Approach avoidance dating
Although our first study provides important information about how individuals perceive the sex lives and relationships of other people who engage in sex for different reasons, this method does not provide information about people’s actual goals for sex and how pursuing sex for different reasons is association with a person’s sexual and relationship quality.
So, in our next two study we wanted to know how this would play out in the daily lives of couples – that is, how are a person’s reasons for having sex on a particular day associated with their feelings of desire and satisfaction on that same day?
In other words, people perceive having sex for approach goals (vs.
avoidance goals) as being associated with higher desire and satisfaction regardless of the person’s gender or relationship length.
For example, a participant would read the following scenario and then rate Kate’s level of desire and satisfaction: John and Katie have been dating for several months.
One night, John and Katie go out for dinner and see a late movie. Katie’s reason for having sex that night is to feel closer to John. In some scenarios couples were married for several years (vs.
However, we found that having sex to avoid disappointing your partner (i.e., for avoidance goals) is actually associated with partners reporting In other words, when people “give it up” to avoid negative outcomes their partners have less positive sexual experiences and feel worse about the relationship.These initial findings suggest that reasons for having sex are differentially linked to relationship and sexual outcomes – specifically, people who have sex for approach goals are perceived to have higher desire and satisfaction, whereas people who have sex for avoidance goals are perceived to have lower desire and satisfaction.How do people’s reasons for having sex impact their desire and satisfaction?How do people perceive the impact of having sex for different reasons?
In our first study, we tested how approach and avoidance goals for sex are associated with sexual desire and satisfaction by having people in relationships read different scenarios and rate the sexual desire, sexual satisfaction and relationship satisfaction of the couple members in the scenario.
We conducted two daily experience studies involving dating, cohabitating, and married couples to answer this question.