Sexual Double Standard still exists in how we think
Men gain power through sex by getting a woman to give it up
Women lose power by failing to keep men at bay
Double Standard is based on unequal power in our society
Looked at two studies done be R. Milhausen & E. Herold and M. Marks & R. Fraley
Both found that the majority of people thought a double standard existed
Results did not support a sexual double standard
R. Milhausen and E. Herold
Hypothesis: Women will endorse a sexual double standard and the more sexual partners a woman has the more accepting she will be of men with many partners
Subjects: 174 unmarried undergraduate females
Procedure: Rate agreement with statements, then explain
Results: Did not support double standard, but the women thought one existed
M. Marks & R. Fraley
Hypothesis: as the number of sexual partners reported increases, male targets would be evaluated more positively and female targets more negatively
Subjects: thousands from an online study and 144 undergraduates from a university
Procedure: Given a page with questions and answers about a target. The targets were male or female with 0, 1, 3, 7, 12 or 19 sexual partners. The participants were then asked to rate evaluative statements about their target.
Results: Did not support a double standard. In the area of power/success and intelligence, targets were rated more negatively as the number of sexual partners increased with ratings for females being slightly more negative, but this accounted for less than 1% of the variance in evaluations.
Hypothesis & Subjects
Men and women are treated differently when it comes to sexual activity levels. Promiscuous men are praised for their ability to have intercourse with many different women while promiscuous women are harshly judged for their sexual acts.
40 college aged students. 26 female, and 14 male.
Method - Survey
Participants were asked to rate statements according to the following scale: 1 – Strongly disagree, 2 – Disagree, 3 – Neutral, 4 – Agree, 5 – Strongly Agree
Men lose their virginity at a younger age than women
It is more acceptable for men to have one night stands that it is for women to
Women, in general, have fewer sexual partners than men do
Men are more likely to cheat on their significant other than women are
Women are more likely to wait until marriage to have sex
Men usually wait longer in between sexual partners than women do
Men are more likely to have sexual competitions with their friends than women are
It is more acceptable for women to have multiple sexual partners at once than it is for men to
Women are judged more harshly than men are for their sexual activity
Neutral: age virginity is lost and number of sexual partners
Agreed: that it is more acceptable for men to have one night stands, men are more likely to cheat, women are more likely to wait until marriage for sex and men are more likely to engage in sexual competitions with friends
Disagreed: that men wait longer between sexual partners and that it is more acceptable for women to have multiple sexual partners at once
Results - Male
Neutral: who waits until marriage to have sex and length of time between sexual partners
Agreed: it is more acceptable for men to have one night stands and they are more likely to have sexual competitions with friends
Disagreed: Men lose virginity at a younger age, women have fewer sexual partners, men are more likely to cheat and it is more acceptable for women to have multiple sexual partners at once
Men and women agreed that it is more acceptable for men to have multiple sexual partners, men are more likely to engage in sexual competitions and it is more acceptable for men to have one night stands.
It was not surprising that each gender thought the other was more likely to cheat.
These results suggest some support for the sexual double standard. Both men and women felt that it men are judged less than women are for having multiple sexual partners at once and one night stands.
There is agreement that supports a sexual double standard – it is more acceptable for men to have multiple sexual partners at once and one night stands
Responses also suggest that there is cross gender agreement that men tend to be more sexually permissive that women do – women wait longer between sexual partners, women are more likely to wait until marriage to have sex and men are more likely to engage in sexual competitions.
Because participants felt that men have a higher sexual activity level they have become more accepting of it and that women are judged more harshly because it is not as common for them to have the same sexual activity level as men do.
The perception of a double standard could also be due to the fact that men discuss one night stands or having multiple sexual partners more than women do, so society has become more accustomed to hearing these types of acts about men and thus judge women more for them because it is not as familiar.
Society could feel that men are naturally sexual creatures and they therefore have an excuse for their sexual behavior while women do not.
Kimmel, Michael. 2008. The Gendered Society, Third Edition. New York, New York. Oxford.
Marks, M., & Fraley, R. (2005, February). The Sexual Double Standard: Fact or Fiction?. Sex Roles , 52 (3/4), 175-186. Retrieved July 27, 2009, doi:10.1007/s11199-005-1293-5
Milhausen, R., & Herold, E. (1999, November). Does the Sexual Double Standard Still Exist? Perceptions of University Women. Journal of Sex Research , 36 (4), 361-368. Retrieved July 27, 2009, from Academic Search Complete database.