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Entries in sexual satisfaction (20)

Thursday
Sep042014

Sexual Satisfaction: Do You and Your Partner Have to be the SAME Shade of Grey?

Are you satisfied with “vanilla” sex? Or do you seek the thrill of kink in the bedroom with your own list of “hard limits?”

In order to be sexually satisfied, you might think that you and your partner need to be on the same page of Fifty Shades of Grey. Aside from the intrinsic motivation to have a good sex life (i.e., good sex feels really, well, good), research has strongly established that sexual satisfaction is closely tied to relationship satisfaction.1 In longitudinal studies where couples are followed over time, sexual satisfaction also predicts, such that less sexual satisfaction is tied to an increased chance of divorce.2 So, when it comes to relationship health, sex matters.

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Friday
May162014

To Spoon or Not to Spoon? After-Sex Affection Boosts Sexual and Relationship Satisfaction

What do you do after sex? If you don’t already, our new research suggests that you may want to spend a little extra time cuddling up with your partner. Across two studies, spending more time being affectionate with your partner after sex  -- above and beyond the time spent engaging in sex itself -- was linked to feeling more satisfied with your sex life and overall relationship.1

In the first study, involving 335 participants (138 men and 197 women, all of whom were in romantic relationships and 90% of whom were heterosexual), people who reported a longer duration of after-sex affection were more satisfied with their sex lives and in turn, happier with their overall relationships. Although people varied in how long they reported cuddling after sex, the average amount of time spent being affection after sex was 15 minutes. Interestingly, duration of after-sex affection was even more important for sexual and relationship satisfaction than duration of sex and foreplay!

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Wednesday
Sep112013

Sexual Compatibility: The Importance to Your Satisfaction

Folk wisdom gives us mixed-messages when it comes to compatibility. We hear phrases like "birds of a feather flock together" telling us we need to be compatible with a partner in order to be successful. Then we hear contradictory phrases like "opposites attract" telling us we need not be similar to our partner, but rather different for relational success.

Although compatibility isn't necessarily a synonym to similarity, they are certainly in the same family.

Perceived sexual compatibility is defined as the extent to which a couple perceives they share sexual beliefs, preferences, desires, and needs with their partner. Another form of sexual compatibility is the extent to which similarities exist between actual turn ons and turn offs for each partner emotionally, cognitively, and behaviorally.

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Friday
Aug162013

Getting It On vs. Getting It Over With: How Reasons for Having Sex Impact Relationships (Part 2)

In a recent article, I discussed my research using fictional scenarios to show that perceptions of why someone is having sex with their partner influences how people rate that person’s sexual desire and satisfaction. In that study, people who were perceived as having sex for approach goals, such as to enhance intimacy or to feel closer to a partner, as opposed to avoidance goals, such as to avoid conflict or a partner’s disappointment, were perceived as feeling more sexual desire for their partner and being more satisfied with their sex lives and relationships. In our next study, we wanted to consider people’s actual goals for sex and how having sex for different reasons is associated with a person’s sexual and relationship quality. So, how do a person’s own reasons for having sex influence their own feelings of desire and satisfaction? 

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Friday
Aug092013

Getting It On vs. Getting It Over With: How Reasons for Having Sex Impact Relationships (Part 1)

Sex plays an important role in overall relationship happiness.1 But, is simply having sex enough to maintain a happy relationship? In a recent study, my colleagues and I looked at the reasons people say they have sex with their partners and how these reasons affect their feelings of desire and happiness with their sex lives and overall relationships.2 

We considered two broad categories of reasons why people have sex with their romantic partners:

  1. Approach goals: A person having sex for these reasons is focused on pursuing positive outcomes in their relationship, such as enhancing intimacy or feeling closer to a partner.
  2. Avoidance goals: A person having sex for these reasons is focused on averting negative outcomes in their relationship, such as conflict or disappointing a partner.

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Friday
Mar222013

Does Sexual Narcissism Lead to a Better Sex Life?

If I asked you to list the qualities that make for a good sexual partner, what would you say? Maybe you would want a lover who focuses on your sexual needs, someone who understands your feelings, or perhaps a lover who is sexually skilled and confident in his or her abilities. These different ideas about what makes a good sexual partner suggest that narcissism could either be linked to greater sexual satisfaction (a lover who is confident in his or her sexual skills) or a lower quality sex life (a selfish lover).

In previous posts (see here, here, and here), we have discussed why narcissists tend to be poor romantic partners (they are self-absorbed, low in empathy and more likely to cheat on their partners), but what about the sex lives of narcissistic people?

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Friday
Jan182013

Do a Person’s Reasons for Having Sex Influence Their Partner’s Relationship Quality?

I kicked off SPSP this year by attending the close relationships pre-conference where Dr. Emily Impett (my mentor) received the Early Career Award. In her award address, Dr. Impett presented research on how we may give up our self-interests to meet our relationship partner’s needs, and when this can be beneficial and when it is may be less ideal.

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Tuesday
Jan152013

Are There Benefits to Making Sexual Changes for your Partner?

