The Process of Intimacy: Similarity, Understanding and Gender

ArticleinJournal of Marital and Family Therapy 24(3):273-88 · July 1998with22 Reads
DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-0606.1998.tb01085.x · Source: PubMed
This study examined gender and three aspects of marital intimacy using a method to establish both objective and subjective indices of intimacy. Fifty couples answered the Personal Assessment of Intimate Relationships (Schaefer & Olson, 1981) twice: once as a self-report and once to respond as they predicted their spouses would answer. Couples who were less accurate in predicting each other's responses also diverged in their experience of intimacy and reported lower intimacy. Results suggest that high intimacy is based on both understanding and similarity of intimate experience. Women reported significantly higher levels of intimacy and were also better than men in predicting their partners' feelings. These findings suggest that women may be more attuned to intimacy or that definitions and assessment of intimacy are gender biased or both.
    • "Our results may also have clinical implications in couple counseling to help couples increase their level of intimacy and understand gender differences that may impact the quality of their romantic relationship. Marital therapists may target their intervention on the understanding of one partner's intimacy representation and needs – particularly on the engagement and communication dimensions – and thus facilitate the expression and feelings of intimacy in romantic relationships (Heller & Wood, 1998; Schnarch, 1991 ). Therapists could also discuss with couples about the relationship dynamic and how gender socialization may partially explain their difficulties in the expression of intimacy. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction. - Intimacy is central in close relationships and a variety of definitions and instruments exist in scientific literature, making this concept complex to investigate. Furthermore, gender differences were identified in the definition and experience of intimacy. Objectives. - This study aims to confirm the three-factor structure of the personal assessment of intimacy in relationships (PAIR, Schaefer & Olson, 1981), commonly used in research and marital therapy, developed by Moore et al. (1998) and to examine the measurement equivalence of the scale across gender. Method. - A confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was performed on the responses of 313 women and 251 men in committed relationships in a French population. Measurement equivalence of the scale across gender was then conducted with the best-fitting model. Results. - The results of CFA and post-hoc analyses revealed that the three-factor model revised with 18 items was the best fit to the data: (1) engagement (10 items), (2) communication (5 items), (3) shared friends (3 items). PAIR-18 displayed a lack of metric and scalar invariance across gender but estimated means of latent variables is not very different between the full invariant model and the unconstraint models. Conclusion. - Nevertheless, consideration of gender differences in the construct of intimacy is very important for theoretical research on intimacy in romantic relationships and for the interventions of marital therapists based on intimacy.
    Article · May 2016
    • "The items used to measure emotional intimacy here did not include physical closeness. It is not unusual for male partners to give lower intimacy ratings than their female counterparts (Heller & Wood, 1998). Men, compared to women, are more likely to focus on sexual cues on a rst date (Morr-Serewicz & Gale, 2008) and interpret intimacy through sexual behaviors (Ridley, 1993). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract The drinking culture in Western societies infiltrates many aspects of life, including early romantic relationships. This study investigated factors that predict drinking on dates and the impact of date drinking on feelings of intimacy. Regression analyses of questionnaire data revealed that expectancies, general drinking tendencies, and partner’s drinking as well as their interactions with gender and ethnicity contributed to explaining alcohol consumption on dates. Intimacy was significantly predicted by alcohol usage on dates, but the effects of drinking by self and partner varied by gender. Women’s own drinking positively predicted their sense of intimacy, but their partner’s drinking was linked to decreased intimacy. Men’s reports showed significant effects but in the opposite direction. The Discussion section considers implications for dating and future research.
    Article · Feb 2016
    • "Relationship intimacy had a larger weight than did individual sexual behavior, and it was the single strongest predictor of sexual satisfaction. This finding is not in line with previous studies that revealed that men place greater emphasis on individual aspects of sexual satisfaction than on dyadic aspects (Carpenter et al., 2009; Heller & Wood, 1998; Peplau, 2003). Among homosexual men, sexual satisfaction was associated with not having sexual difficulties , higher frequency of sexual activity, short-term relationships, and higher level of relationship intimacy. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective: This study analyzed the correlates of sexual satisfaction among exclusively heterosexual and homosexual men. Method: Analyses were carried out using data from a 2011 web survey about male sexual interest in two European countries. A total of 2,968 men with exclusive heterosexual behavior and 285 men with exclusive homosexual behavior in the previous five years from Portugal and Croatia, participated in the current study. Hierarchical multiple regressions were performed in order to explore which variables predicted sexual satisfaction. Results: Among heterosexuals, in step one, both age and sexual difficulties emerged as highly significant predictors, and in step two, the frequency of intercourse and the number of sexual partners also emerged as significant predictors. Finally, in the third step, intimacy and length of relationship emerged as highly significant predictors of sexual satisfaction. Among homosexuals, in step one, sexual difficulties and country were significant predictors, in step two, only the frequency of sexual intercourse was a significant predictor, and in step three, both relational variables (relationship length and relationship intimacy) were significant predictors Conclusions: The findings suggest that relational factors, particularly couple intimacy were the strongest predictors of sexual satisfaction for both heterosexual and homosexual men.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015
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