The effect of amount of sexual experience on the meaning of sexual experience

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The effect of amount of sexual experience on the meaning of sexual experience
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Includes bibliographical references.
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by Leonard Travaglione.

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Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page i
    Acknowledgement
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Table of Contents
        Page v
        Page vi
    Abstract
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
    Chapter 1. Introduction and review of the literature
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
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        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
    Chapter 2. Method
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
    Chapter 3. Results
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
    Chapter 4. Discussion
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
    Appendix A. The meaning of sexual experience questionnaire
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
    Appendix B. The meaning of sexual experience information sheet
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
    Appendix C. Adjectives found on the Mose III
        Page 84
    References
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
    Biographical sketch
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
Full Text








THE EFFECT OF AMOUNT OF SEXUAL EXPERIENCE
ON THE MEANING OF SEXUAL EXPERIENCE















By

LEONARD TRAVAGLIONE


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


1988















ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


It is with great respect and fondness that I begin this

final section by acknowledging my chairperson, mentor and,

finally, colleague, Dr. Harry Grater. He taught me to

believe in the goodness of myself and, in his gentle and

supportive way, showed me that I have what it takes to

become the kind of professional I can admire.

Each of my committee members are people who do not hold

themselves above others, but rather offered their

encouragement, support, and guidance as one person to

another, without cost, and in kindness. They have and will

continue to serve as a model for my own betterment. I am

very grateful to them.

Dissertations are not written by people who, one day,

suddenly take on special courage and determination. These

traits begin long before it is time to type the title page.

My family has been an invaluable asset to me in everything

I do. I have always felt secure in the knowledge of their

love. This has made all the difference in the world. Here

I learned to grow beyond the bounds of my home. Their gift

is the greatest love of all, for they taught me to be free.

ii









A family does not end at home, but grows as you grow,

and with you. There is no particular order I can put to

all the many friends with whom I have shared so much, nor

can I mention them all. They were very much present and

available over the many years that I pursued my goal, and

share in the joy of this accomplishment. Michael Garvey,

my friend eternal, was a pillar of strength throughout this

process. To him I owe more than I can say. Ed Spauster

greatly eased the burden of this task by showing me the way

and by believing in me. How important this was he will

never know. Rick Jensen, my compare, helped me to be

myself, and loved me for it. The faith that Maureen McGeary

had in me was unshakable, no matter how I tried. To her I

owe a special debt of thanks.

Bunny Lake put in a special command performance for this

event and is no longer missing. Charlotte Pierce gave

herself to the cause with complete abandon. It was the

only way she knew how. Her help and support were

invaluable.

Finally, I would like to offer a word of thanks to two

very special people. Gordon Smith held my hand, and me,

when it all seemed so impossible, and gave me comfort beyond

words. It is a rich man who has him for a friend. Bob

Meshrach taught me to reach beyond myself, and is now


iii









learning this same skill. To him and all who have been

there with me I dedicate this work.















TABLE OF CONTENTS

PAGE

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS..................................... ii

ABSTRACT ............................................ vii

CHAPTERS

1 INTRODUCTION AND REVIEW OF THE
LITERATURE ........................... 1

A Historical Overview...................... 6
Recent History............................. 10
Changes in Sexual behavior and Attitudes:
Fact or Fallacy....................... 17
Theories and Research on the Meaning of
Sexual Experience..................... 25
Hypotheses................................. 43

2 METHOD .................................... 45

Subjects .................................. 45
Instruments................................ 45
Procedure................................. 52

3 RESULTS................................... 54

Affiliation ................................ 56
Inadequate/undesirable..................... 57
Achievement ................................ 58
Moral..................................... 60
Erotic/dominance........................... 60

4 DISCUSSION ................................. 62

Sex....................................... 65
Experience.................................. 68
Limitations of the Study.................. 72
Implications............................... 73
Directions for Future Research............ 75













APPENDICES

A THE MEANING OF SEXUAL EXPERIENCE
QUESTIONNAIRE ....................... 77

B THE MEANING OF SEXUAL EXPERIENCE
INFORMATION SHEET.................... 81

C ADJECTIVES FOUND ON THE MOSE III.......... 84

REFERENCES.............................................. 85

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ 92












Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

THE EFFECT OF AMOUNT OF SEXUAL EXPERIENCE
ON THE MEANING OF SEXUAL EXPERIENCE

by

Leonard Travaglione

August, 1988

Chairman: Dr. Harry Grater
Major Department: Psychology

This study examines the effects of the amount of

sexual experience on the meaning of sexual experience.

In part, it is also a replication study of the work of

Bernstein and Garrison both of whom assessed the

difference in the meaning of sexual experience between

men and women. Although sexual beliefs, behaviors and

attitudes have been studied extensively over the past

three decades, the meaning of sexual experience has been

researched very little. It has been theorized that an

individual's sexual attitudes and behaviors would be

better understood if the meaning that sex has for that

individual was known as well.

The Meaning of Sexual Experience Questionnaire

(MOSE III) was used to measure subjects on the following

scales: Affiliation, Inadequate/undesirable, Achievement,

vii









Moral and Erotic/dominance. Amount of sexual experience

was measured by subjects' self-report of the number of

sexual partners and amount of intercourse they had. A

multiple regression analysis was used in order to test

the statistical hypothesis that there is no significant

relationship between each of the scales of the MOSE III

and gender, number of partners, or number of times a

person has intercourse.

Some gender differences were significant. Females

scored higher on the Affiliation scale while males scored

higher on Achievement. A significant relationship was

also established for number of sexual partners and amount

of intercourse on the Achievement and Erotic/dominance

scales. The interaction term number of sexual partners

and amount of intercourse was also significant and

negatively correlated to the Achievement and Erotic/dom-

inance scales, indicating that a high level of experience

on both measures was not necessarily predictive of highest

achievement scores. Significance was not demonstrated

in the Inadequate/undesirable or Moral scales with any

of the independent variables. The author concluded that

experience was a significant variable to be considered

in discussing the meaning of sexual experience. Results


viii









are discussed in terms of current theory and research

regarding sexuality.













CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION AND REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE


The dominant meaning of sexuality has
changed during our history from a primary
association with reproduction within families
to a primary association with emotional
intimacy and physical pleasure for individuals.
We find ourselves dissatisfied with one
distinction drawn in the literature the
opposition of sexual ideology ("what ought to
be") and sexual behavior ("what was"). It
seems to us that this dichotomy assumes too
simple and direct a relationship, as well as
an opposition, between what individuals believe
and what they do. To avoid these problems we
have chosen to explore [a subject] that most
concerns us, sexual meanings. (D'Emilio &
Freedman, 1988, p. xv)


The past several years have seen an increasing

interest in exploring and understanding the particular

significance sex holds for individuals, how they value

it, and what part it plays in their lives (Gagnon &

Simon, 1973; Smilgis, 1987). The shift towards greater

sexual experimentation among college students has been

well documented in a series of studies conducted

throughout the late 1960s, the 1970s and the first half

of the present decade (Hildebrand & Abromowitz, 1984).

Jackson and Potkay (1973) view the reports of earlier,

more prevalent and more widely accepted intercourse as










signaling the advent of a sexual revolution, replete

with a reordering of social mores. Others (Kaats &

Davis, 1970) viewed the same data as being consistent

with the century long evolution towards more relaxed

social standards.

In reviewing changes in sexual behavior over the

past three decades (whether they be revolutionary or

evolutionary) it seems evident that they have been

fueled, at least in part, by a rapidly changing

technological/social environment (D'Eminio & Freedman,

1988). Factors such as the women's liberation movement,

the increase in availability and reliability of birth

control, mass media and advertising, and an overall

increase in sexual permissiveness have been identified

as some of the variables that may have contributed to

these changes (Comfort, 1976; D'Emilio & Freedman, 1988).

The recent and still present AIDS (Acquired Immune

Deficiency Syndrome) crisis is forcing young people to

take yet another look at their sexual behavior (Smilgis,

1987). The present effort by the United States Department

of Education, in response to the AIDS crisis, is to

educate individuals to the dangers of "unsafe" sex and

to suggest abstinence as one way of avoiding contact

with potentially diseased individuals (Shiltz, 1987).











If this and other similar efforts continue, sexual

behavior in the United States may undergo a substantial

change during the remainder of this century. This, in

turn, may cause a significant shift in the attitudes,

beliefs and values individuals presently hold about sex.

Despite the increasing prevalence of premarital

intercourse, its apparently earlier onset, and the

general shift in sexual standards toward greater

permissiveness (Bell & Chaskes, 1970; Finger, 1975;

Kaats & Davis, 1970; Katz, 1974; Hildebrand & Abromowitz,

1984; Hopkins, 1977), having sexual intercourse remains

a life experience of considerable developmental salience

for college students. Both cultural norms and societal

restraints, by reserving sexual experience for a later,

more mature status, have the effect of attaching to its

occurrence a variety of social and psychological meanings

(Jessor & Jessor, 1975). Psychology as a science has

studied attitudes, beliefs, fantasies and behaviors

related to sex, although the underlying meaning of sexual

experience (the fulfillment of interpersonal psychological

needs through sex) has been researched very little. A

number of researchers (Farley, Nelson, Knight, & Garcia-

Colberg; 1977, Libby & Strauss, 1980; Schildmeyer, 1977)

have made significant contributions to the literature by











identifying some of the various meaning sex has to men

and women and in developing several dimensions (morality,

power, violence, eroticism, love, achievement) along

which to study the meaning of sexual experience. The

first attempt to incorporate these independent studies

into an overall method by which to study sexual meaning

was undertaken by Grater and Dowling (1981). Their work

resulted in the formulation and validation of a research

tool by which to measure the meaning of sexual experience

(Bernstein, 1982).

The Meaning of Sexual Experience questionnaire

(MOSE III) examines the meaning of sexual experience

along five discrete dimensions: Affiliation,

Inadequate/undesirable, Achievement, Moral, and

Erotic/dominance. Several attempts have been made to

look at the difference in the meaning of sexual

experience between men and women over the past several

years with varying results. In an initial study

Bernstein (1982) found that men scored significantly

higher on the Achievement and Erotic/dominance dimensions

while women scored significantly higher on the Affiliation

and Moral dimensions.

A follow-up study by Garrison (1984) attempted to

examine the relationship between sex-role and gender of









5

the subjects, both of which served as independent

variables, and their meaning of sexual experience, which

was the dependent variable. The MOSE III, the BEM Sex

Role Inventory (BSRI) and gender were analyzed using a

multivariate procedure. Follow-up analysis established

significant differences on two of the MOSE III

dimensions, Inadequate/undesirable, and Moral, with

males scoring significantly higher on both factors.

