The Effects of Similarity in Sexual Excitation, Inhibition, and Mood on Sexual Arousal Problems and Sexual Satisfaction in Newlywed Couples

Amy D. Lykins, Erick Janssen, Sarah Newhouse, Julia R. Heiman, Eshkol Rafaeli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Introduction. Despite the importance of sexuality for romantic relationships, there has been little research attention to individual differences and dyadic variables, including couple similarity, and their association with sexual problems and satisfaction. Aim. The current study examined the effects of the propensity for sexual inhibition and sexual excitation scales (SIS/SES) and the effects of different mood states on sexuality (Mood and Sexuality Questionnaire [MSQ]), at both the individual and the dyad level, on sexual arousal problems and sexual satisfaction. Methods. Similarity in SIS/SES and MSQ was measured in a nonclinical sample of 35 newlywed couples and operationally defined as the within-couple, z-transformed correlations between the two partners' item responses. Main Outcome Measures. Sexual arousal problems were assessed using self-report measures (Demographic and Sexual History Questionnaire) and focused on the past 3 months. Sexual satisfaction was assessed using the Global Measure of Sexual Satisfaction. Results. Regression analyses revealed that greater similarity in the effects of anxiety and stress on sexuality was associated with more reported sexual arousal problems of wives. In contrast, the husbands' sexual arousal problems were related only to their own higher SIS1 scores. Higher SES scores predicted lower sexual satisfaction for both husbands and wives. Wives who reported strong positive mood effects on their sexuality indicated greater sexual satisfaction, while husbands who were more similar to their wives in the effect of positive moods on sexuality indicated greater sexual satisfaction. Conclusions. The findings show that, above and beyond one's own sexual propensities, similarity in various aspects of sexuality predicts sexual problems (more so in women) and sexual satisfaction (in both men and women).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1360-1366
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Sexual Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the Faculty Research Support Program at Indiana University who provided funding for this research.


  • Couples
  • Mood
  • Romantic relationships
  • Sexual arousal problems
  • Sexual function
  • Sexual satisfaction


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