Sexual well-being plays an important role in the quality of life
Against this background, we provide an economics-based approach to the relationship between the Big Five personality traits and various dimensions of sexuality. From a theoretical viewpoint, personality influences sexual well-being not only by how a person feels about sex, but also by how the person behaves in a sexual relationship. Personality shapes information sharing about sexual preferences, the way dissonant sexual preferences of the partners are handled, and the extent to which a person is committed to promises made to a partner. Using a large representative dataset from Germany, we find that personality traits play a role in a person’s own sexual satisfaction, in (the self-assessment of) fulfilling their partner’s sexual needs and desires, in sexual communication, in actual and desired frequency of sex, and in extradyadic affairs. Conscientiousness contributes to a mutually beneficial sex life and increases a person’s commitment to their partner. The opposite holds true sugar daddy indiana for neuroticism. While extraversion and openness to experience help realize a mutually beneficial sex life, we find no evidence that they have a commitment value. On the contrary, extraversion is associated with lower commitment to the partner. Agreeableness contributes to higher commitment. However, agreeableness appears to make people more reluctant to express their sexual needs and desires.
Sex is an essential component of romantic relationships and quality of life. As suggested by a time diary study conducted by Kahneman et al. (2004), sex is the highest ranked activity in terms of net positive emotional affect even though it occupies a relatively small fraction of total time. Sexual well-being is associated with relational satisfaction, relationship stability, and happiness in general (Blanchflower and Oswald 2004; Cheng and Smyth 2015; Laumann et al. 2006; Rainer and Smith 2012; Schmiedeberg et al. 2017; Sprecher 2002). Sexual well-being is also of high political interest. The World Health Organization (2006) emphasizes that improving sexual health (i.e., a state of physical, emotional, and social well-being in relation to sexuality) remains a public health priority across the globe.
The importance of sex for quality of life gives rise to the question of which factors influence sexual well-being. Our analysis addresses this question by examining the influence of the Big Five personality traits (extraversion, openness to experience, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and neuroticism) on various key dimensions of sexuality. We provide both a theoretical discussion and an empirical analysis.
The theoretical discussion develops an economics-based approach to personality and sex. Considering the dual role of personality, we argue that personality is not only a parameter shaping a person’s sexual preferences. Personality is also a parameter shaping the person’s behavior in a sexual relationship. Therefore, personality influences sexual well-being through how the person behaves in a sexual relationship. First, it shapes communication and information sharing about sexual preferencesmunication helps reduce partners’ incomplete information about each other’s sexual preferences so they can coordinate on their preferences and realize a win�win situation. Second, personality influences how partners handle dissonant sexual preferences. There are different ways of handling dissonant preferences. On the one hand, altruism may reduce the degree of disagreement. On the other hand, partners may bargain over their sexual activities. Personality shapes a person’s altruistic behavior, bargaining tactics and bargaining power. Third, personality influences how commitment problems are solved. A person may promise to be faithful to the partner or to practice or relinquish specific sexual practices but later may be tempted to break the promise. The person’s commitment to the promise depends on his or her self-control, fair-mindedness, inclination to comply with norms, and willingness to reciprocate the partner’s cooperative behavior.