Journal: Archives of sexual behavior
Research on multidimensional sexual perfectionism differentiates four forms: self-oriented, partner-oriented, partner-prescribed, and socially prescribed. Self-oriented sexual perfectionism reflects perfectionistic standards people apply to themselves as sexual partners; partner-oriented sexual perfectionism reflects perfectionistic standards people apply to their sexual partner; partner-prescribed sexual perfectionism reflects people’s beliefs that their sexual partner imposes perfectionistic standards on them; and socially prescribed sexual perfectionism reflects people’s beliefs that society imposes such standards on them. Previous studies found partner-prescribed and socially prescribed sexual perfectionism to be maladaptive forms of sexual perfectionism associated with a negative sexual self-concept and problematic sexual behaviors, but only examined cross-sectional relationships. The present article presents the first longitudinal study examining whether multidimensional sexual perfectionism predicts changes in sexual self-concept and sexual function over time. A total of 366 women aged 17-69 years completed measures of multidimensional sexual perfectionism, sexual esteem, sexual anxiety, sexual problem self-blame, and sexual function (cross-sectional data). Three to six months later, 164 of the women completed the same measures again (longitudinal data). Across analyses, partner-prescribed sexual perfectionism emerged as the most maladaptive form of sexual perfectionism. In the cross-sectional data, partner-prescribed sexual perfectionism showed positive relationships with sexual anxiety, sexual problem self-blame, and intercourse pain, and negative relationships with sexual esteem, desire, arousal, lubrication, and orgasmic function. In the longitudinal data, partner-prescribed sexual perfectionism predicted increases in sexual anxiety and decreases in sexual esteem, arousal, and lubrication over time. The findings suggest that partner-prescribed sexual perfectionism contributes to women’s negative sexual self-concept and female sexual dysfunction.
Examining age, time period, and cohort/generational changes in sexual experience is key to better understanding sociocultural influences on sexuality and relationships. Americans born in the 1980s and 1990s (commonly known as Millennials and iGen) were more likely to report having no sexual partners as adults compared to GenX'ers born in the 1960s and 1970s in the General Social Survey, a nationally representative sample of American adults (N = 26,707). Among those aged 20-24, more than twice as many Millennials born in the 1990s (15 %) had no sexual partners since age 18 compared to GenX'ers born in the 1960s (6 %). Higher rates of sexual inactivity among Millennials and iGen also appeared in analyses using a generalized hierarchical linear modeling technique known as age-period-cohort analysis to control for age and time period effects among adults of all ages. Americans born early in the 20th century also showed elevated rates of adult sexual inactivity. The shift toward higher rates of sexual inactivity among Millennials and iGen'ers was more pronounced among women and absent among Black Americans and those with a college education. Contrary to popular media conceptions of a “hookup generation” more likely to engage in frequent casual sex, a higher percentage of Americans in recent cohorts, particularly Millennials and iGen'ers born in the 1990s, had no sexual partners after age 18.
American adults had sex about nine fewer times per year in the early 2010s compared to the late 1990s in data from the nationally representative General Social Survey, N = 26,620, 1989-2014. This was partially due to the higher percentage of unpartnered individuals, who have sex less frequently on average. Sexual frequency declined among the partnered (married or living together) but stayed steady among the unpartnered, reducing the marital/partnered advantage for sexual frequency. Declines in sexual frequency were similar across gender, race, region, educational level, and work status and were largest among those in their 50s, those with school-age children, and those who did not watch pornography. In analyses separating the effects of age, time period, and cohort, the decline was primarily due to birth cohort (year of birth, also known as generation). With age and time period controlled, those born in the 1930s (Silent generation) had sex the most often, whereas those born in the 1990s (Millennials and iGen) had sex the least often. The decline was not linked to longer working hours or increased pornography use. Age had a strong effect on sexual frequency: Americans in their 20s had sex an average of about 80 times per year, compared to about 20 times per year for those in their 60s. The results suggest that Americans are having sex less frequently due to two primary factors: An increasing number of individuals without a steady or marital partner and a decline in sexual frequency among those with partners.
