Acculturation and Sexuality: Investigating Gender Differences in Erotic Plasticity

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The contention that women are more erotically plastic than men is supported by a significant body of data, from which it has been inferred (Baumeister, 2000) that female sexuality may be more flexible and more heavily influenced by contextual factors than that of men. As a direct test of erotic plasticity, the present study investigated the extent to which acculturation was associated differentially (as would be predicted by the theory of greater female erotic plasticity) with the sexual attitudes and experiences of 111 college men and 167 college women. For sexual attitudes, main effects were found for gender, acculturation level, and ethnicity. Women endorsed more conservative attitudes than men, less acculturated individuals endorsed more conservative sexual attitudes than the more acculturated group, and Asian Americans had the most conservative sexual attitudes. For sexual experience, a main effect was found for acculturation, with the more highly acculturated group reporting a greater variety of sexual experiences than the less acculturated group. There were no gender-by-acculturation interactions. This study thus did not find support for the theory of female erotic plasticity, insofar as the impact of acculturation on a sample of ethno-culturally diverse college students.


Men--Sexual behavior; Sex customs; Sex differences; Sexual excitement; Women--Sexual behavior


Community-Based Research | Counseling Psychology | Gender and Sexuality | Health Psychology | Medicine and Health | Psychiatry and Psychology | Psychology


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