Physical intimacy and values in relationships

A survey on physical intimacy and sexual values in relationships was given to a convenience sample of 25 college students. Some of the results are presented here.

The sample consisted of 16 females and 9 males.

During the introduction some of the terminology was explained to the students. For the students, English is an L2 language introduced in the third grade. L1 for 22 students is Pohnpeian, there are also three students of Yap state heritage in the class.

The survey included nineteen questions. The nineteen questions on the survey were taken from Edlin and Golanty's Health and Wellness 10th edition, page 703.


1 Men are by nature more sexually aggressive than women are and enjoy sex more than women do.
2 Sex-role definitions and stereotypes get in the way of mutually satisfying sexual relations.
3 Concern over sexual performance is quite common.
4 Psychologically healthy people don't experience any guilt over their sexual activities.
5 If a woman doesn't experience orgasm, it is the man's fault.
6 If a man experiences erection problems, it is generally because of the woman's lack of appreciation of his manhood.
7 In a sexual relationship, it is the job of each partner to make the other feel like a woman or a man.
8 Getting in touch with our sexual attractions and feelings toward others generally leads to overt sexual behavior.
9 The quality of a sexual relationship is usually parallel to the quality of the partners' relationship in general.
10 Sexual freedom implies doing whatever consenting adults agree to.
11 If we want to, we can reeducate ourselves so that we can experience sexual relationships with numerous partners without feeling guilty.
12 Sexual freedom ought to be counterbalanced by sexual responsibility.
13 We will probably be no more sexually attractive to others than we are to ourselves.
14 Discussing sexual wants and needs generally leads to mechanical and unspontaneous sex.
15 Extramarital sex inevitably causes dissatisfaction in the marital relationships.
16 Today's generation is really unconcerned about being sexually inadequate.
17 Most people who are intimate with each other find it relatively easy to talk openly and honestly about the intimate details of sexuality.
18 The key to improving sexual satisfaction is to master sexual techniques and skills.
19 Sex without love is unsatisfying.


Females Males
SA A D SD SA A D SD
n 1 2 3 4 Avg 1 2 3 4 Avg Diff
1 10 6 0 0 1.38 7 2 0 0 1.22 0.15
2 3 10 2 1 2.06 1 4 3 0 2.25 −0.19
3 8 5 3 0 1.69 3 4 2 0 1.89 −0.20
4 1 2 11 2 2.88 3 3 1 2 2.22 0.65
5 4 5 3 4 2.44 4 3 2 0 1.78 0.66
6 1 2 5 8 3.25 2 3 3 1 2.33 0.92
7 7 7 1 1 1.75 7 2 0 0 1.22 0.53
8 6 5 4 1 2.00 4 4 1 0 1.67 0.33
9 6 1 5 4 2.44 2 4 2 1 2.22 0.22
10 1 7 7 1 2.50 4 1 1 3 2.33 0.17
11 1 3 2 10 3.31 2 2 4 1 2.44 0.87
12 2 3 9 2 2.69 4 5 0 0 1.56 1.13
13 4 3 5 4 2.56 3 3 2 1 2.11 0.45
14 4 10 1 1 1.94 4 3 1 1 1.89 0.05
15 3 8 3 2 2.25 3 5 1 0 1.78 0.47
16 8 6 2 0 1.62 0 6 3 0 2.33 −0.71
17 7 5 1 3 2.00 5 2 2 0 1.67 0.33
18 9 2 3 2 1.88 3 3 3 0 2.00 −0.12
19 9 5 1 1 1.62 3 3 0 3 2.33 −0.71
Avg: 2.22 Avg: 1.96 0.26



where

SA is strongly agree
A is slightly agree
D is slightly disagree
SD is strongly disagree

Both the women and the men concur that men are the more aggressive. There is also some agreement that sex roles and definitions get in the way of mutually satisfying relationships. There may be more concern among the women as to sexual performance than among the men.

