Leading Better Sex Lives: Is Trait Charisma Associated with Higher Sexual Desire and Satisfaction in Romantic Relationships?

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Sexuality is a key predictor of relationship satisfaction, but sexual desire and satisfaction can be difficult to maintain over time. Past research has investigated who might be more likely to experience higher (compared to lower) levels of desire and sexual satisfaction in their relationships. Certain aspects of personality, such as extraversion, have been associated with sexual satisfaction and desire, but evidence linking personality to sexual outcomes has generally been mixed, meaning there is a lot left to learn about how personality is associated with sexual well-being. A promising, yet unexplored, trait that could be associated with higher sexual desire and satisfaction is charisma—a combination of influence and affability that has been identified as a desirable trait when people are selecting a romantic or sexual partner. Across two studies—a cross-sectional study of individuals in relationships (N = 413) and a 21-day dyadic daily experience study (N = 121 couples)—people higher in charisma reported being more communal during sex and reported higher sexual desire and satisfaction. Through higher sexual communal strength, people with a charismatic partner also reported higher daily sexual desire and sexual satisfaction. The effects were largely retained above and beyond general communal strength and Big Five personality dimensions, although in Study 1, charisma was no longer associated with sexual desire and satisfaction when controlling for extraversion. The current findings provide initial evidence that charismatic people tend to be responsive to their partner’s sexual needs, which is associated with higher desire and sexual satisfaction in romantic relationships.

In Archives of Sexual Behavior
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Eric Tu
Eric Tu
PhD Student

My research interests include investigating who we decide to pursue a relationship with and how we can maintain a satisfying and stable relationship over time.