Relationships Between Body Image, Body Composition, Sexual Functioning, and Sexual Satisfaction Among Heterosexual Young Adults
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This study investigated the association between body image and body-image self-consciousness on sexual satisfaction, accounting for relationships between body fat and body image, and between sexual functioning and sexual satisfaction, while controlling for relationship satisfaction. Participants were 143, 18-25 year-old Caucasian men and women in heterosexual monogamous relationships, recruited from the University of Guelph and surrounding community in Ontario, Canada. Various domains of body image, body-image self-consciousness, sexual satisfaction and functioning, and relationship satisfaction data were collected by questionnaires. Body fat was measured using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Among men, body image was positively associated with sexual satisfaction, after controlling for relationship satisfaction. Men with greater body fat were more likely to have poorer behavioral and affective body image. Only body image specific to the sexual encounter influenced sexual functioning. Among women, no domain of body image was associated with sexual satisfaction, after controlling for relationship satisfaction. Women with greater body fat were more likely to have poorer affective and sexual-encounter-specific body image. As percent total fat increased, sexual functioning decreased. Our results suggest a complex pattern of relationships exists among body image and body composition constructs and sexual and relationship variable; and that these relationships are not the same for men and women.
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