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As research on sexuality expands, more interest has grown in understanding how social influences relate to people's sex practices (e.g., Ahrold & Meston, 2010; Davis &Friel, 2001; Meier, 2003; Potard, Courtois, & Rusch, 2008). However, little research has been done on how these factors influence cognitions about sexuality. Therefore, this study examined the relationships between peer and caregivers’ attitudes toward sexuality, experiences with sex education, religiosity, and participants' awareness and acceptance of their sexuality. A convenience sample of 77 college students completed eight surveys related to the above topics. All scales used a 5-point Likert scale. Results indicate a positive correlation between peers' attitudes toward sexuality and participants' sexual awareness (r(73) = .441, p < .001). Religiosity was negatively correlated with overall sexual awareness (r(73) = -.273, p = .018). Surprisingly, caregivers’ attitudes only significantly correlated with sexual depression (r(73) = .259, p = .025). Additionally, there was a positive correlation between religiosity and sex education (r(73) = .297, p = .009). Exploratory t-tests indicate that there is a significant difference between women’s and men’s sexual awareness scores (t(72) = -2.020), p = .047), in addition to a significant difference between queer participants and straight participants (t(72) = 4.508), p < .001). These results suggest that social factors can influence how people perceive their sexuality. The results and their implications will be discussed.

Publication Date



Sex; College students--Sexual behavior


Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Psychology | Sociology

Primo Type

Conference Proceeding

Peers, Caregivers, Religion, and Sex Education: Relationships to Sexual Awareness