Sexual Health Sexual Health Society
Publishing on sexual health from the widest perspective
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Sexual (dys)functioning is related to drive for thinness, not drive for muscularity

Anandi Alperin A B and Fiona K. Barlow A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Psychology, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Qld 4072, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: anandi.alperin@uqconnect.edu.au

Sexual Health - https://doi.org/10.1071/SH17108
Submitted: 25 November 2016  Accepted: 11 August 2017   Published online: 12 October 2017

Abstract

Background: Negative body image can result in sexual dysfunction for both women and men. Drive for thinness, drive for muscularity and drive for leanness have all been associated with poor body image. However, research to date has not examined which is the strongest predictor of sexual problems in each gender. Methods: The present study used measures of drive for muscularity and drive for thinness simultaneously to predict sexual functioning in both genders. Participants (n = 519) completed measures of drive for thinness, drive for muscularity, sexual esteem, sexual assertiveness, discomfort exposing their bodies during sex and genital satisfaction. The interaction between drive for thinness and drive for muscularity was used to approximate drive for leanness. Results: Drive for thinness, not drive for muscularity (or any combination of the two), predicted men’s and women’s sexual problems. Conclusions: We add to the growing body of literature on the destructive nature of excessive drive for thinness, and highlight that it may be a core factor in promoting and maintaining men’s (as well as women’s) sexual problems.

Additional keywords: body image, drive for leanness, sexuality.


References

[1]  Hatoum IJ, Belle D. Mags and abs: media consumption and bodily concerns in men. Sex Roles 2004; 51 397–407.
Mags and abs: media consumption and bodily concerns in men.CrossRef |

[2]  Barlett CP, Vowels CL, Saucier DA. Meta-analyses of the effects of media images on men’s body-image concerns. J Soc Clin Psychol 2008; 27 279–310.
Meta-analyses of the effects of media images on men’s body-image concerns.CrossRef |

[3]  Karazsia BT, Murnen SK, Tylka TL. Is body dissatisfaction changing across time? A cross-temporal meta-analysis. Psychol Bull 2017; 143 293–320.
Is body dissatisfaction changing across time? A cross-temporal meta-analysis.CrossRef |

[4]  Morrison TG, Morrison MA, Hopkins C. Striving for bodily perfection? An exploration of the drive for muscularity in Canadian men. Psychol Men Masc 2003; 4 111–20.
Striving for bodily perfection? An exploration of the drive for muscularity in Canadian men.CrossRef |

[5]  Moore CC. Body image and eating behavior in adolescent boys. Am J Dis Child 1990; 144 475–9.
| 1:STN:280:DyaK3c3htVSitw%3D%3D&md5=06b3a9b8dcd2088cd9688cfc5389733eCAS |

[6]  Diedrichs P, Halliwell E, Jankowski G, Paraskeva N. Male body talk study: preliminary results. Bristol: Centre for Appearance Research, University of the West of England; 2011.

[7]  La Rocque CL, Cioe J. An evaluation of the relationship between body image and sexual avoidance. J Sex Res 2011; 48 397–408.
An evaluation of the relationship between body image and sexual avoidance.CrossRef |

[8]  Woertman L, van der Brink F. Body image and female sexual functioning and behavior: a review. J Sex Res 2012; 49 184–211.
Body image and female sexual functioning and behavior: a review.CrossRef |

[9]  Faith MS, Schare ML. The role of body image in sexually avoidant behavior. Arch Sex Behav 1993; 22 345–56.
The role of body image in sexually avoidant behavior.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DyaK3sznvVGhuw%3D%3D&md5=3dfa149e42045eb1dec737f73d8364e4CAS |

[10]  Cash TF, Maikkula CL, Yamamiya Y. Baring the body in the bedroom: body image, sexual self-schemas, and sexual functioning among college women and men. Electron J Hum Sex 2004; 7 7

[11]  Johnson C, Lewis C, Love S, Lewis L, Stuckey M. Incidence and correlates of bulimic behavior in a female high school population. J Youth Adolesc 1984; 13 15–26.
Incidence and correlates of bulimic behavior in a female high school population.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DC%2BC2c3jsVCnsw%3D%3D&md5=09bf2948c0db043ce3ecd6a106b2ad6bCAS |

[12]  Weiderman MW, Pryor TL. The role of body dissatisfaction in bulimic patients. Nutrition Research Newsletter. 2000; 19 1

[13]  Pavelo M. How drive for thinness moderates the influence of media on female body image. J Undergrad Psychol Res 2006; 1 22–6.

