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Sexual Satisfaction Importance in the Romantic Relationships

Introduction

Sex satisfaction is of extreme importance as it affects satisfaction with romantic relationships. Therefore, factors that affect sexual satisfaction are widely discussed in the current literature. In their article titled “Lying in bed: An analysis of deceptive affectionate messages during sexual activity in young adults’ romantic relationships,” Bennett and Denes Sexual Satisfaction in the Romantic Relationships (2018) discuss how deceptive affectionate messages (DAMs) during sexual activity affect the durations of post-sex sexual satisfaction, relationship satisfaction, and affectionate behavior. Even though the study utilizes rigorous quantitative methods that support the reliability of findings, there are several limitations that can be addressed to improve the quality of the research. The present paper aims at evaluating the design of the article by Bennett and Denes (2018) and provides a suggestion to improve the methodology of the study.

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Main body

The article by Bennett and Denes (2018) examined relationships between DAMs and post-sex sexual satisfaction, relationship satisfaction, and affectionate behavior in young adults. Even though the authors did not include a clear statement of purpose, it could be deciphered that the major objectives were to create a regression model that can explain correlations between DAMs, post-sex sexual satisfaction, relationship satisfaction, and affectionate behavior. All the phenomena under study were clearly identified using appropriate literature. For instance, the researchers utilized the definition of DAMs given by Hughes and Kruger (2011), which were “considered as overt expressions of affection that are not consistent with sources’ internal feelings” (p. 72). This fact ensures the integrity of research and its future applicability. The problem area was clearly stated, and the authors provided a holistic literature review that helped to identify a gap in knowledge. In particular, the researchers realized that the relationship between DAMs and sex satisfaction was unclear as research findings were contradictory. Therefore, additional research was needed to address the uncertainty. However, the article can be improved by including a clear problem statement.

Hypotheses

The research aimed at testing three hypotheses:

  1. “H1: The more individuals report enacting DAMs during sexual activity, the lower their reported levels of sexual satisfaction” (Bennett & Denes, 2018, p. 144).
  2. “H2: The more individuals report enacting DAMs during sexual activity, the lower their reported levels of relationship satisfaction” (Bennett & Denes, 2018, p. 145).
  3. “H3: Sexual satisfaction and post-sex affectionate behavior will sequentially mediate the relationship between DAMs during sexual activity and relationship satisfaction, such that the more individuals enact DAMs during sexual activity, the lower their levels of sexual satisfaction, which will, in turn, predict less post-sex affectionate behavior and subsequently lower levels of relationship satisfaction” (Bennett & Denes, 2018, p. 146).

In other words, the authors hypothesized that more DAMs are associated with less sexual and relationship satisfaction. However, the correlation between DAMs and relationship satisfaction was not direct, as sexual satisfaction and post-sex affectionate mediate the relationship. The hypotheses are one-tailed, and all variables and the relationships between them are clearly defined in accordance with the affection exchange theory (AET). The theory was adequately implicated in the development of the hypotheses as their concept was operationalized into measurable entities. The hypothesis statements adhered to all the requirements stated by Tanner (2016), as they are simple, clear, testable, specific, consistent, and relevant to the problem and the available techniques. However, H1 seems redundant, as the relationship between DAMs and sex satisfaction is explored in testing for H3. The inclusion of H3 is unnecessary, which implies that it can be deleted.

Methods

The researchers recruited a sample of 228 randomly selected participants from an introductory communication course at a large, northeastern university. Participants completed a cross-sectional survey provided through Qualtrics. There are several flaws in the participant selection procedure. All the participants were from one university, which limits the findings only to one particular geographical area. At the same time, the majority of the sample identified themselves as whites, which implies that the research findings do not provide insights into the minority group. In summary, even though the procedure for the selection of participants was adequate, the sample characteristics do not contribute to the generalizability of the findings.

Even though the authors did not justify their methods for operationalizing the variables with the literature review, they seem appropriate for the purpose of the study. The survey included measures of variables drawn from the literature review, which is vital for research integrity and ensures the high validity of instruments. DAMs were measured with a modified version of the deceptive affection scale developed by Trask et al. (2016). The duration of post-sex affectionate behavior was measured using the questionnaire proposed by Muise et al. (2014). Sexual satisfaction was measured using the instrument developed by Lawrance et al. (1998), while relationship satisfaction was measured utilizing Hendrick’s (1988) relationship assessment scale. The instruments had high face validity; however, other types of validity were difficult to assess.

I believe that the instruments utilized to quantify sexual and relationship satisfaction are of high validity and reliability. Google Scholar search revealed that the article by Hendrick (1988), where he describes his assessment scale, was cited more than 2000 times. Numerous researches used the scale to measure relationship satisfaction. The results of these studies demonstrate that the tool can measure what it is supposed to measure, and the results can be easily reproduced. The Interpersonal Exchange Model of Sexual Satisfaction developed by Lawrence et al. (1998) also has high validity and reliability, which is confirmed by Calvillo et al. (2019). However, the validity and reliability of two other tools are questionable and need in-depth assessment, as they were developed relatively recently.

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The research can win by including participants with different cultural backgrounds. As mentioned by Bennett and Denes (2018), relationship satisfaction is a complicated matter that can be influenced by various factors. Cultural background may influence the correlations between all variables discussed in the present research. Therefore, including participants with different cultural backgrounds is crucial. Among minor improvements, it may be beneficial to include information about IRB approval, methods of protecting the privacy of the participants, and other ethical concerns.

