The role of sexual desire and sexual activity in dating relationships

Pamela C. Regan1
1California State University, Los Angeles, United States
Cite this article:  Regan, P. C. (2000). The role of sexual desire and sexual activity in dating relationships. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 28(1), 51-60.

Volume 28 Issue 1 | e1005 | Published: February 2000 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2000.28.1.51

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Previous researchers have indicated that adults believe that sexual desire and sexual activity play different roles in love relationships. Little research, however, has been conducted to document the presumed differences between these two aspects of human sexual response. The purpose in this study was to examine empirically: (1) whether sexual desire and sexual activity co-occur in dating relationships; (2) whether desire is more strongly associated than activity with passionate love; and (3) whether desire and activity have different implications for relationship maintenance. The results revealed that sexual desire and sexual activity were moderately (but not significantly) related. In addition, and as expected, only sexual desire was related to passionate love. Sexual desire also was related to relational maintenance; the greater the desire for the partner, the less often participants thought about ending their current relationship, thought about beginning a new relation-ship, reported being unfaithful to their partner, and felt attracted to others.
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