Using a longitudinal dataset of 117 married couples without children spanning the first three years of marriage, we investigated trajectories of sexual satisfaction for both spouses using a novel Dyadic Latent Growth Model approach that distinguishes the communal sexual experience and the systematic differences in experience between partners. It also recognizes that there may be systematic variation in trajectories over couples. We showed how this approach can be used to predict couple-level sexual experience from couple-level marital satisfaction shortly after marriage. Partners’ sexual satisfaction was well represented at the dyadic level; there was a dyad-level decline in sexual satisfaction over the first three years of marriage, but also systematic variation around that average pattern. Level of dyadic marital satisfaction at Time 1 predicted the level of sexual satisfaction over three years, but not the systematic variation in the slope. Intra-dyad contrast of marital satisfaction at Time 1 predicted analogous contrasts of sexual satisfaction, but the strength of this association diminished over time. We discuss theoretical benefits of considering partners as couples rather than individuals.
- Marital satisfaction
- Sexual satisfaction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)