Social identities as predictors of women's sexual satisfaction and sexual activity

Breanne Fahs, Eric Swank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


While much research has examined sexual problems and dysfunction, far less research has examined intersections between sexual satisfaction and sexual activity, particularly as it relates to social identities. This study utilized secondary analysis of 1,473 women from the National Health and Social Life Survey to examine the way sexual satisfaction and sexual activity are at times misaligned. Using factor and cluster analyses, four groups of women defined by being high or low on satisfaction and activity were predicted by nine demographic variables, including socioeconomic class, racial/ethnic identity, age, marital status, education, sexual identity, geographical "coming of age" location, employment status, and number of children. Results showed that lower status women (women of color, working-class women, younger women, less educated women, women who worked full-time) reported low satisfaction and high activity. Women who reported high satisfaction and low activity represented the largest cluster of women, indicating that more women reported a disjuncture between satisfaction and activity than did those reporting a match between satisfaction and activity. Implications for clinical, sexuality, and social identity literatures are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)903-914
Number of pages12
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • Sexual activity
  • Sexual satisfaction
  • Social identity
  • Social status
  • Women's sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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