Analysis of Young Adults' Attitudes Towards Sex and Shyness


09 Apr 2018

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Sex refers to whether or not a person is male or female, whether a person has a penis or vagina. Sex is also commonly used as an abbreviation to refer to sexual intercourse.

Sexuality refers to the total expression of who we are as a human being, our maleness or our femaleness. Our sexuality begins at birth and ends at death. Everyone is a sexual being. Our sexuality is interplay between body image, gender identity, gender role, sexual orientation, eroticism, genitals, intimacy, relationships, love and affection. A person's sexuality includes his or her attitudes, values, knowledge and behaviors. How people express their sexuality is influenced by their families, culture, society, faith and beliefs. Sources of sexual learning include parents, friends, religion, culture, media, environment, law, school, teachers, books, etc.


Myth according to Merriam Webster Dictionary is "an idea or story that is believed by many people but that is not true". Myth comes into existence due to lack of scientific knowledge with regard to particular idea.

Attitude is positive or negative expression towards a person, place, thing, or event (the attitude object). Gordon Allport define attitude as "the most distinctive and indispensable concept in contemporary social psychology." Attitude can be formed from a person's past and present experiences. Attitude is also measurable and changeable as well as influencing the person's emotion and behavior.

Attitude towards sex

Shyness is the feeling of apprehension, lack of comfort or awkwardness especially when a person is in proximity to other people. This commonly occurs in new situations or with unfamiliar people. Shyness can be a characteristic of people who have low self-esteem. Stronger forms of shyness are usually referred to as social anxiety or social phobia.

Sexuality is a vital aspect of human development with biological, psychological and social components, which may facilitate identity, well-being, pleasure, affectionate, relationships and reproduction (Formenti 2005; Ahmadi 2010). Sexuality also refers to the human potential of consciousness and specific forms of behaviour that are likely to change at different stages of life (Tiefer 1995; Zubarew 2006). In reality, the sexual behaviour of young people is influenced by attitudes and values that start to develop long before they begin to attend school. Moreover, during schooling, young people continue to be strongly influenced by messages from the family, peers and the media.

Sexual offences in general are increasing, according to National Crime Records Bureau, Crime in India 2011 Statistics, Sexual Harassment (Sec.509 IPC) cases registered are 9746 (0.9), 9966 (0.9), 10950 (1.0) 12214 (1.1), 11009 (0.9) and 9961 (0.8) in the year 2001, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010. There are many cases which are not reported and under reported cases still many are pending. The crimes related to sex are increasing still as days are passing, the reason behind it is just a gratification or it's all about the misconception and experiments which are committed by young adults?

Upcoming of new websites and updates with regard to sexuality are increasing. These entire information shows positive side and very less on its disadvantages. This has brought confusion among young adults. The developmental age leads to curiosity which in turn leads to experimentation and at last the results will lead to tragedy in individual life.

All these have lots of implication on human potential to become responsible citizen but youth is not properly directed and they are not empowered with the skill to have a healthy, physical, psychological and psycho-social environment. Today's digital technology bringing lots of myths and directing youths from the thrust (it’s a reaction force) areas of education.

It's not always easy to ask for what you want where sex is concerned? And if we're naturally shy, it can feel almost impossible. Shyness in the bedroom is common for many people, particularly with women. When it's present the result is always the same-physically relating to another person becomes difficult. If it isn't corrected early on, the foundation of a relationship can weaken, leading to sexual frustration, arguments, cheating or worse - a broken love affair. By its very character, sexual shyness acts as a barrier that keeps two people at a distance.

Kaustav. C and Guha. T. R, in their review article on "Indian concepts on sexuality" in Jan 2013, published in Indian Journal of Psychiatry mentions about "Sexuality in Adolescence and Young Adulthood that, Indian children are pampered as much as possible, often until age 6 or 7. Before puberty, a natural approach to sexuality and nudity prevails, especially in rural areas. Daughters and sons are carefully prepared for their future domestic roles as mothers and fathers. Women are considered to be much more skilled than males in love and sexual pleasures. At puberty, most boys and girls are segregated. In some regions of India, pubescent girls are not even allowed to enter a house where a single young man is present. Masturbation is generally unacceptable among girls. For boys however, it is considered a preparation for mature sex life. Though boys at the younger ages may masturbate together without shame, at little more mature ages, they all give it up. Among adolescents, Reddy et al, in a 1983 study found that the sample youth had their first sexual experience between the ages of 15 and 24 years. Homosexual activities were also reported in this study: 38% of women in the sample reported that their first sexual activity had been with a partner of the same sex. Traditionally, premarital sex activity was controlled in India. As the marriages were mostly arranged by elders, premarital sex was not the accepted practice. Although premarital sex among the tribal societies of India has been widely reported, there is very little if any reliable data on this topic in either the rural or urban areas. A study by Savara and Sridhar in 1992 showed that 30% of the respondents had experienced premarital sex, while 41% of unmarried men and 33% of married men had their first intercourse before attaining 20 years."

