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Gender differences in sexual information sources, and sexual attitudes and behaviors of university students in Turkey.

Sexuality is an important social issue, which is constructed by gender, culture, religion, and social norms. Sexuality is experienced diversely in different cultures; in Turkish society, premarital sexual relations are not approved of. Sexuality is restricted to marital life in traditional terms. Different sexual values and norms are attributed to males and females. Close relations in Turkish family structure reinforce restrictions and oppression of sexuality from childhood. Conservative values are internalized during the socialization process and strengthened by culture.

Islam is an important factor in the shaping of social and cultural structures in Turkey, even though it is a secular country with progressive modern reforms in terms of equality of genders in many areas of life. As Gole (2000) claims, positioning of women as equal citizens and women's rights constitute the foundation of Turkish modernization which began in the 1920s. Abolishing the headscarf in public institutions, mixed gender primary schools, gaining legal rights including the right to vote and to be elected, and the abolishing of Islamic family law help women to free themselves from Islamic and traditional social norms.

However, the modernization process has not yet been fully achieved; Turkish society is at the stage of transition to modernity, yet traditional culture is still effective. Conservatism and patriarchy are synthesized with modern values of equality of genders, individualism, and freedom. Patriarchy is still effective in constructing social values, norms, and gender roles. Nevertheless, the modernization process weakens patriarchal and traditional values, especially among young educated people in the western part of Turkey. Cindoglu (2000) states that "liberal gender ideology" arose, which was predominantly depicted in the images of the media and cinema and since the 1980s sexual purity and virginity have begun to lose significance.

Modernization by preserving Turkish cultural values causes contradictory expectations and different value judgments. According to Sumer's (2001) research, most young educated Turkish women both support the traditional family structure in Turkey and criticize it at the same time. This statement indicates the duality in the internalization of the modernization process by Turkish women. Conservative and modern liberal values overlap in our culture. Experimenting with sexual behaviors without specifically engaging in vaginal sexual intercourse is one example of such attitudes. Repression of society about virginity and increasing concern in sexual freedom contribute to young people's having sex outside of marriage.

Beck (1992) claims that reflexive modernity develops in modern Western countries. In this stage of modernization educated individuals are less affected by social structure. As individualization develops people become independent of traditional morality and the external control of society. Therefore, the modern trend of individualization enables people to have their own ideas independent from traditional values. Sexual norms become transitional and youth sexuality is understood as a part of their natural development according to scientific theories, but on the other hand, it is condemned by family and traditional culture. This situation throws young people into a state of disorientation and uncertainty. Young females are discouraged from engaging in sexual activities by social norms, but they are encouraged by peer groups and their boyfriends. Therefore, this kind of liberalization makes contradictory demands and requires individual responsibility (Beck & Beck-Gernsheim, 2002).

Cindoglu (2000) states that the virginity of unmarried women is of the utmost importance in traditional parts of Turkey as well as in modern metropolitan areas. Unmarried women are expected to stay pure; virginity signifies the honor of a woman's family. A woman's body is sexualized, objectified, and commoditized by capitalist construction; on the other hand, it is conservatively and asexually constructed as her family's honor. She argues that in contemporary Turkey "a coalition of traditional values and Islamic gender ideology along with liberal gender ideology" (p.215) contributes to the number of virginity tests and hymen restoration surgery.

Control over women's fertility and sexuality in monogamous marriage and the economic subordination of women through economic dependency and sexual division of labor and property configure patriarchal values and regulations in a society (Murray, 1995). Turkish society is known for its patriarchal norms. The father is considered as the "fear and respect symbol" in the family, and patriarchal family structure is still observable. Important decisions are made by the father and punishment of children is mostly practiced by the father (Yavuzer, 2004). He has the "last word" at home. The householder of the family is defined as "the man" in legislation. This statement has been abolished and equality in marriage is accepted under the New Civil Law that came into force in 2002. Patriarchy is defined by gender difference in property ownership as women are stated as the owners of only 8.7% of all property in Turkey in official statistics (The First Social Work Congress, 2004).

