, Volume 12, Issue 7-8, pp 697-711

Relationship factors as predictors of causal attributions about sexual experiences

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This study investigated the relation between general relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction by seeking to identify which aspects of one's relationship would predict attributions made about sexual experiences. Subjects were 233 male and female graduate and undergraduate students who were asked to rate the extent to which self, partner, situational, and relationship factors were causes for sexually satisfying and unsatisfying experiences. General relationship satisfaction, phase of relationship involvement, depth of sexual involvement, importance of sexual satisfaction to overall relationship contentment, sexual history, and gender were variables entered into multiple regression analysis to identify the “best fit” model predicting causal attributions to each dimension. Findings revealed that relationship satisfaction and gender appeared to contribute to a reliable “best fit” model which predicted attributions to the sexual relationship for satisfying sexual outcomes. Sexual history was a strong predictor variable, occurring in the best fit models for all but two attribution dimensions; other relationship variables were not strong contributors to predictive models. Finally, the inclusion of an interpersonal attributional dimension, the relationship, appeared to be highly relevant when persons identified explanations for their sexual experience outcomes. Implications of the findings and suggestions for further research are discussed.