Sexuality, love, and mate selection: an attitudinal study

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Title: Sexuality, love, and mate selection: an attitudinal study
Author: Lacey, Rachel Saul
Abstract: Sexuality is a topic that captures the interest of the American public . Sexuality could be seen as having different dimensions , and for this study the one aspect of sexuality that will be studied focuses on sexual attitudes involving moral issues . Research in this area that focuses on young adults is important . As young adults enter college , they begin to form serious relationships that could lead to marriage . In forming these serious relationships , people make choices regarding sexuality , attraction , and love . Indeed , 90 % of the population will choose a mate (Buss & Barnes , 1986 ) . The median age of marriage for men and women is in their twenties (Surra , 1990 ) . Many young adults in their twenties are in college when they begin making serious life decisions in reference to romantic relationships . Sexual attitudes are one characteristic that may affect relationship choices during the college years . Most people choose a life partner that they love and are attracted to , but do their sexual attitudes affect these choices ? It is important to point out that there is conflicting evidence as to whether people's behavior and attitudes are congruent . For the current study , the focus is on attitudes and it will be assumed that attitudes and behavior are relatively consistent . The rationale for attitudes and behaviors being similar comes from the research of Michael , Gagnon , Laumann , and Kolata (1994 ) who conducted a national sex survey in which the results indicated that "Membership in a particular attitudinal group is closely associated with what their sexual practices are" (p .240 ) . Also , a meta -analysis of the correlation between attitude and behavior examining approximately 100 studies over a range of domams found an average correlation of .38 (Kraus , 1995 ) . Although .38 is far from the theoretical maximum of 1 .00 , it is relatively high when one considers all the factors that contribute to behavior and the size of other correlations in the literature . The present study is approached from the viewpoint that since the majority of young adults act in ways that reflect their sexual attitudes , and these attitudes contribute to serious life decisions regarding mate selection , then such attitudes could logically affect how and whom they choose to love . While much of the research on sexuality has been dedicated to studying sexual behaviors and attitudes surrounding the act of sex (e .g . , contraception ) , relatively less is known about general attitudes related to sexuality (e .g . , abortion , pornography ) . Sexual attitudes that incorporate values and moral attitudes are essential in gaining more of an overall understanding of how attraction and love are linked to sexuality . This study will seek to add valuable information to existing literature concerning sexual attitudes of college students , but will further examine the relationship of sexual attitudes to attraction and love styles .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /8385
Date: 1999-08

Citation

Sexuality, love, and mate selection: an attitudinal study. Master's thesis, Texas Tech University. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /8385 .

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