In Turkish, the word honor (namus) indicates "virginity" at the same time. Yasa (1969) and Tezcan (1973) state that, according to their research, more than half of all participants understand the notion "namus" firstly as the virginity of a woman, then keeping one's promise, honesty, being morally justified, and loyalty to one's country (cited in Yorukan, 2000). Virginity before marriage is demanded as a symbol of a family's and a woman's honor. Male members of the family have the right to control female sexuality by forbidding sex before marriage. Girls hide their flirtations from parents for fear of possible restrictions. As Coltrane (1998) suggests, premarital intercourse is thought of as an insult to the husband and is punished with exclusion from society, violence, and--in some cases--with death. According to Kardam's (2005) qualitative research on honor crimes in Turkey, murder of women who have had sexual relations with men before marriage, teenagers who flirt, or even women who wear tight clothes is considered legitimate in the eastern parts of Turkey.

Gender roles to which males and females have to conform are defined with norms formed by society, or what she/he thinks is appropriate, and what others demand as behavior patterns for their status (Yorukan, 2000). Gender roles are learned by modeling and imitating role models, primarily parents. Vicarious reinforcement and vicarious punishment play an important role in the socialization process of gender roles.

Gender roles are closely related with patriarchy in Turkey. The attitudes of family and society change according to gender roles. Females are strictly controlled against sexual activity including flirting. Ilkkaracan and Seral (2000) state that being a virgin is traditionally considered as the responsibility of females for themselves and their families. However, flirting and premarital sexual intercourse by males are encouraged, and are perceived as proof of manhood.

The participants in this research are students of Ege University, located in the western part of Turkey. Modernization affects college students' attitudes towards sexuality much more than it affects other people. College students are helped by scientific education, relatively free thought, and interaction with the Western values of sexual freedom.

Young people are at the stage of forming their own identities. They want to become independent from authorities, who lead them to question and sometimes reject social norms. This conflict of adolescence forms the dynamics of change in values of the society. Young people accept modern values and new trends more easily and quickly than do older people.

Sexual information sources gain importance for young people, when sexuality begins to be explored in the public sphere, and encourage young people by different cultural products. Preference of sexual information sources is relevant to culture and gender which affect people's sexual behaviors.

The main aim of this study was to determine the effects of gender differences on the sexuality and homosexuality, sexual behaviors, and sexual information sources of college students. Based on the aim of the study, the research questions are stated below:

Are there any gender differences in talking about sexuality?

Are there any gender differences in the attitudes of the students regarding premarital sexual intercourse of males and females?

Are there any gender differences in the attitudes of the students regarding homosexuality?

Are sexual behaviors different according to the gender of the students?

What are their sexual information sources?

Do sexual information sources differ according to the gender of the students?

In our study, having sex and sexual experience are defined as sexual intercourse, and sexual behaviors as having sex and partner relations operationally.

METHOD

PARTICIPANTS

Participants were 330 females (53.7%) and 284 males (46.3%), between the ages of 18 and 32 (M = 22.33, SD = 2.06). Of the sample 14.8% (n = 91) defined themselves as having no religious beliefs, 11.4% (n = 70) said that they have insubstantial religious beliefs, while the percentage of young people having moderate religious beliefs was 41.2% (n = 253). Those who said that they have strong beliefs comprised 32.6% (n = 200) of the sample. Those who live in urban areas constituted the biggest portion of the sample, 72.8% (n = 447). Semirural and rural areas follow this with 18.4% (n = 113) and 8.8% (n = 54). The average monthly income was 958 YTL (SD = 1382.45). 1 US $ was equal to 1.35 YTL when the research was conducted.

INSTRUMENTS

The questionnaire includes four subgroup questions related to some characteristics of the students: the first group elicit demographic information about the students (i.e., sex, age, monthly income, where they live most, how they describe their religious beliefs); the second group is related to sexuality (i.e., talking about sexuality with others, acceptance of premarital sexual intercourse for men/ women, talking about homosexuality, and being friends with a homosexual); the third group is about sexual behaviors (i.e., having sexual experience, the age of first sexual experience, number of sex partners, and use of condoms); and the final group is concerned with the preferences of sexual information sources (i.e., friends, books, television, or cinema).

PROCEDURE

The questionnaires were administered in classroom settings during regular class meetings. The students were told that the purpose of the survey was to obtain information about sexuality, their sexual behaviors, and their preferences of sexual information sources, and they were instructed not to write their names on the questionnaires. They were assured of anonymity and asked to answer the questionnaires honestly. There were 687 students of whom 35 stated that they did not want to participate in the research. After participants had completed the questionnaires, they were asked to fold and leave them on the instructor's desk. Unfortunately, it was determined that 38 students left the forms uncompleted. In total, 614 students were surveyed (89.7% of the total number). The completed forms were assigned to codes. Access to the completed handwritten questionnaires was restricted to the investigators only.

