Appearance Satisfaction as a Predictor of Specific Sexual Problems and Associated Distress

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Introduction: Appearance dissatisfaction is a sensitive issue and has been tied to depression, dissatisfaction in romantic relationships, and reduced sexual satisfaction. Aim: This study sought to examine associations between appearance satisfaction and specific sexual problems and related distress, testing also the moderating role of relationship satisfaction. Methods: A large web-sample of Norwegians in romantic relationships (N = 2,903) completed a one-time survey. Outcomes: Participants reported on their experience of five different sexual problems and associated level of distress. Results: We found that appearance satisfaction was associated with reporting fewer sexual problems, and specifically, with a smaller likelihood of experiencing problems with lack of enjoyment, lack of excitement, and lack of climax. Furthermore, appearance satisfaction was unrelated to overall sexual problem-related distress, but was associated with feeling less distress about lack of excitement and lack of climax. Relationship satisfaction did not serve as a moderator of the associations. Clinical Translation: These findings suggest the importance of attending to appearance satisfaction when working with clients with multiple sexual problems, particularly those related to excitement and enjoyment. Strengths and Limitations: Strengths of the study include a large sample of partnered adults and assessment of specific sexual problems and associated distress. A limitation is that outcomes were assessed using single items, rather than multi-item scales. Conclusion: The study highlights the importance of examining the presence of sexual problems and associated distress separately, and to consider appearance satisfaction as a predictor of sexual functioning. Øverup CS, Strizzi JM, Cipric A, et al. Appearance Satisfaction as a Predictor of Specific Sexual Problems and Associated Distress. J Sex Med 2021;18:1532–1544.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sexual Medicine
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1532-1544
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 International Society for Sexual Medicine

    Research areas

  • Appearance satisfaction, BMI, Body satisfaction, Relationship satisfaction, Sexual distress, Sexual dysfunction, Sexual problems

ID: 280349561