This was not consistent with Bernstein's initial

findings.

In both studies the authors cautioned that other

factors may have served to confound their results. The

factor most often cited as not considered was amount of

sexual experience and lead the researchers to ask the

question: Is the amount of sexual experience a

significant variable to be studied in understanding the

meaning of sexual experience for men and women. The

purpose of this study is to investigate this question.

In order to shed light on the importance of this

study this literature review will focus on the following

areas: (a) a presentation of a historical overview

tracing the development of meaning as it applies to

sexual experience; (b) an examination of research of the

past three decades which attempted to identify recent










changes in behaviors and attitudes about sex, with

particular emphasis on the post-Masters and Johnson era;

(c) a review of research which focused on developing

theories and dimensions with which to study the meaning

of sexual experience; and (d) specific studies that

examine personality, motivational and emotional variables

that contributed to the development of the MOSE III and

the five discrete dimensions used to quantify meaning of

sexual experience with this instrument.


A Historical Overview


Tannahil (1980) traced human sexual development

back to the prehistoric world. He believed that the

first efforts to establish meaning for sexual experience

can be found in the paleolithic era. During this period

there was a shift from rear-entry coital position to the

face-to face "missionary" position, the development of

intertribal marriages and, consequently, the taboo

against incest. Sex was seen as a means of procreation

and a symbol of fertility. The second major taboo

developed during the neolithic era. Men were forbidden

to have sex with women during their menstrual period

because the blood in menstrual fluid was believed to

contain supernatural powers. It was also during this











period that man emerged as master of his family and was

believed to be superior to women.

Sexual attitudes of Mesopotamian civilization (3000

to 300 B.C.) were derived from the belief that women

were considered the property of men (Bullough, 1976).

Adultery was not a moral transgression but rather a

violation of another man's property. Procreation was

still the primary purpose of marriage. Bullough (1976)

also sketches the contribution of Judaism to the develop-

ment of western sexual attitudes. The Talmudic period

(before 600 B.C.) was characterized as having a permis-

sive attitude towards sex. Coitus was seen as required

religious duty. This permissiveness gave way to a more

repressive attitude in the years immediately following

the death of Christ as the Jews were pressured to assimi-

late with other cultures and were forced to respond to

the hostility of Christians towards them. Women were

seen as having a more constant and aggressive sexual

drive than men. Rape was, therefore, considered to be

at least instinctually consented to by women.

Throughout this period love was not considered to

be a crucial part of the sexual experience. McCrary

(1976) identifies the Greek culture as the wellspring

for the concept of romantic love, citing the distinction











between sexual love (eros) and spiritual love (agape).

He further notes that "Christianity, following the Jewish

tradition . .idealized the purity of love apart from

sex. Love of God was the only 'pure' love and celibacy

became a means of proving one's love for God" (p. 46).

Sexual expression continued to be repressed and through

the wedding of nuns to Christ in a spiritual sense, women

were idealized. As in the past, sex was for the purpose

of procreation only.

Although the Protestant Reformation brought some

moderation of these views, both Calvin and Luther felt

that even marital sex was shameful, sinful, and unclean

(Bailey, 1970; Cole, 1961). The Puritan era continued

to identify the female as sexual temptress. This gave

way to the Victorian view of women as being inherently

pure and innocent (Wilson, Strong, Robbins, & Johns,

1980). Tannahil (1980) notes that middle class women

were transformed "into sweet, untouchable guardians of

morality, whose distaste for sex led to an explosive

increase in prostitution, an epidemic spread of venereal

disease, and a morbid taste for masochism" (p. 347).

The 1800s were a period where men were seen as

having to struggle with their sordid physical needs and

means of sexual expression, while women were the










guardians of purity and chastity with no sexual feelings

or desires. Bullough (1976) notes the effects of this

period on human sexuality: (a) men were seen as sexual

aggressors and women as reluctant victims; (b) the role

of women emerged as one of child rearer and homemaker

while simultaneously mystifying her existence and

conforming her to the home; (c) masturbation was

condemned by medical authorities due to the draining of

vital energy and the threat of resulting insanity; and

(d) both prostitution and venereal disease increased,

which resulted in a search for "clean" virgins and medical

procedures to limit one's sexual functioning. Procreation

was reinforced as the only legitimate reason for sexual

activity. In effect it was a period of continued sexual

repression and the propagation of sexual myths, some of

which continue to this day.

In tracing the genesis of our present day cultural

attitudes towards sexuality, it seems clear that the

single most powerful determinant has been Judeo-

Christian doctrine. Roman Catholic doctrine has been

particularly consistent over the past twenty centuries.

Pleasure is shunned as a valid reason for sexual

experiences. Only procreation justifies sexual

intercourse. Premarital sex, homosexuality,











masturbation, and birth control are anathema (Taylor,

1970; Clemens, 1961).


Recent History


It was not until the late 1800s when the first

attempts were made to combine sex, love and marriage

into one unique experience for men and women. For the

first time the interpersonal meaning of sexual experience

began to include affiliation, or love. Charles Knowlton,

who authored the first known marriage manual, published

in 1832, and Ezra Harvey Heywood, author of the first

book on open marriages, argued that moderate pleasure

gained from sexual expression within marriage was not

sinful, but rather was a natural component of the human

reproductive process and of the highest spiritual love

between man and women (LoPiccolo and Heiman, 1977).

These men, by publicly advocating for sexual freedom,

created the climate for the work of sex researchers such

as Ellis and Krafft-Ebing at the turn of the century and

into the early 1900s.

Havelock Ellis (1936, 1942, 1964) believed that

sexuality should be studied as a scientific discipline

rather than leave it to the whims of theologians and

moralists. His interest stemmed from his own discomfort











with the lack of information on sexuality. He states:

"I determined that I would make it the main business of

my life to get to the real natural facts about sex apart

from all the would-be moralists or sentimental notions,

and so spare the youth . the trouble which this

ignorance has caused me" (1936, p. ix). Ellis's work

created a public outcry, so much so that one George

Bedborough was made famous in the annals of sex history

when he was arrested for selling Ellis's books. Despite

the furor, the study of sexual experience was, from this

point on, no longer solely confined to the purview of

the moralists, but was identified as a topic for

scientific study.

Ellis was considered a radical in his time. Yet

his attitudes towards masturbation and excessively

frequent intercourse were quite similar to the moralists

he wrote against. He describes the results of excessive

sex as including acne, epilepsy, deafness, insanity and

criminality. Popular authors were even more extreme in

their views. McFadden (1900) writes: "Many married

people will give themselves up to the embrace daily. .

. But not only its frequency but the manner in which it

is performed are so unnatural . that the most











desperate cases of epilepsy and paralysis are frequently

the direct and immediate results" (p. 38).

The work of Ellis and his peers brought sex out of

the closet. Although they were reformers, they mirrored

the dominant cultural value of their time: sex was a

force that must be carefully controlled, sex must be

less physical and mental harm results from excessive

sex. By the 1920s sex was more openly discussed, more

common premaritally, and emerged as a social phenomenon

as a result of post-war adjustment (LoPiccolo and Heiman,

1977). Sigmund Freud contributed to this new-found

sexual freedom by making sex the core of his view of

personality development.

Most significant of Freud's contributions to the

meaning of sexual experience was his dismissal of the

Victorian notion that females did not have sexual feel-

ings; thus the meaning of sexual experience for females

could no longer be restricted to submission and procrea-

tion. Yet Freud continued to mirror the prevailing

cultural attitudes. His conception of sex was based on

anatomy: given the genital sex of a person, the stages

of gender and personality development were preordained.

Female sexuality was regarded as compensatory. To be

healthy females had to be exclusively vaginal-centered,










give up clitoral pleasures, and adjust to the anatomical

inferiority of not having a penis (Freud, 1905/1962).

He further drew a sharp distinction between masculinity

and femininity. Masculinity was active, dominant and

directive; femininity was passive, submissive, and

responsive (Freud, 1925/1959). Freud's personality theory

identified the libido as the source of sexual energy.

It was turbulent, uncontrolled, and needed to be tamed

into more constructive modes of behavior.

Freud's theories led to much discussion but, unfor-

tunately, little research. The importance of his work

was gradually overshadowed by the works of Alfred Kinsey

(Kinsey, Pomeroy, & Martin, 1948; Kinsey, Pomeroy,

Martin, & Gebhard, 1953) and, later, by the contributions

of William Masters and Virginia Johnson (1966, 1970).

Freud's theories of sexuality were based on interpretation

of a limited number of cases. Kinsey's work focused on

quantifying sexual behavior in a descriptive manner and

was an exhaustive attempt to develop an understanding of

what kinds of sexual activities were practiced by the

average person. This information allowed individuals to

evaluate for themselves how often other males and females

practiced "aberrant" sexual behaviors.











Given the asexual nature of the Victorian and

Freudian concept of the idealized women some of the data

gathered about female sexual practices was particularly

shocking. Kinsey reported that 62 percent of women

eventually masturbated, and that 85 percent of these

women relied on labial and/or clitoral stimulation. The

number of women studied (n = 5940) and their responses

made it improbable that these women were "immature or

masculine" as Freudian theorists would call them. The

fact that orgasm during intercourse for women could be

predicted by their orgasmic responses to any other sexual

activity, including masturbation, challenged the

biological naturalness of coitus as the only real form

of sexual satisfaction. Thus, the verity of female

sexuality gained more empirical identity thorough Kinsey's

work. Although Gecas and Libby (1976) note that one of

Kinsey's greatest shortcomings was his failure to take

into account the meaning that sexual experience had for

people, he did have a major impact on the perceived

meaning of sexual experience for women. Most notably,

women were shown to experience sex as a pleasurable

activity and as being far less responsive to societal

norms about sexual morality than was expected (Sherfey,

1973).











The publication of such facts shocked almost every-

one. It provided important standards against which

average persons could measure themselves. One effect of

Kinsey's information was to normalize the sexual ac-

tivities that were a part of people's sexual repertoires

in spite of laws, religion, and Freud. His work,

however, did little to break down the sharp discrepancies

between masculine and feminine stereotypes. It did, in

fact, support the notion that men had the greater libido:

they masturbated more, had sexual experiences at an

earlier age, and had a greater amount of extramarital

affairs. His methodology suggests that these differences

were probably natural and reflected inherent biological

differences between the sexes (Bardwick, 1971). Finally,

Kinsey's work served not only to bring sex "out of the

closet" for the public at large, but also helped

legitimize the study of sex as a research area for social

scientists (D'Emilio & Freedman, 1988).

