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It’s a Man’s World: University women’s experiences with undesired consensual hookups

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Title: It’s a Man’s World: University women’s experiences with undesired consensual hookups
Author: Cahill, Sarah
Department: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Program: Sociology
Advisor: Yule, Carolyn
Abstract: Research on heterosexual unwanted sex has focused on non-consensual experiences involving male physical, verbal, or emotional coercion (Finkelhor and Yllo 1985). Social coercion, however, and its effect on women’s decision to consent to sex has garnered little attention (Conroy, Krishnakumar, and Leone 2015; Finkelhor and Yllo 1985). Empirical research documents reasons why women in committed relationships consent to unwanted sex in the absence of male partner pressure (Impett and Peplau 2003; Katz and Tirone 2009, 2010; Kennett, Humphreys, and Bramley 2013; O’Sullivan and Allgeier 1998), but research on undesired consensual hookups is limited. This dissertation explores the social pressures women experience during undesired consensual (UC) hookups in the absence of implicit or explicit male partner verbal, physical, and psychological pressure. Using 33 interviews and 1200 surveys of heterosexual university women aged 18-25, this exploratory mixed-method study suggests heterosexual women engage in UC hookups due to social pressure from gendered sexual scripts, discourses on female empowerment, and the desire to fit in with peers. The results further indicate that female sexual liberation and equity during undesired consensual hookups may be hindered by gendered sexual scripts, a lack of focus on female desire, and the stigma women feel being single. The ways in which women’s beliefs regarding UC hookups could have implications for sexual education and consent are discussed.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/17956
Date: 2020-05
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