DATA ANALYSIS

The data were analyzed by using the SPSS statistical package, version 11.5. Opinions about sexuality, sexual behaviors, and preference of sexual information sources were used as the dependent variables. Gender of the students was used as the independent variable. Percentage, standard deviations, means, and chi-square statistics were used. The minimum acceptable level of significance was set at .05. This data file is available for further analysis in case additional questions arise.

RESULTS

The research findings are presented in two main parts. The first part concerns attitudes towards sexuality, homosexuality, and sexual behaviors of the males and females. The second part is about sexual information sources and gender differences in source preferences.

Table 2 shows the differing opinions of the males and females about sexuality and homosexuality. Both males and females were asked if they talk about sexuality or not. It was found that the males (92.6%) talk about sexuality more than the females (87%). Opinions about women's premarital sexual intercourse indicate significant differences between genders; 51.2% of females accept women's sexual intercourse before marriage, while 32.4% of males deem it acceptable. Males' premarital sexual relations are accepted by 62.1% of the females and 57.7% of the males. Talking about homosexuality reveals significant differences in that 81.8% of the females, but only 65.5% of the males talk about homosexuality. Again it is the females (63.9%) who state that they can have homosexual friends, while only 46.1% of the males agree with this statement. Of the females, 30.9% state that they know a homosexual personally; the males' percentage is 26.4%. The data do not indicate significant differences between genders about the opinion on premarital sexual intercourse of men and knowing a homosexual personally.

In Table 3, different sexual behaviors of the males and females are presented. The data indicate significant differences between males and females for all of the statements except using a condom. The score of sexual experience of the males (53.5%) was higher than the females (19.7%). The males indicated that they had their first sexual experiences earlier than the females. The females had their first sexual experience mostly between the ages of 18-20 unlike the males. Most of the males (34.9%) had their first experience at the age of 17 or below, while only 15.4% of the females had their first experience at those ages. The research shows that most of the females (81.5%) and males (38.2%) had their first sexual intercourse with relationship partners. However, the percentage of males that had their first sexual intercourse with casual partners (26.3%) and by paying for sex (25.0%) is significantly higher than that of females (12.3% and 6.2% respectively). More than half of the males (61.8%) stated that they did not have relationship partners for their first sexual experience, while most of the females (81.5%) had their first experience with their partners. As shown in the table, more than half of the females have had only one sex partner, while 23.7% of the males have had only one partner. The males who have had more than 11 partners comprise 17.8% of the males, whereas 3.1% of the females have had that many sex partners. As can be estimated by the results, the males' scores on sexual activeness are higher than those of the females. Using a condom does not show consequential difference between genders as less than half of both males and females use a condom during sexual intercourse.

Table 4 presents the students' diverse sexual information sources. More than one choice is selected through their preferences. As shown in the table, friends are the most preferred option at 74.8%. Written and visual material like books (55.6%), TV/cinema (46.7%), magazines (45.6%), and newspapers (44.1%) follow friends. The least preferred sources are formal and personal sources like health personnel (26.2%), teachers (22.5%), fathers (20.0%), and institutions (19.0%).

Table 5 presents the preferences of the males and the females for sexual information sources. Briefly, females are shown to prefer formal and personal sources more than the males who prefer sources that do not involve personal relations. The males prefer TV/Cinema (51.1 %), magazines (47.5%), newspapers (44.0%), CDs/DVDs (43.7%), and the Internet (39.1%) more than do females. The females chose books (59.1%), courses (39.4%), mothers (40.3%), health personnel (31.5%), teachers (27.0%), and institutions (20.9%) as sexual information sources more than did the males. Friends are the most popular sexual information source for both genders (71.8% of the females and 74.3% of males). Sexual experience is used as an information source by the males (42.3%) more than the females (26.1 %).

DISCUSSION

The aim in this study was to bring to light the gender differences in sexual attitudes and sexual behaviors of college students in relation to talking about sexuality, premarital intercourse, homosexuality, and sexual information sources in Turkey. Investigation revealed that gender difference is an important factor, which affects sexual behaviors and the formation of sexual attitudes of young people.

