Sexual Satisfaction and Relationship Functioning

70% of people view a happy sex life as very important to a successful marriage. However, many couples struggle to maintain sexual satisfaction in long-term relationships, which can negatively impact their overall relationship well-being and lead to conflict. Our research examines what factors can promote greater sexual satisfaction. We have found that individuals who expect that sexual satisfaction takes work (i.e., those higher in sexual growth) have higher relationship and sexual satisfaction. Conversely, those who believe sexual satisfaction arises from natural compatibility with a partner (i.e., those higher in sexual destiny) show drops in relationship satisfaction when sexual difficulties arise. We have also found that attachment insecurity plays a role in how individuals approach and experience casual sexual relationships. 

Stay tuned for our future research which will continue to examine the interconnectedness between relationship experiences and sexual experiences.

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Relevant Publications:

Maxwell, J.A., & Meltzer, A. L. (2020). Kiss and Makeup? Examining the Co-occurrence of Sex and Conflict. Archives of Sexual Behavior. Advance online publication. Download PDF

Nunez Segovia, A., Maxwell, J.A, DiLorenzo, M.G., & MacDonald, G. (in press). No strings attached? How attachment orientation is related to the varieties of casual sexual relationships. Personality and Individual Differences. Download PDF

McNulty, J.K., Maxwell, J.A., Meltzer, A.L., & Baumeister, R.F. (in press). Sex-differentiated Changes in Sexual Desire Predict Marital Dissatisfaction. Archives of Sexual Behavior. Download PDF

Maxwell, J.A. & McNulty, J.K. (2019). No Longer in a ‘Dry Spell’: The Developing Understanding of How Sex Influences Romantic Relationships. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 28, 102-107. Download PDF

Muise, A., Maxwell, J.A., Impett, E.A. (2018). What theories and methods from relationship research can contribute to sex research. Annual Review of Sex Research, 55, 540-562. Download PDF

Maxwell, J.A., Muise, A., MacDonald, G., Day, L.C., Rosen, N.O. & Impett, E.A. (2017). How Implicit Theories of Sexuality Shape Sexual and Relationship Well-Being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 112, 238-279. Download PDF