Masters and Johnson (1966) provided important

research that challenged former ideas on male-female

differences. Most importantly, they concluded that

during the sexual response cycle, men and women responded

more similarly that dissimilarly. In the sexual arousal

stage both men and women experienced increased heart











rate, blood pressure, rate of breathing, genital vaso-

congestion, and skin flush. Contractions during orgasm

occurred at the same time intervals for men and women.

For both sexes, sexual response was a total body involve-

ment. Their second book, Human Sexual Inadequacy (1970),

challenged the Freudian notion that sexual dysfunction

was a reflection of deep-seated emotional problems.

Instead, they postulated that sex was a learned skill

and emphasized sexual pleasure as a positive goal which

could be attained through learning sexual pleasuring

activities in a non-demanding and non-threatening environ-

ment.

Both Kinsey and Masters and Johnson added several

important dimensions to the meaning of sexual experience

for men and women. Kinsey supported the cultural view-

point that it was the male's responsibility to initiate

sexual activity and maintain an erection. Masters and

Johnson reframed sexual activity as something at which

one learned to be successful. Performance became a key

factor for both men and women. "Successful sex" became

something that one could achieve. Inadequacy in sex was

a reflection of one's inability to "do it right."

Finally, Masters and Johnson's work emphasized sex as a











pleasurable activity, and thus contributed to the erotic

meaning of sexual experience.


Changes in Sexual Behavior and Attitudes:
Fact or Fallacy


After Kinsey's initial studies on sexual behavior,

research into sexual experience focused on two areas.

The first involved a series of behavioral studies that

attempted to establish whether or not, in an age filled

with so-called liberalized societal attitudes towards

sex, there has been a corresponding increase in the

amount of sexual experience in which people engaged.

The answer to this question was an emphatic yes. The

second area posed a more difficult question. This

research attempted to identify if, given that there had

been a shift towards greater sexual experimentation

among Americans, particularly college students, there

had been a corresponding shift in the attitudes and

beliefs that individuals hold towards sex. The following

section will first identify the nature and extent of

change in sexual behavior of college students and, second,

address the question of whether or not there has been a

significant shift in attitudes, beliefs and values that

college students hold towards sex.











Numerous studies conducted in the late 1960s and

1970s chronicled the increasing prevalence of premarital

intercourse and the general shift in sexual standards

towards greater permissiveness (Bell & Chaskes, 1970;

Finger, 1975; Hildebrand & Abromowitz, 1984; Hopkins,

1977; Kaatz & Davis, 1970; Reed & Weinberg, 1974). A

comprehensive study which reviewed previous research on

the sexual behavior of adolescents between the 1930s and

1970s was undertaken by Hopkins (1977). After taking

into account discrepancies in data from various studies,

and methodological issues associated with most of them,

he was able to draw the following conclusions: (a) a

greater number of college-age adolescents are sexually

experienced now than in previous generations; (b) there

has been a greater increase in the incidence of premarital

intercourse for females than for males, although most

surveys reported a higher absolute incidence for males;

and (c) the data suggest a trend toward earlier sexual

experience for both men and women.

In a series of studies conducted at the University

of Virginia, Finger (1975) documented a substantial

increase in the proportion of males engaging in

premarital sexual intercourse. His first study,

conducted during 1943-44, established that 45 percent of











male college students studied engaged in premarital

sexual intercourse. In two follow-up studies conducted

during 1967-68 and 1969-73 (both of which were

replications of his original study) he found that the

incidence of premarital intercourse among male college

students increased to 61.8 percent in the 1968-69 study,

and to 74.9 percent in the 1969-73 study.

Hildebrand and Abramowitz (1984) conducted a series

of studies in 1969 that were replicated through 1981

and found that both male and female college students

reported an increase in the frequency of premarital

intercourse. Specifically, in their original study

conducted in 1969, 56 percent of men and 41 percent of

women engaged in premarital intercourse. These figures

had increased substantially in their final study in

1981, to 70 percent and 61 percent for males and females,

respectively. Their study also supported Kaats and

Davis's (1970) finding that, although there had been an

increase in both male and female incidence of intercourse,

the change for women has been more marked and their

frequency approaches that of men.

Changes in sexual behavior have been documented by

a number of other researchers who, in addition to

documenting increases in premarital intercourse among











college-age individuals, attempted to address the

question of whether or not there was a corresponding

change in attitudes towards sex. Alex Comfort (1976),

in discussing the future of sexuality in the "post-

sexual revolution" era wrote:


All that can be certainly predicted for the
future is that the variety of patterns [in
sexual relationships] will increase as
individuals find the norms that suit them.
For some, parenthood will still be the central
satisfaction, carrying with it the obligation
to [sic] giving their children the stability
they require. For others sexuality will
express total involvement with one person.
For others, one or more primary relationships
will be central, but will not exclude others,
in which the recreational role of sex acts as
bonding to supply the range of relationships
formerly met by kin. . (p. 181)


Hopkins (1977) looked at the sexual revolution from

a different perspective. He wrote:


The term "sexual revolution" is often used to
characterize [changing] trends in sexual
behavior. Although a popular term, it is
imprecise. A shift towards sexual
permissiveness in the behavior of young people
has occurred. Such a shift may well be part
of a larger liberal trend in adolescent
behavior, but it does not imply a complete
overthrow of established standards. (p. 83)


One way researchers have attempted to assess a

change in attitude has been to look at whether or not

there has been a change in the tendency to express











different standards for members of one's own sex than

for members of the opposite sex or, in the popular term,

the double standard. Kaats and Davis (1970) found that,

despite a marked increase in premarital intercourse,

there remained a strong adherence to the double standard.

Specifically, males were found to view their peer and

familial groups as only slightly or moderately

disapproving of their having had premarital intercourse.

They also felt that close friends would approve and

support this behavior. Females saw all groups, including

close friends and sorority sisters, as disapproving of

their having premarital intercourse. They also found

that the double standard was more closely adhered to

when sexual behavior was most intimate (i. e. intercourse)

and when there was no affection in the relationship.

This last finding was later supported by McBride and Ender

(1977). Results of their study indicated that there was

substantial agreement between attitude and behavior when

affectionate feelings existed in the relationship. They

concluded that, although there had been a marked shift

towards permissiveness, there was not a corresponding

change in attitude towards sexual behavior.

In contrast, Bauman and Wilson (1976) compared

attitudes towards premarital sex over a four year period










from 1968 to 1972. They concluded that there was a

significant decrease in differences in attitudes towards

premarital sex between men and women as well as less

adherence to the double standard.

Sex role playing is another avenue along which

sexual attitudes have been explored. Traditional sex

role theory prescribe that men and women play different

roles in sexual interactions. Men are expected to

initiate sex while women are expected to set limits on

the couples' sexual intimacy (Gagnon & Simon, 1973).

Peplau, Rubin and Hill (1977) noted that "recent research

on individual attitudes and sexual experience has

documented an increasing convergence between the sexes

over the past decade" (p. 89) and hypothesized that

attitudinal changes on the individual level would not

affect patterns of sexual interaction in couples.

In order to test their hypothesis they identified

three types of orientation in couples: (a) sexually

traditional, who felt that love alone was not a valid

reason for intercourse, that marriage was a prerequisite,

and that abstinence was a sign of love and faith;

(b) sexually moderate, who considered love as a

sufficient factor and long term commitment as

unnecessary; and (c) sexually liberal, who considered











love a desirable factor for having sex, but not a

necessary one. The major finding of their study was

that, regardless of the orientation of the couple

traditional sex role playing still existed in the

majority of the couples, and that there was no

significant difference among these groups. Several

other findings of this study, more directly related to

the meaning sex held its subjects, will be discussed

later in this review.

The findings of Peplau et al. (1977) were later

supported in a study conducted by LaPlante, McCormick and

Brannigan (1980). One of the three hypotheses they

tested was that students would stereotype resisting

sexual intercourse as a feminine activity and initiating

sexual intercourse as masculine. Their findings

indicated that the participants both supported and used

strategies considered stereotypic to their respective

gender.

In contrast, Finger (1975) found a significant

change in attitudes within the 30 year period of his

study. The number of college students who condoned

premarital intercourse changed from 51 percent in 1943

to 90 percent in 1973. He also notes the emergence of a

"sex as pleasure" attitude in 1967. As this might











indicate, Finger found a decrease in moral and religious

attitudes prohibiting premarital intercourse over the

time period studied.

While Finger (1975) examined the change in attitudes

over time and found that a greater incidence of

intercourse was associated with a change in values,

Istvan and Griffitt (1980) investigated the effects of

the level of sexual experience of men and women on their

evaluations of opposite-sex peers. They found that

one's own degree of sexual experience had a direct affect

on one's attitude about the desirability of others with

varying levels of sexual experience. Inexperienced men

and women and moderately experienced women did not rate

highly experienced opposite-sex peers as desirable.

Moderately experienced men and highly experienced men

and women rated all opposite-sex peers as equally

desirable.

While most researchers would agree that there have

been changes in sexual behavior, it has been more

difficult to assess whether there have been significant

changes in attitudes about sex. Perhaps, as suggested

by D'Emilio and Freedman (1988), the presently

established method of investigating sex through the

examination of attitudes and behaviors assumes too simple











and direct a relationship between one's beliefs and

one's actions. It is their contention that the meaning

of sexual experience must be taken into account in any

discussion of sexuality.


Theories and Research
on the Meaning of Sexual Experience


As early as 1970 Turner noted that "the sex act as

a physiological experience is subordinated to its

personal and social meaning" (p. 322). For Turner,

meaning defined experience, and the effects of sexual

relations depended on the meaning that people learned to

attach to sex, and not upon any natural or innate

significance.

Hessellund (1971) attempted to understand the

meaning of sex for men and women by looking at an

individual's motivation for engaging in sexual

intercourse. He reasoned that motivation for sex could

not simply be relief from physiological tension. If

this was so, he postulated, masturbation would suffice.

He also eliminated reproduction as a primary motivation

for intercourse and concluded that motivation for sexual

intercourse came chiefly from psychological sources. He

wrote: "Sex is supposed to mean different things for men

and women, but there is no acceptable evidence for inborn











biological differences. . This means that the point

of departure must be the psychological aspects of sexual

expression" (p. 263).

