Who’s Getting the Best Sex? A Comparison by Sexual Orientation
This study examined the difference in sexual satisfaction between sexual minority and heterosexual college students testing the mediation effects of institutional affiliations and interpersonal relationships. A convenience sample of 280 college sociology students completed a 47-item Internet questionnaire, including self-reports on sexual satisfaction and sexual behaviors/activities. Data on 193 heterosexuals and 87 sexual minority respondents were analyzed using regression to test for differences in reported levels of sexual satisfaction by sexual orientation. Results revealed that sexual minority undergraduates reported lower sexual satisfaction than heterosexual undergraduates. This difference persisted when controlling for sex, race, education, and SES. Mediation analyses found support for the hypothesis that institutional affiliations and interpersonal relationships have an effect on this association. Previous researchers have suggested that sexual minority relationships exist in a context of heterosexism, suppression, stigmatization, prejudice, discrimination and violence which results in lower relationship quality. Such an impact on minority couples’ satisfaction may spill over into lower sexual satisfaction.
KeywordsSexual orientation Sexual satisfaction College students Sexual minorities
Compliance and Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
All authors declare that they do not have any conflicts of interest with this project.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. In addition, this project was approved by the university IRB prior to beginning the study.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. Informed consent was established prior to beginning the survey. A statement was provided before questions were presented that detailed the goal of the study, the participant’s ability to stop the survey at any time, who to contact if the participant had any questions, and that by proceeding with the survey the participant agreed that they were over the age of 18.
- Ashdown, B. K., Hackathorn, J., & Clark, E. M. (2011). In and out of the bedroom: Sexual satisfaction in the marital relationship. Journal of Integrated Social Sciences, 2(1), 40–57.Google Scholar
- Blumstein, P., & Schwartz, P. (1983). American couples: Money, work, sex. New York: William Morrow.Google Scholar
- Cao, H., Zhou, N., Fine, M., Liang, Y., Li, J., & Mills-Koonce, W. R. (2017). Sexual minority stress and same-sex relationship well-being: A meta-analysis of research prior to the U.S. nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage. Journal of Marriage and Family, 79(5), 1258–1277. https://doi.org/10.1111/jomf.12415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Conradi, H. J., Noordhof, A., Dingemanse, P., Barelds, D. P., & Kamphuis, J. H. (2017). Actor and partner effects of attachment on relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction across the genders: An APIM approach. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 43(4), 700–716. https://doi.org/10.1111/jmft.12222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Cowley, P., & Ford, R. (2014). Sex, lies, and the ballot box: 50 Things you need to know about British elections. London: Biteback Publishing.Google Scholar
- Gray, J. (1992). Men are from mars, women are from venus. New York: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
- Hatemi, P. K., Crabtree, C., & Mcdermott, R. (2017). The relationship between sexual preferences and political orientations: Do positions in the bedroom affect positions in the ballot box? Personality and Individual Differences, 105, 318–325. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2016.10.008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Laumann, E. O., Paik, A., Glasser, D. B., Kang, J., Wang, T., Levinson, B., et al. (2006). A cross-national study of subjective sexual well-being among older women and men: Findings from the global study of sexual attitudes and behaviors. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 35(2), 145–161. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-005-9005-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Mark, K. P., Garcia, J. R., & Fisher, H. E. (2015). Perceived emotional and sexual satisfaction across sexual relationship contexts: Gender and sexual orientation differences and similarities. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 24(2), 120–130. https://doi.org/10.3138/cjhs.242-a8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- McCabe, M. P. (1999). The interrelationship between intimacy, relationship functioning, and sexuality among men and women in committed relationships. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 8(1), 31–38.Google Scholar
- Michael, R. T., Gagnon, J. H., Laumann, E. O., & Kolata, G. (1994). Sex in America: A definitive survey. Boston: Little, Brown.Google Scholar
- Sprecher, S., & Felmlee, D. (2000). Romantic partners’ perceptions of social network attributes with the passage of time and relationship transitions. Personal Relationships, 7(4), 325–340. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-6811.2000.tb00020.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Young, M., Luquis, R., Denny, G., & Young, T. (1998). Correlates of sexual satisfaction in marriage. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 7(2), 115–131.Google Scholar