Associations of Sexual Subjectivity with Global and Sexual Well-Being: A New Measure for Young Males and Comparison to Females
Sexual subjectivity refers to multiple aspects of sexual self-perceptions, including sexual body-esteem, perceptions of efficacy and entitlement to sexual desire and pleasure, and sexual self-reflection (Horne & Zimmer-Gembeck, 2006). Previous research on sexual subjectivity has shown that it is elevated in young women who report better global well-being and have more sexual experience. However, research has not focused on young men. Thus, two studies were conducted to develop a new measure to assess young men's sexual subjectivity (Study 1, N = 304 men) and to examine associations of sexual subjectivity with general and sexual well-being among young men and women (Study 2, N = 208 men and 214 women). In Study 1, five elements of men's sexual subjectivity were found, which paralleled the elements found in previous research with young women. In Study 2, sexual subjectivity, especially two elements of sexual body-esteem and self-efficacy in achieving pleasure, was significantly associated with enhanced global and sexual well-being in both men and women. Gender did not moderate these associations, supporting sexual subjectivity as an aspect of sexual health in all young adults. As anticipated, men reported greater entitlement to self-pleasure and self-efficacy in achieving pleasure, but women reported greater entitlement to pleasure with partners. Women's feelings of less efficacy but more entitlement to pleasure with partners suggest that feelings of entitlement may not be consistent with their experiences. Future research with young men and women will be important for understanding sexual health and development during late adolescence and early adulthood.
Archives of Sexual Behavior
Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Developmental Psychology and Ageing
Social and Community Psychology