Women’s sexual functioning: The role of self-objectification, appearance anxiety, and depression



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Unlike traditional research on female sexual functioning, which tends to take a solely biological approach, the current study used a sociocultural lens to better investigate women’s experiences. With objectification theory as a guide, this study was the first to simultaneously examine the relationships between self-objectification, depression, appearance anxiety, and sexual functioning. A series of competing conceptual models was tested using structural equation modeling (SEM) with a sample of heterosexual adult women. Results demonstrated that the relationship between self-objectification and sexual functioning can be explained as partially mediated by both depression and appearance anxiety. Findings support some aspects of the existing literature on both objectification theory and sexual functioning. Regarding the hypothesized negative link between self-objectification and women’s sexual functioning, however, the current study produced contradictory results and highlights the need for additional exploration. The existence of equivalent theoretical models is discussed, as well as implications for future research.



Sexual functioning, Sexual dysfunction, Sex roles, Objectification theory, Structural equation modeling