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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. NE, Seattle, WA We used these narratives to produce brief sexual script scenarios describing typical sexual situations, as well as conventional survey items assessing sexual behavior themes. In the second study, we administered the scenarios and theme items to an ethnically diverse, national sample of heterosexually-active young men in an online survey. Using exploratory factor analysis, we delineated sets of sexual scripts and sexual behavior themes. We also discuss the need for measures of sexual thinking that better integrate perceptions and expectations about the partner as well as the self in relation to the partner, rather than solely self-assessed traits.

Sexual behavior research conducted over the past half-century has been driven in large part by responses to emerging public health issues, including teenage pregnancy cf. Much of what we know about sexuality is therefore focused on how people avoid unwanted consequences of sexual activity. There is a relative dearth of research on how young people think about sex and relationships and how they make sexual decisions, except insofar as they affect pregnancy and disease outcomes.

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This literature on sexual risk and safety has focused on particular methods of prevention e. Context has been included primarily as a moderator of predictors of prevention intentions or behavior, or of intervention effectiveness, as in research that controls for relationship with the sexual partner — casual or non-affectionate vs. Largely missing from this literature is a focus on the larger contexts in which sexual interactions occur and on goals and outcomes that that are unrelated to physical health such as seeking intimacy, enacting gender roles, achieving adult status, securing social validation, and experiencing love.

Models of sexual safety and risk-taking have also focused primarily on objective reasoning, overlooking affective and relational factors e. Sexuality researchers have begun to fill these research gaps. These authors and others cf. Scripts have been conceptualized in a of ways. This view sees people as believing that the occurrence of one type of event will increase or decrease the conditional probability that a particular next event will occur.

These beliefs then create an anticipated sequence of how certain situations might unfold. Gagnon ; built on the scripts perspective with a particular focus on sexual scripts. He placed less emphasis on sequential order.

Rather, he conceptualized scripts as cognitive representations that contain information about a social situation at three levels. Cultural scripts, derived from media and social institutions, shape perceptions of appropriate sexual choices at the societal level.

In general, the findings of these studies were in line with traditional gender role expectations. They generally hold more permissive sexual values, are more accepting of premarital sex, view intercourse as a more positive part of the self, and receive more pro-sexual messages from peers see Smith et al. Men, more than women, endorse traditional gender norms c. Research documenting modal male patterns, and mean differences compared to women, does not fully capture the potential diversity of perspectives among men.

We know relatively little about the extent to which men vary — between individuals or within individuals over time — in their adoption of traditional male personas. More recent qualitative research in the scripts tradition has used descriptions of dominant scripts as a platform to begin to explore nuances in, and departures from, these traditional scripts. They found that although for most of their respondents, male-dominated sexual initiation was the norm in their relationships, egalitarian and female-dominant patterns were also present, and over half the men stated a desire for egalitarian initiation practices.

Maxwell explored similar ground with a more socio-demographically diverse sample in the United Kingdom; her young men and women were drawn from jails and supported housing as well as educational settings. Many participants created exceptions to gender scripts for themselves, or attempted to remake or reinterpret culture-level gender scripts.

Harding has drawn from this perspective in understanding cultural, and particularly sub-cultural, influences on sexual behavior. In his conceptualization, scripts represent cultural knowledge about a set of behaviors or actions, and an individual may hold several of these templates, and choose among them in different situations. The scripts perspective offers a way to encompass the complexity of sexual motivation that avoids stripping context and deep meaning.

Additionally, it is not clear what alternatives men who reject a traditional view of masculinity instead adopt. This perspective has the potential to contribute to the integration of the emotional and relational aspects of sexual interactions into sexual behavior research cf.

It builds on literature on disjunctures in scripts, using a two-sample mixed methods strategy to begin to address the prevalence of a range of scripts among young men. Inclusion criteria were having had intercourse with a woman at least one time, current interest in having sex with women in the future, being age 18—25, and residing in the US at least since the beginning of high school.

Their ages ranged from 18 to All had completed high school or obtained their general equivalency diplomas, eight had obtained at least a four-year degree, and another 12 reported being enrolled in college currently or at some point in the past. Participants could choose a male or female interviewer; the few who expressed a preference opted for a woman. We used a semi-structured protocol that asked men to talk freely about each of three types of sexual connections with women that they had experienced: committed romantic partnerships, on-going casual sexual relationships, and one-time only sexual encounters.

The interviewers asked men to tell stories of actual relationships e. To elicit content on sexual scripts that participants may have been influenced by but had not experienced, interviewers also asked them to describe an ideal sexual experience. The interviews were digitally recorded and professionally transcribed. Based on techniques introduced by Maticka-Tyndale and her colleagues cf. We also coded mentions of norms, gender expectations, and attraction that occurred in other relevant sections of the transcript. Three team members then used their analyses of, respectively, girlfriend, casual partner, and one-night-stand s to produce brief sexual scenarios that encompassed the themes we observed.

We also created a set of traditional questionnaire items to assess sexual script themes that were not integrated into the scenarios. Scenarios and questionnaire items were reviewed multiple times by the team for inclusion of all major themes.

Scenarios were re-written to improve brevity, readability, and applicability to as wide a segment of the 18—25 year old heterosexually-active male population as possible. Feminine sexuality themes included both one adhering to the mainstream model e. Another theme was the relationships in which sex occurred and the emotions associated with it, including both positives e. A final thematic category was sexual courtship, which included content on meeting new partners and progressing toward sex, particularly the role of alcohol e.

