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DeLamater & HasdayPage 27

minority sexual practices like homosexuality (Treas, 2002).


In the United States, as in many other societies, race/ethnicity is associated with social class. Members of racial and ethnic minority groups disproportionately are found among the poorer and less educated members of society.  Variations in sexual behavior across these groups are the result of differing cultural heritages, as well as differences in current economic and social conditions.  Thus, it is difficult to clearly attribute the source of observed differences.

African Americans  Black men and women are much less likely to report masturbation in the past year, compared to members of other groups.  They are also less likely to report having engaged in active oral sex.  These may reflect differences in religious traditions.  Black men and women are twice as likely as whites to remain single at ages 30 to 34.  This reflects in part the gender ratio among African Americans; there are only 84 men for every 100 women.  It also reflects the obstacles that Black men encounter in seeking and keeping employment that provides enough income to support a family.  Finally, Blacks are twice as likely as whites to report two sexual partners in the preceding year, which may reflect the larger percent who are single.

Interesting data on differences in sexual expression by race/ethnicity are reported from the Chicago Health and Social Life Survey (Laumann, et al., 2004).  Using a combination of sample surveys, key informant interviews and ethnographic data, a nuanced analysis is provided of four neighborhoods. Southtown is an African American neighborhood with high unemployment; one-fifth of the households are below the poverty line; the churches are the social center of the community.  Residents have relatively nonpermissive attitudes toward homosexuality and abortion, but are relatively accepting of premarital sex, cohabitation and divorce. There is a high incidence of multi-partnering; almost half report two or more sexual

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