Role of sexual self-disclosure in the sexual satisfaction of long-term heterosexual couples

J Sex Res. 2009 Jan-Feb;46(1):3-14. doi: 10.1080/00224490802398399.


This study examined two proposed pathways between sexual self-disclosure (SSD) and sexual satisfaction in a sample of 104 heterosexual couples in long-term relationships. According to the proposed instrumental pathway, disclosure of sexual preferences increases a partner's understanding of those preferences resulting in a sexual script that is more rewarding and less costly. A more favorable balance of sexual rewards to sexual costs, in turn, results in greater sexual satisfaction for the disclosing individual. According to the proposed expressive pathway, mutual self-disclosure contributes to relationship satisfaction, which in turn leads to greater sexual satisfaction. Support was found for the instrumental pathway for both men and women. Support also was found for an expressive pathway between own SSD and partner nonsexual self-disclosure (NSD) and men's sexual satisfaction, and between own NSD and women's sexual satisfaction. These results are interpreted in terms of mechanisms for establishing and maintaining sexual satisfaction in long-term relationships in men and women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Communication
  • Female
  • Heterosexuality / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Marriage / psychology
  • Models, Psychological
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Self Disclosure
  • Surveys and Questionnaires