In a new study, University of Waterloo (Canada) researchers identified sexual communication and ability to recognize emotions as important factors that predict accuracy in gauging one partner’s sexual satisfaction.
“We found that, on average, both men and women have fairly accurate and unbiased perceptions of their partners’ sexual satisfaction,” said Ph.D. candidate Erin Fallis, the study’s lead author.
“We also found that having good communication about sexual issues helped participants to understand their partners’ sexual satisfaction. However, even if sexual communication was lacking, a person could still be fairly accurate in gauging his or her partner’s sexual satisfaction if he or she was able to read emotions well.”
The research, by Fallis and co-authors Drs. Uzma S. Rehman and Christine Purdon, is published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.
The study involved 84 couples that were part of a larger study on sexual functioning and satisfaction.
Fallis separated the partners, asked them to each report on their levels of commitment, relationship satisfaction, sexual satisfaction, sexual communication, and measured their emotion recognition abilities.
Couples in a sexual relationship develop what psychologists call a sexual script, which forms guidelines for their sexual activity.
“Over time, a couple will develop sexual routines,” said Fallis. “We believe that having the ability to accurately gauge each other’s sexual satisfaction will help partners to develop sexual scripts that they both enjoy. Specifically, being able to tell if their partners are sexually satisfied will help people decide whether to stick with a current routine or try something new.”
As well as affirming important factors for healthy sexual relationships, the study’s findings may help to reduce a common stereotype in our culture that women and men have difficulty communicating with and understanding one another.
“The next step in this research is to look at the impacts of having more or less accurate perceptions of one’s partner’s sexual satisfaction over time in long-term relationships,” said Fallis.
“We expect that having a more accurate understanding of one’s partner’s sexual satisfaction will have positive impacts for both partners’ sexual satisfaction and we’re eager to test this idea.”
Source: University of Waterloo