Projected Extramarital Sexual Involvement in Unmarried College Students Lee H. Bukstel; Gregory D. Roeder; Peter R.

Kilmann; James Laughlin; Wayne M. Sotile Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 40, No. 2. (May, 1978), pp. 337-340.
Stable URL: Journal of Marriage and the Family is currently published by National Council on Family Relations.

Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission.

The JSTOR Archive is a trusted digital repository providing for long-term preservation and access to leading academic journals and scholarly literature from around the world. The Archive is supported by libraries, scholarly societies, publishers, and foundations. It is an initiative of JSTOR, a not-for-profit organization with a mission to help the scholarly community take advantage of advances in technology. For more information regarding JSTOR, please contact Thu Feb 7 19:20:36 2008

Projected Extramarital Sexual Involvement in Unmarried College Students*
Universitji of South Carolina WAYNE M. SOTILE*** Bowman Gray School of Medicine
Using auestionnaires administered to a samale o f 566 unmarn'ed students at the University of South Carolina, a comparison was made between reported premarital sexual (PMS) behavior and projected extramarital szxuaal (EMS) behavior. Individuals who were premaritally sexual(y active werejbund more likely to project that they would be extramaritally sexually involved. Frequency of PMS behavior and perception of PMS norms were the variables most highly related to projected E M S involvement. The findings supported the results of previous studies seeking to identzfi the precursors of extramarital sexual behavior. Implications of thejindings.for premarital counseling were noted.


. l

Kinsey et al. (1948) and Kinsey et al. (1953) found that by the age of 40, approximately 50 percent of all married men and more than 25 percent of all married women had engaged in extramarital sexual (EMS) behavior. More recent studies have found the percentages cf males and females engaging in EMS behavior to be more equivalent. Cuber and Harroff (1965) found EMS behavior reported roughly as often by females as by males. Athanasiou et al. (1970) estimated that 40 percent of all husbands and 30 percent of all wives engage in EMS behavior. Johnson (1970) reported that the estimated percentages of husbands and wives engaging in EMS behavior were 20 percent and 10 percent, respectively. Hunt (1973) found that 24 percent of wives under 25 and 32 percent of husbands under 25 admitted having had EMS relationships. Collectively, these reports suggest that EMS
*This research was conducted in January, 1974. Requests for reprints should be sent to Peter R. Kilmann. **Department of Psychology, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina 29208, ***Department of Medical Social Sciences. Bowman Gray ~ c h o o l of Medicine, winston-sale&, North Carolina 27103.

behavior continues to be a chsracteristic of the American marital institution. A number of investigators have found that the premarital sexual (PMS) attitudes and behavior of college students gradually are becoming more liberal (e.g., Croake and James, 1973; Robinson et al., 1968; Robinson et al., 1972). This trend was most popularly noticed during the late 1960's and early 1970's when some segments of the college student population began overtly challenging predominant cultural values regarding sexuality, marriage and the nuclear family. Recent studies have found that married individuals who report EMS involvement remember having had considerable PMS experience (Athanasiou and Sarkin, 1974). These studies also found that premarital chastity predicts more successful marriage. The purposes of the present study were: (1) to determine whether or not unmarried college students would project future EMS behavior; and (2) to identify the variables which might influence such projections. Previolls investigations of extramarital sexual involvement have obtained reflective reports. By contrast, the present study attempted to determine whether or not the relationships between PMS behavior, EMS behavior, and 337

