Expectancy Violation Theory and Sexual Resistance in Close, Cross-Sex Relationships

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Although previous research has suggested a link between sexual resistance and the violation of the resisted partner's expectations, communication scholars have yet to utilize expectancy violation theory in a sexual resistance context. As such, the current study examines the resisted individual's perception of sexual resistance message directness and relational context in terms of three aspects of expectancy violations: violation valence, violation importance, and violation expectedness (Afifi & Metts, 1998). Findings indicate that participants view hypothetical sexual resistance from a long-term dating partner as a more negative and more unexpected expectancy violation compared with hypothetical rejection from a cross-sex friend. Further, when a participant is hypothetically rejected by way of direct communication of sexual resistance from his or her close relational partner, such a violation was perceived as more relationally important than indirect sexual resistance. These findings broaden the scope of expectancy violation theory to include sexual resistance in close relationships, replicate and validate the study of three separate expectancy violation aspects, and highlight sexual resistance as a potentially important relational event in close relationships.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0363775032000104603

Publication date: March 1, 2003

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