Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 41, Issue 6, pp 1485–1495 | Cite as

Sex Guilt Mediates the Relationship Between Religiosity and Sexual Desire in East Asian and Euro-Canadian College-Aged Women

  • Jane S. T. Woo
  • Negar Morshedian
  • Lori A. Brotto
  • Boris B. Gorzalka
Original Paper


Research has examined the relationship between religiosity and sexuality but few studies have explored the mechanisms by which sexual variables are influenced by religiosity. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the role of sex guilt in the relationship between religiosity and sexual desire in women. Euro-Canadian (n = 178) and East Asian (n = 361) female university students completed a battery of questionnaires. Higher levels of religious fundamentalism, intrinsic religiosity and spirituality were associated with higher levels of sex guilt in both ethnic groups. Paranormal belief was not associated with sex guilt in either ethnic group. The Euro-Canadian women reported significantly higher levels of sexual desire and significantly less sex guilt than the East Asian women. Among the Euro-Canadian women, sex guilt mediated the relationships between spirituality and sexual desire, and fundamentalism and sexual desire; among the East Asian women, sex guilt mediated the relationships between spirituality and sexual desire, fundamentalism and sexual desire, and intrinsic religiosity and sexual desire. These findings suggest that sex guilt may be one mechanism by which religiosity affects sexual desire among women.


Religiosity Sexual desire Sex guilt East Asian Euro-Canadian sexuality 



Funding for this study came from a Hampton Research Fund from the University of British Columbia awarded to L. A. Brotto. J. S. T. Woo was funded by a Predoctoral Fellowship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and a Predoctoral Research Trainee Award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jane S. T. Woo
    • 1
  • Negar Morshedian
    • 1
  • Lori A. Brotto
    • 2
  • Boris B. Gorzalka
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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