Perceptions of Sex, Virginity, and Consent: Considering Gender, Sexuality, and Alcohol Consumption
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The present studies investigated current perceptions of what acts constitute a loss of virginity (study 1) and are considered sex (study 2) for each partner in heterosexual and same-sex interactions as well as how these perceptions might change with varying levels of consent (study 3). Participants (Total N = 1,310) read situational statements, vignettes, and opinion questions concerning their own sexuality and gender, as well as others to determine not only how a group views itself, but how others view them. Studies 1 & 2 found penile penetration, vaginally and anally, constituted both sex and a loss of virginity. Seven items that did not constitute a loss of virginity were considered sex and any act that is non-consensual is not considered a valid sexual interaction nor constitutes virginity loss. In study 3, even if verbal consent is acquired, if either participant is intoxicated, the validity of that consent is questioned.