Does having more options increase sexual satisfaction or marriage quality?

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The goal for this project was to examine the manner in which husbands’ and wives’ sexual satisfaction was related to their perceptions of the availability of alternative partners and overall marital quality. Participants were 470 newlywed African American couples residing in the southern region of the United States. Path analysis was used to simultaneously examine actor (individuals’ sexual satisfaction on their own outcomes) and partner (individuals’ sexual satisfaction on their partners’ outcomes) effects. Wives’ and husbands’ sexual satisfaction was strongly and positively associated with their own reports of marital quality, although it was not associated with their partners’ reports of marital quality. For both wives and husbands, higher sexual satisfaction was associated with lowered perceptions that they would be able to find other acceptable partners should their current relationship end. Perceived availability of alternative partners was, in turn, negatively associated with reports of marital quality.

Source: “Sexual Satisfaction, Perceived Availability of Alternative Partners, and Marital Quality in Newlywed African American Couples” from Journal of Sex Research

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