Understanding Gender Differences in Adolescent Sexuality

By De Gaston, Jacqueline F.; Weed, Stan et al. | Adolescence, Spring 1996 | Go to article overview

Understanding Gender Differences in Adolescent Sexuality


De Gaston, Jacqueline F., Weed, Stan, Jensen, Larry, Adolescence


Social biologists have long noted the existence of gender differences in human sexual behavior. The differences include not only physiological functions, but behavioral, social, and cognitive elements. These include behaviors ranging from copulation to maternal care (Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1989). Miller (1986), in her book, Toward a New Psychology of Women, identifies psychological differences between men and women. Chodorow (1978) believes that, at least in our society, gender differences are learned soon after infancy as a result of the child's intimate relationship with the mother. During infancy it is the mother who is at the child's side, providing love, comfort, and security. Other research supports the belief that there are meaningful and significant psychological differences between the sexes (Belenky, Clenchy, Goldberger, & Tarule 1986; Bernard, 1981; Chodorow, 1978; Jensen, McGhie & Jensen 1991; Jensen & Towle 1991; Noddings, 1984; Offen, 1988; Rossi, 1977; Stimpson, Jensen, & Neff 1992; Stimpson, Neff, & Jensen 1991). These psychological differences have direct implications for sexual attitudes, values, motivation, and behavior.

Hill and Lynch (1983) have proposed the "gender intensification hypothesis" in which opposite-sex role behavior which was tolerable during childhood is no longer acceptable during adolescence. During adolescence appropriate gender behavior is required and would apply to sexual motivation and behavior. For adolescents, sex-appropriate behavior for both males and females is imposed as one is socialized. A series of events occur which change the course of development for females--courtship, pregnancy, childbirth, and nurturing.

Some research on sexuality has focused on similarities between the sexes. For example, Masters and Johnson argued for similarity in motivation and behavior, and the current political climate emphasizes the equalities and similarities of men and women regarding sex. Irvine (1990), however, believes that these similarities have been overstated and have to do with sexual response style.

Motivation is one aspect of sexuality which has been viewed as different for males and females. Whitley (1988) concludes that women are generally sexually motivated as an expression of love, while men are motivated by sex as a source of pleasure. Similarly, Carroll, Volk, and Hyde (1985) found that women were less able to experience sexual intercourse as a physical relationship without an emotional involvement. Carroll et al. (1985) reported that "95% of their sample of college women, as compared to 40% of men, stated that emotional involvement was `always' or `most of the time' a prerequisite for having sex." On the other hand, when asked, "what would be your primary reason for refusing to have sexual intercourse with someone?" the most frequent response given by women was "not enough love/commitment," while the men's most frequent response was "never given the opportunity."

Likewise, Lords (1991) reported that more females than males reported abstaining from sexual activity for the following reasons: religious beliefs, sex not a very smart thing to do, fear of unwanted pregnancy, not feeling comfortable doing it, feeling that it is morally wrong, feeling of unreadiness, fear of disappointing parents, and fear of being taken advantage of. On the other hand, men's responses regarding reasons for not having sex exceeded those of women in only one area--lack of opportunity.

There is a general consensus in the research that males are more sexually active in contemporary society and hold more permissive sexual attitudes, but little has been noted regarding the possible causes or implications of this finding. One possibility can be found in the recent writings of feminists who emphasize that women live in a different world (Bernard, 1981; Gilligan, 1982; Miller, 1986; Noddings, 1988) and that women perceive the world in terms of relationships and closeness, whereas men attach more importance to individuality and are more impersonal. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Understanding Gender Differences in Adolescent Sexuality
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.