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      Longitudinal Associations Among Relationship Satisfaction, Sexual Satisfaction, and Frequency of Sex in Early Marriage

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      Archives of Sexual Behavior
      Springer Nature

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          Abstract

          <p class="first" id="P1">The current research used two 8-wave longitudinal studies spanning the first 4–5 years of 207 marriages to examine the potential bidirectional associations among marital satisfaction, sexual satisfaction, and frequency of sex. All three variables declined over time, though the rate of decline in each variable became increasingly less steep. Controlling for these changes, own marital and sexual satisfaction were bidirectionally positively associated with one another; higher levels of marital satisfaction at one wave of assessment predicted more positive changes in sexual satisfaction from that assessment to the next and higher levels of sexual satisfaction at one wave of assessment predicted more positive changes in marital satisfaction from that assessment to the next. Likewise, own sexual satisfaction and frequency of sex were bidirectionally positively associated with one another. Additionally, partner sexual satisfaction positively predicted changes in frequency of sex and own sexual satisfaction among husbands, yet partner marital satisfaction negatively predicted changes in both frequency of sex and own sexual satisfaction. Controlling these associations, marital satisfaction did not directly predict changes in frequency of sex or vice versa. Only the association between partner sexual satisfaction and changes in own sexual satisfaction varied across men and women and none of the key effects varied across the studies. These findings suggest that sexual and relationship satisfaction are intricately intertwined and thus that interventions to treat and prevent marital distress may benefit by targeting the sexual relationship and interventions to treat and prevent sexual distress in marriage may benefit by targeting the marital relationship. </p>

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          Most cited references32

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          Measuring Marital Quality: A Critical Look at the Dependent Variable

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            Gender differences in erotic plasticity: the female sex drive as socially flexible and responsive.

            Responding to controversies about the balance between nature and culture in determining human sexuality, the author proposes that the female sex drive is more malleable than the male in response to sociocultural and situational factors. A large assortment of evidence supports 3 predictions based on the hypothesis of female erotic plasticity: (a) Individual women will exhibit more variation across time than men in sexual behavior, (b) female sexuality will exhibit larger effects than male in response to most specific sociocultural variables, and (c) sexual attitude-behavior consistency will be lower for women than men. Several possible explanations for female erotic plasticity are reviewed, including adaptation to superior male political and physical power, the centrality of female change (from no to yes) as a prerequisite for intercourse, and the idea that women have a milder sex drive than men.
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              Attachment-related psychodynamics.

              Because there has been relatively little communication and cross-fertilization between the two major lines of research on adult attachment, one based on coded narrative assessments of defensive processes, the other on simple self-reports of 'attachment style' in close relationships, we here explain and review recent work based on a combination of self-report and other kinds of method, including behavioral observations and unconscious priming techniques. The review indicates that considerable progress has been made in testing central hypotheses derived from attachment theory and in exploring unconscious, psychodynamic processes related to affect-regulation and attachment-system activation. The combination of self-report assessment of attachment style and experimental manipulation of other theoretically pertinent variables allows researchers to test causal hypotheses. We present a model of normative and individual-difference processes related to attachment and identify areas in which further research is needed and likely to be successful. One long-range goal is to create a more complete theory of personality built on attachment theory and other object relations theories.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Archives of Sexual Behavior
                Arch Sex Behav
                Springer Nature
                0004-0002
                1573-2800
                January 2016
                December 18 2014
                : 45
                : 1
                : 85-97
                Article
                10.1007/s10508-014-0444-6
                4472635
                25518817
                1b37fac2-5fbd-4438-88c6-026b020b3f33
                © 2014

                http://www.springer.com/tdm


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