GENDER DIFFERENCES IN TALKING ABOUT SEXUALITY

The finding that males talk about sexuality more than females can be explained by the patriarchal structure which gives encouragement to men. Men can talk about sexuality without the fear of being judged. Moreover, talking about sexuality is very effective in forming power equilibrium among men. Martin (2002) suggests that sex is seen as the evidence of masculinity, men get status when talking and boasting about sex, and it is a part of teenage culture according to her interviews with young men. It can be stated that sexual intercourse is perceived as the power symbol of men over women; therefore, sexuality is evaluated as being the field in which men gain power and reinforce their social positions.

The females' percentage of talking about sexuality is found to be quite high in the research. Modern and educated women are more open to sexuality and can express themselves easily with the impact of modernization, which is reflected more in the media. Sexuality is discussed comfortably by professionals with medical, social, and psychological dimensions in the media. Moreover, sexuality has become a commodity to increase consumption and the female body is turned into a sex object. These trends increase the emphasis on the female body and sexuality, and cause men and women to talk about their own sexuality.

GENDER DIFFERENCES IN VIEWS OF PREMARITAL SEXUAL INTERCOURSE OF MALES

The research findings show that the majority of females and males accept premarital sexual intercourse of males. The structure of society encourages men to engage in premarital sex. Istvan and Griffitt's (1980) research indicates that men desire to marry virginal women, whereas women desire to marry sexually experienced men. Thus, women's preference for sexually experienced men as their husbands motivates women and men to accept premarital sexual intercourse for men. Likewise, Cindoglu (2000) states that premarital and extramarital sexual relations of men are celebrated.

Males' acceptance of premarital sexual intercourse for men is found less than females' acceptance. It is also found that (see Table 3) 53.5% of the males have sexual experience that is close to the acceptance level of premarital intercourse. Therefore, we can conclude that because of the males' low percentage of sexual experience, acceptance of premarital sexual intercourse of males is low in this sample. Competitive feelings may be effective for this condition. Although the percentage of females who have sexual experience is 19.7% (see Table 3), more than half of the females approve premarital intercourse for males.

GENDER DIFFERENCES IN VIEWS OF PREMARITAL SEXUAL INTERCOURSE OF FEMALES

In the research, approximately half of the females approve premarital sexual intercourse for females. We can see that the majority of males oppose premarital intercourse for females. Kardam's (2005) research likewise shows that virginity of women is essentially desired for marriage, which indicates the importance of premarital sexual intercourse prohibition. Also Sakalh-Ugurlu and Glick's (2003) research points out that older, politically conservative, less sexually experienced men and women are more likely to disapprove of premarital sex for females. The female students' rate of acceptance of premarital sexual intercourse for females is lower than the acceptance of males' premarital sexual intercourse; just half of the females favor females' premarital sex. This can be explained by the acceptance of patriarchal hegemony by females as a conservative attitude which reproduces inequality between sexes.

Baber's (2000) suggestion can contribute to the explanation that traditional norms encourage males to act assertively, to lead in sexual activity, and to be knowledgeable regarding sexuality; the norms about females support a role characterized by passivity, compliance, and responsiveness to male dominance. IIkkaracan and Seral (2000) point out that the question of inequalities in sexuality is avoided--although modernity and women's rights deal with women's unequal status in the family, education, employment, and politics--which results in continuity of control over women's sexuality. However, the acceptance of female premarital intercourse by half of the females must be considered on the basis of liberal gender ideology.

The social basis of the males' disapproval of females' premarital intercourse lies in the continuity of patriarchal social structure which oppresses women's sexuality. This also helps the controlling of women in the physical, emotional, cultural, and social domains of life. The hymen also facilitates social control on women's sexuality as an evident indicator for virginity in most cases. Women's sexuality is seen as marriage focused, and the basic function is to help permanence of descent by producing children and to satisfy husbands' sexual desires. Another basis of this conservative view is explained by Engels (2000) that the desire of men to guarantee the property of children as their own causes strict control of their wives' sexuality. Thus, the fertility of women is explained as the main factor for the restriction of female sexuality.

Islam forbids both males and females from engaging in premarital sexual relations. Islam reinforces patriarchal culture by putting male dominance over women. The Holy book of Islam, the Quran, speaks of a "slight edge and social superiority" of males over females (Engineer, 1992). This is an essential factor for both males' and females' disapproval of women's premarital relations and discrimination in sexual issues.

