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Communication of sexual preferences in married couples


The relationship between marital satisfaction and communication of sexual behavior preferences was investigated in a sample of 61 white, middle-class married couples. Using a paired-reports questionnaire, we examined two components of communication: agreement (the number of similar preferences of the spouses) and understanding (accurate perception of the partner’s preferences). Agreement was found to be significantly related to marital happiness of the couples, whereas understanding was found to be significantly related only to wives’ marital satisfaction. Wives also demonstrated greater understanding of their husbands’ sexual preferences than husbands did of their wives’. Other variables—length of marriage, frequency of coitus, number of children at home, and the spouses’ ages and educational levels—were not shown to be related to sexual communication or marital satisfaction.


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Correspondence to Joellyn L. Ross.

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Ross, J.L., Clifford, R.E. & Eisenman, R. Communication of sexual preferences in married couples. Bull. Psychon. Soc. 25, 58–60 (1987).

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  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual Preference
  • Married Couple
  • Marital Satisfaction
  • Sexual Communication