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Content and Valence of Sexual Cognitions and Their Relationship With Sexual Functioning in Spanish Men and Women

Abstract

This study examined the relationship between various subtypes of positive and negative sexual cognitions (NSC) based on their content (intimate, exploratory, sadomasochistic, impersonal) and sexual functioning, including aspects of sexual response (desire), sexual motivation (sexual excitation and sexual inhibition), and cognitive-affective domains (satisfaction). Participants were 789 Spanish adults (322 men and 467 women) who were in a heterosexual relationship of at least 6 months duration. Overall, the men reported more frequent exploratory and impersonal positive sexual cognitions than did the women. The men and women did not differ in the frequency of their positive intimate and sadomasochistic cognitions or in any of their NSC. Using canonical correlation, the results revealed that, after controlling for the overall frequency of NSC, the men and women who reported a higher frequency of all subtypes of positive sexual cognitions reported more dyadic and solitary sexual desire, more propensity to get sexually excited, and less sexual inhibition. A second canonical variate was identified for both the men and the women that revealed different patterns of association between the subtypes of cognitions and specific areas of sexual functioning, highlighting the role of positive, intimate cognitions for dyadic aspects of sexual functioning. The subtypes of NSC were not associated with poorer sexual functioning for either men or women, perhaps because they, on average, occurred infrequently. The findings were discussed in terms of the relationship between the specific content of sexual cognitions and the sexual functioning of men and women.

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Acknowledgments

This research was funded by a predoctoral scholarship from the Spanish Ministry of Education for the training of university teachers given to the first author (Reference: AP2008-02503). We would also like to thank all the people who volunteered to participate in this study.

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Correspondence to Nieves Moyano.

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Moyano, N., Byers, E.S. & Sierra, J.C. Content and Valence of Sexual Cognitions and Their Relationship With Sexual Functioning in Spanish Men and Women. Arch Sex Behav 45, 2069–2080 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-015-0659-1

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Keywords

  • Sexual cognitions
  • Sexual desire
  • Sexual excitation
  • Sexual inhibition
  • Sexual satisfaction