Sexual satisfaction is commonly defined and discussed in physiological terms of arousal and orgasm. Yet this narrow discourse does not accommodate the complex, multidimensional, and interpersonal aspects of sexual experience. To broaden and deepen our understanding of sexual satisfaction, we employed McClelland’s (2014) holistic four-factor framework of sexual satisfaction in a theoretical thematic analysis of 39 behaviorally bisexual women’s descriptions of their “best” partnered sexual experiences from the past year. We found women’s accounts mapped on to four elements: emotional attunement, emotional gratification, partner gratification, and sensory gratification. Relational and emotional dynamics, including emotional security, quality of interpersonal interaction during and after a sexual encounter, mutuality, intimacy, partner skill, novelty, and communication, were key to participants’ best sex experiences. Our findings support a multifaceted model of women’s sexual satisfaction that accounts for emotional, relational, and embodied experiences and the diverse relationships and behaviors these might involve.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Gender Studies
- Sociology and Political Science
- History and Philosophy of Science