May 1978


and other related variables are listed in Table 1. Correlations of .12 or greater are significant ( p < .001) but since correlations of this size represent a negligible degree of association, only those of .20 or above are listed. Additionally, a principle components analysis was carried out to determine how many comMETHOD ponents accounted for the major variability in the item responses. From this analysis it was Subjects determined that an overall index of PMS The Ss were 566 (289 males, 277 females) behavior and projected EMS behavior could undergraduate and graduate students at the be justified. University of South Carolina. The mean age As mentioned earlier, recent studies have of the Ss was 20.43, ranging from 17 to 35. found a positive correlation between EMS The breakdown of the sample by race was involvement of married individuals and their 90.4 percent White, 8.6 percent Black, 0.2 reports of PMS involvement. Table 1 shows percent Mexican-American, 0.2 percent that the same relationship existed when Oriental, and 0.6 percent Other. With regard individuals reported on their past and current to religion, 61.6 percent were Protestant, 11.0 PMS involvement and projected future EMS percent Catholic, 3.5 percent Jewish, 12.4 involvement. The findings indicated an percent Other and 11.5 percent None. overall positive correlation betweeu past and Forty-four percent of the Ss stated that they current PMS behavior and projected EMS actively practiced their religion. For region of behavior. The reported number of PMS birth, 79.2 percent were born in the South, intercourse and petting partners and the 13.1 percent in the Northeast, 1.9 percent in perception of greater PMS involvement the Midwest, 1.3 percent in the Southwest relative to others of the same age were the and 4.5 percent in the Northwest. None of the variables most highly related to projected Ss had ever been married. EMS behavior (see Table 1). Although not as highly correlated, the same relationship Procedure existed between the reported frequency of A 52-item multiple choice questionnaire1 PMS intercourse and petting. The results of was group administered to students in day the present study suggest that PMS behavior and evening classes. The questionnaire took and the perception of norms for PMS about 25 minutes to complete and was behavior are more positively related to proadministered under voluntary, anonymous jected EMS behavior than are other possible testing conditions. The areas tapped by the precursors of EMS behavior (e.g., perceived questionnaire included: (a) premarital sexual parental EMS involvement). experience; (b) attitudes toward premarital Promiscuity can be culturally defined by sexual experience; (c) perceived premarital society as sexual relations with a variety of sexual experience of others the same age; partners. It is interesting to note that the (d) attitudes toward projected extramarital number of PMS partners was more strongly sexual experience; (e) projected desire for related to projected EMS behavior than any extramarital sexual experience; (f) perceived other variable. After doing a partial correlaparental involvement in extramarital sexual tion, it was determined that the results experience; and (g) other miscellaneous areas distinguished between frequency of sexual (e.g., religious activity, psychological help, behavior within meaningful PMS relationsatisfaction with social life). ships and frequency of sexual behavior with a variety of PMS partners. After all, there is a RESULTS AND DISCUSSION big difference between having intercourse 100 The product-moment correlations of pre- times with one partner as opposed to intermarital sexual behavior and attitudes, course one time with 100 partners. The projected extramarital sexual involvement, results suggest that individuals who seek a variety of PMS partners are more likely to project that they will seek a variety of sexual 'The entire questionnaire can be obtained from the partners after marriage. authors. other variables (e.g., expectations about EMS behavior) found in prior studies would exist when unmarried individuals prgjected their future EMS behavior. If such relationships exist, the findings could have implications for premarital counseling. 338 JOURNAL OF MARRIAGE AND THE FAMILY May 1978

l 3 v O

.s c+ g z0;


0 Z

8 8 1 2
A E +o0 x
+ u m


2 4


; EZ



w z

m ls-
E. g


G C Ci


S z i


2 X

m g g

zzc 2*


c a




E g Y,
e 8 as


"2 a
' 5







i .


@ gz

s6 e& sz


zci 2x s bW b



b X









It has been suggested that EMS behavior evolves from situational factors such as separation of spouses (e.g., Cuber, 1969) and the perceived opportunity for EMS involvement (e.g., Johnson, 1972). In the present study, adding the influence of factors such as permission of spouse, the opportunity for EMS behavior, and secrecy, increased the relationship between PMS and projected EMS behaviors, but only slightly (not statistically significant). Based on these results, it is difficult to determine to what extent these variables influenced the projected occurence of EMS behavior. Many other explanations of EMS behavior are given in the literature. Some authors note that people engage in EMS behavior due to an immature unreadiness for marriage (e.g., Ellis, 1968) or the inability to handle the natural stresses of marriage (e.g., Bowman, 1960). Astley and Royden (1957), Cavan (1963) and McCary (1973) suggest that EMS involvement is used to increase self-esteem Kim (1969) suggested that a desire to attain higher social status is a cause of EMS involvement. The desire for a new emotional satisfaction, a variety of sexual experiences, and adventure have all been suggested as nonpathological reasons for engaging in EMS (Bell, 1963; Ellis, 1968; Kim, 1969; Neubeck, 1969; McCary, 1973). The results of the present study lend support to the above mentioned hypotheses. Specifically, Table 1 shows that the more certain individuals were that they would engage in EMS behavior, the more they expected EMS involvement to have rewarding consequences. Individuals who expected to engage in EMS behavior expected to find EMS involvement more emotionally and sexually satisfying than marital relations. They expected that EMS behavior would be more adventurous and would increase feelings of inner security. The subjects also expected that EMS involvement would increase their social status and afford them the opportunity to feel very independent. Nevertheless, it is important to point out that these projections of positive consequences (as opposed to reasons given retrospectively in past studies) may function to reduce the dissonance between the Ss' decisions and possible negative outcomes (e.g., divorce, deindividuation). This tendency to rationalize projected EMS behavior may be due largely to a lack of foresight about the possible negative outcomes. JOURNAL OF MARRIAGE AND THE FAMILY 339

