Title

Sexualized, Objectified, But Not Satisfied: Enjoying Sexualization Relates to Lower Relationship Satisfaction through Perceived Partner-objectification

Publication Date

2017

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Although the objectification of women is pervasive, it has not been studied extensively in the context of romantic relationships. This is a curious oversight, given that physical appearance is considered a prominent factor in romantic attraction and conceptualizations of objectification tend to involve an exaggerated emphasis on physical appearance. Thus, objectification theory may have interesting implications for romantic relationships. Women who enjoy sexualization may be more likely to have a partner who objectifies them, which could have negative implications for the relationship, as objectification research has generally found that the experience of objectification has negative consequences for women. Across three studies of heterosexual women in relationships (N = 114, N = 196, and N = 208), results showed that those who enjoyed sexualization tended to feel more objectified by their partner, which in turn related to lowered relationship satisfaction. These findings persisted even when controlling for perceptions of partner’s sexual desire, self-objectification, and objectification from strangers. Furthermore, Study 3 provides preliminary evidence that self-objectification may be a precursor to this mediation in that self-objectification was associated with higher enjoyment of sexualization, which was associated with higher partner-objectification, which in turn was associated with lower relationship satisfaction. This research sheds light on how the objectification of women operates within the context of a heterosexual romantic relationship.

Original Citation

Ramsey, L., Marotta, J.A., & Hoyt, T. (2017). Sexualized, Objectified, But Not Satisfied: Enjoying Sexualization Relates to Lower Relationship Satisfaction through Perceived Partner-objectification. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 34(2), 258-278. https://doi.org/10.1177/0265407516631157