Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Sexual interest and desire in female same-sex relationships of four years or longer
by Quinn, Agnes Aggie, Ph.D., Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, 2011, 275; 3495281
Abstract (Summary)

Lack of interest in sex or low sexual desire is the most commonly reported sexual complaint by both heterosexual and nonheterosexual women. Repeated reports of inhibited sexual desire and reduced sexual frequency in lesbian relationships (commonly known as “Lesbian Bed Death”), along with the prevalence rate of women diagnosed with Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD), and the more recently proposed female sexual response model (by Rosemary Basson) illustrate the controversial nature of female sexuality, and more specifically female sexual desire. This mixed-method study investigated sexual interest and desire of females in same-sex relationships of 4 years or longer. In the online portion of the study, 142 women provided basic demographic information regarding religion and spirituality, menopause status, health problems, and sexual abuse history, and took the Sexual Interest and Sexual Desire Inventory–Female (SIDI-F). Twenty-six women categorized as high and low scorers on the SIDI-F were interviewed. Most significant quantitative results indicated that sexual desire was positively correlated (rho = .241, p = .008, n = 138) with childhood (but not current) religion/spirituality, and sex outside of the relationship (rho = .21, p = .016, n = 137). Sexual desire and sexual satisfaction predicted sexual frequency, but participant age and relationship length did not, contradicting results of other studies and common assumptions. Qualitative results revealed that sexual desire was multifaceted, nuanced, for some fluctuated over time and in response to various circumstances, and that attitude and resilience seem to make more difference in sexual desire, frequency, and satisfaction than material or physical conditions. Findings suggest that much more comprehensive understanding of women’s sexual desire is needed before diagnosis is given. Caution should be used when clinically diagnosing sexual desire disorders in women, and more specifically nonheterosexual women, who have been subjected to a legacy of pathology related to their desires.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wade, Jenny
Commitee: Rothblum, Esther, Sell-Boccelli, Ingrid
School: Institute of Transpersonal Psychology
Department: Residential Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 73/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Behavioral psychology, Womens studies, Developmental psychology, Physiological psychology
Keywords: Female, Lesbian, Long-term relationships, Same-sex, Sexual desire, Sexual interest
Publication Number: 3495281
ISBN: 9781267185488
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