Results

The collected data were analyzed using correlation and regression analyses in Oracle SPSS. First, Bennett and Denes (2018) utilized Pearson’s R to quantify correlations between six variables, which included biological sex, age, and length of the relationship, as to control variables. The results revealed that relationship satisfaction correlated negatively with DAMs (−0.47), and positively with post-sex behavior (0.23), sexual satisfaction (0.46), and length of relationship (0.24). After that, the researchers created separate linear regression models to test each of the hypotheses. The first model supported H1 (adjusted R2 = 0.14), as the results remained statistically significant (p< 0.001) even after controlling for age and relationship length. H2 was also supported by the regression analysis (adjusted R2 = 0.24), as it remained statistically significant even after controlling for relationship length and age. Finally, the serial mediation model created to confirm H3 revealed that sexual satisfaction partially mediated the correlation between DAMs and post-sex behavior, while post-sex behavior partially mediated the correlation between sexual satisfaction and relationship satisfaction. The results revealed that both the direct and indirect effect of DAMs on relationship satisfaction was significant.

The utilized tests were appropriate for testing the hypotheses that were advanced. The central purpose of the article was to measure correlations between various variables. According to Tanner (2016), there are two ways to measure correlations, which are Pearson’s R and regression analysis. Pearson Correlation evaluates whether there is statistical evidence for a linear relationship among the pairs. Therefore, it is vital to calculate Pearson’s R for preliminary analysis to understand which variables should be included in the regression model as control variables. After using Pearson’s R, Bennett and Denes (2018) concluded that length or relationship and age correlated with the independent and dependent variables. Therefore, both age and length of the relationship were included as control variables in the regression models to confirm that the effect remained statistically significant. In summary, the results of Pearson’s R were vital for preliminary analysis.

Regression analysis is used to predict a continuous dependent variable from a number of independent variables (Tanner, 2016). Bennett and Denes (2018) utilized the technique to predict sex satisfaction in testing for H1, and relationship satisfaction in testing for H2 and H3 using various predictors. The results were controlled using control variables, which decreases the bias. All the results of the regression analyses were presented in a coherent manner and interpreted appropriately. The researchers also provided an adequate explanation of how the data supported the hypotheses.

Bennett and Denes (2018) provide an explicit discussion of the implications of the study. Overall, the research revealed that young adults engage in DAMs even though it may negatively affect their relationship satisfaction. According to AET, young adults lie about their affection level because they feel uncomfortable discussing their sexual likes and dislikes. Such behavior may cause significant implications for psychological health and social well-being. Therefore, interventions should promote honest conversations about sexual preferences to improve relationship satisfaction. Bennett and Denes (2018) also discussed the limitations of their study and suggested paths for future research. In summary, the discussion of the results seems flawless as all the techniques are appropriate, and the interpretations of the findings are coherent.

Conclusion

In general, the research design is adequate to test the three hypotheses identified by the author. The study has a strong theoretical basis, as AET is a framework utilized by many researchers in the field. The article provides an adequate literature review that clearly identifies a gap in knowledge and places the findings of the study in line with previous research. The concepts are adequately operationalized using instruments with high validity and reliability. The variables are analyzed using adequate techniques, and the results are interpreted correctly. The implications of the findings are discussed with acknowledgments of limitations and suggestions for future research. However, there are several weaknesses that can be addressed to improve the design of the study. In particular, the article does include a discussion of ethics, which makes it difficult to assess if the article supports the values of collaborative work. Moreover, the sample size does not support the generalizability of the findings. The article expanded my knowledge in regression analysis. In particular, it deepened my knowledge in mediation and multiple regression analysis as well as SPSS use. I will utilize this knowledge in my future research.

References

Bennett, M., & Denes, A. (2018). Lying in bed: An analysis of deceptive affectionate messages during sexual activity in young adults’ romantic relationships. Communication Quarterly, 67(2), 140–157.

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Calvillo, C., del Mar Sánchez-Fuentes, M., Parrón-Carreño, T., & Sierra, J. (2019). Validation of the Interpersonal Exchange Model of Sexual Satisfaction Questionnaire in adults with a same-sex partner. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology. doi.org/10.1016/j.ijchp.2019.07.005

Hendrick, S. S. (1988). A generic measure of relationship satisfaction. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 50, 93–98

Hughes, S. M., & Kruger, D. J. (2011). Sex differences in post-coital behaviors in long- and short-term mating: An evolutionary perspective. The Journal of Sex Research, 48, 496–505.

Lawrance, K. A., Byers, E. S., & Cohen, J. (1998). Interpersonal exchange model of sexual satisfaction questionnaire. In C. M. Davis, W. L. Yarber, R. Bauserman, G. Schreer, & S. L. Davis (Eds.), Handbook of sexuality-related measures (pp. 514–519). Sage.

Muise, A., Giang, E., & Impett, E. A. (2014). Post-sex affectionate exchanges promote sexual and relationship satisfaction. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 43(7), 1391–1402.

Tanner, D. (2016). Statistics for the Behavioral & social sciences (2nd ed.). Bridgepoint Education.

Trask, S. J., Horstman, H. K., & Hesse, C. (2016). Deceptive affection across relational contexts: A group comparison of a romantic relationship, cross-sex friendships, and friends with benefits relationships. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Communication Association, Philadelphia, PA.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, July 8). Sexual Satisfaction Importance in the Romantic Relationships. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/sexual-satisfaction-importance-in-the-romantic-relationships/

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