May 1978

In summary, the present study found rela- Croake, J . W., and B. James 1973 "A four year comparison of premarital sexual tionships between PMS behavior, projected attitudes." Journal of Sex Research 9 (May): EMS behavior, and rationalizations for pro91-96. jected EMS involvement in unmarried college Cuber, J. S. students. The findings lend themselves to the 1969 "Reality versus stereotype." Pp. 190-196 in speculation that these subjects' expectations Gerhard Neubeck (Ed.), Extramarital Relations. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey:Prenticeof their future sexual behavior outside of the Hall. marital interaction may not coincide with the monogamous commitment usually made at Cuber, J . S.. and P. B. Harroff 1965 The Significant Americans: A Study of Sexual the time of marriage. If longitudinal studies Behavior Among the Affluent. New York: show a positive correlation between subjects' Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc. premarital expectations of their future EMS Ellis, A. 1968 "Healthy and disturbed reasons for having behavior with their actual EMS behavior once extramarital relations." Journal of Human married, then it would seem reasonable to Relations 16:490-501. recommend t h a t premarital counseling Hunt, M. should address couple members' expectations 1973 Sexual Behavior in the 1970's. New York:Playof extramarital sexual involvement. These boy Press. expectations should be discussed within the Johnson, R. E. 1970 "Extramarital sexual intercourse: A methodcontext of potential marital difficulties reological note." Journal of Marriage and the sulting from EMS behavior. The findings Family 32 (August):279-282, suggest that a discussion of this nature would 1972 "Attitudes towards extramarital relationbe most relevant for individuals who have had ships." Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality 6 extensive premarital sexual experiences. (April): 168-191.
Kim, Y. H. 1969 "The Kinsey tindings." Pp. 65-73 in Gerhard Nzubeck (Ed.), Extramarital Relations. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey:Prentice-Hall. Kinsey, A. C.. W. B. Pomeroy, and C. E. Martin 1948 Sexual Behavior in the Hgman Male. Philade1phia:Saunders. Kinsey, A. C., W . B. Pomeroy, C. E. Martin, and P. H . Gebhard 1953 Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. Philade1phia:Saundes. McCary, J. L. 1973 Human Sexuality (2nd ed.). New York:D. Van Nostrand Company. Neubeck, G. 1969 Extramarital Relations. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey:Prentice Hall. Robinson, I. E.. K . King and J. 0 . Ralswick 1972 "The premarital sexual revolution among college females." Family Coordinator 21 (April): 189-194. Robinson, I. E., K. King, C. J. Dudley, and F. J. Clune 1968 "Change in sexual behavior and attitudes of college students." Family Coordinatcr 17 (April): 119-123.

REFERENCES Astley, M., and C. Royden 1957 "Fidelity and infidelity." Pp. 80-96 in Man and Wife, New York:W. W. Norton and Company, Inc. Athanasiou, R., and R. Sarkin 1974 "Premarital sexual behavior and postmarital adjustment." Archives of Sexual Behavior 3 (May):207-225. Athanasiou, R., P. Shaver, a.nd C. Tavris 1970 "Sex." Psychology Today 4 (July):37-52. Bell, R. R. 1963 Marriage aad Family Interaction. Homewood, 1llinois:The Dorsey Press. Bowman, H. A: 1960 Marriage for Moderns (5th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. Cavan, R. S. 1963 The American Family (3rd ed.). New York:T. Y. Crowell.


May 1978

- Page 1 of 1 -

You have printed the following article: Projected Extramarital Sexual Involvement in Unmarried College Students Lee H. Bukstel; Gregory D. Roeder; Peter R. Kilmann; James Laughlin; Wayne M. Sotile Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 40, No. 2. (May, 1978), pp. 337-340.
Stable URL:

This article references the following linked citations. If you are trying to access articles from an off-campus location, you may be required to first logon via your library web site to access JSTOR. Please visit your library's website or contact a librarian to learn about options for remote access to JSTOR.

A Four Year Comparison of Premarital Sexual Attitudes James W. Croake; Barbara James The Journal of Sex Research, Vol. 9, No. 2, Adolescents in the 1970s. (May, 1973), pp. 91-96.
Stable URL:

Extramarital Sexual Intercourse: A Methodological Note Ralph E. Johnson Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 32, No. 2. (May, 1970), pp. 279-282.
Stable URL:

The Premarital Sexual Revolution among College Females Ira E. Robinson; Karl King; Jack O. Balswick The Family Coordinator, Vol. 21, No. 2, Aging and the Family. (Apr., 1972), pp. 189-194.
Stable URL:

Change in Sexual Behavior and Attitudes of College Students Ira E. Robinson; Karl King; Charles J. Dudley; Francis J. Clune The Family Coordinator, Vol. 17, No. 2. (Apr., 1968), pp. 119-123.
Stable URL:

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.