The Relationship between Sexual and Relationship Satisfaction: Moderated by Perceptions of Relational Power
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
Human Development and Family Science
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Following the Relational Theory of Power, which states that relationship power is more fluid than static, this study hoped to show the mutual influence of sexual satisfaction and equitable relationship power dynamics on relationship satisfaction for couples in therapy. Past studies have established a relationship between sexual and relationship satisfaction, but not for couples in a clinical sample and not while also considering other factors such as power and gender. The study utilizes existing data from the Auburn University Marriage and Family Therapy Center (AUMFT) and tested a moderation model to determine the interaction effects of sexual satisfaction and power dynamics on relationship satisfaction. The impact of the gender of the more powerful partner on relationship satisfaction was considered. Results from a hierarchical multiple regression indicate that the interaction effects between improved sexual satisfaction and having more power in the relationship are associated with improved relationship satisfaction for females but not males. Separately, improved sexual satisfaction and more power in the relationship are associated with enhanced relationship satisfaction for females and males. Finally, aligning the power dynamics is related to enhanced relationship satisfaction for females but not males. Implications are discussed.