This study examined whether gender roles, particularly male role beliefs and sexism, may underlie self-reported attitudes toward and participation in casual sex and intoxication prior to sexual contact in a sample of heterosexual undergraduate men from the United States. We utilized online survey methods to examine whether men’s (N = 223 from a large mid-Atlantic University) endorsement of traditional masculinity (power and status, toughness, and anti-femininity) and sexist attitudes regarding women’s roles (hostile, benevolent) were related to engagement in casual sex (i.e., number of one-time-only sex partners), and whether masculinity was related to intoxicated sexual contact (i.e., propensity to consume alcohol prior to sexual contact). Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) revealed that, as expected, endorsement of the toughness male role norm was positively associated with favorable attitudes toward casual sex, and endorsement of benevolent sexism was negatively associated with favorable attitudes toward casual sex. Favorable attitudes toward casual sex, in turn, were positively associated with men’s reported number of casual sex partners, as partially mediated by intoxicated sexual contact. Further, toughness endorsement was positively associated with number of casual sex partners via its positive association with intoxicated sexual contact; whereas power and status demonstrated the opposite, negative pattern. We discuss the contribution of this research to the broader literature on gender roles and sexual behavior and the utility of the findings for interventions aimed at reducing men’s casual sex behavior and intoxication prior to sexual contact.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Gender Studies
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology