The Behavioral Definitions of "having Sex with a Man" and "having Sex with a Woman" Identified by Women Who Have Engaged in Sexual Activity with Both Men and Women

Vanessa R. Schick, Joshua G. Rosenberger, Debby Herbenick, Erika Collazo, Stephanie A. Sanders, Michael Reece

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

A sizable minority of women report lifetime sexual behavior with both men and women. In the present study, a multinational sample of women who reported genital contact with at least one man and one woman in their lifetime (N = 2,751) were asked to provide their behavioral definitions of "having sex with a woman" and "having sex with a man." Replicating previous research, participants were asked "Would you say you 'had sex' with a woman/man if the most intimate behavior you engaged in with her/him was ." followed by a list of behaviors that differed based on the hypothetical partner gender. While most participants indicated that they would consider "having had sex" if they engaged in a variety of behaviors, behaviors involving genital contact were most often included within the participants' definitions of having sex, regardless of partner gender. The percentage of behaviors included in the participants' definitions of having sex with a woman (M= 59.40%, SD = 20.77%) was higher than the percentage of behaviors included in their definition of having sex with a man (M = 37.26%, SD = 28.97%). Broadening our understanding of "having sex" for individuals with diverse sexual experiences may have important implications for clinicians and researchers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)578-587
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Sex Research
Volume53
Issue number4-5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 3 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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

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