Gagnon and Simon (1973) also noted the importance

of studying meaning in order to understand the "why" of

sex. They state: "Rarely do we turn from a consideration

of the organs themselves to the source of meanings that

are attached to them . and the ways in which . .

activities are integrated into larger social scripts and

social arrangements where meaning and social behavior

come together to create sexual conduct" (p. 5). In

order to study meaning they made reference to the idea

of scripts which they applied explicitly to the area of

sexual behavior. They define sexual scripts as "involved

in learning the meaning of internal states, organizing

the sequence of specifically sexual acts, decoding novel

situations, setting limits on sexual responses, and

linking meaning from nonsexual areas of life to a

specifically sexual experience" (Gagnon and Simon, 1973,

p. 19).

In a follow-up article Gagnon (1977) identified the

components of the sexual script construct to include who

one has sex with, what one does sexually, when (age or

time of day), where, and why humans engage in approved











or disapproved sexual behaviors. In considering the

last component, the "why" of sexual behavior, Gagnon

lists the following reasons: having children, pleasure,

lust, fun, passion, love, variety, intimacy, rebellion,

degradation, instinct/needs, exploitation, relaxation,

achievement and service. With the exception of the

first, having children, all pertain to psychological

factors and, hence, meaning.

In a previously cited study Finger (1975) examined

the attitudes and behavior of male college students over

a 30 year period. He noted that divergent behavior

sometimes indicated similar underlying meanings.

Individuals who engaged in premarital sex viewed it as

an opportunity to enhance sexual skills and

compatibility, and as a means by which to increase the

likelihood for a successful marriage. The same reason

was given by those who abstained from premarital sex;

specifically, that this behavior increased respect and

trust. Although religious and moral reasons were

important in the early (1943) phase, almost no such

reasons were mentioned in the later (1967) phase.

Gecas and Libby (1976) attempted to identify sexual

meaning by looking at sexual symbolism. They

conceptualized sexual experience through the constructs










of symbolic interaction and hypothesized that sexual

symbolism creates sexual experience. The authors

identified four codes of sexual behavior in contemporary

American society. These included (a) the romantic code,

which emphasized the value of love; (b) the traditional

code, where sex outside of marriage is considered sinful;

(c) the recreational code, which identifies sex as

pleasure; and (d) the utilitarian code which "views sex

as a means to some other end [and is] used to gain money

(as in prostitution), or power (as in certain types of

heterosexual bargaining) or prestige (status in one's

peer group)" (p. 38).

The interpersonal meaning of sexual experience as a

factor in understanding sexual dysfunction was looked at

by Kaufman and Krupka (1973). In reporting on a sexual

therapy group at Michigan State University they presented

a number of interpersonal processes which, they believed,

contributed to sexual dysfunction. These included

(a) the early deprivation of one's need for affection,

which results in the sexualization of the need for

intimacy and confusion between sexual and affectionate

needs; (b) guilt, where parents did not give their

opposite-sex children permission to seek sexual

gratification, and sex takes on a moral meaning; (c)











power struggles, where winning or being "right" becomes

more important than being close; (d) hostility,

identified as unexpressed anger or rage, which can lead

to impotence, avoidance of sex, lack of orgasm, or a

retreat into helplessness; (e) expectation, where a

competency meaning of sexual experience can lead to

debilitating anxiety; and (f) adequacy and potency, both

related to expectations, which may lead to a fear of

reprisals. These categories highlight different meanings

of sexuality such as affiliation, morality, and

dominance. When overemphasized, they were considered to

contribute to sexual dysfunction.

Libby and Strauss (1980) surveyed past studies that

attempted to link sexual arousal with aggression and

noted that the results were conflicting. They

hypothesized that contradictions among the studies could

be explained by the failure of these studies to consider

the subjective meaning of sexual acts. Referring to the

work of Gagnon and Simon (1973) and Gecas and Libby (1976)

they noted that "the symbolic meaning of sex must be

considered to predict whether sexual activity will result

in more or less aggression or violence. This plausible

view has not been tested in research to date" (p. 137).











In order to test their hypothesis they considered

two separate meanings of sexual activity: (1) dominant

sex, where traditional men compete against other men for

the sexual favors of a given person, and (2) affectionate

sex, which is caring, loving sex, and usually associated

with women. If sex connoted an act of male dominance,

then sexual activity would be associated with the

aggression and violence which typically accompany

dominance. If, however, sex connoted an act of human

warmth, then sexual activity would be associated with

nonviolence. The results of their study showed the

anticipated tendency for those high in interpersonally

warm sex to be low in aggression and violence, and were

therefore able to identify the meaning of sex to be a

moderating variable.

Several other investigators have examined

personality, motivational and emotional variables as

they relate to current sexual behaviors and attitudes.

A study conducted by Hobart (1958) examined sex

differences related to love and suggested that males

were more romantically inclined than females in paired

relationships. Kanin, Davidson, and Scheck (1970)

disputed this finding. They found that, although males

tended to experience being "in love" earlier in











relationships, women more often perceived sexual

relationships as a romantic experience.

Many other efforts were made in an attempt to assess

male-female differences in the meaning of sex. At the

turn of the century Havelock Ellis (1936, 1942) theorized

that the sexual emotions of females are more closely

associated with the level of the relationship than those

of males. He wrote, "The masculine tendency is to delight

in dominance; the female tendency is to delight in

submission" (Ellis, 1942, p. 82). Reik (1960) contends

that those who analyze heterosexual relations often fail

to distinguish needs for affection from needs for physical

sex. He postulated that the meaning of sexual experience

for men involves a strong sexual desire, while women

have a stronger need for affection. He stated that "The

sexual urge of the male has an aggressive and even

sadistic character, and the wish to intrude the female

body amounts to a kind of forceful incursion" (p. 118).

Morris (1978) suggested that women had a stronger

commitment to the relational aspects of sex, while males

focused on its recreational aspects.

Nearly all of the above studies suggest that sexual

meaning for men is more closely associated with

dominance, achievement and eroticism, while women find











meaning in romance and affection. Seguschi, Schmidt,

Reinfeld, and Widemann-Sutor (1970) add an interesting

note to this discussion. They presented sexually oriented

slides to 50 male and 50 female subjects in order to

elicit ratings of sexual arousal and

favorableness/unfavorableness. As expected, women tended

to react less favorably and report less arousal than men

when viewing sexually explicit slides, but judged slides

of romantic content more favorable and equally arousing

(as compared with sexually explicit slides) when compared

to men. In follow-up interviews with the subjects some

interesting data emerged. Their conclusion is worthy of

note:


Contrary to the sex-specific differences
evident in emotional reactions, there do not
seem to be significant differences with regard
to the sexual-physiological reactions and the
sexual behavior after the experiment. Women
reported, almost as often as men, physiological
reactions in the genital area and activation
of sexual behavior after the experiment. (p.
22)


In the previously cited study by Hessellund (1971)

he concludes "there is a great difference in the meaning

of sex for young men and women" (p. 272). In assessing

first coital experiences he was able to further support

the contention that men were more achievement-oriented











than women, and that women tended to emphasize relational

aspects more than men. Women were concerned about their

ability to bring emotional warmth to the relationship

while men tended to emphasize the technical aspects of

the coital experience and felt that their self-image

would be affected positively by their ability to perform

adequately.

Pleck (1976), who has written extensively on male

sex roles, adds some clarity to the discussion of

achievement and affection for males in sexual

relationships. He identified two fundamental themes for

males: (1) stress on achievement, and (2) suppression of

affect. He notes that this is a difficult area to study

as the male sex role is somewhat in transition from the

traditional dominant male "who expects women to

acknowledge and defer to his authority" (p. 157), to the

modern male "who expects companionship and intimacy in

his relationships with women" (p. 157). He further

comments, however, that although this transition appears

to be desirable, it is not without cost. He argues that

these changes have led to performance anxiety and the

concept of frigidity in order to blame women for any

lack of sexual satisfaction.










Gross (1978) took this argument one step further.

In his conclusion he argued that


. many of the influences emanating from a
restrictive sex-type socialization process are
maladaptive, and . that recent shifts away
from the traditional "sexual animal" stereotype
toward a modern "competent lover" image are
largely surface alterations, [and] that both
have their roots in the same learning process
with similar pernicious results. (p. 87)


Gross (1978) identified two important themes that

he considered central to the male sex role: (1) the

centrality of sexual behavior to male gender identity;

and (2) the relative isolation of sex from other aspects

of male heterosexual relationships. In attempting to

clarify the relationship between male sexual

behavior/attitudes and general facets of the male sex

role he identified several dimensions along which to

link them. These included (1) goals and success;

(2) control and power; and (3) aggression and violence.

Morality, religiosity, and conservatism have been

identified by a number of researchers as a key component

in understanding the meaning that sex holds for

individuals. The relationship between religiosity and

sexual behavior has been documented in a number of early

studies (Kinsey et al., 1948, 1953; Bell & Chaskes, 1970;

Ehrmann, 1959; Burgess & Wallin, 1953; Kanin & Howard,










1958). Similarly, the relationship between religiosity

and sexual attitudes was studied by Dedman (1959),

Cardwell (1969), Ruppel (1969), and Reiss (1967).

Although these studies utilized a variety of ways of

measuring religiosity and sexual standards, it can be

stated generally that religiosity has been found to be

inversely related to both the amount of premarital sexual

behavior and the degree of premarital permissiveness

(King, Abernathy, Robinson, & Balswick, 1976).

King et al. (1976) studied both behavior and

attitudes and their relationship to religiosity within

the same sample group. Unlike previous findings, they

found there to be no significant relationship between

religiosity and sexual behavior. One reason cited for

this discrepancy was that previous studies looked

primarily at church attendance in measuring religiosity

while this study considered a broader definition which

included measuring religious beliefs and attitudes.

Religiosity was, however, inversely correlated with

sexual attitudes, and more highly correlated among males

than females.

Joe, Brown, and Jones (1976) studied the relationship

of conservatism to amount of sexual experience. They

found that high conservative subjects most often cited











their belief that premarital intercourse was morally

wrong as a reason for not engaging in coital activities.

Highly conservative subjects also reported a lower

frequency and variety of sexual experiences when compared

with low conservative subjects.

