The relative impact of individual sexual desire and couple desire discrepancy on satisfaction in heterosexual couples

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Abstract

Sexual desire has been shown to be positively related to sexual and relationship satisfaction. Sexual desire discrepancy has received relatively little empirical attention in the context of dyads, though research shows that larger discrepancies in desire may be associated with lower satisfaction outcomes. The relative importance of sexual desire and sexual desire discrepancy in predicting sexual and relationship satisfaction was examined in a sample of 133 heterosexual couples. Men and women were equally likely to be the member of the couple with lower sexual desire relative to their partner. Hierarchical multiple regression results indicated that individual sexual desire for one's partner significantly predicted sexual satisfaction for women and men, whereas sexual desire discrepancy significantly predicted sexual satisfaction for men only. However, in predicting relationship satisfaction, individual sexual desire for partner is significantly related to women's relationship satisfaction, whereas sexual desire discrepancy is significantly related to men's relationship satisfaction. These findings suggest that attention should be paid to how each partner interacts within the dyad and special attention should be paid to how women's sexual desire impacts relationship dynamics. Therapeutic implications and future research avenues are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-146
Number of pages14
JournalSexual and Relationship Therapy
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • desire discrepancy
  • heterosexual dyad
  • relationship satisfaction
  • sexual desire
  • sexual satisfaction

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