Purpose of ReviewEmotion regulation is a key contributor to social functioning and mental health; yet, its influence on sexual well-being has only recently gained research attention. To elucidate correlates of women’s sexual satisfaction, desire, frequency, function, and distress and guide future study, the present review evaluates research at the intersection of emotion regulation and sexual well-being.Recent FindingsThere are clear associations between mood and sexual well-being, with the interference of negative emotion on sexual outcomes stronger for women relative to men. Although there is evidence that women’s poorer emotion regulation abilities are related to poorer sexual well-being, associations between specific emotion regulation strategies and sexual outcomes are less established, possibly due to the abundance of regulatory strategies and dearth of research on emotion regulation in sexual contexts. Still, our review suggests that women’s greater sexual well-being is positively associated with strategies characterized by adaptive engagement (e.g., problem solving, acceptance, reappraisal) and negatively associated with strategies characterized by disengagement (e.g., avoidance, suppression, distraction) and aversive cognitive perseveration (e.g., worry, rumination).SummaryExtant research is consistent with models of women’s sexual response and offers preliminary support for the emotion regulation–sexual well-being link. While the explanatory power of the current literature is limited by a lack of dyadic and longitudinal studies, interventions targeting emotion regulation hold promise for improving women’s and couples’ sexual well-being.
Current Sexual Health Reports – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 18, 2020