[14]  Mishkind ME, Rodin J, Silberstein LR, Striegel-Moore RH. The embodiment of masculinity: cultural, psychological, and behavioral dimensions. Am Behav Sci 1986; 29 545–62.
The embodiment of masculinity: cultural, psychological, and behavioral dimensions.CrossRef |

[15]  Duggan SJ, McCreary DR. Body image, eating disorders, and the drive for muscularity in gay and heterosexual men. J Homosex 2004; 47 45–58.
Body image, eating disorders, and the drive for muscularity in gay and heterosexual men.CrossRef |

[16]  Tovée MJ, Maisey DS, Vale ELE, Cornelissen PL. Characteristics of male attractiveness for women. Lancet 1999; 353 1500
Characteristics of male attractiveness for women.CrossRef |

[17]  Blouin AG, Goldfield GS. Body image and steroid use in male bodybuilders. Int J Eat Disord 1995; 18 159–65.
Body image and steroid use in male bodybuilders.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DyaK28%2FhsFWgtg%3D%3D&md5=f69e7bccea289e395a23810b93d670efCAS |

[18]  Garner DM, Olmstead M, Polivy J. Development and validation of a multidimensional eating disorder inventory for anorexia nervosa and bulimia. Int J Eat Disord 1983; 2 15–34.
Development and validation of a multidimensional eating disorder inventory for anorexia nervosa and bulimia.CrossRef |

[19]  McCreary DR, Sasse DK. An exploration of the drive for muscularity in adolescent boys and girls. J Am Coll Health 2000; 48 297–304.
An exploration of the drive for muscularity in adolescent boys and girls.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DC%2BD3czit1aisA%3D%3D&md5=301b82b796bfb99c23b9c0e12143ff85CAS |

[20]  Tod D, Edwards C, Hall G. Drive for leanness and health-related behavior within a social/cultural perspective. Body Image 2013; 10 640–3.
Drive for leanness and health-related behavior within a social/cultural perspective.CrossRef |

[21]  Smolak L, Murnen SK. Drive for leanness: assessment and relationship to gender, gender role and objectification. Body Image 2008; 5 251–60.
Drive for leanness: assessment and relationship to gender, gender role and objectification.CrossRef |

[22]  Swami V, Diwell R, McCreary DR. Sexuality and the drive for muscularity: evidence of associations among British men. Body Image 2014; 11 543–6.
Sexuality and the drive for muscularity: evidence of associations among British men.CrossRef |

[23]  Kelley CC, Neufeld JM, Musher-Eizenman DR. Drive for thinness and drive for muscularity: opposite ends of the continuum or separate constructs? Body Image 2010; 7 74–7.
Drive for thinness and drive for muscularity: opposite ends of the continuum or separate constructs?CrossRef |

[24]  Daniel S, Bridges SK. The relationships among body image, masculinity, and sexual satisfaction in men. Psychol Men Masc 2013; 14 345–51.
The relationships among body image, masculinity, and sexual satisfaction in men.CrossRef |

[25]  Alfonso VC, Allison DB, Rader DE, Gorman BS. The extended satisfaction with life scale: development and psychometric properties. Soc Ind Res 1996; 38 275–301.

[26]  Tod D, Hall G, Edwards C. Gender invariance and correlates of the Drive for Leanness Scale. Body Image 2012; 9 555–8.
Gender invariance and correlates of the Drive for Leanness Scale.CrossRef |

[27]  Smolak L, Murnen SK. Gender, self-objectification and pubic hair removal. Sex Roles 2011; 65 506–17.
Gender, self-objectification and pubic hair removal.CrossRef |

[28]  Snell WE, Fisher TD, Walters AS. The multidimensional sexuality questionnaire: an objective self-report measure of psychological tendencies associated with human sexuality. Ann Sex Res 1993; 6 27–55.
The multidimensional sexuality questionnaire: an objective self-report measure of psychological tendencies associated with human sexuality.CrossRef |

[29]  Tiggemann M, Martins Y, Kirkbride A. Oh to be lean and muscular: body image ideals in gay and heterosexual men. Psychol Men Masc 2007; 8 15–24.
Oh to be lean and muscular: body image ideals in gay and heterosexual men.CrossRef |