One student asked for a further explanation for number four. The phrasing in the negative is confusing for non-native speakers of English. In addition, the phrase "psychologically healthy" is not a clearly defined concept even for those students who comprehend the terms. On this item the women and the men split strongly, with the women apparently expressing the view that psychologically healthy people should feel guilt over sexual activities, the men are more evenly divided on the matter. This suggests that the women carry more guilt over sexual activities than the men.

Seven of the nine men agree that if a woman doesn't experience orgasm, it is the man's fault, and nine of the sixteen women concur. The men even more strongly agree with this than the women. This view concurs with anecdotal understandings this author has come to have over the past two decades. The ability to satisfy a partner is an important part of physical relations and the man bears responsibility for his partner's completion.

For number six, the women strongly disagree, attaining the highest average for any item. The higher the average, the stronger the disagreement. The women do not see a male performance problem as being their fault. The men, however, are almost exactly evenly split on this statement. About half of the men see performance problems as being caused by their partner.

Both the men and the women feel that in a sexual relationship, it is the job of each partner to make the other feel like a woman or a man. The women and men are more evenly spread among the answer choices when it comes to whether getting in touch with our sexual attractions and feelings toward others generally leads to overt sexual behavior, whether the quality of a sexual relationship is usually parallel to the quality of the partners' relationship in general, and whether sexual freedom implies doing whatever consenting adults agree to. On the latter most item the men are split bimodally between strongly agree and strongly disagree.

Number eleven is revealing. In response to, "If we want to, we can reeducate ourselves so that we can experience sexual relationships with numerous partners without feeling guilty," ten women strongly disagree, an eleventh disagrees. Among the men, only one strongly disagrees, four of nine either agree or strongly agree. The young men are more hopeful that their regular partners will be open to the idea of multiple partnering than the women. There is a strong split in the averages and the underlying opinions on this matter. Men want to play the field, the women are opposed. The obvious question to ask, which was not asked, was whether the men would want their "regular" partner to also have multiple outside partners. This author suspects that the men would oppose this, in come cases violently oppose. The men want to have the devotion of their regular partner while being free to sow some wild oats.

In what might then sound like a twist, the men more strongly agree that sexual freedom ought to be counterbalanced by sexual responsibility than the women. All nine men either agreed or strongly agreed with this statement. Eleven of the women disagreed. There is always the possibility that language issues are actually in play here - whether or not the female and male students understood the statement in the same way, or understood the way the author may have intended the statement to be taken.

The terms mechanical and unspontaneous in the statement, "Discussing sexual wants and needs generally leads to mechanical and unspontaneous sex," were defined prior to the survey. The question is badly worded even for a native English speaker, and is a total nightmare for an L2 speaker of English. The word unspontaneous, while more richly descriptive, would be more comprehensible if replaced with a non-negative word such as "planned" or "pre-planned." With the statement explained, fourteen of the women and seven of the men agreed. Sexual activities are part of the mystery of love, and there is a desire to protect that mystery, the magic, of love and the sexual activities that accompany love.

The men and women generally agree that extramarital sex inevitably causes dissatisfaction in the marital relationships. The difference in the averages seen for "Today's generation is really unconcerned about being sexually inadequate." is not as striking when one considers that the men and women both agree with this statement. The level of agreement is different, the women agree more strongly, but both generally agree.

In number eighteen. "The key to improving sexual satisfaction is to master sexual techniques and skills," there is an interesting difference in the distributions that is not made clear by the averages. The women are more strongly skewed towards strong agreement with the statement. The men are uniformly split between strong agreement, agreement, and disagreement. One could surmise that the men feel that they are competent and skilled technicians while the women would like to see the men show more skill and technical prowess. One might envision the men as picturing themselves as capable lovers, while the women are actually mildly disappointed and want to experience better performances.

The final question, "Sex without love is unsatisfying," also generated an interesting result. Fourteen of the women and six of the men agreed with this statement. Three of the men, however, strongly disagreed. The inference to be drawn here is that the women need love with their sex, while not all men do.

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