Continuity and Change in Male and Female Sexual Behavior of the Last 60 Years Open Access

Shirazi, Talia Natania (2014)

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Studies have shown that while sexual behavior in both males and females is influenced by sociocultural factors as well as hormones, female sexual behavior may be more strongly influenced by context and culture than is male sexual behavior. Because society has become increasingly open minded about sexuality in the past 60 years, we would expect a change in female sexual behaviors and a narrowing of the sex differences previously seen in the incidences and frequencies of behaviors such as masturbation, orgasm, and intercourse. Using an online survey (n=3698), we collected data to compare age of first experience and incidence rates for males and females. Effect sizes suggested small to moderate sex differences in all behaviors other than orgasm, where there were moderate to large differences. Comparison of data in the current study to data collected by Alfred Kinsey the 1940's and 1950' suggested that while the sex differences in age of first experience and incidence of certain sexual behaviors have diminished, the pre and post-pubertal patterns of sexual desire and sexual experience seen in males and females remain largely the same. The largest sex difference found in the incidence and prevalence of orgasm suggests future sex researchers should study behaviors done for pleasure, rather than solely for procreation. Though there have been changes in female sexual behavior to accompany society's more open sexual views, the continued expression of patterns seen in the 1950's suggest a strong role of hormones in modulating behavior.

Table of Contents

Large-scale Surveys of Sex: Then and Now...1

Correlates of Risky Sexual Behavior in Adolescence and Young Adulthood...5

Sex Differences in Sexual Behaviors and Attitudes...9

Aims of the Current Study...12

Specific Hypotheses...13





Data Analytic Strategy...18


Interpretation of findings...22

Future Directions...33


Figures and Tables...43

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