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The Sexual Experience of Latino Young Adults in College and Their Perceptions of Values About Sex Communicated by Their Parents and Friends


This study examines the values in Latino young adults’ perceptions of messages about sex during their formative years and their current level of sexual exploration and sexual assertiveness. Latino young adults in college ( N = 218) rated the prevalence of four types of messages they heard from parents and friends: Sex is only for marriage (procreational), sex is only appropriate in a loving relationship (relational), sex is for pleasure (recreational), and the sexual double standard. Relational sex was most prominent in parental messages; recreational sex was most prominent in friend messages. Women reported more relational sex messages and men reported more recreational sex messages from parents and friends. Fewer procreational sex messages from parents and more recreational sex messages from friends were associated with higher reported levels of sexual exploration and assertiveness. We propose that sexual exploration and assertiveness are behavioral manifestations of individualistic values embedded in sexual discourses among friends and family.

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