Ego-Centred and Partner/Activity-Focused Sexual Satisfaction: The Role of Self-Esteem and Sexual Assertiveness in Cisgender Heterosexual Women

Alexandra May, Kim L. Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The gendered disparity in orgasm frequency and sexual satisfaction during partnered sexual activity has implications for wellbeing, mental health, and relationship satisfaction. As such the current study investigated the role of sexual assertiveness and self-esteem as predictors of women’s sexual satisfaction, with sexual script theory offering a theoretical framework which may illuminate the problematic female sexual role. It was hypothesised that sexual assertiveness would mediate the positive relationship between self-esteem and both ego-centred and partner/activity-focused sexual satisfaction. Cross-sectional self-report data were collected online from 304 participants aged between 18–68 years who identified as heterosexual women. Results demonstrated that higher sexual assertiveness predicted higher sexual satisfaction, with sexual assertiveness found to mediate the relationship between women’s self-esteem and ego-centred sexual satisfaction (R2 =.46, p <.001; Bindirect =.29, 95% BCI =.267,.523). Sexual assertiveness was also found to mediate the relationship between self-esteem and partner- and activity-focused sexual satisfaction (R2 =.26, p <.001; Bindirect =.29, 95% BCI –.191,.400). Findings offer a foundation for future research and practical applications for practice professionals, mental health practitioners, and sex education programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-188
Number of pages10
JournalSex Roles
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • Cisgender
  • Heterosexual
  • Self-esteem
  • Sexual assertiveness
  • Sexual satisfaction
  • Sexual script theory
  • Women

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