[30]  Alperin A, Hornsey MJ, Hayward LE, Diedrichs PC, Barlow FK. Applying the contact hypothesis to anti-fat attitudes: contact with overweight people is related to how we interact with our bodies and those of others. Soc Sci Med 2014; 123 37–44.
Applying the contact hypothesis to anti-fat attitudes: contact with overweight people is related to how we interact with our bodies and those of others.CrossRef |

[31]  Althof SE, Cappelleri JC, Shpilsky A, Stecher V, Diuguid C, Sweeney M, Duttagupta S. Treatment responsiveness to the Self-Esteem and Relationship Questionnaire in erectile dysfunction. Urology 2003; 61 888–92.
Treatment responsiveness to the Self-Esteem and Relationship Questionnaire in erectile dysfunction.CrossRef |

[32]  DeRogatis LR, Burnett AL. The epidemiology of sexual dysfunctions. J Sex Med 2008; 5 289–300.
The epidemiology of sexual dysfunctions.CrossRef |

[33]  Eknoyan G. Adolphe Quetelet (1796–1874) – the average man and indices of obesity. Nephrol Dial Transplant 2008; 23 47–51.
Adolphe Quetelet (1796–1874) – the average man and indices of obesity.CrossRef |

[34]  Beck AT, Steer RA, Brown GK. Manual for the Beck Depression Inventory-II. San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation; 1996.

[35]  Rosenberg M. Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press; 1965.

[36]  Snell WE, Papini DR. The Sexuality Scale: an instrument to measure sexual-esteem, sexual-depression, and sexual preoccupation. J Sex Res 1989; 26 256–63.
The Sexuality Scale: an instrument to measure sexual-esteem, sexual-depression, and sexual preoccupation.CrossRef |

[37]  Hurlbert DF. The role of assertiveness in female sexuality: a comparative study between sexually assertive and sexually nonassertive women. J Sex Marital Ther 1991; 17 183–90.
The role of assertiveness in female sexuality: a comparative study between sexually assertive and sexually nonassertive women.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DyaK38%2FpvFeitw%3D%3D&md5=e73f6e97dfc2977f2caa0d2af41ebdaeCAS |

[38]  Morrison TG, Bearden AB, Ellis SR, Harriman R. Correlates of genital perceptions among Canadian post-secondary students. Electron J Hum Sex 2005;; 8

[39]  Puhl RM, Heuer CA. The stigma of obesity: a review and update. Obesity (Silver Spring) 2009; 17 941–64.
The stigma of obesity: a review and update.CrossRef |

[40]  Judge TA, Cable DM. When it comes to pay, do the thin win? The effect of weight on pay for men and women. J Appl Psychol 2011; 96 95–112.
When it comes to pay, do the thin win? The effect of weight on pay for men and women.CrossRef |

[41]  Pinheiro AP, Raney TJ, Thornton LM, Fichter MM, Berrettini WH, Goldman D, Halmi KA, Kaplan AS, Strober M, Treasure J, Woodside DB, Kaye WH, Bulik CM. Sexual functioning in women with eating disorders. Int J Eat Disord 2010; 32 123–9.

[42]  Ackard DM, Kearney-Cooke A, Peterson CB. Effect of body image and self-image on women’s sexual behaviors. Int J Eat Disord 2000; 28 422–9.
Effect of body image and self-image on women’s sexual behaviors.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DC%2BD3M%2FlsFegsg%3D%3D&md5=6ada63cfb215a7ead412f317ce3298d3CAS |

[43]  Pujols Y, Meston CM, Seal BN. The association between sexual satisfaction and body image in women. J Sex Med 2010; 7 905–16.
The association between sexual satisfaction and body image in women.CrossRef |

[44]  Seal BN, Bradford A, Meston CM. The association between body esteem and sexual desire among college women. Arch Sex Behav 2009; 38 866–72.
The association between body esteem and sexual desire among college women.CrossRef |

[45]  Dakanalis A, Timko A, Madeddu F, Volpato C, Clerici M, Riva G, Zanetti AM. Are the Male Body Dissatisfaction and Drive for Muscularity Scales reliable and valid instruments? J Health Psychol 2015; 20 48–59.
Are the Male Body Dissatisfaction and Drive for Muscularity Scales reliable and valid instruments?CrossRef |