Although bisexual men are known to be less likely to disclose their sexual orientation to others than gay men, the reasons why bisexual men choose or feel unable to disclose have received minimal research attention. To examine the reasons behaviorally bisexual men offer for not disclosing to their friends, family, and female partners, in-depth interviews were conducted with an ethnically diverse sample of 203 men who had not disclosed their same-sex behavior to their female sexual partners in New York City. Men were recruited from multiple venues and online sources using a targeted sampling approach. Transcripts were thematically analyzed using Atlas.ti software. Contrary to the theory that non-disclosure is due to uncertainty about one’s sexual identity, the reasons offered for non-disclosure revealed that it was largely a method to avoid stigmatizing reactions from others. Men reported a number of specific reasons for non-disclosure, including (1) anticipation of negative emotional reactions; (2) anticipation of negative changes in relationships; (3) belief that others held stigmatizing attitudes toward homosexuality; (4) prior experience with negative reactions to disclosure; (5) wanting to maintain others' perceptions of him; (6) fear that those told would disclose to additional people; and (7) fear of rejection due to culture or religion. These findings provide insights into the reasons why many behaviorally bisexual men choose not to disclose, potential reasons why bisexual and gay men differ in the extent to which they disclose, and potential reasons why some bisexual men report greater emotional distress than gay men. Further, they suggest that greater attention needs to be placed on addressing the stigmatizing contexts that confront bisexual men and providing them with strategies to manage stigma.
Recent research suggests that romantic kissing may be utilized in human sexual relationships to evaluate aspects of a potential mate’s suitability, to mediate feelings of attachment between pair-bonded individuals, or to facilitate arousal and initiate sexual relations. This study explored these potential functions of romantic kissing by examining attitudes towards the importance of kissing in the context of various human mating situations. The study involved an international online questionnaire, which was completed by 308 male and 594 female participants aged 18-63 years. Support was found for the hypothesis that kissing serves a useful mate-assessment function: women, high mate-value participants, and participants high in sociosexual orientation placed greater importance on kissing in romantic relationships and stated that an initial kiss was more likely to affect their attraction to a potential mate than did men, low-mate value participants or low sociosexual orientation participants. Kissing also seemed to be utilized in the mediation of pair-bond attachments: kissing was seen to be more important at established stages of relationships by low sociosexual participants, kissing was generally seen as more important in long-term relationship contexts (but particularly so by women), and kissing frequency was found to be related to relationship satisfaction. The findings of this research showed very little evidence to support the hypothesis that the primary function of kissing is to elevate levels of arousal.
There is a notable gap between heterosexual men and women in frequency of orgasm during sex. Little is known, however, about sexual orientation differences in orgasm frequency. We examined how over 30 different traits or behaviors were associated with frequency of orgasm when sexually intimate during the past month. We analyzed a large US sample of adults (N = 52,588) who identified as heterosexual men (n = 26,032), gay men (n = 452), bisexual men (n = 550), lesbian women (n = 340), bisexual women (n = 1112), and heterosexual women (n = 24,102). Heterosexual men were most likely to say they usually-always orgasmed when sexually intimate (95%), followed by gay men (89%), bisexual men (88%), lesbian women (86%), bisexual women (66%), and heterosexual women (65%). Compared to women who orgasmed less frequently, women who orgasmed more frequently were more likely to: receive more oral sex, have longer duration of last sex, be more satisfied with their relationship, ask for what they want in bed, praise their partner for something they did in bed, call/email to tease about doing something sexual, wear sexy lingerie, try new sexual positions, anal stimulation, act out fantasies, incorporate sexy talk, and express love during sex. Women were more likely to orgasm if their last sexual encounter included deep kissing, manual genital stimulation, and/or oral sex in addition to vaginal intercourse. We consider sociocultural and evolutionary explanations for these orgasm gaps. The results suggest a variety of behaviors couples can try to increase orgasm frequency.
