Sexual Satisfaction within Dating Relationships: A Test of the Interpersonal Exchange Model of Sexual Satisfaction

posted on Dec 04, 2015

This study extended the Interpersonal Exchange Model of Sexual Satisfaction (IEMSS) to short-term dating relationships. The IEMSS has been shown to have excellent validity for long-term heterosexual relationships. The IEMSS proposes that sexual satisfaction is greater to the extent that, over time, relationship satisfaction is high, levels of sexual rewards exceed levels of sexual costs, relative sexual reward levels exceed relative sexual cost levels, and interpersonal equality of sexual rewards and of sexual costs are perceived to exist. Fifty-one college men and 57 college women in a dating relationship of 3 to 36 months participated in the study. As predicted, more sexually satisfied individuals reported greater relationship satisfaction, a more favorable reward/cost ratio, a more favorable relative reward/relative cost ratio, and more equal rewards and costs between partners. Hierarchical regression analysis indicated that relationship satisfaction, the difference between relative rewards, relative costs and cost equality made unique contributions to the prediction of sexual satisfaction, accounting for 75 percent of the variance in sexual satisfaction. The model was shown to work equally well for men and women, for individuals new and less new to their relationship, and for high and low self-disclosers. The IEMSS offers a promising approach for investigating and understanding sexual satisfaction.