Sexual Health
Laboratory

Sophie Bergeron  Ph.D

News

Did you know that the reasons why we have sex can predict our sexual satisfaction?

A recent study from our lab, in collaboration with the Katholieke Universiteit (KU) Leuven in Belgium, examined the reasons why we have sex and how these motivations predict not only our behaviour in bed, but also how intimate and sexually satisfied we feel.

We worked with newlywed mixed-sex couples, asking them to complete a diary everyday for 5 weeks about their relationship and their sexuality.

What were the results?

We found that on average, when the participants’ motives for having sex included wanting to please themselves, their behaviour in bed tended to be more genitally-focused (i.e., include more behaviours such as vaginal intercourse, oral sex), and their sexual satisfaction was higher. This was true for both men and women.

In contrast, men and women tended to differ about their feelings of intimacy: When men’s sexual motives included to please their partner, both partners in the couple felt a greater sense of intimacy in the relationship. One reason for this may be that the men’s greater focus on their partner resulted in them paying more attention to her needs, leading both partners to feel closer to each other.

For women, it was their motivation to please themselves that predicted greater intimacy in the couple. Indeed, in these couples, it is possible that when women were motivated by their own pleasure, they communicated their sexual needs more clearly, leading both partners to feel closer to each other.

Studies such as this one, which seek to better understand couples in their everyday sexuality, can give us clues as to how couples can maintain their sexual health over time. What this study suggests is that part of the answer may be in paying attention to our own sexual desires and needs, and in expressing them to our partners.

If you would like to know more about this study, we invite you to read the full paper:

Jodouin, J.-F., Bergeron, S., Desjardins, F., & Janssen, E. (2018). Sexual behavior mediates the relationship between sexual motives and sexual outcomes: A daily diary study. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 1(12), 11.

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