Sexual health is more than physical sexual function; it also includes emotional, mental, and social well-being related to sexuality. In particular, for women sexual health is related to how they see themselves and the quality of their relationship with their partners.
In a study newly published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, researchers examined the relations among sexual function, body image, and partnership quality in women.
In total, 2685 female college students completed an online questionnaire about sexual function and body self-acceptance. They were asked to state whether they had been in a steady partnership (e.g., romantic love or friendship), and if yes, the quality of the relationship.
Researchers found that in sexually active women, sexual function scores were strongly associated with greater body self-acceptance and a steady partnership.
Women who had the highest sexual function scores described that their partnership was loving or enamored. On the other hand, lower sexual function scores were found in single women and women who described their partnerships as friendship or emotionally conflicted.
In addition, higher body self-acceptance was related to better sexual function, especially in single women and women in emotionally conflicted partnerships.
Researchers suggest that in women, body image and partnership quality are positive related to better sexual function. Moreover, high body self-acceptance can buffer the negative impact of a bad partnership on sexual function.
In the future, psychological intervention about sexual function should try to help women build a good body image and a loving partnership. This will help improve their sexual health.
Citation: Wallwiener S et al. (2016). Sexual function is correlated with body image and partnership quality in female university students. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, In Press, Corrected Proof. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsxm.2016.07.020
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