Subjective Adult Identity and Casual Sexual Behavior

Heidi Lyons, Oakland University

A majority of emerging adults have casual sexual experience before entering adulthood. Little research has examined how identity influences causal sexual behavior. The current study fills this gap in the literature by examining if subjective adult identity is associated with two measures of casual sexual behavior: number of lifetime one-night stands and recent concurrent sexual partners. To investigate this research question, waves III and IV of the Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health is utilized. Findings indicate that the older and more adult-like one feels the less she is to engage in casual sexual behavior. Once stress variables are included in the model, subjective adult identity is no longer a significant predictor of concurrent sexual relationships. Neither stress variables nor life course variables explain the negative relationship between subjective adult identity and number of one-night stands. Programs that work with emerging adults need to consider how identity influences casual sexual behavior.

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Presented in Poster Session 9: Children and Youth; Data and Methods