ORIGINAL RESEARCH—PSYCHOLOGY: Age of First Sexual Intercourse and Acculturation: Effects on Adult Sexual Responding

Authors

  • Jane S.T. Woo MA,

    1. University of British Columbia—Psychology, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada;
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  • Lori A. Brotto PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. University of British Columbia—Obstetrics/Gynaecology, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
      Lori A. Brotto, PhD, Obstetrics/Gynaecology, University of British Columbia, 2775 Laurel Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V5Z1 M9, Canada. Tel: 604-875-4111 x68898; Fax: 604-875-4869; E-mail: Lori.Brotto@vch.ca
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Lori A. Brotto, PhD, Obstetrics/Gynaecology, University of British Columbia, 2775 Laurel Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V5Z1 M9, Canada. Tel: 604-875-4111 x68898; Fax: 604-875-4869; E-mail: Lori.Brotto@vch.ca

ABSTRACT

Introduction.  Although age of first intercourse and the emotional aspects of that experience are often a target in assessment because they are thought to contribute to later sexual functioning, research to date on how sexual debut relates to adult sexual functioning has been limited and contradictory.

Aim.  The goal of this study was to explore the association between age of first intercourse and adult sexual function in a sample of Euro-Canadian and Asian Canadian university students. In addition, culture-based comparisons of sexual complaints were made to clarify the role of culture in sexual response.

Methods.  Euro-Canadian (N = 299) and Asian Canadian (N = 329) university students completed the Golombok-Rust Inventory of Sexual Satisfaction and the Vancouver Index of Acculturation.

Main Outcome Measures.  Self-reported sexual problems and bidimensional acculturation.

Results.  Ethnic group comparisons revealed that Asians reported more sexual complaints including sexual avoidance, dissatisfaction and non-sensuality. Among the women, Asians reported higher scores on the Vaginismus and Anorgasmia subscales whereas the ethnic groups did not differ on the male-specific measures of sexual complaints. In the overall sample, older age of first intercourse was associated with more sexual problems as an adult, including more sexual infrequency, sexual avoidance, and non-sensuality. Among the Asian Canadians, less identification with Western culture was predictive of more sexual complaints overall, more sexual noncommunication, more sexual avoidance, and more non-sensuality. For Asian women, acculturation interacted with age of first intercourse to predict Vaginismus scores.

Conclusions.  Overall, these data replicate prior research that found that a university sample of individuals of Asian descent have higher rates of sexual problems and that this effect can be explained by acculturation. Earlier sexual debut was associated with fewer sexual complaints in adulthood. Woo JST, and Brotto LA. Age of first sexual intercourse and acculturation: Effects on adult sexual responding. J Sex Med 2008;5:571–582.

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