Are Men and Women with Gender-Typical Behaviors More Likely to Engage in Concurrent Sexual Partnerships? A Nationally Representative Longitudinal Data Analysis

Paul J. Fleming, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Men’s and women’s sexual practices – including having concurrent sexual partners – are strongly connected to gender norms. We developed an empirical measure of adherence to gender-typical behaviors (AGB) for respondents at each of the four waves of Add Health in an effort to quantitatively capture individuals’ gender typicality. We tested the hypothesis that AGB at each wave would be associated with reporting concurrent sexual partnerships at Wave IV (ages 24-32). For men, adherence to male-typical behaviors in adolescence is a predictor of concurrent relationships in adulthood, suggesting that men’s sexual behaviors in adulthood may be shaped by experiences of gender and masculinity in adolescence. For women, adherence to female-typical behaviors in adolescence is a risk factor for concurrent relationships in adulthood but less adherence to female-typical behaviors in adulthood is also a risk factor. Our findings demonstrate the importance of behavioral norms of masculinity and femininity in having concurrent sexual partners.

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Presented in Session 238: Sexual Behavior, Risks, and Networks