Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 553-567

First online:

Sexual Desire Discrepancies: Effects on Sexual and Relationship Satisfaction in Heterosexual Dating Couples

  • Stephenie Davies
  • , Jennifer Katz
  • , Joan L. Jackson

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Sexual desire discrepancies and the associationsbetween desire discrepancies and relationship adjustment(i.e., sexual and relationship satisfaction) inheterosexual dating couples (N = 72) were examined. Desire discrepancies were assessed via twomethods: (1) a couple-based index created using bothindividuals' reports of sexual desire and (2) anindividual-based index using each person's ownsubjective perception of a desire discrepancy within thecouple. Both indices were associated with women'sadjustment, whereas only individual perceptions ofdiscrepancies were associated with men's adjustment. The association between desire discrepancies andgeneral relationship satisfaction was fully mediated bylevel of sexual satisfaction for both men and women.Women whose sexual desire level was lower than their partners' endorsed lower levels of relationshipadjustment relative to women whose desire was eithergreater than or similar to their partners'. Implicationsfor the assessment of sexual desire differences in couples are discussed.