The effect of sexual experience on the social representation of sex in Portuguese young adults

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Alexandra Gomes *
Cristina Nunes
(*) Corresponding Author:
Alexandra Gomes | asgomes@ualg.pt

Abstract

This study aimed to observe the effect of sexual experience on the social representation of sex in Portuguese young adults. According to social representation theory, the central core of the social representation should be the same in all individuals that share a common social ground, however differences should be found in the peripheral system. It was used a free evocation task to assess the social representation of sex in Portuguese individuals aging between 18 and 25 years old. Nine hundred and sixty individuals were grouped by their sexual experience and condom use habits. A prototypical analysis was conducted to assess the structure of the social representation and statistical differences were analyzed using the qui-square independency test to search for an association between the structure and the group evoking it. The results supported the hypothesis of a common central core for all groups that shows a romanticized vision of sex. The differences found in the peripheral system suggest that sexual experience affects the representation of sex in a way that seems clearer to these individuals the necessity of protection when it comes to sex.

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