Cultural effects on sexuality are pervasive and potentially of great clinical importance, but have not yet received sustained empirical attention. The purpose of this study was to explore the role of acculturation on sexual permissiveness and sexual function, with a particular focus on arousal in Asian women living in Canada. We also compared questionnaire responses between Asian and Euro-Canadian groups in hopes of investigating whether acculturation captured unique information not predicted by ethnic group affiliation. Euro-Canadian (n = 173) and Asian (n = 176) female university students completed a battery of questionnaires in private. Euro-Canadian women had significantly more sexual knowledge and experiences, more liberal attitudes, and higher rates of desire, arousal, sexual receptivity, and sexual pleasure. Anxiety from anticipated sexual activity was significantly higher in Asian women, but the groups did not differ significantly on relationship satisfaction or problems with sexual function. Acculturation to Western culture, as well as maintained affiliation with traditional Asian heritage, were both significantly and independently related to sexual attitudes above and beyond length of residency in Canada, and beyond ethnic group comparisons. Overall, these data suggest that measurement of acculturation may capture information about an individual's unique acculturation pattern that is not evident when focusing solely on ethnic group comparisons or length of residency, and that such findings may be important in facilitating the assessment, classification, and treatment of sexual difficulties in Asian women.
Recent studies have demonstrated the importance of considering acculturation when investigating the sexuality of East Asian women in North America. Moreover, bidimensional assessment of both heritage and mainstream cultural affiliations provides significantly more information about sexual attitudes than simple unidimensional measures, such as length of residency in the Western culture.
The goal of this study was to extend the findings in women to a sample of East Asian men.
Self-report measures of sexual behaviors, sexual responses, and sexual satisfaction.
Euro-Canadian (N = 124) and East Asian (N = 137) male university students privately completed a battery of questionnaires in exchange for course credit. Results. Group comparisons revealed East Asian men to have significantly lower liberal sexual attitudes and experiences, and a significantly lower proportion had engaged in sexual intercourse compared with the Euro-Canadian sample. In addition, the East Asian men had significantly higher Impotence and Avoidance subscale scores on the Golombok Rust Inventory of Sexual Satisfaction, a measure of sexual dysfunction. Focusing on East Asian men alone, mainstream acculturation, but not length of residency in Canada, was significantly related to sexual attitudes, experiences, and responses.
Overall, these data replicate the findings in women and suggest that specific acculturation effects over and above length of residency should be included in the cultural assessment of men's sexual health.