Title

The Object of Desire: How Being Objectified Creates Sexual Pressure for Women in Heterosexual Relationships

Publication Date

2015

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Although the objectification of women is widespread, there is relatively little research on objectification in romantic relationships. The purpose of our research was to explore how partner-objectification might be related to sexual pressure and coercion in heterosexual relationships. Two studies were conducted, one with heterosexual men and one with heterosexual women as participants. An online survey of 119 heterosexual men in the United States demonstrated that men who frequently survey their partners’ bodies are more likely to sexually pressure and coerce their partners—primarily because partner-surveillance is related to feelings of shame regarding one’s partner’s body, which in turn is related to increased sexual pressure and coercion. An online survey of 162 heterosexual women in the United States demonstrated feeling objectified by a partner is related to several (but not all) measures of sexual pressure and coercion. Furthermore, women who felt that their partners frequently surveyed their bodies were more likely to experience self-surveillance, which in turn predicted increased body shame and lowered sexual agency. Our research can inform interventions aimed at reducing sexual coercion and spark future research on the distinction between physical attraction and objectification in the context of romantic relationships.

Original Citation

Ramsey, L.R. & Hoyt, T. (2015). The Object of Desire: How Being Objectified Creates Sexual Pressure for Women in Heterosexual Relationships. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 39(2), 151-170. doi: 10.1177/0361684314544679.

Identifier

doi: 10.1177/0361684314544679