Initiation of Sexual Behavior in the Marital Relationship
Sex (psychology), Sex -- Statistics, Sex customs, Sex in marriage, Sexual behavior surveys
While traditional beliefs and some research show that men have been more likely than women to initiate sexual activity, recent research indicates that traditional patterns of sexual initiation may be changing especially for married couples. Also, patterns of initiation seems to be related to sexual satisfaction. Specifically, women who always take the initiative and those who never do are the least satisfied with their sex lives. Conversely, those wives who initiate sex half the time are very happy with their sex lives. Since it appears that initiation of sexual activity is related to satisfaction with sex, information regarding why a partner does or does not initiate sex would be useful to a marriage and/or sex therapist. It was expected, on the basis of previous research and theorizing, that the tendency to initiate marital sex would be related to the following: a wife's own approach/avoidance orientation to sex and the approach/avoidance orientation to sex of her husband as measured by Byrne's Sexual Opinion Survey (SOS), attitudes towards sex roles of oneself and one's spouse as measured by the Attitude Towards Women Scale (ATWS), and experiences with pre-adolescent and adolescent genital self-stimulation. Patterns of correlation were analyzed to determine relationships between the following independent variables: husbands' and wives' approach/avoidance orientation towards sex, attitudes towards sex roles, and pre-adolescent and adolescent genital self-stimulation, and the following dependent variables: the number of times the wives take the initiative sexually, the number of times the husbands take the initiative sexually, and the resulting percentage that each takes the initiative sexually, as measured on a monthly basis. Husbands and wives gave relatively similar estimates of how often the husband initiated sex and how often it was mutually initiated. Both husbands and wives reported that the husband was more likely to initiate sex than the wife; however, wives reported significantly higher frequencies of wife initiated sex than their husbands did for wife initiated sex. Husbands were found to be erotophilic on the Sexual Opinion Survey than wives. Also, wives tended to be more profeminist than their husbands as measured by the Attitude Toward Women Scale. Couples in which the husband experienced frequent pre-adolescent and adolescent masturbatory experience engaged in sexual activity more frequently. Initiation by the husband was negatively correlated with the wife's adolescent masturbatory espereince. Gender differences in the masturbation score were apparent with husbands having more experience with genital self-stimulation. The wife's Attitude Towards Women Score was negatively correlated with the couple's total amount of sex. It appears that that traditional pattern of husband's initiating more frequently still holds. It also appears that households of a more profeminist bent are engaging in less marital sex.
Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Arts and Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Roberts-Cruce, Nancy, "Initiation of Sexual Behavior in the Marital Relationship" (1987). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 5007.