Sex in “his” versus “her” relationships

Kathleen D. Vohs, Kathleen R. Catanese, Roy F. Baumeister

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

27 Scopus citations


This chapter discusses several new theories about gender, sexuality, and intimate relationships. First, evidence pertaining towhethermen andwomen differ in the strength of sexual motivation (i.e., sex drive) is reviewed. Across 12 diverse areas of sexuality, we found conclusively that men have a stronger sex drive than women, a difference that has implications for the timing, course, and function of sex within close relationships. We next detail a theory called Erotic Plasticity, which describes differences in the flexibility and malleability of men’s and women’s sex drive. We provide evidence in support of the idea that women’s sexual preferences, desires, and overall sex drive is more responsive to sociocultural, personal, and situational influences relative to men’s sex drive. Last, we discuss a provocative new theory called Sex Exchange Theory that depicts sexual negotiations between men and women as driven by social exchange principles. In this analysis, the “resource” of sex resides within a woman, who must receive equitable resources from a man (e.g., emotional support, respect, material goods, relationship stability) in exchange for sexual encounters with her. Using the frameworks presented in this chapter, a variety of findings from the literatures of sexuality, gender, and close relationships can be interpreted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Handbook of Sexuality in Close Relationships
Place of PublicationMahwah, NJ, US
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781135624705
ISBN (Print)978-0-8058-4548-8
StatePublished - 2004


  • Human Sex Differences
  • Psychosexual Behavior
  • Sex Drive
  • Sexuality


Dive into the research topics of 'Sex in “his” versus “her” relationships'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this