Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Sex Roles (2019)

doi 10.1007/s11199-018-0990-9


Copyright © 2019 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. Used by permission.


Sexual objectification is one of most the common manifestations of discrimination against women in Western societies; however, few studies have examined objectification in the context of romantic relationships. The primary aim of the present research was to bring the study of objectification phenomena into the setting of heterosexual romantic relationships. The present set of studies examined the relation between sexual objectification and relationship satisfaction for both the sexual objectification recipient (Study 1) and the sexual objectification perpetrator (Study 2). The results of the first study with 206 U.S. undergraduate female students in committed romantic relationships replicated a previously identified negative association between feeling dehumanized by one’s partner and intimate relationship satisfaction. Moreover, this link was mediated by greater body dissatisfaction and decreased sexual satisfaction. The second study with 94 U.S. undergraduate male students in committed romantic relationships demonstrated a negative association between sexual objectification perpetration and relationship satisfaction. Furthermore, this negative relation was mediated by greater partner objectification and lower sexual satisfaction. Results of both studies demonstrated the effect of sexual objectification (as recipient or perpetrator) on global intimate relationship health. Additionally, the results highlight poor sexual satisfaction as a key dyadic mechanism linking objectification processes to intimate relationship outcomes.