A Structural Equation Model of Sexual Satisfaction and Relationship Functioning Among Sexual and Gender Minority Individuals Assigned Female at Birth in Diverse Relationships

  • Christina DyarEmail author
  • Michael E. Newcomb
  • Brian Mustanski
  • Sarah W. Whitton
Original Paper


While there is a sizeable literature on sexual satisfaction among male–female mixed-sex couples, research examining other types of relationships (e.g., same-sex) is limited. The current study aimed to broaden our understanding of sexual satisfaction across the diverse relationships of sexual and gender minority individuals assigned female at birth (SGM-AFAB) and inform models of sexual satisfaction for this population. We examined: (1) differences in sexual satisfaction and characteristics of sexual activity (frequency of sex, frequency of orgasm, duration of sex) by relationship type (same-sex, mixed-sex, gender-diverse) among SGM-AFAB; (2) a model of sexual satisfaction and its correlates; and (3) differences in this model by relationship type. Results indicated cisgender women in relationships with cisgender women (same-sex) reported higher duration of sex, frequency of orgasm, and sexual satisfaction compared to cisgender women in relationships with cisgender men (mixed-sex). There were few differences in characteristics of sexual activity between SGM-AFAB in gender-diverse relationships (involving one or more gender minority partners) and those in same- or mixed-sex relationships. Results indicated similarities across relationship types in a model of sexual satisfaction and its correlates. For all relationship types, more frequent and longer duration of sexual activity predicted higher orgasm frequency, more frequent orgasm predicted higher sexual satisfaction, and higher sexual satisfaction predicted better relationship functioning. Only the association between orgasm frequency and sexual satisfaction varied by relationship type. As one of the first studies examining sexual satisfaction among SGM-AFAB in mixed-sex and gender-diverse relationships, findings substantially further our understanding of sexual satisfaction in this population.


Sexual minority Gender minority Sexual functioning Sexual relationships Sexual orientation 



This study was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (Grant No. R01HD086170). The content of this article is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the views of the National Institutes of Health or the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution and/or national research committee (Northwestern University Internal Review Board STU00203054) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christina Dyar
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael E. Newcomb
    • 1
    • 2
  • Brian Mustanski
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sarah W. Whitton
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and WellbeingNorthwestern UniversityChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Medical Social Sciences, Feinberg School of MedicineNorthwestern UniversityChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA

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