Gender Variation among Perceived Social Concomitants of Sexual Behavior in Emerging Adulthood



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The decision to engage in sex may be associated with perceived social rewards and consequences, and are therefore referred to as social concomitants of sexual behavior. Likewise, such social concomitants may vary by gender. The present study examined gender differences regarding social concomitants of sexual behavior, and gender variation in social concomitants’ influence on the idea of having sex within the next three months. African American emerging adults (N=229; ages 18-21) completed an online survey. T-tests and moderated logistic regressions examined 10 social concomitants of sex. Women held greater endorsement that parents would be proud to know that they remained a virgin throughout high school (p<.001), perception that parents would be angry if they were having sex in college (p=.003), and the likelihood of AIDS with multiple partners (p=.008). Those who perceived that parents would be proud of their high school virgin status were 1.4 times more likely to think having sex would be a bad idea. Additionally, women who valued their mother’s opinion more were 1.9 times more likely to think having sex was a bad idea, compared to men. Parent influence and gender socialization are discussed as avenues for future research.