The sexual double standard: Fact or fiction?

Michael J. Marks, R. Chris Fraley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In contemporary society it is widely believed that men are socially rewarded for sexual activity, whereas women are derogated for sexual activity. To determine whether a sexual double standard exists, both undergraduate (n = 144) and Internet (n = 8,080) participants evaluated experimental targets who were described as either male or female and as having a variable number of sexual partners. Targets were more likely to be derogated as the number of sexual partners increased, and this effect held for both male and female targets. These results suggest that, although people do evaluate others as a function of sexual activity, people do not necessarily hold men and women to different sexual standards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-186
Number of pages12
JournalSex Roles
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Feb 2005


  • Attitudes toward sex
  • Double standard
  • Gender differences
  • Gender equality
  • Gender norms
  • Promiscuity
  • Sex partners
  • Sexual activity
  • Sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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