Although college hookups are typically enjoyable for both men and women, heterosexual hookups often involve inequitable power dynamics that privilege men (e.g., women perform sexual acts to please partners and/or succumb to pressure for intercourse). Some scholars have attributed this power imbalance to the traditional double standard. However, recent studies have indicated college students typically endorse egalitarian standards—and some endorse a reverse double standard in which they negatively judge men more than women for engaging in the same sexual behavior.
Using Online College Social Life Survey data (N = 11,077) I examined relationships between endorsement of double standards and power in hookups. Because contemporary students often believe double standards exist in society but not in their own minds, I also examined relationships between feeling negatively judged for hooking up and power.
Most respondents endorsed egalitarian standards, but women were more likely than men to feel judged for hooking up. Feeling judged was a significant predictor of power disadvantages for women and men; endorsing a double standard disparaging one’s own gender was significant among men.
Findings suggest contemporary relevance of the traditional double standard and highlight differences between women’s and men’s endorsement of double standards disparaging their own gender.
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By: Heather Hensman Kettreya*
- a Peabody Research Institute, Vanderbilt University
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