Mapping the East - West divide in human sexuality

Sabrina Chia Hsuan Chang
Culture anchors human behaviours, thoughts, and feelings. As with many psychological disciplines, sexuality research is beginning to recognize the influence of culture. The study of culture in sex research has predominantly taken the form of comparing ethnic groups. Such comparisons have revealed some interesting similarities and disparities between Asians and Westerners, with Asians appearing to be overall more conservative than their Western counterparts. While this field has accumulated some
more » ... important information on how the East and West compare with respect to sexuality, it is not without considerable shortcomings. This dissertation addresses three such limitations. In Study 1, the common practice of merging individuals from different Asian ethnicities into one participant group was evaluated by comparing Japanese-, Korean- and Chinese-Canadian women on their sexual functioning. The results challenge the assumption of Asian sexual homogeneity by demonstrating that Japanese-, Chinese- and Korean-Canadian women differ with respect to sexual functioning. Study 2 was designed to ameliorate the overreliance on self-report measures in cross-cultural research by measuring sexual attitudes using the Implicit Association Test in addition to subjective measures. Both methods found the well documented trend of Chinese individuals endorsing more negative sexual attitudes, lending confidence that this is a genuine ethnocultural difference, rather than a product of response bias. Integrating the fields of sex research and relationship science, Study 3 is the first to examine the derogation effect in a non-Western culture and whether this relationship maintenance mechanism is influenced by sexual arousal. Surprisingly, the derogation effect was not replicated in Chinese men, Chinese women, or European women. Contrary to previous reports, European men were found to exhibit a reverse derogation effect, where those in relationships were more likely to find opposite-sex individuals attractive, compared to their single counter [...]
doi:10.14288/1.0371260 fatcat:razxyot7frh5ddoj2zzewp7sei