Traditional Gender Roles Leads To Bad Sex, Study Finds

By Amir Khan on October 3, 2012 11:32 AM EDT

Female Condom
A female condom (Photo: Creative Commons)

People who stick to traditional gender roles are more likely to be self-conscious, less comfortable and less safe in bed, according to a new study, published in the journal Sex Roles. Researchers found that people who thought men should take charge during sex were less likely to be confident in bed and less likely to use a female condom.

The study involved 357 women and 126 men, all heterosexual and sexually active. Researchers gave the study participants a survey to measure their sexual confidence. They asked them how assertive they were in bed, their condom usage and other precautions they took for safe sex.

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The researchers also examined how the participants with statements such as "It's OK if some groups have more of a chance in life than others;" and "The man should be the one who dictates what happens during sex." Agreement with those sentiments has been linked to negative attitudes about women's rights and sexual harassment, according to the study.

The study participants filled out the survey in a confidential room. In the room, there was a bowl of female condoms with a sign advertising that they were free. Researchers found that the more the participant believed that men should dominate in bed, the less likely they were to take a female condom and the less likely they were to feel confident in bed.

"If men believe that men should dominate sexually, this may prevent them from feeling open or comfortable discussing sexual behavior and protection with their partners or asking questions about things they may not know," the researchers, led by Lisa Rosenthal from Yale University, wrote in the study. "For both women and men, the belief that men should dominate sexually could reduce interest in female condoms, because female condoms are meant to be a woman-centered source of protection and may be seen as violating the norm or belief that men should be in control of sexual situations."

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