Sexual communal motivation in couples coping with low sexual interest/arousal: Associations with sexual well-being and sexual goals
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Women coping with female sexual interest/arousal disorder (FSIAD) report lower sexual and relationship satisfaction compared to healthy controls. In community samples, high sexual communal strength (i.e., the motivation to meet a partner’s sexual needs) is associated with higher sexual desire and satisfaction, but high unmitigated sexual communion (i.e., the prioritization of a partner’s needs to the exclusion of one’s own needs) is associated with lower sexual satisfaction. People higher in sexual communal strength report engaging in sex for approach goals (i.e., to enhance intimacy in their relationship), but not for avoidance goals (i.e., to avert conflict or a partner’s disappointment) and this is one reason why they report greater sexual desire. In the current sample of 97 women diagnosed with FSIAD and their partners we investigated the association between sexual communal strength and unmitigated sexual communion and sexual well-being (i.e., sexual desire, sexual satisfaction and sexual distress) and sexual goals (i.e., approach and avoidance goals). Women who reported higher sexual communal strength were more likely to pursue sex for approach goals and their partner reported greater sexual satisfaction. When partners reported higher sexual communal strength, they reported higher sexual desire, but when they reported higher unmitigated sexual communion, they reported higher sexual distress. Additional associations emerged for couples who engage in sex more (compared to less) frequently. Our findings demonstrate that being motivated to meet a partner’s sexual needs is associated with greater sexual well-being for couples coping with FSIAD, but when this motivation involves neglecting one’s own needs, people do not report greater sexual well-being and instead, partners report higher sexual distress.
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