The sociopsychological foundations of the internalization of the traditional value of virginity lie in the authoritarian personality development of people. It begins with the relationship between father and children, which diffuses to the societal level; norms are accepted or challenged in accordance with family structure. Also, being obedient to legitimate authority is Turkish society's social norm in which family discipline is fundamental. Fromm (1994) also explains that being obedient to power restricts freedom; however, as it reduces the responsibility of free choices, it enables safety and security for people. When people conform to social norms, they are accepted by society easily without taking any risk of inappropriate types of behavior.

Approximately half of the females in the research state that women can have premarital sexual relations. As Blumstein and Schwartz (1990) suggest, when gender inequalities are discussed in the public sphere, women can become more active in exploring their sexuality. Therefore, women want to live their sexuality without the boundaries of traditional patriarchal values.

GENDER DIFFERENCES IN ATTITUDES TOWARDS HOMOSEXUALITY

The research shows that females talk about homosexuality much more than do males. Females are more likely than men to state that they can have homosexual friends. Knowing a homosexual personally does not differ much between the genders. These findings show that females are more tolerant towards homosexuality. Likewise Kurdek (1988) found that women are less homophobic than men. Knowing a homosexual personally does have an effect on accepting a homosexual friend. The females accept having a homosexual friend more than do males. Sakalli's (2002) research with college students also shows that females and those males who have had social contact with a homosexual use more counterstereotype attributes to define male homosexuals. Being female and having social contact with a homosexual affect positive attitudes towards homosexuals.

The reason for the majority of the males' refusing to have homosexual friends and talking only rarely about homosexuality can be explained by social determinants. Homosexuality is mostly understood as passive male sexuality. Male homosexuality is considered to be a deviant behavior and homosexuals as being inferior human beings, where masculinity is strongly emphasized.

Masculinity is appreciated as being tough, aggressive, and dominant. The masculine sexual identity of males makes it essential to disapprove of feminine features in a male's body and identity, which is symbolized in male homosexuals. Male homosexuality is seen as an attack on masculine characteristics of males by themselves. Helgeson (2002) also suggests that "homophobia" is one of the gender roles restraining men in their relationships. The fear of being considered homosexual may affect males' refusal of a homosexual friend.

Cultural values in our society have a strong emphasis on masculinity that results in a negative reaction to homosexuals. Religion reinforces negative attitudes towards homosexuality. According to Islam, homosexuality is considered a deviant behavior which must be punished. However, attitudes towards homosexuality can be considered quite positive in this research when compared with society's general attitude. The effect of religion weakens among educated young people; discrimination against homosexuals is discussed, and respect for different sexual tendencies begins to be emphasized.

GENDER DIFFERENCES IN SEXUAL BEHAVIORS

Having sexual experience differs greatly between genders. Half of the males had sexual experience, whereas only a minority of the females had sexual experience. Males can have sexual intercourse in conformity with society's values, and females' preference for sexually experienced men--as previously indicated in Istvan and Griffitt's (1980) research--encourages men to have sexual relations.

The results show that females consider affective relations and sentimental satisfaction in their sexual life much more than do males. Males do not consider much about private relations regarding sexual activity. It can be concluded that as Rich (1993) claims, males' sexuality is much more focused on physical pleasure.

Males tend to have sex with more partners than do females. This finding shows that males' main concern is diversity of partners, whereas females' main concern is much more about affectionate relations. Females are found to be attached to their partners more than are males. Males are much more active sexually than females. Similarly, Hendrick and Hendrick's (1987) research findings show that males tend to have more sex partners and their sexual life is much more based on physical pleasure whereas females tend to be more emotionally attached to their partners.

The research with college students in Turkey conducted by Gokengin et al. (2003) shows similar findings to this research. The majority of the males (61.2%) had sexual experience, whereas only a minority of females (18.8%) had sexual experience, as in this research. The males (39.3%) commonly had sex with different partners, whereas few females had had different partners (3.0%).

Condom use during sexual intercourse did not differ significantly between genders. More than half of the females and males do not use condoms. This can be explained by the lack of knowledge of the risks that sexual intercourse involves.

SEXUAL INFORMATION SOURCES

When the young people's sexual information sources are examined, it is clearly seen that friends are the most preferred option at 74.8%. Scientific information sources like health personnel and institutions are less preferred than friends. The disadvantage of using friends as informal sources is that information they give can be misleading. However, as they are easily reached and communication between friends is more open, they become the major sources. According to Hacettepe University Public Health Department's research, friends and written materials are found to be the most preferred information sources regarding sexual and reproductive health (H.U., 2004).

