Talking About Sex in Malta
Talking about Sex with Partner
In this study, the comfortability of discussing sex with partners was evaluated and measured. The level of comfortability varies between the different categories of participants.
Firstly, the difference in comfortability between men and women, is not significant because there is only a difference of 0.03 points. This slight difference shows that men (4.40) tend to be slightly more comfortable discussing sex with their partners than women (4.37).
With regards to participants of different age groups, it emerged that older people feel less comfortable talking about sex than younger people. Specifically, those whose age is more than 66 years-old on average measured 4.09 whereas people aged between 56 years and 65 years-old on average measured 4.11. In contract people aged between 26 years and 35 years-old measured 4.68 points.
The comfortability of talking about sex with your partner also varies depending on civil status. In this study, participants in a relationship feel more comfortable discussing sex with their partners with 4.65. This is a total of 0.15 points when compared to the people with a separated or divorced status with 4.50. Conversely, married people scored a total of 4.25 with a 0.40 points difference from people within a relationship.
The findings of this study show that people who live in the Northern region (4.58) and Northern Harbour region (4.54) tend to discuss sex more comfortably with their partners when compared to the people who live in Southern Harbour region (4.07). The South Eastern areas, the Western region and Gozo and Comino scored similar results with 4.30, 4.31 and 4.35 respectively, showing that they are comfortable in their sexual communication with their partners.
With regards to the participants’ activity status, students, or the unemployed (3.00) have low comfort when it comes to discussing sex with their partners. On the other hand, this study shows that on average pensioners have the highest level of comfort of discussing sex with their partners with 4.47 points, followed by people who work (4.49).
Lastly, comfortability may depend on the level of education. Indeed, we notice that the participants with a tertiary-level of education (4.69) represent the highest average of comfortability, followed by the participants with a post-secondary-level of education (4.48) and participants with a secondary-level of education (4.27). The smallest averages are represented by participants with a primary-level of education (3.00) and participants with a trade-school-level of education (3.67).
International studies support this research. Among them, Bailey Schmit (2016) discusses the comfort of having sexual communication with partners. This study consists of 18 participants aged 18 to 39, more precisely 9 couples. The peculiarity of this study is that some partners came from cultures where sexuality is not an open subject. However, the author reveals that the 18 participants feel comfortable discussing sex with their partners, despite the intercultural difference in the couples.
In their study of a sex education program involving more than 1000 adolescents, Guzman et al. (2003) showed that 52% of Latino adolescents (n=502) felt comfortable discussing sex with their dating partners.
Alimoradi et al., (2021) conducted a study on sexual communication among married Iranian women of reproductive age to determine socio-demographic predictors of “dyadic sexual communication”. Statistics on demographic factors such as age, education level, economic status, life satisfaction, and duration of marriage were measured and collected. This research concluded that life satisfaction, frequency of sexual intercourse, moderate economic status, and using contraception were predictors of good two-fold sexual communication.
Talking about Sex with Friends
In this study, which was carried out in the Maltese sample, it was examined how comfortable people are in discussing sex with their friends. It was determined that people had an averageof 3.37 out of 5. Females were found to have a higher mean than males. So females(3.48) feelmore comfortable than males (3.26) in discussing sex with friends.
In the current study, we also found that young people feel more comfortable than older people in discussing sex with friends (18-25: 4, 26-35: 3.90, 36-45: 3.50, 46-55: 3.54, 56-65: 3.20, 66+ : 2.07).
Single people have a 3.47 average about feel comfortable in discussing sex with friends. Married people have a3.16, people in a relationship havea 4.06, sperated/divorced/annulled people have a 3.31 and widow people have a 1.83 average. As we can see the most comfortable people discussing sex with friends is in a relationship and the least comfortable people are the widowed.
When examined in terms of education levels, primary school graduates are the least comfortable discussing sex (1.70), and the most comfortable are those with higher education (3.84).
Students/unemployed feel more comfortable talking about sex (3.75) than others (fulfilling domestic tasks, working). Pensioners are the ones who feel the least comfortable about it (2.0).
In a study of American people with an average age of 18.5 years, it was found that women were more comfortable and open about sex-related issues with their close friends than men (Lefkowitz & Espinosa-Hernandez, 2007). Consistent results were found in another study with an American sample.In the aforementioned study, it was found that women and less religious youth were more comfortable talking about sex-related issues (Lefkowitz et al., 2004).
A study of highly educated European people over the age of 60, mostly in a heterosexual relationship, found that talking about sex was perceived as more prohibited for women than men (Hinchliff et al., 2019).
According to data collected by Widman et al. (2013) from three rural, low-income secondary schools in the Southeastern United States, girls talk more comfortably about sex than boys. In the same study, it was found that African Americans are more comfortable to talk about sex than Caucasian and Latin Americans.
Dilorio et al. (1999) found that during early adolescence,boys are less comfortable than girls in discussing sex with friends in the African-American sample.
In summary, when the findings obtained in different cultures and different age groups are examined, it is seen that the results are consistent with the findings of our study. In general, it has been found that women feel more comfortable than men in discussing sex with their friends. Studies based on age and gender were found more frequently in the literature. However research was found on variables such as education level, marital status, and sexual satisfaction.
DiIorio, C., Kelley, M., & Hockenberry-Eaton, M. (1999). Communication about sexual issues: Mothers, fathers, and friends. Journal of adolescent health, 24(3), 181-189.
Hinchliff, S., Fileborn, B., Alba, B., Lyons, A., Minichiello, V., Barrett, C., ... & Dow, B. (2021). Talking about sex with friends: perspectives of older adults from the Sex, Age & Me study in Australia. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 23(3), 367-382.
Lefkowitz, E. S., & Espinosa-Hernandez, G. (2007). Sex-related communication with mothers and close friends during the transition to university. Journal of Sex Research, 44(1), 17-27.
Lefkowitz, E. S., Boone, T. L., & Shearer, C. L. (2004). Communication with best friends about sex-related topics during emerging adulthood. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 33, 339-351.
Widman, L., Choukas-Bradley, S., Helms, S. W., Golin, C. E., & Prinstein, M. J. (2014). Sexual communication between early adolescents and their dating partners, parents, and best friends. The Journal of Sex Research, 51(7), 731-741.
Guzman, B. L., Schlehofer-Sutton, M. M., Villanueva, C. M., Dello Stritto, M. E., Casad, B. J., & Feria, A. (2003). Let’s talk about sex: How comfortable discussions about sex impact teen sexual behavior. Journal of Health Communication, 8, 583-598
Schmit, B. (2016). Sexual communication among intercultural couples with a Finnish partner. ALIMORADI, Z., GHORBANI, S., BAHRAMI, N., GRIFFITHS, M.D. and PAKPOUR,
A.H., 2021. Socio-demographic predictors of dyadic sexual communication among Iranian married
women. Sexologies, 31 (4), pp. 311-317. ISSN 1158-1360
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