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The Relationship between Body Image and Sexual Functioning Among Partnered Heterosexual Women

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Title: The Relationship between Body Image and Sexual Functioning Among Partnered Heterosexual Women
Author: Benson, Lindsay
Department: Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition
Program: Family Relations and Applied Nutrition
Advisor: Milhausen, Robin
Abstract: The objective of this thesis was to determine whether evaluative body image, affective body image, and behavioural body image were predictive of women’s sexual desire, arousal and orgasm. Results are based on self-report and body composition data from 88 women (a subset of a larger data set including men) in heterosexual romantic relationships at the time of data collection. Hierarchical multiple regression indicated that poor evaluative, affective and behavioural body image were detrimental to women’s sexual functioning. Specifically, dissatisfaction with one’s body predicted decrements in desire (β = -.31, p <.05) and arousal (β = -.35, p <.01). Similarly, feeling that others evaluate one’s body negatively, predicted decrements in desire (β = .22, p <.05) and arousal (β = .35, p <.01). Feeling negatively about one’s appearance predicted decrements in arousal (β = .26, p <.05). Negative thoughts and feelings about one’s body that influence sexual behaviours (body image self-consciousness) predicted decrements in arousal (β = -.37, p <.01) and orgasm (β = -.25, p <.05). Implications for public health messages, treatment programs, sexual problem assessments and directions for future research are discussed.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/2868
Date: 2011-08
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