Discussion Question 1
The benefits of sex surveys as a method of data collection include: possibility to collect data from large samples that represent wide and diverse populations; possibility to collect data about participants’ private behaviour; they provide opportunity for data collection where other methods cannot be applied (e.g. observation) (Fenton et al, 2001). Problems with the use of surveys include: dependence on self-reporting, influence of environment, possibility of lying, as well as understating and overstating; close-ended questions may produce responses of limited accuracy (Craig, 2005).

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Discussion Question 2
The focus of Thompson & Morgan’s (2008) article is on the specifics of sexual identity development and sexual identity classification in young women (U.S. college students). In particular, the authors argue in favour of distinguishing “mostly straight” as the category of women’s sexual identity. They draw a clear line between the concepts of sexual orientation (which is defined as more stable characteristics of sexual behavior) and sexual identity (which is defined as acceptance and recognition of sexual preferences). On the basis of comparison of survey results from women within “mostly straight” category with “exclusively straight”, bisexual, and lesbian, the authors have come to a conclusion that “mostly straight” should be distinguished as a “distinct sexual identity subtype” (Thompson & Morgan, 2008, p.20). It has been found that women of this category differ (by the majority of sexual identity quantitative measures) from the women in the remaining categories. The finding of this study can be used to change the widely accepted perception of sexual identity categories as rigorous. Indeed, the boundaries between sexual identity types are elusive and there is a group of women for whom neither of the traditionally distinguished categories will be accurate enough if to judge by their experience and preferences. These are mostly straight women. This group has been found to perform the role of a bridge between the categories of heterosexual and bisexual women.

  • Fenton, K. A., Johnson, A. M., McManus, S., & Erens, B. (2001). Measuring sexual behaviour: Methodological challenges in survey research. Sexually Transmitted Infections, 77, 84-92.
  • Thompson, E. & Morgan, E. (2008).“Mostly straight” young women: Variations in sexual behavior and identity development. Developmental Psychology, 44 (1), 15-21.