Sexual Attitudes and Motivations in Same-Sex and Mixed-Sex Relationships

Title: Sexual Attitudes and Motivations in Same-Sex and Mixed-Sex Relationships
Authors: Armstrong, Heather L.
Date: 2014
Abstract: People engage in sex for a wide variety of reasons and these reasons can differ depending on the individual, his or her partner, and on the context of the sexual encounter. The purpose of this dissertation was to examine how sexual attraction and sexual orientation, of both self and partner, affect an individual’s reasons to engage in sex, or sexual motivation. Three studies were conducted to explore these effects from both the individual’s and the partner’s perspective. In Study 1, individual attitudes toward having casual sex, dating, and being in a committed relationship with a bisexual partner of the other gender were examined in a sample of 720 men and women. Participants reported negative attitudes toward having these relationships and more negative attitudes were reported as the commitment level of the considered relationship increased. Women also reported more negative attitudes and greater insecurity toward relationships than men. In Study 2, the psychometric properties of a comprehensive research tool, the Why Have Sex? (YSEX?) questionnaire to use in Study 3 for the study of sexual motivation were evaluated in a sample of 146 women with same-sex attraction. Overall, the reliability of this scale was excellent for casual sex motivations and motivations for sex in committed relationships with female partners. In Study 3, motivations for sex and the effects of relationship context, sexual attraction, and the gender of one’s partner were explored in a sample of 510 women including women with same-sex attraction and women with exclusively heterosexual attraction. Results of this study showed that relationship context had the largest effect on sexual motivation; physical motivations were more strongly endorsed for casual sex while emotional motivations were more strongly endorsed for sex in committed relationships. No effect of sexual attraction was reported. Further, no effect of gender of partner was reported by sexual minority women. The results of this dissertation have important implications for the study of sexual motivation, specifically as it relates to sexual attraction and orientation. Motivations for sex are likely to be affected by an individual’s attitudes and perceptions of his or her partner’s sexual orientation and associated stereotypes. In addition, the type of sexual relationship and associated level of commitment had strong, differential effects on sexual motivation. This is a novel finding as the context of the sexual relationship has not previously been considered with respect to individual motivations for sex. Henceforth, studies on sexual motivation need to be more contextualized and include more comprehensive assessments of individuals to increase the validity of findings and demonstrate the complex variation of human sexual motivation.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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