Previous studies of men’s breast size preferences have yielded equivocal findings, with studies variously indicating a preference for small, medium, or large breasts. Here, we examined the impact of men’s oppressive beliefs in shaping their female breast size ideals. British White men from the community in London, England (N = 361) viewed figures of women that rotated in 360° and varied in breast size along five levels. They then rated the figure that they found most physically attractive and also completed measures assessing their sexist attitudes and tendency to objectify women. Results showed that medium breasts were rated most frequent as attractive (32.7 %), followed by large (24.4 %) and very large (19.1 %) breasts. Further analyses showed that men’s preferences for larger female breasts were significantly associated with a greater tendency to be benevolently sexist, to objectify women, and to be hostile towards women. These results were discussed in relation to feminist theories, which postulate that beauty ideals and practices in contemporary societies serve to maintain the domination of one sex over the other.
Regret and anticipated regret enhance decision quality by helping people avoid making and repeating mistakes. Some of people’s most intense regrets concern sexual decisions. We hypothesized evolved sex differences in women’s and men’s experiences of sexual regret. Because of women’s higher obligatory costs of reproduction throughout evolutionary history, we hypothesized that sexual actions, particularly those involving casual sex, would be regretted more intensely by women than by men. In contrast, because missed sexual opportunities historically carried higher reproductive fitness costs for men than for women, we hypothesized that poorly chosen sexual inactions would be regretted more by men than by women. Across three studies (Ns = 200, 395, and 24,230), we tested these hypotheses using free responses, written scenarios, detailed checklists, and Internet sampling to achieve participant diversity, including diversity in sexual orientation. Across all data sources, results supported predicted psychological sex differences and these differences were localized in casual sex contexts. These findings are consistent with the notion that the psychology of sexual regret was shaped by recurrent sex differences in selection pressures operating over deep time.
Perceived addiction to Internet pornography is increasingly a focus of empirical attention. The present study examined the role that religious belief and moral disapproval of pornography use play in the experience of perceived addiction to Internet pornography. Results from two studies in undergraduate samples (Study 1, N = 331; Study 2, N = 97) indicated that there was a robust positive relationship between religiosity and perceived addiction to pornography and that this relationship was mediated by moral disapproval of pornography use. These results persisted even when actual use of pornography was controlled. Furthermore, although religiosity was negatively predictive of acknowledging any pornography use, among pornography users, religiosity was unrelated to actual levels of use. A structural equation model from a web-based sample of adults (Study 3, N = 208) revealed similar results. Specifically, religiosity was robustly predictive of perceived addiction, even when relevant covariates (e.g., trait self-control, socially desirable responding, neuroticism, use of pornography) were held constant. In sum, the present study indicated that religiosity and moral disapproval of pornography use were robust predictors of perceived addiction to Internet pornography while being unrelated to actual levels of use among pornography consumers.
Previous research has indicated that men generally rate slimmer women as more sexually attractive, consistent with the increased morbidity risks associated with even mild abdominal adiposity. To assess the association of women’s waist size with a more tangible measure of perceived sexual attractiveness (as well as reward value for both sexes), we examined the association of women’s age and waist circumference with an index of men’s erectile function (IIEF-5 scores), frequency of penile-vaginal intercourse (PVI), and sexual satisfaction in a representative sample of Czechs (699 men and 715 women) aged 35-65 years. Multivariate analyses indicated that better erectile function scores were independently associated with younger age of self and partner and women’s slimmer waist. PVI frequency was independently associated with women’s younger age and women’s slimmer waist. Sexual satisfaction was independently associated with men’s younger age and slimmer waist for both sexes. Better erectile function, greater PVI frequency, and greater sexual satisfaction were associated with women’s slimmer waist, independently of both sexes' ages. Possible reasons for the waist effects were discussed, including women’s abdominal body fat decreasing their own desire through neurohormonal mechanisms and decreasing their partner’s desire through evolutionarily-related decreased sexual attractiveness.