Trust, privacy, and confidentiality in sexual issues have an effect on the choice of the sexual information sources of young people. They do not refer to institutions and the related personnel much, because sometimes they worry that these can inform their parents. Previously mentioned research (H.U., 2004) shows that young people consider confidentiality to be very important in the health and consultancy institutions (approximately 60%). It is found that 82.0% of Hacettepe University students have not used any reproduction health service from the institutions. The generally expressed reason for this is that they do not need this kind of service. The absence of institutions to consult, the preference for talking these issues up with their friends, and feeling shame are stated as the other reasons (H.U., 2004). The prospect of getting reliable information without any personal relationship increases the importance of the written and visual materials like books, TV/cinema, magazines, newspapers, CDs/DVDs, and the Internet among our research participants.

Mothers (30.6%) and fathers (20.0%) are consulted less as sexual information sources, which shows the difficulty of talking about sexuality within the family. According to H.U.'s (2004) and Alpua's (2006) research, males and females talk with their parents mainly about the health dimension of sexuality. Feeling shame is stated as the cause of difficulty for talking to parents.

The difference between mothers and fathers can be explained by the patriarchal structure, in which fathers are generally more authoritarian and strict. The H.U. Public Health Department's (H.U., 2004) research also shows that, especially in the eastern part of Turkey, fathers put more distance in their relationship with their children and do not even talk much about daily events at home, which signifies the difficulty of communication with fathers. Alpua's (2006) research correlates with the results that young people talk about sexual matters with their mothers (26.6%) much more than with their fathers (5.7%).

GENDER DIFFERENCES IN SEXUAL INFORMATION SOURCES

The research results indicate that sexual information sources used differ according to gender. Books, courses, mothers, health personnel, teachers, and institutions are mostly used by the females. The males' most preferred information sources are TV/cinema, CDs/DVDs, sexual experience, and the Internet. Utilizing friends, newspapers, and fathers as sexual information sources does not indicate significant differences between genders.

Classification of the information sources of females and males indicates that the females prefer personal and institutional sources much more than the males, who prefer technical and one-sided sources that do not require any personal interaction. The information sources of the males allow them to hide their lack of knowledge, while the sources of the females need them to expose their lack of knowledge. One of the male gender roles is identified by Helgeson (2002) as independence and self-reliance, which "kept males from asking for needed help". Therefore, males might prefer information sources that do not include approaching an institution or an expert. Females are more likely to tend toward engaging in interpersonal relations. Thus, it can be stated that they are more motivated to ask for information from institutions or other people.

According to the results it can be concluded that girls were willing to ask for, and gain, information on sexual issues from their same-sex parent (mother). Similarly Alpua's (2006) research shows that girls (53.6%) talk about sexual issues with their mothers much more than do boys (7.1%), whereas boys (8.4%) talk with their fathers more than do girls (2.0%). Many fathers (47%) state that they cannot answer their children's questions because they find it shameful. Communication with mothers is more open compared to fathers, who put distance in domestic relations. Fathers are the least preferred sources for both genders in our research.

CONCLUSION

Sexual behaviors, attitudes, and sexual information sources differ according to gender. It was found that the males talk about sexuality more than do females. Approval of premarital sexual relations of males is higher than approval of females' premarital sexual relations. It is mostly males who disapprove of females' premarital intercourse. The research results reveal that females are more tolerant towards homosexuality.

Differences between genders regarding sexual experience are significant. Males are found to have more sexual experience than females. Their first sexual experience is earlier and they have had sex with a higher number of partners than have females. Most of the females have just one sex partner, which shows their tendency towards monogamy and restriction in sexual relations in contrast to males. Females are seen to give more importance to relationship partners; most of them have their first sexual experience with relationship partners. Paying for sex is also a common sexual behavior among males.

Friends are found to be the most preferred sexual information source for both genders. Institutional sources are not used as much as informal sources. Mothers are more often asked about sexuality than are fathers as they are easier to communicate with. Females are shown to prefer formal and personal sources much more than the males who prefer one-sided sources that do not require any personal relationships.

It can be concluded that college students in Turkey challenge the traditional patriarchal values regarding sexual issues, although traditional patriarchal values have not lost their significance, especially when gender differences are examined.