Finally, sex guilt (guilt about sexually related

thoughts and behaviors) has also been addressed by a

number of researchers. Langston (1973) found that an

individual's sex guilt increased linearly as a function

of religious affiliations. Mosher and Cross (1971)

studied college students and found that high sex guilt was

associated with low sexual experience.

Propper and Brown (1986) studied sex guilt in college

females and its relationship to moral reasoning, sexual

experience, and decisions about sexual activity. Their

results indicate that women who tend to have high moral

reasoning experience more sex guilt than those who are

low on moral reasoning. They also tend to have less

sexual experience than their counterparts and make

decisions about sexual activity based on a fear of

experiencing sex guilt.

All of the above studies contribute to the

definition of meaning of sexual experience, although

little has been done to consolidate the various meanings











that people ascribe to sexual behavior. Heath (1978)

notes that few scientific studies of the psychological

meaning of sexuality have been published. He wrote:

"Not until researchers are willing to explore more

systematically and as conscientiously the subjective

psychological meaning of different sexual experiences

. . will we secure the information necessary to

understand more objectively the significance of sexuality

to the psychological health and continued maturity of a

person" (p. 475).

One effort to do this was undertaken by Nelson

(1978). He developed an instrument called The Sexual

Function Measure (SFM), which examined the reasons

subjects engaged in sexual relations. He established

five factors: Pleasure Stimulation; Conformity;

Acceptance, Personal Love and Affection; Power; and

Recognition/competition. His research was one of the

precursors to the work done by Grater and Dowling (1981,

unpublished) who attempted to quantify the interpersonal

meaning of sexual experience. The end product of their

research was the development of the Meaning of Sexual

Experience Questionnaire (MOSE), an instrument

specifically designed to quantify the meaning of sexual

experience for individuals. The MOSE and related










research appears to be the most direct attempt to

quantify the meaning of sexual experience to date.

Validity and reliability for the MOSE were established by

Bernstein (1982). His work resulted in the final version

of the MOSE, entitled the MOSE III.

The MOSE III consists of five scales that measure

the meaning of sexual experience. Each scale consists

of adjectives which describe a particular dimension of

the meaning of sexual experience. The five scales are

as follows: Affiliation, Inadequate/undesirable,

Achievement, Moral, and Erotic/dominance. A detailed

description of the reliability and validity of each

scale can be found in Chapter 2 of this study.

An individual who finds the adjectives included in

the Affiliation scale as descriptive of the meaning of

sexual experience would appear to perceive sexual

experience as a positive interpersonal relationship.

This scale includes eleven adjectives: caring, warm,

kind, loving, sincere, affectionate, intimate, trusting,

gentle and mature.

The Inadequate/undesirable scale includes such

adjectives as distant, resentful, evasive, flat,

inhibited awkward, remote, disagreeable, and inept. An

individual finding these adjectives descriptives would











be experiencing sexual experience in a negative way, and

would have great difficulty in establishing close,

intimate relationships as the sexual aspects of those

relationships would more likely lead to distancing than

intimacy.

The Achievement scale includes such adjectives as

victorious, daring, assertive, successful, and capable.

Taken out of context, these adjectives might be thought

to describe a great athlete or successful businessman.

In the context of the meaning of sexual experience an

individual finding these adjectives would be said to

perceive sex as a competitive interpersonal encounter.

The Moral scale includes nine adjectives: proper,

moral, pure, dignified, clean, correct, righteous,

honorable, and virtuous. It conveys a person who

apprehends sexual experience in a very reserved, almost

religious, fashion.

The final scale, Erotic/Dominance, is characterized

by such adjectives as hot, erotic, titillating,

aggressive, and demanding. An individual finding these

adjectives descriptive of the meaning of sexual

experience would consider sex to be a highly sensual and

emotional experience. The dominance portion of this

scale is distinguished from the Achievement scale in











that it is related to sexual pleasure, whereas dominance

in the achievement scale is related to winning.

Since the development of the MOSE III it has been

applied to a variety of studies compared the difference

in the meaning of sexual experience between men and

women, virgins and non-virgins, and heterosexual and

homosexual men. Correlation studies were also conducted

to assess the relationship between the meaning of sexual

experience and sexual fantasies and sex-role orientation.

The following studies bear direct relevance to this

effort.

As a part of his initial study Bernstein (1982)

assessed sex differences in ratings on each of the

MOSE III scales and found that males scored significantly

higher on the Achievement and Erotic/dominance scales

while women scored higher on the Affiliation and Moral

scales. Thus, sexual experience for men seemed to be

related to a more highly eroticized, achievement-oriented,

physical meaning, while the meaning of sexual experience

for women was more closely identified within a positive

interpersonal relationship. Women also tended to be

more morally bound than men.

In a follow-up study, Garrison (1984) tested to see

whether the sex role of the subject was a significant










variable to be studied which might account for some of

the differences found in Bernstein's (1982) study. He

examined the relationship between sex role and gender of

the subject, both of which served as independent

variables, and meaning of sexual experience, which was

the dependent variable. The Bem Sex Role Inventory

(BSRI), gender, and MOSE III were analyzed using a

multivariate procedure. No interaction was established

between sex role and meaning. In considering gender

differences, however, significant differences were found

on two of the MOSE III dimensions, Inadequate/undesir-

able, and Moral, with males scoring significantly higher

on both dimensions. This was not consistent with

Bernstein's (1982) findings. This appears particularly

significant given that methodology and demographics in

both studies were not significantly different, and that

the studies were completed within one year of each other.

As previously mentioned, both Bernstein (1982) and

Garrison (1984) cautioned that other factors may have

served to confound their results. The factor most often

cited as not considered was amount of sexual experience.

This led the researchers to ask the question: Is the

amount of sexual experience a significant factor to be











considered in assessing the difference in the meaning of

sexual experience for men and women.

Sexual experience can be defined in several ways.

"Petting," "heavy petting," masturbation, oral sex, anal

sex and coitus are some of the terms and behaviors to be

considered in assessing degree or amount of sexual

experience. In all of the previously cited studies that

assessed changes in sexual behavior among college

students, experience was defined predominantly by

measures of sexual intercourse. Although this seems to

be the most easily defined behavior that can be measured

in assessing whether differences in amounts of sexual

experience among individuals affect the meaning that

sexual experience holds for them, it may be somewhat

misleading. For example, even though the amount of

intercourse may be the same for any two individuals, the

difference in the meaning of sexual experience between

these individuals may vary considerably. Sex guilt, sex

roles, and self-perception may vary considerably based

on the number of sexual partners a person has (Coles &

Stokes, 1985). It therefore appears essential to

consider the number of sexual partners a person has as a

primary variable in measuring sexual experience.











The intent of this study was to assess whether the

amount of sexual experience a person has is a significant

variable to be considered in understanding the differences

in the meaning of sexual experience among individuals.

In part, this study was a replication of the earlier

works of Bernstein (1982) and Garrison (1984), both of

whom investigated differences in the meaning of sexual

experiences for men and women. For the purpose of this

study, sexual experience was defined in three ways: (1)

amount of sexual intercourse; (2) number of sexual

partners; and (3) a combination of both amount of sexual

intercourse and number of sexual partners. The MOSE III

was used as a measure of the meaning of sexual experience.

3Both sex differences in the meaning of sexual experience

and the effect of sexual experience on sexual meaning

were tested against the null hypothesis.


Hypotheses


1. There will be no significant relationship

in the self-reported ratings between men

and women on each of the five scales of

the MOSE III (Affiliation, Inadequate/un-

desirable, Achievement, Moral and

Erotic/dominance).









44

2. There will be no significant relationship

in the self-reported ratings of

individuals on the five scales of the

MOSE III (Affiliation, Inadequate/un-

desirable, Achievement, Moral and

Erotic/dominance) and sexual experience

(number of sexual partners, amount of

sexual intercourse, and all interaction

variables).














CHAPTER 2
METHOD


Subjects


Subjects for the present study were obtained from

undergraduate psychology courses and residence halls at

the University of Florida. Demographic information

collected from the subjects included gender, age, and

sexual preference. Since the data analyzed did not

include the total sample, demographic information for

both the total sample and analyzed sample can be found

in Table 1.

Voluntary participation in the study was stressed.

Subjects were advised of their rights pursuant to state

and federal statutes and in accordance with American

Psychological Association guidelines.

Instruments

Both the Meaning of Sexual Experience Questionnaire,

Form III (MOSE III, Appendix A) and an Information

Questionnaire (Appendix B) were used in this study.

Following is a brief description of each of these

instruments.




















N

Age

Gender


Table 1

Demographic Information
for Total Sample and Analyzed Sample

Total Sample Analyzed Sample

255 181

19.23 19.37


Male

Female

Sexual Orientation

Heterosexual

Homosexual

Virginity

Virgin

Non-virgin


138

117


101

80


209

46


181

0


30

225


0

181


The MOSE III

This instrument lists a series of adjectives and

asks the subject to rate how accurately each adjective

describes the personal meaning of sex for the subject.

A seven-point scale, from "not descriptive" to "highly

descriptive," is used. Completion of the adjective list

results in a rating of the five MOSE III subscales

(Appendix C): (a) affiliation, which indicates a tender,










caring viewpoint of sex, and suggests that the subject

would tend to perceive sexual experience as a very

positive and meaningful experience; (b) inadequate/un-

desirable, which indicates a negative view of sexuality,

and suggests that the subject would have some difficulty

in establishing close intimate relationships and more

likely lead to distancing than intimacy; (c) achievement,

reflecting competition and competency issues, and suggests

an individual who perceives sexual experience as a

competitive encounter; (d) moral, which indicates an

ethical stance towards sex, and suggests an individual

who perceives sexual experience in a reserved, almost

religious fashion; and (e) erotic/dominance, which

includes sexually oriented adjectives, and suggests an

individual who would tend to perceive sexual experience

as highly physical and emotional, and directly related

to sexual pleasure.

