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ISW Journal

Literature from Interdisciplinary Social Sciences (ISW)

Comments Off on ‘You can never do right’: Sexual norms and double standards among emerging adults

Marte Ydema - IllustratieMarte Ydema – This qualitative study explores the sexual gendered norms employed by emerging adults (18-25) and the role these norms play in their sexual identity.  Five focus groups and three duo-interviews were conducted, with a total of 28 respondents of whom 21 female and 7 male. An interdisciplinary approach was used by exploring sociological notions like sexualisation and liquid love (Bauman, 2003) in the psychological context of emerging adulthood, drawing on gender theory to explain how sexual norms and double standards are socially constructed. A grounded theory approach was used to explore themes regarding (gendered) sexual norms and double standards. Results showed that emerging adults’ sexual identities are under constant scrutiny through judgements by others or self-judgement. Furthermore, emerging adults are confronted with multiple double standards and conflicting messages regarding sexual norms. Although sexual norms proved to be gendered, findings of this study show that the current emphasis on the victimisation of women should be nuanced, since both men and women are confronted with double standards and conflicting messages regarding sex. This study shows that emerging adults engage in acts to resist gender stereotypes. Hence, emerging adults are neither fully empowered nor passive subjects with regard to their sexual identity.


Global Youth Theses