Stephanie S. L, Larry J. N, Franklin O. P, Brian J. W. conducted a study on "Emerging Adult Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors, Does Shyness Matter? in 2013 at Brigham Young University. According to study “Numerous studies have shown how shyness affects individuals in childhood and adolescence. However, little is known about the effects shyness may have in emerging adulthood. This study addressed how shyness may be associated with sexual attitudes and behaviors of emerging adult men and women. Participants included 717 students from four college sites across the United States, who were largely female (69%), European American (69%), unmarried (100%), and living outside their parents' home (90%). Results suggested that shyness was positively associated with sexual attitudes (reflecting more liberal views) for men whereas shyness was negatively associated with sexual attitudes for women. Shyness was positively associated with solitary sexual behaviors of masturbation and pornography use for men. Shyness was also negatively associated with relational sexual behaviors (coital and non coital) and number of lifetime partners for women”.

Need for the Study

The children of today are not the children of yesterday. Growth in terms of maturity and knowledge can be seen on a large scale for the adolescent population of today. Notions and ideas about sexuality were a prohibited topic till long time back but now adolescents are much aware and filled with various kinds of knowledge on the same. Researchers have shown that parents play the most significant role in imparting sex education to their adolescent children. They have been found to be the primary sex educators where basic and the initial knowledge about sexual attitudes and the like are conveyed on to the children. India is a multi-culture country, here perspectives differs from region to region and even socio-economic wise also. The young adults who comes from these various background mixes up in educational institutions, their knowledge and perceptions are been shared which leads to change in attitude towards a concept. With emerging westernization, there is growing concern about sexual promiscuity and changing attitude towards sexuality.

Aim: The present study aims in knowing the attitudes of young adults towards the concept of sex, myths associated with it due to lack of knowledge and their relationship with shyness.


  1. To study the knowledge, attitude about sexuality and shyness among young adults.
  2. To study the effect of shyness and its relationship to the knowledge and attitude towards sexuality.
  3. To study the influence of demographic variables (Gender, Developmental Span, Area, Medium of Instruction and Exposure to Digital Technology) on a) Knowledge, b) Sexuality and c) Shyness.


  1. Young adults differ in terms of knowledge, attitude towards sexuality and shyness.
  2. Shyness leads to lesser knowledge and unfavorable attitude towards sexuality.
  3. Demographic variables (Gender, Developmental Span, Area, Medium of Instruction, and Exposure to Digital Technology) have significant influence on a) Knowledge, b) Sexuality and c) Shyness.

Sample: 600 both male and female young adults (18-25 years) from different colleges of Mysore City will be included for the present study. Participating in the study was voluntary and the questionnaire will be filled in anonymously.


  1. A semi-structured socio-demographic profile to ascertain the socio-demographic details shall be used.
  2. Sex Myth Check List by S.P. Kumar: This is a test with 23 highly sensitive items in Yes/No format and reveals the mythical relations to sex among both the sex. This test is developed on 18-25 year population. The test-retest reliability has been found to be .70 (N=30) with one week's time interval, showing that the check-list is fairly dependable in terms of stability of scores in table.

Showing Test-Retest Reliability

The face validity of the check-list appears to be fairly high as the myth items were prepared following intensive interviews of 25 college-going students regarding their conceptions or misconceptions about different aspects of sexuality.

The content validity was adequately assured as only those myth items were initially included in the myth check-list which had shown 100 per cent agreement amongst the judges.

Of theses, only those myth items which showed a high discriminating value (.26 or above) following item-analysis were finally selected for the check-list.

