Sexuality in Marriage, Dating, and Other Relationships: A Decade Review

By Christopher, F. Scott; Sprecher, Susan | Journal of Marriage and Family, November 2000 | Go to article overview

Sexuality in Marriage, Dating, and Other Relationships: A Decade Review


Christopher, F. Scott, Sprecher, Susan, Journal of Marriage and Family


In this article, we review the major research advances made during the 1990s in the study of sexuality in marriage and other close relationships. More specifically, we provide a critical review of the empirical findings from the last decade on such sexual phenomena as sexual behavior, sexual satisfaction, and sexual attitudes within the context of marriage, dating, and other committed relationships. After highlighting the major theoretical and methodological advances of the 1990s, we focus on the research literatures of: (1) frequency and correlates of sexual activity in marriage; (2) sexual satisfaction, including its association with general relationship satisfaction; (3) sexuality in gay and lesbian committed relationships; (4) trends in sexual behavior and attitudes in dating relationships; and (5) the role of sexuality in dating relationships. We also incorporate brief reviews of the past decade's research on sexual assault and coercion in marriage and dating and on extramarital sex. We end our decade review with recommendations for the study of sexuality into the next decade.

Key Words: close relationships, marital sexuality, premarital sexuality, review of sexuality, sexuality, sexuality in dating.

Sexuality is woven into the fabric of many close relationships. It is sanctioned in marriage; it is often explored in dating; and it is an intricate part of other committed romantic relationships. The past decade saw a marked increase in scholarly interest in sexuality within a relational context. This increased interest posed a challenge for us as we developed the foci of this review. In deciding what areas of research to review, we considered the interests of family scientists balanced with the sexual phenomena explored by scholars from a variety of disciplines, including but not limited to family studies, sociology, psychology, communication, public health, and women's studies. More specifically, the purpose of our review was to identify, summarize, and critique theoretical, methodological, and empirical breakthroughs in sexuality research from the 1990s as they relate to marriage and other relationships that occur prior to or outside of marriage.

We open by identifying major theoretical and methodological advancements in sexuality research of the 1990s that have relevance to marriage, dating, and committed relationships. In the second section, we review the empirical literature from the 1990s on sexuality in marriage and other committed relationships. In the third section, we review the past decade's literature on sexuality in dating (premarital) relationships. Although most of our review concentrates on sexuality's positive aspects, sexuality also has a "dark side" involving sexual coercion and assault. Hence, our review of the literatures on marital and dating sexuality includes findings on this aspect of sexuality. We end the review with recommendations for research on sexuality for the coming decade.

Because of page limits, we could not review all topics relevant to sexuality. For example, we did not include a review of adolescent sexuality, contraceptive use, or teenage pregnancy (for reviews see Gullotta, Adams, & Montemayor, 1993; Moore, Miller, Glei, & Morrison, 1995). Furthermore, although the 1990s saw an increase -in research on risk behaviors and individual and family outcomes related to AIDS, these topics are also beyond the scope of this review (see Kelly, 1995, for a review). Moreover, the topics we were able to cover were limited primarily to research conducted in North America, although advances were also made in sexuality research in other countries and cross-culturally.

ADVANCEMENTS IN THE 1990S

We wish to identify several advancements in sexuality research in the 1990s that have relevance to family science. These can be aggregated broadly into two areas: (1) advancements in conceptualization and theory involving sexuality-related phenomena and (2) advancements in methodology. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Sexuality in Marriage, Dating, and Other Relationships: A Decade Review
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.