Eating Disorders and Sexual Satisfaction: The Mediating Role of Body Image Self-consciousness during Physical Intimacy and Dissociation

Zohar Spivak-Lavi, Ateret Gewirtz-Meydan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Women with eating disorders experience difficulties related to sexual activity, yet little is known about the indirect association between eating disorders and sexual satisfaction. This study examined the indirect association between eating disorders and sexual satisfaction using body image self-consciousness during physical intimacy and dissociation as mediators. Online questionnaires were answered by 985 Israeli women. Of them, 98 were identified as likely to have eating disorders (study group). A matching control group (n = 98) was selected from the remaining respondents. Participants in the study group had significantly higher body image self-consciousness and dissociation than the matched controls, as well as significantly lower sexual satisfaction. The research model revealed that body image self-consciousness during physical intimacy mediates the link between eating disorders and sexual satisfaction, while dissociation does not. Women with eating disorders have higher levels of self-consciousness about their body during sexual activity, which may distract them from their own sexual needs and desires and those of their partners, and this, in turn, is associated with sexual dissatisfaction. Findings highlight the need for improved evidenced-based assessment and management of the sexual satisfaction of women with eating disorders. Abbreviations: ED: eating disorders; AN: anorexia nervosa; BN: bulimia nervosa; BED: binge eating disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-353
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Sex Research
Volume59
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Gender Studies
  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • Sociology and Political Science

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