Sponsored by Missouri Western State University Sponsored by a grant from the National Science Foundation DUE-97-51113
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The proper APA Style reference for this manuscript is:
HANNA, C. B. & HILL, S.E. (2003). The Differences in Sexual Acceptability. National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse, 6. Available online at http://www.webclearinghouse.net/volume/. Retrieved September 28, 2023 .

The Differences in Sexual Acceptability
Missouri Western State University DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY

Sponsored by: Brian Cronk (cronk@missouriwestern.edu)
The purpose of this study is to compare the acceptance of sexuality between genders when asked a questionnaire of explicit and non-explicit questions. In previous studies there have been large differences in the acceptability of these explicit or non-explicit questions between genders. In previous studies, males were more accepting of explicit values and concepts and females were more accepting of non-explicit values and concepts. We used 22 male participants and 41 female participants from beginning level psychology classes. We gave a 20-part questionnaire with 10 explicit and 10 non-explicit questions. Participants were then given both an explicit and non-explicit score. The scores were then compared by gender, and type of question; we found a significant difference between females being more rejecting of the explicit questions than the male participants, and there was a slightly significant difference between females being more rejecting of the non-explicit questions than the male participants.

While thinking about different topics in society that we couldn’t wait to study further for this research, one came up that left quite an impression in our minds. This was the idea that different genders explore the ideas and concepts of sex in entirely different viewpoints. It is obvious to women that men view sex more explicitly than they do and it is not unusual to hear males whine about the not-so-explicit sexual viewpoints and behaviors of females. Upon researching this topic further, we found that there appeared to be many factors that play a role in one’s acceptance of sexuality. Family, religion, sex-education, gender, age, and closeness with one’s family all seemed to play a role in the developing sexual moral for both women and men. If we studied all of these factors our research would be very extensive and potentially boring, so we decided to narrow it down to the obvious… gender. When we began researching for this project, it was amazing to find all the information about the differences in gender among acceptance of sexuality. In a study by Halstead (2001), a team of researchers unexpectedly found major differences in viewpoints of genders on sexually specific topics while researching the effects of sexual education. They found surprising results, boys were excited to talk about sex without sanction, but contributions from the boys were often made up of joking and mocking. Whereas the girls gave lengthy personal accounts and were less likely to laugh and to joke about the matter as the boys were. In another study, DeGaston (1996) studied seventh and eight graders on gender differences in adolescent sexuality. Females saw sexual activity as more detrimental to future aspirations and goals. They were more likely to discuss sex and felt less peer pressure for having sex and more pressure to wait. Males were more likely to assume sexual urges could not be controlled and saw teen parenting as less of a problem as did the females. We questioned why males and females differed so much, we looked to past research for the answer. Warner-Wilson (1998) had addressed the issue, studying the gender differences in adolescents. He studied females with results showing that their beliefs were highly influenced by family. When males were studied, it was found that heir beliefs were influenced by their own individual factors. After reading some of these findings, we were eager to find more and test them for ourselves. We were interested in the major differences between the genders, not just in the viewpoints but actual explicit and non-explicit behaviors. A study conducted by Ochs (1999), couples were interviewed to determine comfort zones within the relationship. Findings from this study revealed that there were many differences among the females and the males in their comfort level during certain sexual activities. Women were found to be more comfortable with non-explicit behaviors like cuddling, hugging and dancing with their partners. In contrast, men were more comfortable with explicit sexual activities like fellatio (oral stimulation), anal intercourse, women-on-top and vaginal rear-entry. These findings were astounding to us and led to some of the questions in our questionnaire.With the overall viewpoint that men are six times more explicit than women when it comes to sex (Knox, 2001) we are eager to find the results for ourselves. Our purpose with this study is to compare the acceptance of sexuality between genders, we are looking for differences between males and females.


Participants in this study were college students in beginning level psychology courses at Missouri Western State College. We used a sample of 22 males and 41 females. They were students from beginning level psychology courses in order to ensure a random sample. We used 63 total surveys from the college student sample.

The only materials used will be a 20 question survey, with 10 explicit and 10 non- explicit questions related to sexual concepts and situations in no certain order (Refer to Appendix A). Results were calculated in the SPSS computer software program.

We gave a 20-question survey to college students that evaluates their views and feelings about explicit and non-explicit sexual situations. An example of a question on the survey is; Is it appropriate to kiss on the first date? With 1 being completely acceptable, 2 being acceptable, 3 being undecided, 4 being questionable and 5 being not acceptable. We used these scores in order to come up with a score for each question. Questions 1,3,6,8,10,13,16,19 and 20 were non-explicit and the scores from these questions were added together to create a total non-explicit score for that participant. The same procedure was done with questions 2,4,5,7,9,12,14,15,17 and 18 for the participants explicit score. These scores determined how explicit or non-explicit the person is. After collecting the data we compared the mean scores of the college males with college female samples. Finally, we determined whether men or women were more accepting of certain sexual behaviors.

A 2x2 mixed-design ANOVA was calculated to examine the effects of gender (male, female) and type of sexual act (explicit and non-explicit)on acceptability. A significant Gender x Type of sexual act interaction was present (F(1,61)= 13.725, p<.05). In addition, the main effect for type of sexual act was also significant (F(1,61)=156.523, p<.05). Finally, the main effect for gender was also significant (F(1,61)=21.903, p<.05). Refer to figure one to see the mean scores of sexual acceptability between genders.

We found our research to correlate with our hypothesis. Females were more acceptiing of non-expicit behavior, whereas males were more accepting of explicit behaviors, this supports previous research in this topic. In a study done by Ochs (1999), males tended to feel more comfortable with explicit behaviors like fellatio (oral stimulation), vaginal-rear entry, and anal intercourse. Women tended to feel more comfortable with non-explicit behaviors like cuddling, hugging and dancing. This study could be easily replicated and findings possibly repeated. There was one major limitation to this research, we had double the female participants compared to our male participants. In future research this variable could be better controlled to find more significant results. In future research other contributing factors could be studied; factors like age, religion and sex education levels.


Appendix A

Figure One

Submitted 11/19/2003 10:51:42 AM
Last Edited 12/4/2003 1:08:34 PM
Converted to New Site 03/09/2009

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