Exploring Marital Sexuality: Peeking Inside the Bedroom and Discovering What We Don’t Know—But Should!
Even thoughmarriage represents the only relationship where society positively sanctions most forms of sexual expression, relationship scientists have paid surprisingly little attention to marital sexuality. In an attempt to spur new empirical interest, we offer foundational and prospective views on this area of study in this chapter. We begin by proposing that Symbolic Interaction Theory represents a viable framework for reviewing past work and informing future research.We reviewmajor lines of existing research that have focused on variations in coital frequency and sexual satisfaction, and on the dynamics of extramarital liaisons. Next, frequent sexual dysfunctions are examined as oneway of illuminating the potential sexual role expectations ofmarried couples. Finally, we explore promising new areas of research by integrating theory with new empirical ﬁndings on the covariation between marital sexuality and the demands of multiple roles, such as parental and work, within marriage.