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Desired and Experienced Levels of Premarital Affection and Sexual Intercourse during Dating

Marita P. McCabe
The Journal of Sex Research
Vol. 23, No. 1 (Feb., 1987), pp. 23-33
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3812539
Page Count: 11
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Desired and Experienced Levels of Premarital Affection and Sexual Intercourse during Dating
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Abstract

Attitudes toward and experience of sexual intercourse among young people during dating stages were investigated. The proportion of young Australian adults who desired intercourse, who had experienced intercourse, who had both desired and experienced intercourse, or who neither wanted to nor had experienced intercourse at various stages of dating was studied. The type of relationship within which intercourse occurred was also investigated by considering the affectional aspects of dating. Desire for and experience of high levels of caring, commitment, sincerity, and other measures of interpersonal involvement were determined. The sample consisted of 1,637 young people between 16 and 25 years of age, drawn from a wide range of backgrounds. More men than women both desired and had experienced sexual intercourse. At any particular stage of dating, the desired level of intercourse for men was more than actual experience. With increasing involvement in the dating relationship and with increasing age, more men and women both desired and had experienced intercourse. There were no sex or age trends in either desired or experienced level of affection during dating. However, levels of affection increased with increasing involvement in the relationship. Most men desire and experience sexual intercourse within a caring relationship. Most women, however, enjoy sexual intercourse only when there is a greater level of commitment within the relationship.

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