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Sexual Double Standard: Practices of Implementation and Application of Norms among Moscow Youth

Student: Anastasiia Shikova

Supervisor: Olga Savinskaya

Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences

Educational Programme: Sociology (Bachelor)

Final Grade: 8

Year of Graduation: 2020

A sexual double standard is a double set of moral standards for men and women, usually with stricter standards applied to women, especially regarding premarital virginity and what is considered acceptable sexual behavior. (Francoeur, Perper, Scherzer, Selmer, & Cornog, 1991). Despite the variety of studies on the sexual double standard, there is no consensus as to what sexual behavior and practice this double standard applies to, and this phenomenon is extremely poorly studied in Russia. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to identify the normative attitudes and practices of their implementation in relation to sexual behavior in the student culture of Russia. This study primarily focuses on the implementation, application, and logic of argumentation of norms of sexual behavior, and it is intended primarily to generalize the existing gendered norms of sexual behavior and outline the boundaries of the double standard. To achieve this goal, two series of interviews were conducted: a leitmotif interview to identify the main norms of sexual behavior, mechanisms for their transmission and features of entering sexual life; focused interview using vignettes to clarify and deepen the meanings of the identified norms, and an analysis of terms to determine stigma. The analysis revealed the main norms of sexual behavior for men and women. Women are expected to have fewer sexual partners than men under conditions of equal duration of sexual life. The reverse double standard is also revealed, when the norms of male sexual behavior are stricter than women's, and their violation leads to the loss of status in the group. The reverse double standard is shown in relation to the norm of entering first sexual relations, the upper age limit of which is lower for men than for women. The translation of normative attitudes about sexual behavior occurs mainly through parental guidance and is aimed primarily at girls, focusing on chaste, neat behavior. Important for studying the sexual double standard was the division of girls into two categories – "normal" and slut. Falling into the second, stigmatized, category provides a violation of the norms regarding the number of partners and the frequency of their changes.

Full text (added May 27, 2020)

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