Date

2016

Department or Program

Psychology

Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Jonathan M. Cheek

Abstract

The term “love-shyness” was coined by Gilmartin in 1987 to separate sexual issues from other intrapsychic and interpersonal issues involved in the psychology of shyness. Based on his interpretation of American gender roles, Gilmartin (1987) believed that love-shyness was predominantly a male phenomenon. However, his argument that love-shyness does not affect women lacked empirical support (Cheek, 1989). Therefore, the purpose of the present research was to investigate the relationship between shyness and sexuality in two samples of college women obtained in 2012 and 2015 (total N = 268). Shyness was significantly and negatively correlated with measures of sexual quantity, such as total number of lifetime partners, in both the 2012 and 2015 samples. In addition, shyness was significantly and negatively correlated with measures of sexual quality, such as frequency of orgasm with a partner, in both samples. These results indicate that Gilmartin’s conclusion that love-shyness is only a significant problem among men was premature.

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