Race and Sexual Promiscuity among Older Men: Influence of Androgens or Religious Participation?

Aniruddha Das, McGill University
Stephanie Nairn, McGill University

Using nationally representative data from the 2005-2006 U.S. National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project, this study queried race differences in older men’s sexual promiscuity, and stratification of these patterns by endogenous androgens (testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone) and religious participation. Results suggested that despite their respective prominence in the biomedical and sociological literatures on sex, neither “bottom up” hormonal influences nor “top down” religious social control were major influences on greater lifetime and current promiscuity among older black than white men. Androgens were higher among the former, but did seem to drive these race patterns. Regular church attendance—while negatively associated with promiscuity, and hence possibly a social control mechanism among all men—played a weak role in moderating ethnic variations in these behaviors. It is speculated that these sexual differences may instead be driven by unexamined current or early factors—including black men’s greater exposure to sexualizing processes in adolescence.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 6