On the assumption that the low myth Ss would show better mental health as compared to the high myth Ss, a group of 54 Ss - 27 Being high myth and 27 being low myth Ss - were administered the Mental Health Check-list (Kumar, 1992). As hypothesized the low myth Ss scored significantly higher on the mental health measure, showing that they possessed better mental health as compared to the high myth Ss.

  1. Sexual Attitude Scales (SAS) by Amit Abraham: The Sexual Attitude Sclaes (S.A.S) has been developed for the exclusive purpose of research work in the area of human sexuality. The SAS provide for measures of attitude in five areas of human sexuality, viz., Attitude Towards Premarital Sex (PSS); Attitude Towards Polygamy (PS); Attitude Towards Pornography (PGS); Attitude Towards Lesbianism (LS) – for women only and Attitude Towards Homosexuality (HS) – for men only.

The reliability was worked out by both the split-half and test-retest method) 3 months interval between retesting) for each of the SAS. Table shows the reliability for each scale.

Showing Test Re-Test and Split Half Reliability




Split Half

Index of Reliability


























The face validity of the scales is fairly high as the items were prepared after intensive discussion with various men and women and after survey of available literature on male and female sexuality.

The content validity was adequately assured as only items which showed cent per cent agreement amongst the judges regarding their relevance to sexuality study were selected. Of these, only those items which had high t-value (greater than 1.75, Edwards, 1969) following item analysis were finally selected.

Shyness scale: The shyness assessment test was developed by D'Souza (2006) of Maharaja's College, University of Mysore. It consists of 54 items and requires the subject to indicate his/her response by marking Yes, No or Can't say. The items in the test pertain to three domains of Shyness: Cognitive/Affective (32 items), Physiological and Action oriented program resulted in Cornbach's alpha coefficient of 0.817 for the Indian population. Further, the scale had sufficiently high validity. SAT is developed exclusively on Indian adolescents by D'Souza (2006). The reliability index ascertained by split half (odd-even) method and Cronbach's alpha coefficient for the scale as a whole were found to be 0.735 and 0.812 respectively. The reliability indices of the 3 domains were also calculated by split half method which are as follows:

Reliability Indices of Three Domains

Sl No


Reliability Index


Cognitive/Affective Domain



Physiological Domain



Action-Oriented Domain



Pilot study on 60 samples on younger adults aged between 18-25 years done before the Main study. After obtaining Informed consent from the participants, young adults from different colleges of Mysore City shall be assessed with the tools mentioned for relationship of knowledge, attitude towards sex and shyness.

Statistical Methods:

The following statistical techniques will be used for analysis and interpretation of data:

  1. Descriptive Statistics,
  2. 't' test - Independent Samples,
  3. ANOVA - One way/two way,
  4. Correlation - Pearson's Product Moment and

5.Regression - Stepwise Multiple. Chapterization:

The entire research work will run into five chapters. The first one on Introduction brings out the importance of the study, and states its objectives and hypotheses. It also includes methodology and limitations. Chapter II will contain previous reviews, history of the Problems. A Quick look on subjective well-being will also be carried out in chapter II.

Chapter III will be a methodological part of the study. Analysis and Discussions is to be done in Chapter IV. Findings, Conclusions and Suggestions for further Research will be presented in Chapter V followed by Bibliography and References.


  1. Canadian Living, How to overcome shyness when it comes to sex, to overcome shyness when it comes to sex.php
  2. Newfriends4u, Sexual Shyness, shyness.html

  1. Resource Center for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, Learning Activities, Sex and Sexuality: Understanding the Difference, D=167

  1. Crime in India - 2011 Statistics, National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
  2. Kaustav. C and Guha. T. R, Indian concepts on sexuality, Indian J Psychiatry. Jan 2013; 55(Suppl 2): S250-S255. doi: 10.4103/00195545.105546.
  3. Stephanie S. L, Larry J. N, Franklin O. P, Brian J. W, Emerging Adult Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors, Does Shyness Matter?, Sage Journals, Emerging Adulthood September 2013 vol. 1 no. 3 185195, doi: 10.1177/2167696813475611.
  4. (psychology)&oldid=629345408
  5. Fisher, T. D., Davis, C. M., Yarber, W. L., & Davis, S. L. (2010). Handbook of Sexuality-Related Measures. New York: Routledge.
  6. Shyness:
  7. Ind Psychiatry J. 2010 Jul-Dec; 19(2): 90-93. DOI: 10.4103/0972-6748.90337


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