Disparities in the Trajectories of Young Women’s Willingness to Refuse Unwanted Sex

Abigail Weitzman , University of Michigan
Allen Mallory, University of Texas at Austin

This is the first study to examine how young women’s willingness to refuse sex changes over the transition to adulthood. Using panel data from the Relationship Dynamics and Social Life study, we identify young adult women's trajectories of willingness to refuse unwanted sex; assess which women are most likely to follow a given trajectory; and describe trajectory groups’ sexual and relationship comportment. Three distinct trajectories emerge: stable high; low-U; and moderate but declining. Socially advantaged women were the most likely to follow a stable high trajectory. Black women, socially disadvantaged women, women with early sexual debut and early births, and women who adhere to rape myths were the most likely to follow a low-U trajectory. Women who followed this low-U trajectory spent less time in serious relationships, while women whose trajectory was moderate but declining spent the most time in serious relationships and had sex most often.

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 Presented in Session 37. Gender Inequality Over Place and Time