[46]  Stratton R, Donovan C, Bramwell S, Loxton NJ. Don’t stop till you get enough: factors driving men towards muscularity. Body Image 2015; 15 72–80.
Don’t stop till you get enough: factors driving men towards muscularity.CrossRef |

[47]  Hallsworth L, Wade T, Tiggemann M. Individual differences in male body-image: an examination of self-objectification in recreational body builders. Br J Health Psychol 2005; 10 453–65.
Individual differences in male body-image: an examination of self-objectification in recreational body builders.CrossRef |

[48]  Gruber AJ, Pope HG, Borowiecki JJ, Cohane G. The development of the somatomorphic matrix: a bi-axial instrument for measuring body image in men and women. In Olds TS, Dollman J, Norton KI, editors. Kinanthropometry VI. Sydney: International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry; 2000. pp. 217–31.

[49]  Snijder MB, van Dam RM, Visser M, Seidell JC. What aspects of body fat are particularly hazardous and how do we measure them? Int J Epidemiol 2006; 42 83–92.

[50]  Chang CJ, Wu CH, Chang CS, Yao WJ, Yang YC, Wu JS, Lu FH. Low body mass index but high percent body fat Taiwanese subjects: implications of obesity cutoffs. Int J Obes 2003; 27 253–9.
Low body mass index but high percent body fat Taiwanese subjects: implications of obesity cutoffs.CrossRef |

[51]  Deurenberg-Yap M, Chew SK, Deurenberg P. Elevated body fat percentage and cardiovascular risks at low body mass index levels among Singaporean Chinese, Malays and Indians. Obes Rev 2002; 3 209–15.
Elevated body fat percentage and cardiovascular risks at low body mass index levels among Singaporean Chinese, Malays and Indians.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DC%2BD38vhtVGlsQ%3D%3D&md5=634f24cd4860df1423d2ec4da9701433CAS |

[52]  Gurrici S, Hartriyanti Y, Hautvast JGAJ, Deurenberg P. Relationship between body fat and body mass index: differences between Indonesians and Dutch Caucasians. Eur J Clin Nutr 1998; 52 779–83.
Relationship between body fat and body mass index: differences between Indonesians and Dutch Caucasians.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DyaK1M%2FmtFSntw%3D%3D&md5=fa632f2c0820d7c3a5efa3721a820bcaCAS |

[53]  Jackson AS, Stanforth PR, Gagnon J, Rankinen T, Leon AS, Rao DC, Skinner JS, Bouchard C, Wilmore JH. The effect of sex, age and race on estimating percentage body fat from body mass index: the Heritage Family Study. Int J Obes 2002; 26 789–96.
The effect of sex, age and race on estimating percentage body fat from body mass index: the Heritage Family Study.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DC%2BD383ps1KmtQ%3D%3D&md5=87f23e9b7c17846003a48734e1521507CAS |

[54]  Miller JA, Schmatz C, Schultz AB. Lumbar disc degeneration: correlation with age, sex, and spine level in 600 autopsy specimens. Spine 1988; 13 173–8.
Lumbar disc degeneration: correlation with age, sex, and spine level in 600 autopsy specimens.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DyaL1czgsFGguw%3D%3D&md5=6f69341492321efc5974ac961265b33fCAS |

[55]  Noppa H, Andersson M, Bengtsson C, Bruce A, Isaksson B. Longitudinal studies of anthropometric data and body composition: the population study of women in Gotenberg, Sweden. Am J Clin Nutr 1980; 33 155–62.
| 1:STN:280:DyaL3c7islahtw%3D%3D&md5=40dd9b77fa0edbb5da8de876d960b96bCAS |

[56]  Roubenoff R, Hughes VA. Sarcopenia: current concepts. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2000; 55 M716–24.
Sarcopenia: current concepts.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DC%2BD3M%2FntFCiuw%3D%3D&md5=b2be9d5d63be53c94852ca7646245e5fCAS |

[57]  Lukaski HC. Methods for the assessment of human body composition: traditional and new. Am J Clin Nutr 1987; 46 537–56.
| 1:STN:280:DyaL1c%2FitVymuw%3D%3D&md5=26c824f89bf0a54f48b61c9ddff7949bCAS |



Export Citation