Pujols Y, Meston CM, Seal BN.
The University of Texas at Austin-Department of Psychology, Austin, Texas, USA.
J Sex Med. 2009 Nov 24.
Introduction. Although sexual functioning has been linked to sexual satisfaction, it only partially explains the degree to which women report being sexually satisfied. Other factors include quality of life, relational variables, and individual factors such as body image. Of the few studies that have investigated the link between body image and sexual satisfaction, most have considered body image to be a single construct and have shown mixed results.
Aim. The present study assessed multiple body image variables in order to better understand which aspects of body image influence multiple domains of sexual satisfaction, including sexual communication, compatibility, contentment, personal concern, and relational concern in a community sample of women.
Methods. Women between the ages of 18 and 49 years in sexual relationships (N = 154) participated in an Internet survey that assessed sexual functioning, five domains of sexual satisfaction, and several body image variables.
Main Outcome Measures. Body image variables included the sexual attractiveness, weight concern, and physical condition subscales of the Body Esteem Scale, the appearance-based subscale of the Cognitive Distractions During Sexual Activity Scale, and body mass index. Total score of the Sexual Satisfaction Scale for Women was the main outcome measure. Sexual functioning was measured by a modified Female Sexual Function Index.
Results. Consistent with expectations, correlations indicated significant positive relationships between sexual functioning, sexual satisfaction, and all body image variables. A multiple regression analysis revealed that sexual satisfaction was predicted by high body esteem and low frequency of appearance-based distracting thoughts during sexual activity, even after controlling for sexual functioning status.
Conclusion. Several aspects of body image, including weight concern, physical condition, sexual attractiveness, and thoughts about the body during sexual activity predict sexual satisfaction in women. The findings suggest that women who experience low sexual satisfaction may benefit from treatments that target these specific aspects of body image.