Sexual motivations and ideals distinguish sexual identities within the self-concept: A multidimensional scaling analysis

Celeste Sangiorgio, Warren A. Reich, Andrea C. Vial, Mirko Savone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Many studies explore when and how young people make sexual choices but few empirical investigations link their sexual motivations with their inner conceptions about their sexual identities. We used multidimensional scaling (MDS) analysis to connect young adult participants' (N = 128) self-descriptions of twelve identities to their sexual motivations and ideals. Identities clustered along two semantically distinct dimensions: Dimension 1 was anchored by family identities on one side and non-family identities on the other; Dimension 2 was anchored on one side by friend/romantic relationships and achievement-based social identities on the other. Those who cited intimacy (e.g., sex as an expression of love) and enhancement (e.g., gratification; to feel good) sexual motivations were more likely to describe their sexual identities and gender identities as distinct from other identities, especially for women. Idealizing physically passionate relationships was positively linked to a higher distinction between sexual and non-sexual identities, and between gender and personal identities and family identities. The mental structuring of identities may inform sexual relationship motives, ideals, and expectations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-226
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Sciences
Volume3
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2014

Keywords

  • Dissimilarity
  • Idealization
  • Identity
  • Intimacy
  • Multidimensional scaling analysis
  • Physical attraction
  • Semantic space
  • Sexual motivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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