Need a perfect paper? Place your first order and save 5% with this code:   SAVE5NOW

Implicit and Explicit Attitudes Concerning Sexual Relationship

Even though research on sexual functioning has blossomed in recent decades, we still have a limited grasp of individual differences in sexual pleasure and desire. Sexual attitudes have been shown to significantly impact how we view sexual conduct, particularly our appetites and feelings of sexual pleasure. Attitudes are mental representations of an item that remain over time and are impacted by various factors such as personal history, education, interpersonal relationships, and cultural standards. Such depictions mirror the attitude object’s valence (positive vs negative) as well as other traits of significance in one’s own life (Bulmer et al.). In fact, attitudes are often thought to have a key part in how individuals operate because of their impact on our thoughts, intentions, and actions. Attitudes, for example, function as inclinations to approach things that get positive assessments and avoid those that receive unfavourable evaluations. Sexual desire and fulfilment, as well as a good emotional reaction to one’s subjective judgment of one’s own sexual life, should be intrinsically linked to a positive view of sexuality.

However, a new study discovered that opinions have a complicated impact on human behaviour. Indeed, attitudes may be automatic (implicit) and regulated (explicit). When a young mother, for example, naturally (implicitly) associates sexuality with a good sensation (such as pleasure or desire), she may mistakenly believe that indulging in sexual activity. At the same time, her infant sleeping in the next room is wrong (Charlesworth et al.). Also, when compared to a positive implicit attitude toward sexual contacts, an explicit attitude of unhappiness with sexual connections may reduce a woman’s libido, prompting her to reject sexual approaches from a partner or resulting in sexual regrets (for example). Surprisingly, recent research has mostly focused on connecting explicit sexual ideas and sexual functioning. As a result, it is vital to investigate both explicit and implicit sexual attitudes, as well as their relationship, since they may offer a valuable lens for analyzing individual variations in sexual desire and satisfaction.

Implicit and explicit attitudes

According to implicit thinking, attitudes influence our thoughts and actions in two ways: (a) through rapid associative processing, which is controlled by lower-order processes and activates instantly whenever we see a social object, and (b) through explicit and effortful processing, which is based on symbolic representations, works slowly and sequentially, and is controlled by higher-order processes (Kurdi et al.). While implicit attitudes are expected to impact uncontrolled, spontaneous conduct, explicit attitudes are expected to influence more carefully regulated behaviour. In most cases, implicit and explicit attitudes are expected to interact.

Indeed, instinctual connections shape reflective attitudes, which explicit ideas may modify. However, in certain cases, the two approaches may diverge. This disparity has been attributed to the dual-model theory of human cognition, which states that when people want to hide certain attitudes or stereotypes in order to be more socially acceptable, or when the stimulus under evaluation is ambiguous in terms of valence, reflective attitudes can take the place of automatic ones (Thompson et al.). Such disparities in implicit and explicit judgments are upsetting psychologically and may have serious repercussions. For example, research on self-esteem found that people with diverging implicit and explicit self-esteem reacted defensively and had more personal and interpersonal issues than those with high implicit and explicit self-esteem.

Sexual Perceptions

Almost all sexuality studies have incorporated explicit attitudinal analyses. It has been shown that men have more permissive explicit sexual views than females and that explicit sexual attitudes are intrinsically tied to sexual desire. Furthermore, studies have shown a relationship between sexual pleasure and an individual’s ability to express explicit sexual attitudes. Individuals who place a high value on sexual engagement report higher levels of sexual pleasure (Wang-Jones et al.). Surprisingly, (Wang-Jones et al.) research has looked at both explicit and implicit views about sexuality and investigated the differences in men’s and women’s implicit and explicit sexual attitudes.

A modified version of the Implicit Association Test (IAT) was used to assess participants’ implicit sexual attitudes, which required recognizing sexual and nonsexual terms based on their content (nonsexual vs sexual) and valence (positive vs negative). According to research, women exhibited more negative views on sexuality than males, both overtly and implicitly, although the two characteristics were unrelated (Willis et al.). Gender variations in socialization, according to the researchers, are intrinsically related to these findings. However, these findings are likely connected to individual differences in sexual functioning, such as sexual desire and sexual pleasure. Gender differences in sexual desire and pleasure have been documented, indicating that males experience more often and are stronger than females.

Work Cited

Bulmer, Maria, and Keise Izuma. “Implicit and explicit attitudes toward sex and romance in asexuals.” The Journal of Sex Research 55.8 (2018): 962-974.

Charlesworth, Tessa ES, and Mahzarin R. Banaji. “Patterns of implicit and explicit attitudes: I. Long-term change and stability from 2007 to 2016.” Psychological science 30.2 (2019): 174-192.

Kurdi, Benedek, et al. “Relationship between the Implicit Association Test and intergroup behavior: A meta-analysis.” American psychologist 74.5 (2019): 569.

Thompson, Ashley E., Aaron J. Bagley, and Elle A. Moore. “Young men and women’s implicit attitudes towards consensually nonmonogamous relationships.” Psychology & Sexuality 9.2 (2018): 117-131.

Wang-Jones, Tiffani “Tie” S., et al. “Comparing implicit and explicit attitudes of gay, straight, and non-monosexual groups toward transmen and transwomen.” International Journal of Transgenderism 19.1 (2018): 95-106.

Willis, Malachi, et al. “Explicit verbal sexual consent communication: Effects of gender, relationship status, and type of sexual behavior.” International Journal of Sexual Health 31.1 (2019): 60-70.


Don't have time to write this essay on your own?
Use our essay writing service and save your time. We guarantee high quality, on-time delivery and 100% confidentiality. All our papers are written from scratch according to your instructions and are plagiarism free.
Place an order

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Need a plagiarism free essay written by an educator?
Order it today

Popular Essay Topics