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

Abstract

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.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. For brevity, we use the following terminology: same-sex (i.e., cisgender women’s relationships with cisgender women); mixed-sex (cisgender women’s relationships with cisgender men); and gender-diverse (i.e., relationships that involve at least one gender minority partner).

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Acknowledgements

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.

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Correspondence to Christina Dyar.

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Dyar, C., Newcomb, M.E., Mustanski, B. et al. A Structural Equation Model of Sexual Satisfaction and Relationship Functioning Among Sexual and Gender Minority Individuals Assigned Female at Birth in Diverse Relationships. Arch Sex Behav 49, 693–710 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-019-1403-z

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Keywords

  • Sexual minority
  • Gender minority
  • Sexual functioning
  • Sexual relationships
  • Sexual orientation