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J Sex Marital Ther. 2012;38(2):198-215. doi: 10.1080/0092623X.2011.606877.

Gender differences in desire discrepancy as a predictor of sexual and relationship satisfaction in a college sample of heterosexual romantic relationships.

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Department of Applied Health Science, Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana 47405, USA.


The authors examined desire discrepancy and its effect on sexual and relationship satisfaction in a sample of 133 heterosexual couples attending a midsize university. Couples were required to be in a relationship for at least 1 year (M = 4.32 years, SD = 3.13 years); 23.7% of the couples were cohabitating. Hierarchical multiple regression results indicated that higher desire discrepancy scores significantly predicted women's (but not men's) lower sexual satisfaction after controlling for relationship satisfaction. Higher desire discrepancy scores significantly predicted men's (but not women's) lower relationship satisfaction after controlling for sexual satisfaction. The authors assessed gender differences using a mixed model with the dyad and gender as factors and satisfaction as the outcome. Although gender difference patterns appeared in the regression models, the differences were nonsignificant within each couple in the extent to which desire discrepancy affected sexual and relationship satisfaction. These findings suggest moving away from focusing on only one partner with low desire and shifting attention to the dyad's interaction. Also, the way in which desire discrepancy affects sexual and relationship satisfaction deserves consideration. Therapeutic implications and study limitations are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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