A satisfactory sex life has been shown to be a vital part of a satisfactory marital relationship (Henderson-King & Veroff, 1994; Hurlbert & Apt, 1994). However, the factors that affect what is considered a satisfactory sex life seem to differ for men and women.
Sexual theorists posit that men link sexual satisfaction to a higher frequency of sexual interaction, whereas women place more importance on the emotional aspects of the sexual relationship (Hurlbert & Apt, 1994; Hurlbert, Apt, & Rabehl, 1993).
The different ways in which men and women become sexually satisfied suggest how important it is for couples to communicate about their sexual needs and wants. Effective communication about sexuality has been shown to enhance sexual arousal and to be a vital part of the sexual relationship (Haavio-Mannila & Kontula, 1997).
How comfortable women feel in expressing their sexual needs and wants to their partners seems to be associated with how emotionally connected they feel to their partners (Hulbert & Apt, 1993; Hurlbert et al., 1993; Treat, 1987). In fact, many sex therapies recommend “talking with your partner” as one of the main treatment components (Barbach, 1976; Treat, 1987).
Thus, it seems that expressing sexual needs and wants would predict sexual satisfaction in two ways: by increasing the chances of actually having sexual needs met and also by increasing emotional closeness. Nevertheless, there have been few studies empirically linking satisfaction with partner communication and sexual satisfaction for women.
This extract comes from an article titled ‘Predicting sexual satisfaction in women: implications for counselor education and training’ which was published in the ‘Journal of Counseling and Development’ in 2004.