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The impact of expression of feelings on sexual satisfaction: testing the mediating role of sexual self-disclosure in a sample of cisgendered heterosexual adults in a monogamous relationship

Pascoal, PM1; Rosa, PJ1; Lopes, C.1

1: Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias, Portugal

 

Objective(s): Our goal is to clarify the effect of important indicators of intimacy (expression of feelings, closeness, communication and conflict) on sexual satisfaction testing the mediating role of sexual self-disclosure.

Material and Method(s): This is a cross-sectional correlational study developed online aimed at cisgendered heterosexual people in a dyadic committed relationship. We used a general questionnaire, the Evaluation Scale of Marital Life Areas (EASAVIC), the Inclusion of Other in Self Scale (IOS), the Sexual Self-Disclosure Questionnaire and the Global Measurement of Sexual Satisfaction (GMSEX). The total sample had 526 participants, (180 men, M=35.48; SD=9.65; 346 women, M=32.51; SD=9.16). After establishing expression of feelings as the best predictor of sexual satisfaction, we tested a simple mediation model via macro Process 2.16 for IBM-SPSS, model 4 (Hayes, 2013) with 5000 bootstrap samples, using Bias Corrected 95% Confidence Intervals (BC 95% CI) for z-transformed scores.

Result(s): Expression of feelings was significantly associated with sexual self-disclosure (a =.239; BC 95% CI [.155, .322]) and a positive significant total effect of the expression of feelings on sexual satisfaction (c = .537; BC 95% CI [.465, .610] was found. A significant direct effect of the expression of feelings on sexual satisfaction was also found (c’ = .487; BC 95% CI [.415, 559]), which reveals a partial mediation effect of the expression of feelings on sexual satisfaction by sexual self-disclosure (ab = .051; BC 95% CI [.029, .081]), indicating a small effect size for the indirect effect. Thus, 9.4% of the total effect of the expression of feelings on sexual satisfaction is mediated by sexual self-disclosure (Pm = .094).

Conclusion(s): Our study supports literature that advocates for the role of expression of feelings and sexual self -disclosure as important correlates of partnered people’s sexual satisfaction, highlighting that models centred in an individual approach may be insufficient to study or intervene in sexual satisfaction of partnered people. This knowledge has implications for research, prevention, and intervention, namely it reinforces the need for strategies aimed to increase emotional expression and sexual self-disclosure in order to maximize sexual satisfaction. Longitudinal studies are necessary to test and establish causality.

Disclosure:

Work supported by industry: no.

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