Sexual aggression is a pervasive problem on college campuses. For example, in a large national study, Fisher, Cullen, and Turner (2000) reported that approximately 15-20 percent of college women have experienced forced intercourse. Most research has examined college men's sexual aggression toward women (e.g., Carr & VanDeusen, 2004; Romero, 2004). Sexually aggressive men have been described as being hypermasculine, angry, desiring power, and having negative relationship experiences (Browning, Kessler, Hatfield, & Choo, 1999; Christopher, Owens, & Stecker, 1993; Hogben, Byrne, & Hamburger, 1996).
In contrast, the notion of women's sexual aggression challenges long held theories about human sexual behavior (see Anderson & Struckman--Johnson, 1998). Several factors have been related to women's heterosexual aggression including: sexual behavior history and adolescent telephone calling patterns (Anderson, Kontos, Tanigoshi, & Struckman-Johnson 2005); hostility toward the other gender (Christopher, Madura, & Weaver, 1998); and a belief in non-traditional roles for women (Craig-Shea, 1998).
Researchers (Anderson, Kontos, Tanigoshi, & Struckman-Johnson 2005; Anderson & Melson, 2002) have reported that more than 90 percent of college women used sexual persuasion to obtain sex from a man. The same study reported that 40-50 percent of women used non-physical coercion, and 1-9 percent used physical force. However, previous research has not considered the underlying psychological factors supporting college women's sexual aggression. Linking aspects of measurable psychological factors to sexual aggression in women may help us predict and prevent its occurrence. Therefore, the present study was designed to provide an initial exploration of the relationships between measures of women's psychosexual tendencies and their use of sexually aggressive behaviors.
One self-report measure of psychological tendencies related to human sexuality is the Multidimensional Sexuality Questionnaire (MSQ: (Snell, Fisher, & Walters, 1993). The MSQ contains 12 factors related to sexuality: preoccupation, motivation, anxiety, assertiveness, depression, monitoring, self-esteem, internal control, external control, consciousness, satisfaction, and fear. The MSQ has demonstrated good concurrent, discriminant, and convergent validity (Snell, Fisher, & Walters, 1993). The MSQ was tested with three separate samples of heterosexual college students from three different types of universities, two located in the Midwest and one in the Southeast (n = 234 males and 423 females, M age of samples = 24.1, 20.4, and 21 years). Men, in general, reported higher scores on sexual e Esteem, preoccupation, motivation, assertiveness, and external sexual control. Women, in general, reported higher scores on fear of sexual relations.
Correlations were computed for MSQ scores and reports of sexual behaviors on two separate instruments, the Cowart-Steckler Scale of Sexual Experience (Cowart-Steckler & Pollack, 1988) and the Human Sexuality Questionnaire (Zuckerman, 1988). For both men and women, past sexual activity was positively related to their level of sexual esteem, motivation, and satisfaction and negatively related to their sexual anxiety, depression, and external control. Fear was negatively related, and assertiveness was positively related to the two measures of sexual behavior for women, but not for men. Correlations between the MSQ and sexual attitudes revealed that respondents with higher scores on preoccupation believed more strongly in casual, guilt free sex and manipulative self-centered sex (Hendrick & Hendrick, 1987). Those subjects who had higher scores on motivation mirrored those who scored high on preoccupation and also believed in responsible and nonjudgmental sex and idealized sex (e.g., the merging of two souls). External control was related to casual guilt-free and manipulative self-centered sex and internal control was related to responsible nonjudgmental sex. …