Perceptions of sexual coercion in heterosexual dating relationships: The role of aggressor gender and tactics

Debra L. Oswald, Brenda L. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Scopus citations

Abstract

A large body of research has found a concerning prevalence rate of sexual coercion in heterosexual college student dating relationships; however, little research has examined how college students perceive and interpret these behaviors. In this study we examined the impact of initiator gender and sexually coercive strategy (verbal pressure, purposeful intoxication, physical force, or control/mutual consent) on perceptions of the aggressor, victim, behavior, and relationship quality. Results indicated that men who coerce are viewed as aggressive; women who coerce are viewed as promiscuous. Targets of sexual coercion are not perceived as experiencing high levels of victimization following the incident. These findings suggest that college students do not perceive sexually coercive behaviors to be highly problematic. The results are discussed in terms of gender roles and practical implications for college student relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-95
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Sex Research
Volume43
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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