The role of peer norms about the Sexual Double Standard (SDS) in Dutch adolescents' first sexual experiences
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Objective. The aim of this study was to examine the role of peer norms about the Sexual Double Standard (SDS) in Dutch adolescents’ first sexual experiences. Two peer norms were tested independently: descriptive norms and injunctive norms. Descriptive norms relate to perceived differences in the sexual behavior of peers, injunctive norms concern the attitude of peers about sex. Also it was examined whether these descriptive and injunctive norms were different for boys and girls. Method. Dutch adolescents (n = 69) of whom 46% were boys, aged 16 to 18 who already had sex for the first time filled out an online survey about their sexual behavior and the norms they thought their peers held about the SDS. Results. An hierarchical multiple regression analysis showed that there was no significant association between both the descriptive and injunctive norms of peers about the SDS and the age at which adolescents first had sex. Also, the associations were not different for boys and girls. Conclusion. Descriptive peer norms as well as injunctive peer norms about the SDS did not play a role in the age at which adolescents first had sex and there were no gender differences in these association. A possible explanation for this could be a misperception of actual peer behavior, but it is also possible that gender stereotypes such as the SDS in gender egalitarian societies such as the Netherlands are less traditional. Therefore, more research is needed.