Initiating new sexual behaviours in heterosexual relationships

Humphreys, Terry; Newby, Jennifer
September 2007
Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality;2007, Vol. 16 Issue 3/4, p77
Academic Journal
Sixty-four female and 33 male university students participated in a study of how relationship partners introduce new sexual behaviours into an ongoing relationship. Participants rated the likelihood that a hypothetical couple would use differing tactics to initiate a new sexual behaviour into the relationship. The scenario presented a couple who were together for either three weeks or two years. Participahts then rated the likelihood that they would use these same tactics in their own relationship. The different initiation tactics were created from the bi-polar dimensions outlined by Hickman and Muehlenhard (1999) — direct/indirect and verbal/nonverbal. Results indicated that while participants perceived a shift to more verbal tactics as relationships became longer, this shift was not evident in participants' personal relationships. Longer relationships were associated with a drop in the use of direct, nonverbal tactics; however, no other approaches to initiating new sexual behaviours differed as a function of relationship length. In addition, number of sexual partners and sexual self-disclosure were positively correlated with verbal, but not nonverbal, tactics, while erotophobia-erotophilia was positively correlated with all four tactics.


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