Early adolescent girls see their network of friends expand when their experimentation with sex stops at “making out.” But when an adolescent girl goes from making out to engaging in sexual intercourse, her friendship network becomes smaller by 45% — with both male and female friendships decreasing. Another finding in a recent study led by a Penn State sociology professor is that the opposite results exist for young male adolescents. Male early adolescents see their friendship circles widen (by 88%) if they engage in sexual intercourse — demonstrating that the societal reputation double standard for males and females regarding sexual activity starts early.
Surprisingly it even follows that male early adolescents see their friendship networks decrease if they merely “make out,” without engaging in sexual intercourse. Making out is often perceived by a male adolescent’s peers as trepidation or cowardice, and associated with a lack of virility or manliness. For more on the study, entitled “The Double Standard at Sexual Debut: Gender, Sexual Behavior and Early Adolescent Peer Acceptance” check it the American Sociological Association post here.