How's your sex life? Do you enjoy it? Are you satisfied?
Well, a large body of research has shown that sexual satisfaction is extremely important to our relationships. In particular, individuals' satisfaction with their sex lives has been shown to be positively associated with their overall relationship satisfaction (as sexual satisfaction increases, so does relationship satisfaction) among both heterosexual (Butzer & Campbell, 2008; Byers, 2005; Nelson, Choi, Mulhall, & Roth, 2007; Peck, Shaffer, & Williamson, 2004) and homosexual (e.g., Tracy & Junginger, 2007) couples.
Researchers have also studied the link between sexual satisfaction and relationship stability overtime (e.g., Edwards & Booth, 1994; Oggins, Leber, & Veroff, 1993; Sprecher, 2002; White & Keith, 1990). For example, using data from the Early Years of Marriage Project, sexual satisfaction during the first year and fourth year of marriage was examined. Oggins and his colleagues (1993) discovered that couples who were less sexually satisfied during their first year of marriage were more likely to be divorced by their fourth year than individuals who were more sexually satisfied in their first year. In addition, Edwards and Booth (1994) found that married individuals who reported having more sexual problems during an initial interview were more likely to be divorced three years later than individuals who reported less sexual problems. Lastly, other researchers (e.g., Cleek & Pearson, 1985; Hill, Rubin, & Peplau, 1976; Sprecher, 1994) have asked individuals who recently dissolved a relationship to either evaluate a list of investigator-generated reasons or to disclose their own reasoning for the break-up. In this line of research, sexual problems and/or sexual incompatibility are often rated as at least moderately important.
Sexual satisfaction is significant. If you or your partner are dissatisfied, talk about it. Try to figure out what the two of you can do to enhance your time in the bedroom. Maybe you need to have sex more often or maybe you need to try something new or maybe you need to stop doing something. Whatever it is, the best way to become more satisfied is by talking about it with your partner. Need more help? Click on the resources below for ideas.
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For more information, see the following resources:
- Butzer, B., & Campbell, L. (2008). Adult attachment, sexual satisfaction, and relationship satisfaction: A study of married couples. Personal Relationships, 15, 141-154.
- Byers, E. S. (2005). Relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction: A longitudinal study of individuals in long-term relationships. Journal of Sex Research, 42, 113- 118.
- Byers, E.S., & Demmons,S. (1999). Sexual satisfaction and self disclosure within dating relationships. The Journal of Sex Research, 36, 180-189.
- Cleek, M. G., & Pearson, T. A. (1985). Perceived causes of divorce: An analysis of interrelationships. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 47, 179-183.
- Edwards, J. N., & Booth, A. (1994). Sexuality, marriage, and well-being: The middle years. In A. S. Rossi (Ed.), Sexuality across the life course (pp. 233-259). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
- Hill, C. T., Rubin, Z., & Peplau, L. A. (1976). Breakups before marriage: The end of 103 affairs. Journal of Social Issues, 32, 147- 168.
- Nelson, C. J., Choi, J. M., Mulhall, J. P., & Roth, A. J. (2007). Determinants of sexual satisfaction in men with prostate cancer. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 5, 1422-1427.
- Oggins, J., Leber, D., & Veroff, J. (1993). Race and gender differences in black and white newlyweds’ perceptions of sexual and marital relationships. The Journal of Sex Research, 30, 152-160.
- Peck, S. R., Shaffer, D. R., & Williamson, G. M. (2004). Sexual satisfaction and relationship satisfaction in dating couples: The contributions of relationship community and favorability of sexual exchanges. Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality, 16, 17-37.
- Sprecher, S. (1994). Twosides to the breakup of dating relationships. Personal Relationships, 1, 199-222.
- Sprecher, S. (2002). Sexual satisfaction in premarital relationships: Associations with satisfaction, love, commitment, and stability. The Journal of Sex Research, 3, 1-7.
- Tracy, J. K., & Junginger, J. (2007). Correlates of lesbian sexual functioning. Journal of Women’s Health, 16, 499-509.
- White, L., & Keith, B. (1990). The effect of shift work on the quality and stability of marital relationships. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 52, 453- 462.