Faculty Mentor

Dan McCarthy




Previous research indicates that couples who engage in sexual intercourse more frequently, experience higher levels of overall relationship satisfaction. This study measured perceptions of overall relationship satisfaction according to sexual frequency as a bystander. Participants read one of three stories which depicted a married couple who had one of 3 levels of intercourse frequency (i.e., level 1 = low sex frequency 4 times a month, level 2 = medium sex frequency 8 times a month, level 3 = high sex frequency 16 times a month) and rated the couple’s relationship satisfaction and level of positive attitudes on a Likert type scale (5 = extremely satisfied to 1 = extremely unsatisfied; 5 = extremely positive to 1 = extremely negative). A One-way ANOVA was conducted for relationship satisfaction and positive spousal attitudes. The hypothesis was partially supported. As predicted, the low sex frequency group was perceived as the least satisfied in the relationship (F(2,54) = 6.862, p = 0.003, ƞ2 = 0.2). There was no difference between the groups in perceptions of positive spousal attitudes according to sex frequency. These results suggest that people believe sex frequency to be important for overall relationship satisfaction, but that there is a drop off.




Psychological Sciences


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