It is understood that sexual behaviors of both males and females are in the process of liberalization. Traditional sexual norms are not confirmed by many of the young people. As a result, contraceptive tools, such as condoms, are needed to also protect them from sexually transmitted diseases. The usage of condoms was found to be very low in the research. Also, young people need to utilize health services to learn more about sexuality. Therefore, health institutions must improve sexual health counseling services on protection methods and give information about sexuality.

Youth workers in social work settings should help young men and women to understand the difference in gender roles and overcome rigid sexual norms which oppress and hurt women. Also, courses regarding the social dimension of sexuality should be made available in colleges, which are the forces of liberty and change in society.

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SELAHATTIN GELBAL, VELI DUYAN, AND ASLIHAN BURCU OZTURK

Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey
TABLE 1
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SAMPLE (N = 614, %)

Sex
  Female                                 330              (53.7%)
  Male                                   284              (46.3%)
Age, years, mean (SD); range              22.33        (2.06); 18-32
Marital status
  Single                                 614             (100.0%)
Where lived most
  Urban                                  447              (72.8%)
  Semi-rural                             113              (18.4%)
  Rural                                   54               (8.8%)
Income, per month, mean (SD); range      988.12    (1409.23); 0-20000
Religious beliefs
  No religious beliefs                    91              (14.8%)
  Weak                                    70              (11.4%)
  Moderate                               253              (41.2%)
  Strong                                 200              (32.6%)

TABLE 2
GENDER DIFFERENCES ON ATTITUDES TOWARDS SEXUALITY AND HOMOSEXUALITY
(LV = 614, %, CHI-SQUARE)

Sample characteristics                     Yes             No

Talk about sexuality
Female                                 287   (87.0%)    43   (13.0%)
Male                                   263   (92.6%)    21    (7.4%)
accept males' premarital sexual intercourse
Female                                 205   (62.1%)   125   (37.9%)
Male                                   164   (57.7%)   120   (42.3%)
accept females' premarital sexual intercourse
Female                                 169   (51.2%)   161   (48.8%)
Male                                    92   (32.4%)   192   (67.6%)
Talk about homosexuality
Female                                 270   (81.8%)    60   (18.2%)
Male                                   186   (65.5%)    98   (34.5%)
Know a homosexual personally
Female                                 102   (30.9%)   228   (69.1%)
Male                                    75   (26.4%)   209   (73.6%)
Would be friends with a homosexual
Female                                 211   (63.9%)   119   (36.1%)
Male                                   131   (46.1%)   153   (53.9%)

Sample characteristics                            Statistics

Talk about sexuality
Female                                       [chi square] = 5.193 *
Male
accept males' premarital sexual intercourse
Female                                       [chi square] = 1.218
Male
accept females' premarital sexual intercourse
Female                                       [chi square] = 22.117 **
Male
Talk about homosexuality
Female                                       [chi square] = 21.286 **
Male
Know a homosexual personally
Female                                       [chi square] = 1.507
Male
Would be friends with a homosexual
Female                                       [chi square] = 19.627 **
Male

* p < 0.05 ** p < 0.001

TABLE 3
SEX DIFFERENCES IN SEXUAL BEHAVIORS (N = 614, %, CHI-SQUARE)

Sample characteristics           Yes            No

Sexually experienced
  Female                    65 (19.7%)      265 (80.3%)
  Male                     152 (53.5%)      132 (46.5%)
Still sexually active
  Female                    46 (13.9%)      284 (86.1%)
  Male                     100 (35.2%)      184 (64.8%)
Condom use
  Female                    21 (45.7%)      25 (54.3%)
  Male                      43 (43.0%)      57 (57.0%)

Sample characteristics             Statistics

Sexually experienced
  Female                    [chi square] = 76.420 **
  Male
Still sexually active
  Female                    [chi square] =38.108 **
  Male
Condom use
  Female                      [chi square] = .090
  Male

Age of first sexual experience

            17 and below      18-20        21 and over

Female       10 (15.4%)     36 (55.4%)      19 (29.2%)
Male         53 (34.9%)     70 (46.1%)      29 (19.1%)

Female       [chi square] = 8.886
Male

First sexual experience

               With a
            relationship        With a       By paying        Other
               partner      casual partner

Female       53 (81.5%)       8 (12.3%)       4 (6.2%)      0 (.0%)
Male         58 (38.2%)      40 (26.3%)      38 (25.0%)    16 (10.5%)

Female       [chi square] = 35.987 **
Male

Numbers of sex partners

                1            2             3            4

Female     38 (58.5%)    10 (15.4%)     7 (10.8%)    2 (3.1%)

