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But Was It Wanted? Young Women's First Voluntary Sexual Intercourse
Journal of Family Issues
  • Leslie H. Picca, University of Dayton
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Existing literature on sexual intercourse is based on the assumption that if an individual engages in sexual activity, not self-defined as rape, then the activity must have been wanted by both partners. This study, using National Survey of Family Growth, identifies factors associated with the “wantedness” of first sexual intercourse for young women in the United States. Approximately 28% of respondents described their first sexual event as not really wanted. The most commonly reported score demonstrated a level of ambivalence regarding wantedness of first sex. Women who delay their first sexual event, who are in a committed relationship, and whose mothers have higher levels of education are more likely to report a higher wantedness score. Ambiguous sexual scripting, conflicting sexual messages, and the symbolic meaning attaching to sexual activity helps to account for the large proportion of respondents who reported that their first sexual experience was neither clearly wanted, nor clearly unwanted.
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Document to be made available for download in compliance with publisher policy on self-archiving is an author-produced, peer-reviewed article accepted for publication in Journal of Family Issues and has not been copy-edited. The publisher-authenticated version is available online. Permission documentation is on file.

Sage Publications
Peer Reviewed
Citation Information
Leslie H. Picca. "But Was It Wanted? Young Women's First Voluntary Sexual Intercourse" Journal of Family Issues Vol. 26 Iss. 8 (2005)
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