Honors Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Malousek, E. 2024. Age of sexual debut alone is insufficient for predicting later objectification and sexual wellbeing. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Utilizing secondary data from a survey on sexual wellbeing, we assessed the association between sexual debut, objectification, and adult sexual wellbeing. Our sample included 856 participants assigned female at birth who reported at least one sexual experience. The data analyzed came from surveys conducted from fall 2020 to spring 2023 and included both qualitative and quantitative measures. We coded qualitative data on boundary setting experiences during sexual debut using a thematic approach with broad categories such as “positive”, “neutral”, and “negative”. Quantitative analyses revealed no significant associations between age of debut and objectification nor with sexual functioning. However, sexual coercion history predicted higher interpersonal objectification, which was moderated by age of debut with “later” debut having the highest levels of interpersonal objectification and “earlier” debut having the lowest levels of interpersonal objectification. Unexpectedly, pleasure deservingness was negatively associated with sexual functioning, and sexual coercion was positively associated with pleasure deservingness. The results suggest that age of debut alone is not enough to predict long-term outcomes and that adolescents and young adults may experience pleasure deservingness differently than adult populations. Further research should explore the potential factors associated with a positive sexual debut and their association with future sexual wellbeing.