RelativeResourceManager - Sex Roles (2007) 56:449456 DOI

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ORIGINAL ARTICLE My Place or Yours? An Inductive Approach to Sexuality and Gender Role Conformity Tom J. Tiegs & Paul B. Perrin & Perry W. Kaly & Martin Heesacker Published online: 28 March 2007 # Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2007 Abstract A common stereotype holds that men are more preoccupied with sex than women are. To test the validity of this stereotype, and the degree to which women and men conform to sexually restrictive gender roles, we asked participants to describe and rate their beliefs about sex. We then factor analyzed these beliefs and achieved a simple structure of four factors: (a) Personally and Physically Pleasurable, (b) Beneficial to the Self-in-relationship, (c) Personally Costly, and (d) Sex as a Violation of Social Injunctions. We used scores on these subscales to compare women s and men s sexual stereotypes and behaviors. Although men showed significantly greater interest in sex on three of the four factors, when we examined sex in an intimate relationship, women and men were more alike than different. The data provide evidence that gender roles are malleable and that women and men are free to choose the degree to which they conform to sexually restrictive gender roles. Limitations and future directions are discussed. Keywords Gender roles . Attitudes toward sex . Stereotypes Today, gender stereotypes run so deep in popular culture that women and men are portrayed almost as members of different species. These stereotypes in turn shape gender roles that dictate sexual behavior, from preliminary dating rituals to the bedroom (Canary, Emmers-Sommer, & Faulkner, 1997 ). Wood and Eagly s( 2002 ) biosocial model suggests that these gender differences in attitudes and sexual behavior result largely from conformity to socially defined gender roles: Women know that they are expected to be expressive and supportive; men know that they are expected to be withdrawn and preoccupied with sex. Wood and Eagly 2002 ) model suggests that these differences are neither stable nor innate, but change depending on social and cultural context. Thus women and men demon- strate stereotypical differences to the degree that they identify with socially defined gender roles. Sexually restrictive gender roles are socially damaging because they polarize behavioral expectations for women and men and create self-handicapping and minimally over- lapping cognitive frameworks. In effect, gender roles restrict the sexual behavior of women and expand that of men. Stereotypically albeit questionably in practice men initi- ate sexuality, and women guard the gates of sexuality (Allgeier & Royster, 1991 ; McCormick & Jesser, 1983 ). A deeper understanding of the processes that give rise to socially defined, sexually restrictive gender roles is an intriguing and increasingly important area of psychological research.
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This note was uploaded on 01/24/2010 for the course PSYCHOLOGY PCO 4930 taught by Professor Perrin during the Fall '09 term at Florida State College.

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RelativeResourceManager - Sex Roles (2007) 56:449456 DOI

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