Why Men Don't Say NO

Sexual Compliance and Gender Socialization in Heterosexual Men - Devinder Khera & Cory L. Pedersen


Given that the prevailing literature largely neglects the unwanted sexual activity experiences of men, this study examined both prevalence and predictors of men’s compliance with unwanted, but consensual, sexual activity. Specifically, we examined whether traditional gender-role endorsement, belief in male sexuality stereotypes, and age predict moderate sexual compliance among heterosexual men. Participants completed a brief demographic questionnaire and measures of gender-role beliefs and male sexuality stereotypes followed by a modified measure investigating reasons for being sexually compliant in sexual encounters. Results provide evidence for predicting sexual compliance in heterosexual men via endorsement of traditional gender-role beliefs and advocacy of male sexuality stereotypes for reasons relating to intoxication, inexperience, peer pressure, popularity, and sex-role concerns. The reported incidence rate of moderate (e.g., kissing) sexual compliance in heterosexual men was 61.3% over the past 12 months. These results have practical implications for dispelling two prevailing gendered stereotypes: First, that heterosexual men have an insatiable sexual appetite, and second, that women play a passive role in sexual initiation and activity. Dispelling these stereotypes allows men to more readily reject unwanted sexual activity, strengthens the sexual agency of women, and alleviates male concerns regarding sexuality and gender-roles.

Oral presentation delivered at the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, Denver, CO, 2019.