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Evidence for the Importance of Relationship Satisfaction for Women’s Sexual Functioning

The New View o f Women’s Sexual Problems criticizes existing clas­ sification schemes for women’s sexual problems on a number of grounds including their failure to include the relational context in which interpersonal sexual expression occurs. In contrast, the New View pro­ poses “Sexual Problems Relating to Partner and Relationship” as a ma­ jor context for understanding women’s sexual problems. Certainly, women’s reports of their experiences of their sexuality support the im­ portance of relationship to the understanding of women’s sexual func­ tioning. However, in this commentary, I would like to summarize some of the quantitative research carried out by members of the Sexuality Re­ search Group at the University of New Brunswick on heterosexual women’s (and men’s) sexual satisfaction based on the Interpersonal Ex­ change Model of Sexual Satisfaction (IEMSS) (Lawrance & Byers, 1995).1 Our research provides empirical support for the importance of including the relational context in any discussion of women’s sexual functioning in general and their sexual satisfaction in particular.