Alternative Title

Femininitiy and sexual well-being: pleasure, authenticity, and safety across the female lifespan


Via Strong


Traditional femininity is a construct that impacts women throughout their development and manifests through inauthenticity in relationships, self-objectification and inauthentic sexuality. Traditional femininity has been associated with greater depression, body shame, dissociation, and negative sexual outcomes. Traits of traditionally defined femininity can impede women’s ability to assert their sexual wants and needs and can increase the likelihood of negative health outcomes and negative psychological consequences, all of which impact relationship satisfaction and sexual well-being. To date, the majority of research in this area has focused on adolescent and college aged women. The current study addressed the gap in existing research by focusing on women in their 30s (n=146) and women in their 60s (n=81). The study assessed their level of traditional femininity ideology (TFI) and exploring whether their degree of TFI impacted their sexual well-being. The study took a quantitative approach and 230 participants were recruited through the internet to complete the studies survey. Results indicated that there was no significant difference between the two age cohorts on a measure of inauthenticity in relationships. Participants in their 30s were found to engage in greater self-objectification than the 60s cohort, and the study found that women in their 30s enjoyed sexualized attention to a greater degree than did the women in their 60s. Although the study had hypothesized that there would be a relationship between the participants’ level of TFI and their sexual well-being, no relationship was found. Implications!for!future!research!and!application!for!clinical!practice! are!discussed.!

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology; Femininity; Women -- Sexual behavior; Interpersonal relations -- Psychological aspects

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Bryant-Davis, Thema;