Gender differences regarding preferences for specific heterosexual practices

Daniel M. Purnine, Michael P. Carey, Randall S. Jorgensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Few investigations of sexual attitudes have restricted their focus to individuals’ preferences for specific behaviors within a heterosexual relationship. None have examined gender differences in a broad and multidimensional array of such behavioral particulars. As part of an effort to develop a measure of preferred scripts in heterosexual couples, 258 men and women reported how much they agreed or disagreed with 74 statements of preference. A reduced and factor analyzed questionnaire included 38 items and was administered to a second sample (N = 228). Results offer qualified support that, compared to women, men are more erotophilic and show a stronger preference for incorporating erotic materials as well as drugs and alcohol into sexual relations with their partner. These results were more robust in the second sample, in which almost half of the subjects were tested in same-sex groups. Across both samples, women showed stronger preferences for activities reflecting romanticism. No gender differences were evident in sexual conventionality or in preference regarding the general use of contraceptives. However, results suggest that both sexes respond more favorably to a partner-focused or unspecified contraceptive method than to a selffocused method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-287
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Sex and Marital Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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