OPEN Archives of sexual behavior | 30 Mar 2016
J Stoeber and LN Harvey
Research on multidimensional sexual perfectionism differentiates four forms: self-oriented, partner-oriented, partner-prescribed, and socially prescribed. Self-oriented sexual perfectionism reflects perfectionistic standards people apply to themselves as sexual partners; partner-oriented sexual perfectionism reflects perfectionistic standards people apply to their sexual partner; partner-prescribed sexual perfectionism reflects people’s beliefs that their sexual partner imposes perfectionistic standards on them; and socially prescribed sexual perfectionism reflects people’s beliefs that society imposes such standards on them. Previous studies found partner-prescribed and socially prescribed sexual perfectionism to be maladaptive forms of sexual perfectionism associated with a negative sexual self-concept and problematic sexual behaviors, but only examined cross-sectional relationships. The present article presents the first longitudinal study examining whether multidimensional sexual perfectionism predicts changes in sexual self-concept and sexual function over time. A total of 366 women aged 17-69 years completed measures of multidimensional sexual perfectionism, sexual esteem, sexual anxiety, sexual problem self-blame, and sexual function (cross-sectional data). Three to six months later, 164 of the women completed the same measures again (longitudinal data). Across analyses, partner-prescribed sexual perfectionism emerged as the most maladaptive form of sexual perfectionism. In the cross-sectional data, partner-prescribed sexual perfectionism showed positive relationships with sexual anxiety, sexual problem self-blame, and intercourse pain, and negative relationships with sexual esteem, desire, arousal, lubrication, and orgasmic function. In the longitudinal data, partner-prescribed sexual perfectionism predicted increases in sexual anxiety and decreases in sexual esteem, arousal, and lubrication over time. The findings suggest that partner-prescribed sexual perfectionism contributes to women’s negative sexual self-concept and female sexual dysfunction.
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