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Arch Sex Behav. 2008 Apr;37(2):229-40. Epub 2007 Jul 20.

Gender differences in response to sexual expectancies and changes in sexual frequency: a short-term longitudinal study of sexual satisfaction in newly married couples.

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Department of Psychology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA.


This longitudinal study of 72 newlywed couples examined the effects of spouses' expectancies for their sexual satisfaction and changes in their sexual frequency on changes in their sexual satisfaction over 6 months. At Time 1 (baseline), both spouses reported their levels of sexual satisfaction and sexual frequency and completed a 7-day diary of their expectancies for sexual satisfaction. At Time 2 (6 months later), spouses again reported their sexual satisfaction and sexual frequency. Based on evidence that women's sexual satisfaction is more contextually based, wives' initial sexual satisfaction expectancies were expected to predict changes in their reports of sexual satisfaction. Based on evidence that men's sexual satisfaction is more grounded in the physical aspects of sex, in contrast, changes in sexual frequency were expected to predict changes in husbands' sexual satisfaction. Both hypotheses were supported. Specifically, controlling for marital satisfaction, length of marriage, and age, wives', but not husbands', sexual satisfaction expectancies were positively associated with changes in their sexual satisfaction, whereas changes in sexual frequency were positively associated with changes in husbands', but not wives', reports of sexual satisfaction. Gender differences in the strength of both effects were significant. Of note, none of the observed effects differed as a function of whether couples lived together before marriage. Implications for theories of gender differences in sexuality, theories of expectancy confirmation, and models of sex and marital therapy are discussed.

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