Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Wells, Harold P., -1996

Degree Name

M.S. Ed. (Master of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Physical Education for Men


High school students--Illinois--Northbrook; Sex customs--Illinois


A sexuality inventory was constructed and used to determine the sexual knowledge, attitudes and activities of the high school students of a Chicago suburban community. The inventory was administered to 237 volunteer male students of the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grades. The knowledge test proved to be difficult for all students but was more successfully answered by juniors and seniors than by freshmen and sophomores and by students who were active in any type of school sponsored activity than by those who were not active. The study describes the attitudes of the subjects regarding premarital intercourse, masturbation, pornography and homosexuality and also towards issues of sexuality, for instance, abortion and contraceptives It also describes the sexual activities of the subjects including their heterosexual experience, their homosexual experience, their experience with pornography, and their masturbatory experience. The study indicates that petting above the waist of a clothed girl was within the range of experience of nearly every student who dated. Sexual intercourse was reported by 11%, of the freshmen and by 55%, of the seniors. Between 70% and 80% of the students in each class reported masturbation. Nearly all the students reported that they had been exposed to pornography and nearly 50% reported that their experience was occasional or frequent. The reported incidence of homosexuality was extremely low. Approximately 15% of the students from each class reported that they had experienced intimate sexual contact with another male. Only four students, however, reported more than one or two homosexual experiences. The subjects were divided into sub groups based on their athletic experience, referrals to the dean of students for disciplinary action, marijuana use and use of drugs other than marijuana. The sexual knowledge, attitudes and activities of these sub groups were compared. Varsity athletes were more liberal than the non athletes in the attitudes toward sexuality which they expressed but were more conservative in the sexual activities which they reported. The students with four or more referrals, when compared to other students, were more permissive in their attitudes toward sexual intercourse but were more likely to view masturbation, pornography and homosexuality as harmful or immoral. They were also more active hetero- sexually than any other group of students and less active in the other three modes of sexual expression: masturbation, pornography and homosexuality. The students who reported frequent use of marijuana were more liberal in their attitudes toward all forms of sexual expression. They also reported greater heterosexual activity than their classmates. The students who never used marijuana, conversely, reported less heterosexual experience than any of the groups studied. Those students who reported that they used drugs other than marijuana occasionally or frequently reported more sexual activity in all four modes of sexual expression, heterosexual intimacy, masturbation, pornography and homosexuality, than any group studied. The subjects were also divided into sub groups based on their experience with intercourse, masturbation, pornography and homosexuality. The sexual knowledge, attitudes, and activities of these sub groups were compared. The students who reported that they masturbated regularly were more liberal than those who never masturbated on nearly every question involving intercourse and although they reported more heterosexual experience in all but the most intimate behaviors, they reported much less experience in intercourse than other students. They did, on the other hand, report greater exposure to pornography and more homosexual contact than their classmates. The students frequently exposed to pornography were more liberal in most of their sexual attitudes than other students. Most of them viewed pornography as harmless entertainment but approximately 1670 were uncomfortable with their own experience with pornography. Those students who had never experienced homosexual contact and those who had, did not report any different heterosexual experience than that reported by the total study group. The students who had experienced homosexual contact did, however, report much more masturbatory and pornographic experience than either the total study group or the students who had not experienced homosexual contact. The students who had experienced intercourse with three or more girls were more liberal in most of their sexual attitudes than the students who had never experienced intercourse but they were more likely to view masturbation or pornography as damaging. Few differences in sexual activity were reported by the two groups.


Includes bibliographical references.


x, 186 pages




Northern Illinois University

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