Sexual attitudes and behavior of college students at a public university in the Southwest

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The primary purpose of this study was to help determine whether or not there has been a change in the sexual behavior of college students since the Kinsey et al. (1948, 1953) data were collected, and to determine if the background variables which they had found to be related to various sexual behaviors, as well as certain others found to be important by other investigators, were significantly related to the sexual behavior of the sample studied. Overall orthodoxy of sexual attitudes was also studied. Subjects were 275 females and 326 male college students enrolled in a marriage, family and sex education course at a public university in the Southwest. Two questionnaires were administered, the first of which included questions concerning attitudes toward a wide variety of sexual practices and standards, and the second including questions about behavior actually engaged in. Background information items were included in both questionnaires. The Southwest (SW) sample differed from the Kinsey et al. samples in having a much higher accumulative incidence of premarital intercourse for both males and females, a much higher accumulative incidence of intercourse with prostitutes for males, and a somewhat lower incidence of homosexual relations for both males and females. The rates for masturbation to orgasm and extramarital intercourse were quite similar in the Kinsey and SW samples. Significant differences between males and females were found for accumulative incidences of premarital intercourse, masturbation to orgasm, and active incidence of homosexual relations and petting behaviors, with males having a higher incidence of all behaviors. There was also a significant difference in mean orthodoxy of sexual attitude scores, with females having more orthodox attitudes. For females there was a relationship between experience of premarital intercourse over the last six months and degree of commitment to partner. "Going steady" was the relationship in which the greatest active incidence of premarital intercourse took place. Religious adherence was negatively related to experience of premarital intercourse, promiscuity, and having pleasant feelings about premarital intercourse previously engaged in, and positively related to orthodoxy of sexual attitudes for both males and females. It was negatively related to experience of intercourse with prostitutes for males and to masturbation to orgasm and extramarital intercourse for females. When other variables were controlled, religious adherence remained significant. Age of onset of adolescence correlated negatively with experience of intercourse with prostitutes, and this relationship was still significant with other variables controlled. Onset of adolescence at 11 or under for males was positively correlated with experience of premarital intercourse, experience of homosexual relations, and experience of extramarital intercourse. For females age of onset of adolescence was negatively correlated with extramarital intercourse and not related to other sexual behaviors. However, onset of adolescence at ten or under was related to promiscuity. Age at first date was negatively correlated with experience of pre marital intercourse for both males and females and with promiscuity and experience of intercourse with prostitutes for males. With other variables controlled, the relationships for males with premarital intercourse and promiscuity remained significant. For males father's educational level and student's upward mobility did not correlate significantly with any sexual behavior. However, father's occupation and SES were related to experience of homosexual relations but to no other sexual behavior. Size of community in which high school years were spent did not relate to any sexual behavior or to orthodoxy of sexual attitudes.

College students, Sexual behavior