Abbie Clapp

Clarifying the Link between Self-Objectification and Sexual Satisfaction in College Women

Body surveillance, a construct often used as a proxy for self-objectification, has been shown to be negatively related to women’s sexual satisfaction in past research. However, this relationship has most often been indirect, with only two studies observing a direct relationship (Calogero & Thompson, 2009; Edwards, 2007). To elucidate the nature of this relationship, we tested Calogero and Thompson’s reported and hypothesized models, as well as two new models, using different sample subgroups and covariates. Results showed good fit for all tested models, but failed to replicate the direct pathway between body surveillance and sexual satisfaction in a subset of the sample meeting the original study’s inclusion criteria, or with the overall sample. Instead, our models supported an indirect effect of body surveillance on sexual satisfaction through body shame and sexual self-esteem. These findings shed more light on the role of self-objectification in women’s sexual experiences and point to the need for testing riskier models in future research.

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