Emerging Adult Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors: Does Shyness Matter? (2013)

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doi: 10.1177/2167696813475611

Emerging Adulthood vol. 1 no. 3 185-195

    Stephanie S. Luster1⇑
    Larry J. Nelson1
    Franklin O. Poulsen1
    Brian J. Willoughby1

    1School of Family Life, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, USA

    Stephanie S. Luster, MS, School of Family Life, Brigham Young University, 2082 JFSB, Provo, UT 84662, USA. Email: stephanieluster@yahoo.com


Numerous studies have shown how shyness affects individuals in childhood and adolescence; however, little is known about the effects shyness may have in emerging adulthood. This study addressed how shyness may be associated with sexual attitudes and behaviors of emerging adult men and women. Participants included 717 students from four college sites across the United States, who were largely female (69%), European American (69%), unmarried (100%), and living outside their parents’ home (90%). Results suggested that shyness was positively associated with sexual attitudes (reflecting more liberal views) for men whereas shyness was negatively associated with sexual attitudes for women. Shyness was positively associated with solitary sexual behaviors of masturbation and pornography use for men. Shyness was also negatively associated with relational sexual behaviors (coital and noncoital) and number of lifetime partners for women. Implications for these findings are discussed.