What do men and women require to gratify their desire? Gender differences in emotional and sexual intimacy
Toledano Martinez, I.
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The aim of this study was to investigate prevailing prejudices regarding gender differences in the emphasis on emotional and sexual intimacy and relationship satisfaction. Therefore, the first step was to examine the connection between emotional intimacy, sexual intimacy and relationship satisfaction. Subsequently gender differences with regard to emotional and sexual intimacy in the prediction of relationship satisfaction were studied. Finally, the differences between men and women in perceived and desired levels of emotional and sexual intimacy were investigated. Participants were individuals who were involved in a relationship and individuals who were not. The General Measure of Relationship Satisfaction (GMREL), the Personal Assessment of Intimacy in Relationships (PAIR) questionnaire and The Inclusion of Other in the Self (IOS) scale (Aron et al., 1992) were filled in by 152 participants. The results demonstrated that emotional intimacy as well as sexual intimacy were positively related to relationship satisfaction. Furthermore, the prejudices were confirmed. Emotional intimacy was a stronger predictor of the relationship satisfaction for females than sexual intimacy, although sexual intimacy for females remained an important predictor of relationship satisfaction. As expected, sexual intimacy for males was a stronger predictor of relationship satisfaction than emotional intimacy. Even more interesting, the results showed that both types of intimacy for females were stronger for the prediction of relationship satisfaction than for males. At last, with respect to the last step, the results show that all participants would like to have higher levels of both emotional and sexual intimacy than they currently have. However, in contradiction with the expectation, no significant differences were found between females and males regarding this discrepancy. This could indicate that there is a fundamental difference in the need for intimacy between men and women.