The Role of Sexual Desire, Sexual Satisfaction, and Relationship Satisfaction in the Sexual Function of Arab Couples Living in Saudi Arabia

Atia Attaky*, Jan Schepers, Gerjo Kok, Marieke Dewitte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction: This study is one of the first to examine the association between relationship and sexual variables as approached from a dyadic perspective in Saudi Arabian couples. Theoretical models assign an important role to relationship factors in women's sexuality.

Aim: We examined the role of sexual and relationship satisfaction relative to sexual desire in explaining sexual function in a sample of clinical versus nonclinical couples.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional, observational study in a sample of 50 heterosexual couples with sexual problems and 50 control couples without problems (N 1/4 100 couples; 200 men and women).

Main Outcome Measure: All participants completed an Arabic version of measures of relationship satisfaction, sexual satisfaction, sexual desire, sexual distress, and sexual function.

Results: Results showed that in the clinical group, sexual function of women was predicted by their own and their partner?s level of sexual satisfaction, and their own level of solitary and dyadic sexual desire. Men?s sexual function was predicted by their own sexual satisfaction and their partner?s relationship satisfaction. In the control group, the sexual function of women was predicted only by their level of sexual satisfaction. In men, sexual function was predicted by their own sexual satisfaction and their level of dyadic sexual desire.

Conclusion: These results suggest that sexual desire rather than relationship satisfaction plays an important role in women's sexual dysfunction. Being the most consistent determinant of male and female sexual functioning, sexual satisfaction is an important target of intervention in Arabian couples. Copyright (C) 2020, The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of the International Society for Sexual Medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100303
Number of pages11
JournalSexual Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Sexual Function
  • Sexual Satisfaction
  • Sexual Desire
  • Relationship Satisfaction
  • Couple
  • Dyadic
  • Middle East
  • Saudi Arabia
  • MEN
  • RISK

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