Gender Differences in Self-Esteem for College Students After Their First Sexual Encounter

A study conducted at Pennsylvania State University found that women in college felt slightly worse about themselves after losing their virginity. On the other hand, self-esteem among men improved after they had sexual intercourse for the first time.

The study, published in the Journal of Adolescence, tracked 400 entering students at Penn State who were given periodic questionnaires that evaluated their self-esteem and asked them about their sexual encounters. During the time period, about 100 of the students had sex for the first time.

Sara A. Vasilenko, a researcher at the Center for Child/Adult Development at Penn State and the lead author of the study, stated that the results reflects society’s double standard that “women who have premarital sex have something to be ashamed about, and that men who do have something to be proud of.”

Filed Under: Research/Study


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