Sexual consent experiences of individuals in committed relationships


May 2023

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Despite the growing body of research on sexual consent, confusion surrounding the definition and processes of sexual consent still exists. There is also little research to date exploring the relationship between sexual consent, sexual communication, sexual satisfaction, and gender for individuals in committed relationships. This confusion and lack of research may be contributing to high rates of sexual coercion and rape within committed relationships. The present study utilized a moderated mediation analysis to investigate whether consent mediates the relationship between sexual communication and sexual satisfaction, and furthermore, whether that mediation differs for men and women. Sexual consent as a mediator for the relationship between sexual communication and sexual satisfaction was also tested. The study sample included individuals in committed relationships who were recruited through an online questionnaire distributed via Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or e-mail. The present study found sexual communication leads to sexual satisfaction partially because it helps foster an environment of sexual consent. However, subtle coercion partially explained this relationship between sexual communication and sexual satisfaction for women but not for men. These findings suggest the need for clinicians to assess for sexual coercion in relationships as well as support clinicians in educating couples on how their sexual communication may be impacting their sexual encounters.



Sexual Consent