Bernstein (1982) developed the MOSE III through a

series of four studies which incorporated the 84

adjectives identified by Grater and Downing (1981,

unpublished) in the MOSE II. These adjectives were

purported to pertain to the meaning dimensions of

morality, affiliation, pleasure, achievement, and

dominance. The MOSE II was administered to 255 college










students using a 7-point rating scale to rate each

adjective, in terms of the subject's meaning of sexual

experience, ranging from "never or almost never" (1) to

"always or almost always" (7). Several factor analyses

were performed on the data in order to determine:


S. the most meaningful factors both
statistically and conceptually. The criteria
levels for maintaining items were factor
ratings of at least .40 on one factor and less
than .30 on every other factor. In addition,
oblique factor rotation was permitted as long
as the correlation between factors was not
substantially greater than .30 for any two
factors. (Bernstein, 1982, p. 34)


A new list of adjectives was then constructed by

Bernstein (1982), retaining items from the MOSE II and

generating items that the author judged to be reflective

of the emerging factors. The MOSE III includes 70

adjectives, with a 7-point rating scale ranging from

"not at all descriptive" (1) to "completely descriptive"

(7) (i.e., of the meaning of the subject's sexual

experience). The MOSE III was administered to 326

college students and several factor analyses were run,

utilizing the same criteria levels that were mentioned

above for the MOSE II analysis. A total of five factors

emerged from the final analysis, with a total of 54

adjectives. A list of the adjectives contained within










each of the five factors can be found in Appendix C.

These factors include (1) affiliation; (2) inadequate/un-

desirable; (3) achievement; (4) moral; and

(5) erotic/dominance. In this case, an orthogonal

analysis was run, utilizing the criteria levels mentioned

for the MOSE II, to determine if the factors would meet

criteria with no intercorrelations. None of the

adjectives loaded on a different factor from the factor

on which they originally loaded in the oblique analysis.

Bernstein (1982) assessed the reliability of the

MOSE III by using Cronbach's (1951) coefficient alpha

(e.g., the average of all possible split-half reliability

coefficients). A criterion level of .70 was adopted, as

per Nunnally's (1978) suggestions. The alpha coefficients

for the five factors were as follows: (1) .91 for

affiliation; (2) .86 for inadequate/undesirable; (3) .84

for achievement; (4) .85 for moral; and (5) .69 for

erotic dominance. Several different approaches were

taken in order to assess the validity of the MOSE III.

The 70 adjectives were administered to 67 students, who

were asked to categorize the items in terms of "don't

understand at all," "have some idea," and "know what it

means." Of the 70 words, only two were categorized as

"don't understand at all" by more than two students (e.g.,










"amorous," "titillating"). This precluded definition

problems as possible threats to the validity of the MOSE

III. Content validity, according to Bernstein (1982)

was demonstrated by the selection of adjectives along

conceptual guidelines and by the successful prediction

of three out of the five hypothesized dimensions (e.g.,

affiliation, morality, and achievement). The other two

emergent factors (e.g., inadequate/undesirable and erotic

dominance) were seen as "conceptually cohesive" and,

therefore, also supportive of content and, partially,

construct validity. Nelson's (1978) previously reviewed

Sexual Functions Measure (SFM) was utilized to assess

the convergent validity of the MOSE III. A sample of 70

students (i.e., 33 females and 37 males) were administered

the SFM and the MOSE III, with predicted correlations

between the following factors on the instruments:

(1) "affiliation (MOSE III) with personal love and

affection" (SFM); (2) "achievement (MOSE III) with power,

recognition, and competition (SFM)"; and (3) "erotic

dominance (MOSE III) with pleasurable stimulation (SFM)"

(Bernstein, 1982, p. 53). The correlations were

significant for gender in some cases, but overall, only

weak support for the convergent validity of the MOSE III

was demonstrated.











Information Questionnaire

In addition to requesting demographic data, this

questionnaire was designed to answer two questions:

(a) with how many persons has the subject had a sexual

relation; and (b) how many times has the subject had

sexual intercourse. In order to control for random the

subject is asked a series of questions that prompt the

subject to recall each person with whom they have had

sexual intercourse, and to estimate the number of times

that they had intercourse with this person. The subject

is then asked to add both the number of persons with

whom they had sexual intercourse and the number of times

they had sexual intercourse.

A pilot study was undertaken in order to assess the

validity of this instrument. Ten subjects, five females

and five males, were randomly selected from a residence

hall activity group at the University of Florida. Each

subject was given the instrument to complete in the same

manner that was planned for this study. One month later

subjects were individually questioned by an impartial

examiner to assess whether their original responses to

the instrument were consistent with the responses given

to the examiner. The examiner was unaware of the

responses given on the paper and pencil administration.










Eight of the ten subjects reported the same number of

partners and same amount of intercourse. One of the

respondents was a virgin at the time of the first

administration and had since become involved in a sexual

relationship. Another subject was able to recall one

additional partner with whom they had sexual intercourse

on one occasion. It was therefore determined that this

instrument was reliable for the purpose of this study.


Procedure


Subjects were provided with a general explanation

of the purpose of the study, given a Statement of

Informed Consent (Appendix D), and instructed as to how

to complete both questionnaires. Subjects were also

provided with envelopes and instructed to place completed

questionnaires in the envelope, seal the envelope, and

return it to the examiner. Complete anonymity was

assured. A general explanation was provided for those

subjects who requested a definition of an adjective from

the MOSE III Questionnaire

A total of 287 sets of questionnaires were given

out. Of these, 255 were returned. Forty-six of the

respondents reported themselves to be homosexual, and

were eliminated from the study. Thirty subjects who









53

reported themselves to be virgins were also eliminated

from the study. It was felt that the meaning that

virgins would ascribe to sexual experience would not be

comparable with experience as measured in this study.

Twenty-seven additional subjects were also eliminated

from the study because of incomplete or improperly

completed questionnaires.














CHAPTER 3
RESULTS


A multiple regression analysis was used in order to

test the statistical hypothesis that there is no

significant relationship between each of the subscale

scores on the MOSE III and sex, number of partners, or

number of times a person had intercourse. In each case

a number of models were tested for each of the subscales

(affiliation, Inadequate/undesirable, achievement, moral,

and erotic/dominance) of the MOSE III. For each model

the dependent variable was the scores for the appropriate

scale on the MOSE III.

In these models the sex of the subject, the number

of sexual partners of the subject, and the number of

times a subject had had intercourse (hereafter referred

to as amount of intercourse) were used as independent

variables. In addition, four interaction variables were

computed in order to test for interaction between the

independent variables. These included the following:

1. sex x number of partners

2. sex x amount of intercourse

3. number of partners x amount of intercourse

54











4. sex x number of partners x amount of

intercourse.

All possible models were tested. Each of the

independent variables was used singly, and in combination

with each of the other independent variables. Models

were also used to test each of the three primary

independent variables with combinations of the interaction

variables. A total of fifteen different models were

tested for each of the independent variables.

The results included (a) the correlation between

each of the three independent variables and each of the

subscale scores; (b) statistics for the full models

(including the three independent variables and the four

interaction variables); and (c) statistics for the most

adequate models. The most adequate model is defined as

the strongest predictive capability as demonstrated by

the R-square as well as the efficiency of prediction as

expressed through the statistical significance of the

regression equation for each of the dependent variables.

Following is an analysis of the relationship between

each of the subscales of the MOSE III and the independent

variables of sex, number of partners, and amount of

intercourse. A summary of this analysis summarized in

Table 2.













Table Two


Affil

Inade


Correlations for Each of the MOSE III Scales
with the Independent Variables Tested

Number of Amou
Sex Partners Inte

iation .174* .090

auate/ -.032 .090


undesirable

Achievement

Moral

Erotic/
Dominance

*R < .05
**R < .01


-.146*

-.115

-.055


.198**

-.036

.227**


int of
course

088

111


194**

029

164*


Affiliation


The correlations for sex, number of partners and

amount of intercourse with the affiliation scores are

contained in Table 2. Of these, only sex (r = .17) is

statistically significant. The positive direction

indicates that females were higher on this subscale.

For the full model the R-square is .068 and is not

significant (F = 1.89, df = 7,181, R = .07). The only

significant independent variable is sex which has a











positive regression coefficient of 5.39 with a t. value

of 2.23, R = .03.

The most adequate model involves the three

independent variables and the interaction variable,

number of partners x amount of experience. In this

analysis the R-square = .062 (F = 3.04, df = 4,184,

p. = .02). In this case sex is significant (t = 2.20,

2. = .03) and positively related to affiliation scores.

Number of sexual partners is negatively related and

significant (t = -2.03, p = .04). The interaction of

number of partners x amount of experience is positively

related to affiliation but not significant (t = 1.28,

n.s.).


Inadequate/Undesirable


The correlations for sex, number of partners and

amount of intercourse with inadequate/undesirable scores

are also contained in Table 2. They are all small and

non-significant.

In the full model the R-square is equal to .039 (F

= 1.04, df = 7,181, n.s.).

The most adequate model includes only number of

partners and amount of intercourse as variables. For

this model R-square = .032 (F = 3.11, df = 2,186, p <










.05). The number of partners is positively associated

(t = 2.01, p < .05) and the amount of intercourse is

negatively associated and also significant (t = -2.16,

R = .03). This suggests that the higher the number of

partners, the higher the score on this subscale, and the

lower the amount of intercourse, the higher the score on

this subscale.


Achievement


The correlations for sex, number of partners and

amount of intercourse with the achievement scores are

contained in Table 2. All three correlations are

significant with sex correlating -.15 (p < .05), number

of partners correlating .20 (R < .01), and amount of

intercourse correlating .19 (p <.01).

The full model for the achievement scores produced

a highly significant R-square of .146 (F = 4.45, df =

4,181, p < .001). This suggests that the independent

variables in combination provide a highly significant

estimate of achievement scores. Of the independent

variables in this analysis, however, none were found to

be individually statistically significant predictors of

achievement scores. The only variable approaching

statistical significance was sex (t = -1.61, p = .11).










The negative direction of the relationship indicates

that, in general, males had higher achievement scores

than did females.

Of the models tested the most significant included

the three primary variables together with the interaction

term involving number of partners X amount of intercourse

(F = 7.19, df = 4,184, R < .001). The R-square for

this analysis was .135. In this analysis the regression

coefficient for each of the independent variables was

significant. As before, sex had a negative relationship

indicating higher achievement scores for males (t =-

2.07, p < .04). Number of partners was positively

associated with achievement scores with a t-value of

3.88 (p < .001). Amount of intercourse was also

positively associated with achievement scores (t = 2.94,

p <.01).

The interaction term (product of number of partners

and amount of intercourse), however, has a negative

regression coefficient (-.0005, t = -3.40, p < .001)

suggesting that for each of the two variables there is a

non-linear relationship to achievement scores.










Moral


The correlations for sex, number of partners and

amount of intercourse with moral scores are contained in

Table 2. None of these are statistically significant.

In the full model the R-square = .038 (F = 1.01,

df = 7,181, n.s.) indicating that there is very little

predictive power for all of the independent variables.