Over the course of a romantic relationship, there are bound to be times when your sexual interests diverge from your partner’s interests. Perhaps you enjoy having sex at night, but your partner prefers morning sex. Maybe you desire sex about once or twice a week, but your partner would like to have sex once or twice a day. Or maybe you fantasize about being tied to the bedpost, but bondage is not one of your partner’s sexual fantasies. Although a satisfying sex life is an important part of overall relationship happiness,1,2 sex can also be one of the most challenging issues to negotiate in a romantic relationship.2 Romantic partners may disagree on when to have sex, how often to have it, and what those sexual activities involve. If romantic partners have differing sexual interests, what can they do?

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Friday
Oct262012

Let's Talk About Sex...During Sex

 “Oh yeah, that’s it, right there”

“That feels good”

“Don’t stop”

Moaning, groaning, and words of encouragement during sex enhance your partner’s sexual pleasure and a recent study suggests that talking during sex is also linked to your own satisfaction. People who communicate their likes and dislikes to their partners during sex are more sexually satisfied.

Talking about your sexual needs and desires is not always easy; many people feel that having sex is easier than talking about sex.

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Friday
Jun152012

Supersize Me: Does Penis Size Matter to Women?

Media portrayals of sexuality perpetuate the notion that, when it comes to penises, bigger is better. This size bias is likely due, at least in part, to cultural messages that equate penis size with masculinity and sexual prowess. Pornography reinforces the notion that men with large penises are better lovers and more desirable to women. But does a man’s penis size really matter for heterosexual women’s sexual arousal and satisfaction?

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Friday
Apr062012

The Ins and Outs of Sexual Frequency

People have a lot of questions when they learn that I study sex and relationships. One of the most common questions people ask is how often couples typically have sex. This question generally comes from the person’s desire to learn if they are on par with other couples’ sexual frequency.

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Thursday
Mar082012

"Talking Sex": Relationship Matters Podcast #8

A new Relationship Matters (the official podcast of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships) has just been released. SofR's own Dr. Bjarne Holmes interviews Jennifer Montesi of Temple University about her research on sexual communication and satisfaction.

See all of our articles about sex here.

Monday
Feb272012

Five Risk Factors for Divorce

A few months ago I wrote about research conducted in my lab on predicting the stability (i.e., persistence vs. breakup) of dating relationships. That article received a lot of traffic, but some readers have asked if similar research has been done on predicting whether a marriage will continue or not. Fortunately, researchers have tackled this question as well. Here are five factors that predict staying married versus getting divorced.

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Monday
Dec192011

Erotic Photos: A Holiday Gift Both You and Your Partner will Appreciate?

Looking for the perfect Holiday gift for a romantic partner or lover? Our research suggests that having an erotic photo taken could turn out to be a great gift for both you and your partner!

In recent years, a growing number of women (and some men and couples too!) have been visiting professional photographers to have sexy photos taken. Recently, myself and my colleagues conducted two studies about erotic photography and learned that there is more to this experience than meets the eye.

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Monday
Nov282011

Healthy Men (But Not Women) Have Better Sex and Happier Relationships

As if you needed one more reason to feel guilty for couch-surfing when you should be kick-boxing, a recent study on long-term relationships indicates that men in excellent or good health have better sex than their flabbier or sickly peers. The good news doesn’t stop there: healthier dudes are nearly twice as likely to report relationship happiness outside the bedroom as well.

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Friday
Nov182011

Do Birth Control Pills Really Lead to Bad Sex?

Most women know all too well that being on birth control means having to put up with a few side effects, including potential weight gain, nausea, and mood changes. However, fewer women are probably aware of the fact that the pill might also be affecting their sex lives. For instance, research suggests that the pill may alter the types of guys women find attractive. Perhaps even more important, some recent media reports have claimed that women on the pill are doomed to a lifetime of bad sex. Could this really be true? Is the pill putting a damper on women’s sexual fulfillment?

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Monday
Nov142011

What Sex Can Do For Neuroticism

In a previous post, I discussed the health benefits of sex, and now, new research suggests that combating the negative consequences of neuroticism can be added to the list.

As far as partner’s personalities go, neuroticism, or the tendency to experience negative emotional states such as anxiety and depressed mood, has the strongest impact on romantic relationship quality. People who are higher in neuroticism tend to be less satisfied in their relationships, and as you’d expect, so are their partners.

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Wednesday
Aug032011

Men Want Cuddles, Women Want Sex

Say what? This headline likely caught your attention because it challenges our predominant stereotypes about gender and heterosexual relationships.

The media would have us believe that men look for unemotional, no-strings-attached sex whereas women have sex primarily for the cuddling afterwards. Sex and the City featured an episode about ‘having sex like a man,’ a term that referred to having sex without emotions.

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Wednesday
Jul202011

Can Cybersex be Good for Your Relationship?

Let’s start with the basics: What is cybersex? Researchers at the University of New Brunswick found that people actually have varied ideas of what activities fit into the term cybersex. Based on their findings, they propose that we can broadly define cybersex as “a sexual communication between at least two people that is focused on sexual relations and occurs via synchronous Internet modes.”

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Thursday
May262011

How Do I Change My Partner's Behavior? 

Recently, I spoke with Dr. Nickola Overall for Relationship Matters, the official podcast series of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. The interview was about the exciting research she’s recently published that directly addresses the dos and don’ts in trying to change partner or your relationship.

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