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.
Differences in sexual desire between individuals of East Asian and European descent are well-documented, with East Asian individuals reporting lower sexual desire. The mechanisms that underlie this disparity have received little empirical attention. Recent research has found that sex guilt, "a generalized expectancy for self-mediated punishment for violating or for anticipating violating standards of proper sexual conduct" (Mosher & Cross, 1971 , p. 27), mediates the relationship between culture and sexual desire in East Asian and Euro-Canadian women. The goal of this study was to explore this role of sex guilt in men. Male Euro-Canadian (n = 38) and East Asian (n = 45) university students completed online questionnaires. The East Asian men reported significantly lower sexual desire and significantly higher sex guilt. Sex guilt was a significant mediator of the relationship between ethnicity and sexual desire, as well as a significant mediator between mainstream acculturation and sexual desire. Among the East Asian men, mainstream acculturation was significantly and negatively correlated with sex guilt such that increasing mainstream acculturation was associated with less sex guilt. The diagnostic and clinical implications of the findings are discussed.
In an effort to characterize the attitudes and characteristics of men who solicit sex, this study investigated rape myth acceptance as assessed by a modification of Burt's Rape Myth Acceptance Scale. The participants were all men who took part in the Prostitution Offender Program of British Columbia after being arrested for attempting to solicit sex from an undercover police officer. Relationships between endorsement of rape myths, other attitudes, sexual behavior, and demographic variables were examined. Results reveal that age, education, use of pornography, ideal frequency of intercourse, and believing that purchasing sex is a problem are all negatively correlated with rape myth acceptance. Positive correlations were found between rape myth acceptance and sexual conservatism, sexual violence/coercion, and social desirability. Results are discussed in terms of the association between rape myth acceptance and the violence frequently perpetrated against those working in the sex trade.
Many studies have documented significant differences in sexual desire between individuals of European and Chinese descent, but few have examined the mechanisms that underlie these differences. A recent study of university students found that sex guilt is one mechanism by which culture influences sexual desire among Chinese and Euro-Canadian women. The goal of this study was to examine whether sex guilt also mediates the relationship between ethnicity and sexual desire in a sample that is more representative of women in the general population. Euro-Canadian (n = 78; mean age = 42.1 years) and Chinese (n = 87; mean age = 42.8 years) women were recruited from the community. Euro-Canadian women reported greater sexual desire and less sex guilt. In the entire sample, sex guilt mediated the relationship between ethnicity and sexual desire such that the Chinese women reported greater sex guilt, which, in turn, was associated with lower sexual desire. Among the Chinese women, sex guilt mediated the relationship between mainstream acculturation (degree of Westernization) and sexual desire such that more Westernized Chinese women reported less sex guilt, which, in turn, was associated with greater sexual desire. These results support recent findings and further suggest that sex guilt may be one mechanism by which ethnicity affects sexual desire.
Chinese women have significantly lower rates of Papanicolaou (Pap) testing than Euro-Canadian women despite efforts to promote testing. Evidence suggests that Chinese women's reluctance to undergo Pap testing may be related to culture-linked discomfort with sexuality. The purpose of this study was to explore the role of sexuality in the interaction between acculturation and Pap testing.
Euro-Canadian (n = 213) and Chinese (n = 260) female university students completed a battery of questionnaires.
Questionnaires assessing sexual knowledge, sexual function, acculturation, and Pap testing frequency.
Euro-Canadian women had significantly more accurate sexual knowledge, higher levels of sexual functioning, a broader repertoire of sexual activities, and higher Pap testing rates. Chinese women were more likely to cite embarrassment as a barrier to Pap testing. Heritage acculturation, but not mainstream acculturation, predicted Chinese women's Pap testing behavior. Mainstream acculturation was associated with more accurate sexual knowledge and greater sexual desire and satisfaction.
The findings provide support for the hypothesis that low Pap testing rates in Chinese women may be associated with heritage acculturation, although the hypothesis that sexual function would predict Pap testing behavior was not supported.