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The sexual experiences of heterosexual college males: Examining components of sexual aggression

Aaron S Peeks, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Research suggests that certain college males, most notably athletes and those in fraternities, are more likely than their male classmates to be sexual aggressors. Nonetheless, the lack of comparative research using random samples of college males has resulted in non-generalizable findings. This two-phase sequential explanatory mixed-methods study tests competing theories of male sexual aggression. I obtained quantitative data from a disproportionate stratified random sample of college males with an oversampling of athletes and fraternity members (N = 154) at a large Midwestern University. Follow-up face-to-face in-depth interviews were then used to explore the issue of sexual aggression in greater detail with volunteers from the first phase of this study (N = 7). The theories tested include biological, self-control, feminist, hierarchical-mediational confluence, and male peer-support models. A number of variables are implicated by these theories regarding male sexual aggression. The independent variables tested include levels of self-control and empathy, rates and forms of pornography consumed, male peer-support, childhood experiences, thought and actions associated with masculinity and sexual intercourse, drinking rates, deterrent factors, attitudes toward females, group membership (e.g., fraternity and athletics), and various demographic data. Significant quantitative findings suggest that respondents' childhood relationships with their fathers, their history of sexual intercourse, a lack of deterrence, and their involvement with alcohol and negative forms of pornography through fraternity membership all contribute to the severity of sexual aggression committed by these males against females. ^

Subject Area

Women's Studies|Sociology, Criminology and Penology|Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Peeks, Aaron S, "The sexual experiences of heterosexual college males: Examining components of sexual aggression" (2006). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3214544.