Why Do Women with Disordered Eating Engage in Sex? The Mediating Role of Sexual Motivations in the Association Between Disordered Eating Behaviors and Attitudes and Sexual Dysfunction

Zohar Spivak-Lavi, Ateret Gewirtz-Meydan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although there is growing evidence of an association between disordered eating and sexual dysfunction, the mechanism underlying this association is still unclear. In the current study, we sought to examine the mediating role of sexual motivation between disordered eating and sexual dysfunction. We used a multi-path mediation model to examine the mediating role of sexual motivation between disordered eating and sexual functioning among a sample of 341 non-clinical women in a steady relationship. Analysis revealed two significant mediation paths associating disordered eating with sexual functioning: (1) a high level of disordered eating was significantly linked with higher motivation for partner approval via sex and sexuality which, in turn, was associated with lower sexual functioning and (2) a high level of disordered eating was significantly linked with lower enhancement sexual motivation which, in turn, was associated with lower sexual functioning. This study extends the existing knowledge by offering an explanation for the relation between disordered eating and sexual dysfunction via sexual motives. Findings from the current study suggest women with disordered eating utilized sex for self-affirmation, for coping with negative emotions, for partner approval, and to increase intimacy. Also, these women were not likely to engage in sex for enhancement reasons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1513-1524
Number of pages12
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Volume52
Issue number4
Early online date14 Nov 2022
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

Funding

This project was supported by the Max Stern Yezreel Valley College at Emek Yezreel.

FundersFunder number
Max Stern Yezreel Valley College

    Keywords

    • Disordered eating
    • Sexual function
    • Sexual motives

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