Body Satisfaction and Couple’s Daily Sexual Experience: A Dyadic Perspective

Abstract

Although it is widely believed that body satisfaction positively affects sexual experience, research on this topic has been limited by an almost exclusive focus on women and on individuals and by an overreliance on cross-sectional self-report data. To address these shortcomings, the current study used 1,598 daily sex reports completed by 144 couples over an average of 3 weeks to investigate the impact of satisfaction with one’s own and one’s partner’s body on sexual experience. Results indicated that an individual’s satisfaction with his or her own body was not as important to the overall quality of sexual experience as one’s satisfaction with the partner’s body or as the partner’s satisfaction with the individual’s body. Moreover, although effects were generally similar for men and women, women’s sexual outcomes were more strongly shaped by partner satisfaction with her body than the reverse. Results highlight the need to adopt a dyadic perspective in efforts to understand the effects of body satisfaction on sexual experience.

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Acknowledgments

The current research was partially supported by a mid-career scientist development award to the second author from the National Institute on Mental Health (K02 MH069118).

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Correspondence to Ruixue Zhaoyang.

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Zhaoyang, R., Cooper, M.L. Body Satisfaction and Couple’s Daily Sexual Experience: A Dyadic Perspective. Arch Sex Behav 42, 985–998 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-013-0082-4

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Keywords

  • Body satisfaction
  • Body image
  • Sexual experience
  • Couples
  • Diary method
  • Dyadic