The scenario measure of sexual scripts strove to preserve as much qualitative richness as possible while remaining concise enough to administer online see Table 1. Italicized loadings were split across factors and were not included in calculation of script scores. We also created a set of questionnaire items. These theme items appear in Table 2. We administered both the sexual script scenarios and the theme items in Study 2.

Drinking and Courtship correlated. Monogamy and Emotion correlated. We conducted the entirety of this study recruitment, screening for eligibility, consent for participation, survey administration online. We sought participants who were men between the ages of 18 and 25, had been physically intimate with a woman defined as touching below the waist or having oral, vaginal, or anal sexwere interested in having sex with women in the future not necessarily exclusivelyand had lived in the US during their adolescence. Recruitment was deed to insure inclusion of a full range of levels and types of genital intimacy, to include men who were interested in sex with both women and men, and to exclude men who had engaged in heterosexual sex in the past but then concluded that they were interested only in sex with men in the future.

Recruitment of the final sample took about 6 months, which suggests that this was not a coercively large incentive. Because online surveys provide an opportunity for multiple or careless responding, we took steps to ensure data integrity.

To deter participants from clicking through the survey simply to get the incentive, some questions were programmed to require responses. We provided a neutral response category e. For data cleaning, we used flags e.

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A total of individuals began the survey. Of the remaining Their average age was Of the participants, exited the survey before completing any of the scenario questions, and an additional 25 before answering any of the theme item questions.

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Since other approaches to handling missing data require people to answer at least some items used in a given analysis, listwise deletion was the only practical method in these cases. We included a large of items in this item pool in anticipation that not all would be useful DeVellis, We used ten established scales to test the conceptual validity of the sexual script scores. Response options for both of these scales ranged from 0 strongly disagree to 4 strongly agree. Higher scores on these scales represent more traditional gender attitudes and greater suspicion of women.

The belief that men are driven by a desire for sex was reflected in higher scores on a score computed from eight items on the Men as Sex Driven scale Ward, We measured monogamy attitudes with two scales. To decrease participant burden due to questionnaire length, we used the three highest loading items for each subscale based on Ham et al. Ranges and alphas for the ten scale scores appear in Table 4. Correlations between sexual script scores and measures of gender role and sexual attitudes. We conducted a series of EFAs with Mplus 6.

Two key issues in EFA are choosing the of factors to retain and establishing which items load highly enough on a factor to justify inclusion in a factor score. For each factor score we retained items with loadings greater than. Thus, we calculated Pearson correlations between script scores and existing measures of masculinity, attitudes toward women, sexual sensation seeking, sex and monogamy-related attitudes, and alcohol expectancies. The initial EFAs found considerable similarity in factor structure across the four sets of responses to the scenarios desirable for you, common for you, desirable for guys your age, and common for guys your age.

In this 2-factor solution, one scenario cross-loaded on both factors 9 ; we did not include this scenario response in interpreting the factors or in computing final factor scores. Factor scores were computed as the mean of the items loading on that factor. We labeled the first factor as the Traditional Masculinity script. This script emphasized perceived differences between men and women. Higher scores on the Traditional Masculinity sexual script represent a greater desire for sexual experiences that follow this viewpoint.

Scores based on the eight items had an alpha of. The mean score on this factor among the young men in our sample was 1. The second factor represented a sexual script involving women who are interested in sex, initiate it, and enjoy it; we labeled this script Sex Positive Woman. The three scenario responses that loaded on this factor involved female partners who openly expressed desire toward men, mutual sexual pleasure, and relationships both friendly and romantic that included emotionality as well as physicality.

The mean score on this factor was 2. Initial EFAs of the 28 theme items identified 13 items that had low or cross-loadings. Dropping these low performing items resulted in the three-factor model shown in Table 2. Higher scores on the Drinking and Courtship sexual script indicated more belief in alcohol as a facilitator of heterosexual courtship and sexual initiation.

Scores for the three items loading on this factor had an alpha of. The Monogamy and Emotion factor represented a sexual script that favored sex in committed and loving relationships.

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The mean scores on each of these scales was between 2, corresponding to a neither agree nor disagree rating on the items and 3, corresponding to agree ; exact means and SD s are presented in Table 3 along with correlations among all 5 sexual scripts factors. The concurrent validity of all five of the sexual scripts was supported. As expected, the Traditional Masculinity sexual script was moderately positively correlated with measures of traditional gender role beliefs, hostility toward women, sexual sensation-seeking, and the endorsement of non-monogamous sexual relationships.

Men endorsing the Sex Positive Woman script did not report traditional gender ideologies, but other correlations reflected the sex-positive attitudes for both genders contained in this script. Specifically, Sex Positive Woman scores correlated with sexual sensation-seeking, men as sex driven, and non-monogamy. The Drinking and Courtship sexual script, as expected, was positively correlated with beliefs that alcohol increased sexual enjoyment and made one more sociable, courageous, and aggressive.

The Monogamy and Emotion sexual script was moderately negatively correlated with masculinity ideology, sexual sensation-seeking, and endorsement of non-monogamy. It was positively correlated with positive attitudes toward monogamy. Men who endorsed the Sexual Focus and Variety script scored higher on traditional gender ideologies, sexual sensation-seeking, men as sex driven, and measures of non-monogamy. We attempted to capture some of the complexity of their experiences in, and expectations about, sexual relationships with women.

As anticipated, we found a factor that featured elements of the traditional masculine script, similar to scripts and gender role expectations found throughout the literature e. The fact that this factor emerged, even when using an unusual measure comprised of mini-scenarios, attests to its strength and robustness. Interestingly, however, although these all suggest that the young men in the sample recognized the coherence of this traditional masculine script, it was not seen as highly desirable. The mean score on the Traditional Masculinity factor among the young men in our sample was 1.

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