The importance of feeling sexually attractive: Can it predict an individual's experience of their sexuality and sexual relationships across gender and sexual orientation? Academic Article uri icon


  • Limited research exists on the implications of feeling sexually attractive for various aspects of sexuality and sexual relationships. This article examined associations between self-perceived sexual attractiveness and sexual esteem, sexual satisfaction and amount of sexual experience, among both men and women who identified as heterosexual (n = 1017), gay or lesbian (n = 1225) or bisexual (n = 651). Results of the study demonstrated that positive self-perceptions of sexual attractiveness predicted greater sexual esteem, greater sexual satisfaction, a higher frequency of sexual activity with others and a larger number of sexual partners among both men and women who identified as heterosexual, gay, lesbian or bisexual. The findings suggest that feeling sexually attractive may have implications for how an individual experiences their sexuality and sexual relationships regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. The importance of considering an individual's self-perceptions of sexual attractiveness when they present with concerns related to their sexual experiences or relationships, and the potential benefits of educational and therapeutic interventions designed to enhance self-perceptions of sexual attractiveness are discussed.

publication date

  • October 2017