In considering all of the independent and interaction

variables individually, none were found to be

significant.

The most adequate model includes only sex. For

this model the R-square = .013 (F = 2.49, df 1,187,

R = .12). This is also not statistically significant.


Erotic/Dominance


The correlations for sex, number of partners and

amount of intercourse with erotic/dominance scores are

contained in Table 2. Both number of partners (r = .23)

and amount of intercourse (r = .16) are positive and

significant.

In the full model the R-square = .125 (F = 3.69,

df 7,181, p < .001). In this analysis none of the

variables are significant on their own.










Of the models tested the most significant included

the three primary variables together with an interaction

term involving number of partners x amount of

intercourse. The R-square for this analysis was

.122 (F = 6.37, df = 4,184, R < .001). Number of

partners is the most significant variable and is positive

(t = 4.31, R <.001). The interaction term is negative

and is also highly significant (t =-3.52, p < .001).

The amount of intercourse is also positive and

significant (t = 2.22, P = .03). Sex is not significant

(t = -.68, n.s.). This suggests that eroticism is best

predicted by the number of partners. It is also related

to a greater number of sexual experiences; however, the

negative interaction term indicates that the relationship

is not a multiplicative one, and that people with the

highest number of partners and amount of intercourse are

not necessarily those with the highest erotic scores.














CHAPTER 4
DISCUSSION


As presented in the literature review, an

understanding of the history of the meaning of sexuality

in America and of the societal forces affecting current

meaning is necessary in considering the results of this

study. The dominant meaning of sex in American society

has changed during American history from a primary

association with reproduction within families to a

primary association with intimacy and physical

pleasuring. D'Emilio & Freedman (1988) write:


In the colonial era, the dominant language of
sexuality was reproductive, and the appropriate
locus for sexual activity was in courtship or
marriage. In the nineteenth century, an
emergent middle class emphasized sexuality as
a means to personal intimacy. . Gradually,
commercial growth brought sex into the
marketplace. By the twentieth century, when
individuals had replaced the family as the
primary economic unit, the tie between sexuality
and reproduction weakened further. Influenced
by psychology as well as the growing power of
the media, both men and women began to adapt
personal happiness as the primary goal of
sexual relations. (p. xvi)


The late 1970s saw the effects of the marketing of

sex, lobbying by women and homosexuals for equality, and

62










new demographic patterns, all of which fostered

substantially altered sexual attitudes and behaviors.

The 1980s brought a backlash of conservatism that

challenged Americans to abandon the sexual permissiveness

of the prior two decades. Religious and political

traditionalists, distressed by the reorientation of

sexual values that occurred since the 1960s, mounted a

campaign to restore the country's sexual standards to a

more restrained, family-oriented, stance. Debates about

sex, rather than remaining the province of feminists and

gay liberationists, began to polarize American politics.

It is against this backdrop, and the more recent

controversies generated by the AIDS epidemic, that this

study was completed.

In part, this study was a replication of the earlier

works of Bernstein (1982) and Garrison (1984), both of

whom investigated differences in the meaning of sexual

experience for men and women. Methodology for this

study was modeled after the work of Bernstein and

Garrison, and the sample studied was similar in all

possible respects. In addition, this study investigated

the effects of objective sexual experience (number of

partners, amount of intercourse) on the subjective

meaning of sexual experience (scores on MOSE scales of










Affiliation, Inadequate/undesirable, Achievement, Moral,

and Erotic/dominance). In reviewing the results of this

study it would be helpful to refer to the list of

adjectives (Appendix C) contained within each of the

scales.

A multiple regression analysis was performed which

tested the relationship of the independent variables to

scores on each of the scales of the MOSE III. This

method of analysis was chosen in order to achieve the

strongest possible validity while controlling for each

independent variable singly, and in combination with

other independent variables.

The remainder of this chapter will explore five

topics. The first two are the variables sex and

experience. The final three sections will discuss

limitations of the study, implications for counseling,

and directions for future research.

It is important to note that the MOSE III was

designed to measure the degree to which each of the five

scales reflects the meaning of sexual experience for

that individual. There are no critical values nor are

there any assumptions that one meaning or combination of

meanings is better than any other. This factor must be

taken into consideration when looking at sex differences.













Sex

As discussed earlier, the sex differences found by

Bernstein (1982) were not supported by Garrison (1984).

Bernstein's findings that males scored significantly

higher on the Achievement and Erotic/dominance scales

and women scored higher on the Affiliation and Moral

scales were partially supported in the present study.

Garrison's findings, with males scoring higher on both

the Inadequate/undesirable and Moral scales, were not

supported.

In the present study sex was found to be significant

for two of the five variables, Affiliation and

Achievement. Females scored higher on the Affiliation

scale when tested singly, in the full model, and in the

most adequate model. Conversely, males scored higher on

the Achievement scale when tested singly, in the full

model, and in the most adequate model.

That females scored significantly higher on the

Affiliation scale lends support to the theoretical and

empirically derived contentions that women are more

interested in the emotional/relational aspects of sex.

This is compatible with Reik (1960), Morris (1978),











Kamin, Davidson & Schek (1978) all of whom identify a

stronger need for affection and romance in the sexual

relationships of women. It is not surprising that women

would continue to score highly on this dimension.

Although there has been significant change in women's

roles in the past twenty years (e.g., increased

opportunity for women to enter male-dominated

professions) there is little evidence to indicate that

they place less emphasis on traditional relationship

values.

Males' lower scores on this dimension may be

indicative of their suppression of affect, as noted by

Pleck (1976) or of Gross' (1978) contention that the

modern male image of a more affiliative, relationship-

oriented male is only a superficial alteration of the

traditional male sex role. Perhaps lower male scores

on Affiliation can be better understood when they are

examined in conjunction with the differences found

between male and female scores on the Achievement

dimension of the MOSE III.

A significant correlation was found between men and

Achievement. This indicates that when presented with

adjectives like victorious, mighty, capable, daring,

assertive and successful, men give stronger endorsement










to these as characteristic of their sexual activity than

do their female partners. This is not surprising as it

is a clear reflection of the role men take in both sexual

and business relations and can be seen as somewhat

incompatible with the Affiliation themes of loving,

caring, kind, sincere and gentle.

As described by Gagnon and Simon (1973), traditional

male sex roles identify males as the initiator in sexual

activity and as concerned with competence and achievement.

Hessellund (1971) points to men as more concerned with

adequate performance than emotional warmth when describing

their early coital experiences. These and the results

of other researchers (Kamin, Davidson & Scheck, 1970;

Morris, 1978; Pleck, 1976) are supported by the sex

differences found in this study.

On three dimensions of the MOSE III (Erotic/dom-

inance, Moral, Inadequate/undesirable) no differences were

found for sex. This indicates that men and women in the

study endorsed these characteristics equally; it does

not indicate that the subjects found these dimensions

irrelevant to their symbolic meaning of sex. For example,

men and women gave equivalent ratings to such adjectives

as forceful, aggressive, erotic and hot (Erotic/dominance











items) while, as previously noted, men gave stronger

responses to the Achievement items.


Experience


Both Bernstein (1982) and Garrison (1984) identified

sexual experience as a factor to be examined in future

work with the MOSE III. The results of this study point

to the importance of this variable in understanding the

meaning of the sexual experience. The independent

variables, amount of intercourse and number of partners,

were identified as distinct measures of experience in

pilot work completed prior to the start of this study.

The results of the present study indicate that amount of

intercourse and number of partners were significant

singly and in combination for several of the MOSE III

scales.

On the Affiliation dimension, the most adequate

model included the three independent variables and the

interaction, number of partners x amount of intercourse.

This model was found to be significant as was the number

of sexual partners. This indicates that as the number

of partners increased, there was less likelihood that

the subject endorsed items on the Affiliation scale.

The interaction of number of partners and amount of











experience was included in the most adequate model and

was positively related to affiliation. However, the

effects of this interaction did not reach significance.

On the dimension Inadequate/undesirable the most

adequate model included only the two experience

variables. Number of partners was positively associated

and amount of intercourse was negatively associated.

Both variables reached significance. The strength of

these results indicate that the type of sexual experience

influenced subjects' responses to such scale items as

resentful, inhibited, distrustful and inadequate.

Subjects with a greater number of partners tended to

attribute many negative meanings to the sexual

experience. However, those subjects with greater amounts

of intercourse did not endorse as many negative items as

those with less experience. This seeming contradiction

may be due to the possibility that subjects with many

partners may not have had the opportunity to develop

long-term sexual relationship with any one person and

thus remain uncomfortable with intercourse. Subjects

with greater amounts of intercourse are more likely to

have had extended relationship with one or more partners.

The significance of the experience variables was

evidenced again on the Achievement dimension. Number of











partners and amount of intercourse both correlated sig-

nificantly with the Achievement scale. In the most

adequate model both variables were positively associated

with achievement scores. The interaction term number

of partners x amount of intercourse had a significant

negative coefficient. This indicates that subjects who

are high both in number of partners and amount of

intercourse did not score significantly higher on the

Achievement dimension than subjects high on only one.

This may suggest that at a certain level of experience

the importance of the sexual experience as an achievement

declines.

The results on the Erotic/dominance scale were

similar to those found for achievement. Number of

partners had a significant positive correlation with

erotic/dominance scores and it was found to have a highly

significant positive coefficient in the most adequate

model. Amount of intercourse was also correlated

positively and had a significantly positive coefficient.

These findings indicate that subjects with either a

higher amount of intercourse or a high number of sexual

partners would strongly ascribe adjectives such as hot,

titillating, erotic and ecstatic to the meaning that sex

holds for them. Once again the interaction of number of











partners and amount of intercourse was significant and

negative. This indicates that the relationship between

the two experience variables is not a multiplicative

one, and suggests that subjects high on both are not

necessarily the highest scorers on the Erotic/dominance

scale.

There were no significant findings for the dependent

variable moral. This indicates that neither experience

variable nor any interaction of variables adequately

predicted scores on the moral dimension. These results

neither support nor refute Finger's (1975) belief that

there has been a decrease in the moral prohibition of

intercourse. They do indicate that experience (and sex,

as noted previously) is not a factor in subjects'

endorsement of such Moral items as proper, pure, clean

and virtuous.

