Social media use has become increasingly popular among Internet users. Given the widespread use of social media on smartphones, there is an increasing need for research examining the impact of the use of such technologies on sexual relationships and their constructs such as intimacy, satisfaction, and sexual function. However, little is known about the underlying mechanism why social media addiction impacts on sexual distress. This study investigated whether two constructs (intimacy and perceived social support) were mediators in the association of social media addiction and sexual distress among married women.
A prospective study was conducted where all participants ( N = 938; mean age = 36.5 years) completed the Bergen Social Media Addiction Scale to assess social media addiction, the Female Sexual Distress Scale – Revised to assess sexual distress, the Unidimensional Relationship Closeness Scale to assess intimacy, and the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support to assess perceived social support.
The results showed that social media addiction had direct and indirect (via intimacy and perceived social support) effects on sexual function and sexual distress.
The findings of this study facilitate a better understanding of how problematic engaging to social media can affect couples’ intimacy, perceived social support, and constructs of sexual function. Consequently, sexual counseling should be considered an essential element for assessing individual behaviors in the context of social media use.