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DeLamater & HasdayPage 26

male as the initiator of sexual activity and the female as the object of male advances; thus, males engage in more sexual activity. Additionally, women tend to place more importance on the interpersonal as opposed to sexual aspect of relationships, which has been offered as an explanation for research showing women to be less permissive regarding premarital and extramarital sex but more tolerant of homosexuality than men (Treas, 2002).

Recent trends, however, suggest that traditional norms of female sexuality are changing. People of both sexes, especially those who are younger and more educated, are becoming more accepting of premarital sex for women (Treas, 2002). A review of 30 studies found that the double standard still exists but is influenced by situational and interpersonal factors, and that it differs across ethnic and cultural groups (Crawford & Popp, 2003). According to Risman and Schwartz, American college women find premarital sex equally acceptable for men and women in the context of relationships, and equally unacceptable for both sexes outside of relationships.

Social Class

Using education as the measure of class, research in the United States reports differences in sexuality by class (Laumann, et al., 1994).  Education is positively related to both frequency of masturbation and frequency of orgasm from masturbation, among both men and women.  Education is also positively associated with whether persons engage in active and receptive oral sex; men and women with advanced degrees are much more likely to have engaged in both than men and women who did not finish high school.  There is a weaker relationship between education and participation in anal intercourse.  Thus, greater education is associated with greater variety of sexual practices. It is also associated with greater acceptance of varieties of sexual behavior in others, although the gap between those with less education and those with more has declined between 1972 and 1998, as the less educated become less disapproving of

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