Sexual desire tends to subside gradually over time, with many couples failing to maintain desire in their long-term relationships. Three studies employed complementary methodologies to examine whether partner responsiveness, an intimacy-building behavior, could instill desire for one's partner. In Study 1, participants were led to believe that they would interact online with their partner. In reality, they interacted with either a responsive or an unresponsive confederate. In Study 2, participants interacted face-to-face with their partner, and judges coded their displays of responsiveness and sexual desire. Study 3 used a daily experiences methodology to examine the mechanisms underlying the responsiveness- desire linkage. Overall, responsiveness was associated with increased desire, but more strongly in women. Feeling special and perceived partner mate value explained the responsiveness- desire link, suggesting that responsive partners were seen as making one feel valued as well as better potential mates for anyone and thus as more sexually desirable.
- Gender differences
- Mate value
- Romantic relationships
- Sexual desire
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science