Assessed the relationship between self-esteem and sexual permissiveness for 486 single females aged 13--20 who were attending 10 birth control centers in Ontario. Consistent with Stratton and Spitzer's social deviance model, which predicts that the nature of the permissiveness/self-esteem relationship is dependent on cultural norms, in this liberal sample high esteem Ss were accepting of premarital intercourse with affection. Those who deviated from the permissiveness with affection norm by endorsing sexual abstinence had lower esteem, but there was no relationship between esteem and endorsement of premarital intercourse without affection or esteem and number of coital partners. High self-esteem Ss were more willing to take sexual initiative and had lower sex guilt.
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