What Motivates the Sexual Double Standard? More Support for Male Versus Female Control Theory:
from Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
The present research uniquely compared male control theory (MCT) versus female control theory (FCT) to illuminate motives for the sexual double standard (SDS), whereby men gain status from engaging in casual sex or having many sexual partners, but women are stigmatized for it. Consistent with MCT, men were more likely than women to endorse the SDS and to give sexual advice in ways that reinforce it—gender differences that were mediated by hostile sexism (HS) and endorsing the SDS, respectively. The data did not support FCT’s argument that women are motivated by sexual economics to restrict female sexuality (Baumeister & Twenge, 2002). Both genders discouraged women from having casual sex to protect women from social stigma and rape myths that justify violence against sexual women. In concert, the findings support MCT more than FCT and suggest that sexism, stigma, and rape myths are primary obstacles to sexual equality.