Sexual experience and recall of sexual vs. nonsexual information


  • The authors thank Julie Bogan, Mark Eib, Julie Lander, and Kari Plumhoff for their assistance in running this study, and Saul Michael Kassin and Margaret Schadler for their comments on an earlier version This study was part of the first author's doctoral dissertation

Requests for reprints should be addressed to her at the Psychology Department, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA. 23508 Meg Gerrard is now in the Psychology Department at Iowa State University


The effects of both sex guilt and sexual experience on the ability to remember sexual and nonsexual information were examined Male and female subjects were asked to read and then recall facts from vignettes that concerned sexual and nonsexual dilemmas As expected, the sexually inexperienced subjects made more mistakes than did the experienced subjects when recalling sexual information There were no differences between the groups in recall of nonsexual information, and there were no differences associated with the sex guilt variable In addition, one subgroup of the sample was singled out as being particularly interesting from an applied perspective Previous research has identified high-guilt, high-experience women as being an at-risk group for unwanted pregnancy In fact, these women did have difficulty in remembering the sexual information Moreover, there was a clear bias in their recall pattern toward remembering information in favor of being sexually active Results are presented in terms of the relationship between sexual experience and sexual schemata, and between sex guilt and emotionality