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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.3/151163
- Young women, desire and heteronormativity: the relationship between sexual experience and the sexual double standard
- Louth, Meg; Dempsey, Deborah
- Scholars continue to observe that gender structures young heterosexual people‘s sexuality in distinctively masculine and feminine ways. A sexual double standard continues to place limits on acceptable behaviour for young women. This qualitative research study, based on in-depth interviews with young women aged 22-31, sought their perceptions of how accumulated sexual experience mediates the sexual double standard and to what extent they believe it influences their sense of sexual agency, pleasure and desire. This group of 'older‘ young heterosexual women has been underrepresented in sexuality research to date. Above all, the research found that participants‘ experiences of sex were complex and contradictory. Accumulated sexual experience had a positive influence on participants‘ capacity to express desire and seek pleasure in their sexual encounters, in the context of masturbation, casual sex and long-term relationships. However, there was also evidence that heteronormative discourses and practices emphasising the relative passivity of women, particularly when it comes to initiating sex or relationships, continue to be influential beyond adolescence.
- Publication type
- Conference paper
- Research centre
- Swinburne University of Technology
- Paper presented at 'Social Causes, Private Lives', the Annual Conference of the Australian Sociological Association (TASA 2010), Sydney, Australia, 06-09 December 2010
- Publication year
- The Australian Sociological Association
- Publisher URL
- Copyright © 2010 Meg Louth and Deborah Dempsey.