Women’s body image and sexual pleasure: examining serial mediation by approach and avoidance sexual motives and distraction

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kendall Nicole Poovey (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site: http://library.wcu.edu/
David de Jong

Abstract: Women with body image concerns are more likely to experience sexual difficulties (e.g., with arousal, lubrication, orgasm). However, the processes by which body image impacts sexual well-being are poorly understood. We theorized that women with negative body image are less likely to view sex in terms of reward, leading them to have weaker approach sexual motives (i.e., to pursue positive experiences such as pleasure). Rather, women with negative body image may have sex to avoid personal insecurities and negative emotions, leading them to have stronger avoidance sexual motives (i.e., to cope with negative affect or to avoid partner conflict). In turn, we theorized that stronger approach sexual motives may allow women to be more focused on erotic cues during sex, thereby enhancing sexual pleasure, whereas avoidance motives may lead to greater distraction, interfering with sexual pleasure. Women (N = 1619) were recruited from online venues and reported on their body image and most recent sex. We found that body dissatisfaction was associated with weaker self-focused approach motives and in turn more distraction. Additionally, body dissatisfaction was associated with stronger self- and partner-focused avoidance motives and in turn more distraction. In turn, more distraction was associated with less pleasure and worse sexual function. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first investigation of whether body image is associated with their sexual motives. Findings highlight the importance of sexual motives in explaining the link between body image and sexual pleasure and function.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2021
body image, distraction, motivation, sexual pleasure
Body image -- Women
Motivation (Psychology)
Sexual excitement

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