The etiology of low female sexual desire, the most prevalent sexual complaint in women, is multi-determined, implicating biological and psychological factors, including women’s early parent–child relationships and bodily self-representations. The current study evaluated a model that hypothesized that sexual body self-representations (sexual subjectivity, self-objectification, genital self-image) explain (i.e., mediate) the relation between internalized working models of parent–child relationships (attachment, separation–individuation, parental identification) and sexual desire in heterosexual women. We recruited 614 young, heterosexual women (M = 25.5 years, SD = 4.63) through social media. The women completed an online survey. Structural equation modeling was used. The hypotheses were supported in that the relation between internalized working models of parent–child relationships (attachment and separation–individuation) and sexual desire was mediated by sexual body self-representations (sexual body esteem, self-objectification, genital self-image). However, parental identification was not related significantly to sexual body self-representations or sexual desire in the model. Current findings demonstrated that understanding female sexual desire necessitates considering women’s internalized working models of early parent–child relationships and their experiences of their bodies in a sexual context. Treatment of low or absent desire in women would benefit from modalities that emphasize early parent–child relationships as well as interventions that foster mind–body integration.
Archives of Sexual Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 24, 2017
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