In summary, both of the independent variables

(number of partners, amount of intercourse) used to

measure experience proved to be worthy of study. They

did not, however, hold equal weight in many instances,

thereby demonstrating the need to assess sexual experience

by measuring at least two different variables. Also

worthy of note is the interaction term number of partners

and amount of experience. In two cases where











significance was established when testing this interaction

term against a dependent variable the results equalled a

negative coefficient. This suggests that there are

significant differences in the kinds of variables used

to measure experience, It also suggests that a

preponderance of experience in both of the variables

studied would not necessarily indicate a higher score on

any scale than would any single experience variable.


Limitations of the Study


All of the conclusions that have been drawn from

the results of this study can be said to apply to a

heterosexual, non-virgin, college-age population. It is

not possible to determine, based on the sample studied,

whether the results can be generalized to other

populations, although this can be determined by future

empirical research.

The age of the sample studied is a particular

limitation that bears further discussion. Although all

of the subjects studied can be said to have had some

degree of sexual experience, that experience is

necessarily limited by age. Although marital status was

not assessed it might be assumed that the greater

majority of the sample studied was single given the age











of the sample. Other factors such as life experience,

work experience and increases in sexual experience over

time might yield different results. The sample studied

can be said to be at the beginning of their experience

in sexual relationships when compared with life

expectancy.


Implications


Although sex differences in the meaning of sexual

experience (where males scored higher on achievement and

females scored higher on affiliation) are consistent

with stereotypic sex roles, this finding should not be

taken for granted. Equally important, and somewhat

inconsistent with sex role stereotyping, was the lack

of significant differences in the three other dimensions

studied (Moral, Inadequate/undesirable and Erotic/

dominance). These findings support the clinical practice

of assessing differences on an individual basis without

prejudice. Although this a commonly held clinical stance

this study highlights the importance of extending this

practice when considering sexual meaning.

The results of this study indicate that experience

is a significant variable to be considered by the

researcher when assessing the difference in the meaning











of sexual experience for individuals. Experience itself

was shown to be made up of at least two factors. When

these factors were considered separate and distinct

variables, and when considered together as one, they

tended to yield different results. This should be taken

into account in any future research effort.

The results also support the contention that sexual

experience is an important factor to be considered by

the clinician in both counseling and clinical settings,

as it has a direct effect on the meaning that sexual

experience holds for individuals. It was also

demonstrated that the clinician should take care in the

way that experience is measured, as differing types of

experience can yield different results when assessing

the impact of sexual experience on individuals.

One further implication can be found in looking at

the interaction term which included both amount of

intercourse and number of sexual partners. It appears

that, when both of these factors are considered together,

relative meaning on at least two of the subscales

decreased in relation to those who scored high on either

measure of experience when considered independently. It

may be that these dimensions reflect sexual meaning for

the population sampled in the original creation of the











instrument, and that meaning may change to include other,

not yet identified, dimensions that would be conspicuous

in older, more experienced populations.


Directions for Future Research


The results of this study support the contention

that there is a difference in the meaning of sexual

experience between men and women, and that experience is

an important factor to be studied in order to better

understand differences in meaning. In that the MOSE III

has proven to be an important tool in helping assess

these differences, other researchers could study

differences in the meaning of sexual experience among

populations not covered by this study. These might

include single parents, homosexuals, discrete ethnic

groups and the elderly. Another effort which could add

significant knowledge to our understanding of sexuality

would be to attempt a longitudinal study that would

measure changes in meaning over time, as well as test

changes in sexual meaning against other variables such

as career experience, family, changes in marital status

or changes in socio-economic status. This would provide

a broader picture of whether these factors have an impact

on sexual meaning.











Finally, other researchers may wish to further

explore the establishment of other factors that may be

more meaningful for groups not yet researched. The

factors of Achievement, Inadequate/undesirable,

achievement, Moral, and Erotic/dominance should not be

considered as the only meaning of sexual experience.

Rather, the MOSE III should be considered as a first

attempt to measure sexual meaning. Its successful

application in clinical settings may prove a useful

tool for the population it was normed on. There may be

other refinements and changes that could be attempted in

order to develop similar instruments that can be applied

in a variety of settings with differing populations.












APPENDIX A
THE MEANING OF SEXUAL EXPERIENCE QUESTIONNAIRE
(Grater & Dowling, 1981)

Directions: Sexual experiences have various meanings
for different people. The unique meaning that sexual
experience has for you may be the result of your actual
experience with kissing, petting, intercourse, oral sex,
etc., or they may be the result of your thoughts,
fantasies, or reading about sexual experience.

On the following pages you will find a list of 70
adjectives. Indicate, by circling a number from 1 to 7,
how descriptive each of these adjectives is of your
personal meaning of sexual experience or, in other words,
what your sexual experience means to you.

Circle 1 if the adjective is NOT DESCRIPTIVE.
Circle 7 if the adjective is HIGHLY DESCRIPTIVE.

Use the numbers 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 if the adjective is
between being NOT DESCRIPTIVE and being HIGHLY
DESCRIPTIVE.

PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY ADJECTIVES UNMARKED.


NOT
DESCRIPTIVE


1. inept

2. honorable

3. masterful

4. titillating

5. demanding

6. muted

7. submissive

8. unselfish


HIGHLY
DESCRIPTIVE


1 2 3 4 5 6 7

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

















9.

10.

11.

12.

13.

14.

15.

16.

17.

18.

19.

20.

21.

22.

23.

24.

25.

26.

27.

28.

29.


dignified

remote

erotic

aggressive

frigid

victorious

futile

proper

hot

forceful

righteous

offensive

dominant

moral

clean

infantile

timid

affectionat

capable

uninhibited

distrustful


NOT
DESCRIPTIVE

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

e 1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2


1 2 3 4 5 6 7


HIGHLY
DESCRIPTIVE

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7


30. appropriate

















31.

32.

33.

34.

35.

36.

37.

38.

39.

40.

41.

42.

43.

44.

45.

46.

47.

48.

49.

50.


flat

potent

ecstatic

winning

distant

virtuous

inhibited

awkward

pure

outgoing

inadequate

correct

mighty

sincere

evasive

amorous

successful

fond

caring

exciting


NOT
DESCRIPTIVE

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2


HIGHLY
DESCRIPTIVE

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7


















51.

52.

53.

54.

55.

56.

57.

58.

59.

60.

61.

62.

63.

64.

65.

66.

67.

68.

69.


gentle

discrete

disagreeable

assertive

intimate

mature

daring

loving

imaginative

kind

undesirable

sensual

sacred

tactful

resentful

inventive

trusting

determined

serious


NOT
DESCRIPTIVE

1 2

1 2

e 1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2


1 2 3 4 5 6 7


HIGHLY
DESCRIPTIVE

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7

6 7


70. warm













APPENDIX B
THE MEANING OF SEXUAL EXPERIENCE
INFORMATION SHEET

Directions: Please answer each of the following questions
as accurately and as honestly as you can. Please do not
leave any questions unanswered.

1. Sex: Male__ Female__

2. Age____

3. Which of the following best describes your sexual
orientation?
a. heterosexual__
b. Homosexual__
c. Bisexual__
d. Asexual__
e. Other__
f. Do not prefer to answer__

4. Please circle the number between 1 and 7, with 1
being "inexperienced" and 7 being "very experienced,"
that you think best describes how sexually
experienced you consider yourself to be.

INEXPERIENCED EXPERIENCED

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

5. Have you ever had sexual intercourse? Yes No

6. If you answered yes to question # 5, how old were you
when you first had sexual intercourse? __ years old.

7. Do you remember the name of the person with whom you
first had sexual intercourse? Yes___ No If you
answered yes to this question, answer the following:
a. How long did you "go out" with this person?
weeks/months/years (circle one)
b. How many times did you have sexual intercourse
with this person in the course of a week___
month___ year___











c. How many times would you estimate that you had
sexual intercourse with this person throughout
the time you knew him/her? ___times.

8. Do you remember the name of the second person with
whom you had sexual intercourse? Yes___ No If
you answered yes to this question, answer the following:
a. How long did you "go out" with this person?
___weeks/months/years (circle one)
b. How many times did you have sexual intercourse
with this person in the course of a week___
month___ year___
c. How many times would you estimate that you had
sexual intercourse with this person throughout
the time you knew him/her? ___times.

9. Please complete the chart on the following page
according to the directions below:

Column One: List the initials of all the persons
you can remember with whom you have had sexual
intercourse. Be sure to include the first two partners
mentioned on the previous page. IF YOU CANNOT REMEMBER
THE PERSON'S NAME INDICATE SO BY THE LETTER"X". Be sure
to include all instances you can remember.

Column Two: For each person in Column One list the
length of time that you were sexually active (i.e. having
sexual intercourse) with this person. Be sure to
indicate whether you are reporting days, weeks, months
or years.

Column Three: For each person listed in Column
One, list the total number of times that you have had
sexual intercourse with this person.
If you are not sure of this number you may estimate
it by multiplying the approximate number of times that
you had sexual intercourse with this person in the course
of a week or month or year by the length of time that
you were sexually active with this person.
For example, if you estimated that you had sexual
intercourse three times a week and you were sexually
active with this person for one-half year, you could
estimate that you had sexual intercourse approximately
78 times (three times a week multiplied by 26 weeks
equals 78 times).
Put this final number in Column Three.











COLUMN ONE
person's
initials)


COLUMN TWO
(time sexually
active)


COLUMN THREE
(total #
of times)


If you need more room continue on the back of this page.
If you are finished with this section, go on to question
10.

10. Please indicate the number of persons with whom you
have had sexual intercourse. This is the same as the
total number of persons listed in Column One.
persons.

11. How many times would you estimate that you have had
sexual intercourse in your lifetime? This is the same
as the total of all the numbers listed in Column Three.
___times.

PLEASE PLACE THIS SURVEY IN THE ENVELOPE PROVIDED, SEAL
IT, AND RETURN IT AS INSTRUCTED.


Thank you.












APPENDIX C
ADJECTIVES FOUND ON THE MOSE III


Affiliation

caring

warm

kind

loving

sincere

gentle

fond

affectionate

intimate

trusting

mature


Inadequate/
Undesirable

distant

resentful

evasive

futile

flat

inhibited

awkward

timid

frigid

inept

remote

disagreeable

infantile

distrustful

inadequate

undesirable


Achievement

daring

imaginative

inventive

victorious

mighty

determined

outgoing

winning

assertive

successful

capable


Moral

proper

moral

pure

dignified

clean

correct

righteous

honorable

virtuous


Erotic/
Dominant

hot

forceful

titillating

erotic

aggressive

demanding

ecstatic













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