This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Relationship among Marital Quality, Sexual Frequency, Sexual Disagreement, Depression, and Married Women’s Sexual Satisfaction




Long, Amy

Type of Degree



Human Development and Family Studies


Women’s sexual satisfaction is linked to several relational and individual factors. In particular, sexual satisfaction appears to covary with the general quality of women’s marital relationships and the level of intimacy and closeness in the sexual relationship. In addition, aspects of the sexual relationship including frequency of sexual activity and disagreement about sex are related to women’s sexual satisfaction. Finally, individual factors such as depression are associated with women’s sexual satisfaction. The purpose of this study is to examine the interrelationship among these factors. Specifically it is hypothesized that marital quality is associated with women’s sexual satisfaction, depression is associated with women’s sexual satisfaction, the relationship between depression and sexual satisfaction is indirectly related through marital quality, sexual frequency and sexual communication are directly related to women’s sexual satisfaction, and the relationship between marital quality and sexual satisfaction are indirectly related through sexual frequency and sexual communication. The data for this study come from the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH). The subsample consists of 3,884 married couples who completed the survey in wave two, which was collected from 1988 until 1992. Results reveal that over 70% of the variability in women’s sexual satisfaction is accounted for by marital quality, couple’s sexual frequency, couple’s sexual disagreement, and women’s depression. Marital quality and sexual frequency prove to have the largest direct relationship with women’s sexual satisfaction. Couple’s sexual disagreement and women’s depression are less strongly linked with women’s sexual satisfaction. Depression and sexual satisfaction are related indirectly through marital quality. Finally, marital quality and sexual satisfaction are also indirectly related through couple’s reports of sexual frequency and couple’s reports of sexual disagreement. Discussion focuses on the implications of these findings and directions for future research.