Male       36 (23.7%)    26 (17.1%)    12 (7.9%)    25 (16.4%)

              5-10           11 +

Female      6 (9.2%)       2 (3.1%)
                                      [chi square] = 32.463
Male       26 (17.1%)     27 (17.8%)

* p < 0.01 ** p < 0.001

TABLE 4
STUDENTS' PREFERENCES IN SEXUAL INFORMATION SOURCES

Information sources related to sexuality (N = 614, row %)

Friends                             448   (74.8%)
Books                               333   (55.6%)
TV/Cinema                           280   (46.7%)
Magazines                           273   (45.6%)
Newspapers                          264   (44.1%)
Courses                             214   (35.7%)
Sexual experiences                  206   (34.4%)
CDs/DVDs                            200   (33.4%)
Internet                            192   (32.1%)
Mother                              183   (30.6%)
Health personnel (doctor, nurse)    157   (26.2%)
Teacher                             135   (22.5%)
Father                              120   (20.0%)
Institutions                        114   (19.0%)

Respondents could check as many items as they wanted

TABLE 5
GENDER DIFFERENCES ON PREFERENCE FOR SEXUAL INFORMATION SOURCES
(N = 614, %, CHI-SQUARE)

                                    Not
Resources         Preferred      Preferred    Statistics

Friends

  Female          237 (71.8%)    93 (28.2%)   [chi square] = 0.475
  Male            211 (74.3%)    73 (25.7%)
Books
  Female          195 (59.1%)   135 (40.9%)   [chi square] = 6.779 **
  Male            138 (48.6%)   146 (51.4%)
TV/Cinema
  Female          135 (40.9%)   195 (59.1%)   [chi square] = 6.336
  Male            145 (51.1%)   139 (48.9%)
Magazines
  Female          138 (41.8%)   192 (58.2%)   [chi square] = 2.020
  Male            135 (47.5%)   149 (52.5%)
Newspapers
  Female          139 (42.1%)   191 (57.9%)   [chi square] = 0.223
  Male            125 (44.0%)   159 (56.0%)
Courses
  Female          130 (39.4%)   200 (60.6%)   [chi square] = 6.478**
  Male             84 (29.6%)   200 (70.4%)
Sexual experiences
  Female           86 (26.1%)   244 (73.9%)   [chi square] = 17.952 ***
  Male            120 (42.3%)   164 (57.7%)
CDS/DVD
  Female           76 (23.0%)   254 (77.0%)   [chi square] = 29.583 ***
  Male            124 (43.7%)   160 (56.3%)
Internet
  Female           81 (24.5%)   249 (75.5%)   [chi square] = 15.013 ***
  Male            111 (39.1%)   173 (60.9%)
Mother
  Female          133 (40.3%)   197 (59.7%)   [chi square] = 37.586 ***
  Male             50 (17.6%)   234 (82.4%)
Health personnel
  Female          104 (31.5%)   226 (68.5%)   [chi square] = 13.250 ***
  Male             53 (18.7%)   231 (81.3%)
Teachers
  Female           89 (27.0%)   241 (73.0%)   [chi square] = 10.327 **
  Male             46 (16.2%)   238 (83.8%)
Father
  Female           65 (19.7%)   265 (80.3%)   [chi square] = 0.011
  Male             55 (19.4%)   229 (80.6%)
Institutions
  Female           69 (20.9%)   261 (79.1%)   [chi square] = 2.569
  Male             45 (15.8%)   239 (84.2%)

* p < 0.05; ** p < 0.01; *** p < 0.


Selahattin Gelbal, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Measurement and Evaluation in Education, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey; Veli Duyan, PhD, previously Associate Professor, Social Work Department, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey, is now a Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Social Work, Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey; and Aslihan Buren Ozturk, Research Assistant, Social Work Department, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey.

Appreciation is due to anonymous reviewers.

Please address correspondence and reprint requests to: Veli Duyan, PhD, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Social Work, Ankara University, Fatih Cad. No. 197, Ankara, Turkey. Phone: +90 312 380 81 72/203; Fax: +90 312 357 53 23; Email: vduyan@health.ankara.edutr or duyanveli@ yahoo.com
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Author:Gelbal, Selahattin; Duyan, Veli; Ozturk, Aslihan Burcu
Publication:Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:7TURK
Date:Sep 1, 2008
Words:7127
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