Sex drive, sexual attitudes and sexual behaviors

Jennifer M Ostovich, University of Pennsylvania


The purpose of the work reported here was to test hypotheses about the relations among sex drive, sexual attitudes, sexual behaviors, and sexual development. In Study 1, I establish the validity and reliability of a brief (4-item) measure of sex drive. In Study 2, I replicate Kinsey et al.'s (1948; 1953) finding that early-puberty men have a stronger sex drive and engage in a higher frequency of sexual behaviors than do later-puberty men, but that timing of puberty is unrelated to these variables for women. I extend these findings to timing of first experience of sexual arousal (“arousal”): earlier first arousal was associated with having a higher sex drive, more positive attitudes towards casual sex (i.e., a less restricted sociosexual orientation), and with having had more sexual partners than was later first arousal for both genders. Finally, first arousal, but not timing of puberty, was related to sexual orientation for women only. I discuss classes of explanations for these results. In Studies 3 and 4, I examine relations among sex drive, sociosexuality, lifetime number of sex partners, gender identity, and self-control. Sex drive was moderately to highly correlated with sociosexuality (the higher the sex drive, the more likely were men and women to endorse engagement in casual sex), and both sex drive and sociosexuality are correlated with lifetime number of sex partners. Partial correlations revealed that sociosexuality was an independent predictor of lifetime number of sex partners, whereas sex drive was not. I replicate and extend, as well, Mikach and Bailey's (1999) finding that gender identity is related to women's lifetime number of sex partners. More masculine women had more sex partners and had a less restricted sociosexual orientation than did less masculine women; less masculine men had a higher sex drive than did more masculine men. Finally, I explore the possibility that sex drive, sociosexuality, and lifetime number of sex partners are related to self-control. Women's sex drive was significantly correlated with self-control, and their lifetime number of sex partners was marginally correlated with self-control; men's sociosexuality was significantly correlated with self control. I discuss these findings with regard to theory and research on sex drive and sociosexuality.

Subject Area

Social psychology

Recommended Citation

Ostovich, Jennifer M, "Sex drive, sexual attitudes and sexual behaviors" (2005). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3165740.