Summary Notes for Chapter 13 of Gendered Society Reader
“Losing It; Similarities and Differences in First Intercourse Experiences of Men and Women”
Historically, female virginity has had greater “value” than male virginity.
Women are twice as likely as men to see their virginity as a gift to their future partner.
Men are three times more likely than women to see their virginity as a stigma.
81% of men found their first intercourse physiologically satisfying; only 28% of women agreed.
67% of men found their first intercourse psychologically satisfying; only 28% of women agreed.
Men gain affirmation of manhood through first intercourse. Young men’s accounts of their first time are
predominantly concerned with their own orgasm, performance and sense of reaching a landmark;
partner’s pleasure is just a bonus. In traditional views of sexuality, men are active, powerful and
dynamic, while women are passive receivers.
Three Discourses of Female Sexuality:
Sex as Violence: emphasizes abuse, incest and fear of sex
Sex as Victimization: Women are at risk of “being used” for sex
Sex as Individual Morality: Values women’s choice about sexuality, as long as that choice is
These discourses present males as in search of their desires and women as in search of protection.
Sex as Desire: Sex is enjoyable and feels good
The Present Study: Questionnaire given to undergraduates to determine expectations, experience and
subsequent feelings surrounding their first consensual heterosexual intercourse.
Students who had had intercourse were slightly older than those who had not.
Men and women did not differ in percentage who had had sex.
Men and women were the same age at first intercourse.
On average, women’s first partners were significantly older than themselves. Men’s first
partners were the same age as them.
Only 16% of students were not in a romantic relationship with their first partner. No significant
gender difference in relationship status. Mean relationship duration was 7.4 months, range was from less than 1 month to 36 months.
Men had significantly shorter relationships before intercourse.
Around half reported being their partner’s first partner. No gender difference.
Women were signifi