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Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2015 Jun;41(6):791-804. doi: 10.1177/0146167215580129. Epub 2015 Apr 8.

To do it or not to do it? How communally motivated people navigate sexual interdependence dilemmas.

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University of Toronto Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
University of Toronto Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.


The current research investigates how people make sexual decisions when romantic partners' sexual desires conflict, situations we refer to as sexual interdependence dilemmas. Across an experimental study, a retrospective recall study, and a 21-day daily experience study, we found that people who were motivated to meet their partner's sexual needs--those high in sexual communal strength--were more willing to engage in sex with their romantic partner, even when their own desire was low, and as a result, both partners reported enhanced relationship and sexual satisfaction. The benefits of sexual communal strength were due to communally oriented people's increased desire to promote their partner's interests and decreased desire to pursue their own interests. This is the first set of studies to investigate how people make decisions in sexual interdependence dilemmas and show that communally motivated individuals navigate these situations in a way that is beneficial for relationships.


decision making; interdependence; romantic relationships; sexuality

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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