variables. A larger and more heterogeneous sample might have revealed more such associations.

Another limitation of this study may have been the use of single item measurements. Future research should employ sexual desire scales to measure women's sexual desire, should expand the context beyond heterosexual relationships, and should include questions on masturbation masturbation

Erotic stimulation of one's own genital organs, usually to achieve orgasm. Masturbatory behavior is common in infants and adolescents, and is indulged in by many adults as well. Studies indicate that over 90% of U.S. males and 60–80% of U.S.
 or other behaviours that might reflect desire independent of interaction with a partner.

Future research should also focus on the characteristics of women who feel they have higher sexual desire than most other women. Since many women's sex drives are similar to or higher than men's (McCormick, 1994), comparison of high sex drive individuals of both sexes might also be informative.

Our preliminary study has identified some characteristics of a subset A group of commands or functions that do not include all the capabilities of the original specification. Software or hardware components designed for the subset will also work with the original.  of women within the general population who place very high importance on sex in their lives, and who differ from most other women with respect to sexual desire, sexual permissiveness, and their attitudes regarding the costs of sexual behaviour. These women appear to have rejected at least some of the traditional stereotypes for women's sexual behaviour. Further research on such women may broaden our understanding of the acquisition and modification of sexual scripts.
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Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Kymberly J. Sloggett; Edward S. Herold
Publication:The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality
Date:Sep 22, 1996
Words:4714
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