A model of sexual functioning across gender: Self-objectification, body shame, body self-consciousness and sexual self-esteem

Maggie L Gorraiz, University of Rhode Island

Abstract

Objectification theory proposes that girls and women are acculturated to internalize an outsider's perspective as a primary view of herself, which can lead to body monitoring and surveillance. Recent research has demonstrated that these concerns may impair sexual functioning in women and influence risky sexual behavior and attitudes. The purpose of the study was to evaluate a model examining variables from Objectification Theory as predictors of sexual functioning and unprotected sex for both women and men. Using latent variable modeling, this study tests whether young adult men and women's self-objectification perceptions contributed to increase body self-consciousness during sex, reduced sexual self-esteem and lower sexual functioning among 340 heterosexually active men and women, aged 18–25 years. Model results indicated that greater self-objectification and body shame was related to greater body self-consciousness and lower sexual self-esteem, which in turn predicted lower sexual functioning. The relationship between self-objectification, body shame and sexual functioning was partially mediated by body self-consciousness during sex and sexual self-esteem. Separate models for women and men demonstrated good fit, suggesting that to the extent that men self-objectify, they do so in a similar manner to women in regards to sexual functioning. Additional analyses demonstrate that self-objectification processes may increase levels of depression, which then may influence sexual assertiveness and protected sex measures. Prevention interventions should focus on improving sexual self-esteem and sexual assertiveness, while reducing body shame with implications for sexual victimization.^

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical|Psychology, Physiological

Recommended Citation

Maggie L Gorraiz, "A model of sexual functioning across gender: Self-objectification, body shame, body self-consciousness and sexual self-esteem" (2011). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI1497500.
http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dissertations/AAI1497500

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