Home » News » Relationships » Sexuality » Partner’s Perfectionist Demands May Damage Sex Life
Partner's Perfectionist Demands May Damage Sex Life

Partner’s Perfectionist Demands May Damage Sex Life

A new UK study discovers that women who feel their sexual partner is imposing perfectionist standards on them may suffer from sexual dysfunction.

Psychologists at the University of Kent explain that their study is the first to review how different types of sexual perfectionism affect women over a period of time.

Findings suggest that “partner-prescribed” sexual perfectionism contributed to negative self-image for the other partner.

The study is published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.

Perfectionism is defined as a “striving for flawlessness and the setting of exceedingly high standards for performance, accompanied by tendencies for overly critical self-evaluations and concerns about negative evaluations by others.”

The quest for perfectionism is a common personality characteristic that may affect all domains of life, explain the researchers. However, the longer term consequences of how it affects people’s sex lives had previously not been explored.

Dr. Joachim Stoeber at Kent’s School of Psychology, analyzed the response of 366 women who completed two surveys in the period December 2013 to February 2014.

These women, comprising 230 students and 136 internet users, had mean ages of 19.7 and 30 years respectively.

Participants recruited to the study were told that the online survey was investigating whether “personal and interpersonal expectations and beliefs affect one’s sexuality and sexual function.”

Researchers classified sexual perfectionism into four groupings: self-oriented, partner-oriented, partner-prescribed and socially prescribed.

They found that partner-prescribed sexual perfectionism contributed to a woman’s negative sexual self-concept and female sexual dysfunction.

In particular, partner-prescribed sexual perfectionism predicted decreases in female sexual function regarding arousal.

Investigators also found that partner-prescribed sexual perfectionism predicted decreases in sexual esteem and increases in sexual anxiety.

The findings suggest the expectation of perfectionism is a psychological factor that may contribute to sexual self-concept problems in woman.

Researchers believe this information will be helpful to clinicians, therapists, and counselors working to help women in this area.

Source: University of Kent

Partner’s Perfectionist Demands May Damage Sex Life

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Partner’s Perfectionist Demands May Damage Sex Life. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 31 Mar 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.