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Using spectral and cross-spectral analysis to identify patterns and synchrony in couples' sexual desire

Using spectral and cross-spectral analysis to identify patterns and synchrony in couples' sexual desire
Using spectral and cross-spectral analysis to identify patterns and synchrony in couples' sexual desire

Sexual desire discrepancy is one of the most frequently reported sexual concerns for individuals and couples and has been shown to be negatively associated with sexual and relationship satisfaction. Sexual desire has increasingly been examined as a state-like construct that ebbs and flows, but little is known about whether there are patterns in the fluctuation of sexual desire. Utilizing spectral and cross-spectral analysis, we transformed 30 days of dyadic daily diary data for perceived levels of sexual desire for a non-clinical sample of 133 couples (266 individuals) into the frequency domain to identify shared periodic state fluctuations in sexual desire. Spectral analysis is a technique commonly used in physics and engineering that allows time series data to be analyzed for the presence of regular cycles of fluctuation. Cross-spectral analysis allows for dyadic data to be analyzed for shared rates of fluctuation between partners as well as the degree of (a)synchrony (or phase shift) between these fluctuations. Men and women were found to exhibit fluctuations in sexual desire at various frequencies including rates of once and twice per month, and to have sexual desire that was unlikely to fluctuate over periods of three days or less and therefore exhibited persistence. Similar patterns of fluctuation were exhibited within couples and these patterns were found to be largely synchronous. While instances of desire discrepancy may arise due to differences in rates of sexual desire fluctuation and random fluctuations, such instances may be normal for romantic relationships. The results have important implications for researchers, clinicians, and educators in that they corroborate the supposition that sexual desire ebbs and flows and suggest that it does so with predictable regularity.

1932-6203
Vowels, Matthew J.
0ee07758-c805-4f97-b4a8-b5f24816b716
Mark, Kristen P.
5b9f6c3d-0ddf-43ac-97fb-5ce9db8c2b88
Vowels, Laura M.
c30dc6eb-4a98-4534-b784-499c2d291c5f
Wood, Nathan D.
07c63b3b-cf30-4923-921d-0ddf303305cb
Vowels, Matthew J.
0ee07758-c805-4f97-b4a8-b5f24816b716
Mark, Kristen P.
5b9f6c3d-0ddf-43ac-97fb-5ce9db8c2b88
Vowels, Laura M.
c30dc6eb-4a98-4534-b784-499c2d291c5f
Wood, Nathan D.
07c63b3b-cf30-4923-921d-0ddf303305cb

Vowels, Matthew J., Mark, Kristen P., Vowels, Laura M. and Wood, Nathan D. (2018) Using spectral and cross-spectral analysis to identify patterns and synchrony in couples' sexual desire. PLoS ONE, 13 (10), [e0205330]. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0205330).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Sexual desire discrepancy is one of the most frequently reported sexual concerns for individuals and couples and has been shown to be negatively associated with sexual and relationship satisfaction. Sexual desire has increasingly been examined as a state-like construct that ebbs and flows, but little is known about whether there are patterns in the fluctuation of sexual desire. Utilizing spectral and cross-spectral analysis, we transformed 30 days of dyadic daily diary data for perceived levels of sexual desire for a non-clinical sample of 133 couples (266 individuals) into the frequency domain to identify shared periodic state fluctuations in sexual desire. Spectral analysis is a technique commonly used in physics and engineering that allows time series data to be analyzed for the presence of regular cycles of fluctuation. Cross-spectral analysis allows for dyadic data to be analyzed for shared rates of fluctuation between partners as well as the degree of (a)synchrony (or phase shift) between these fluctuations. Men and women were found to exhibit fluctuations in sexual desire at various frequencies including rates of once and twice per month, and to have sexual desire that was unlikely to fluctuate over periods of three days or less and therefore exhibited persistence. Similar patterns of fluctuation were exhibited within couples and these patterns were found to be largely synchronous. While instances of desire discrepancy may arise due to differences in rates of sexual desire fluctuation and random fluctuations, such instances may be normal for romantic relationships. The results have important implications for researchers, clinicians, and educators in that they corroborate the supposition that sexual desire ebbs and flows and suggest that it does so with predictable regularity.

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journal.pone.0205330 - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 24 September 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 17 October 2018
Published date: October 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 425654
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/425654
ISSN: 1932-6203
PURE UUID: f69a4970-fdd5-485a-b415-ca181e9d7315
ORCID for Laura M. Vowels: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-5594-2095

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Date deposited: 31 Oct 2018 17:30
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 02:22

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Contributors

Author: Matthew J. Vowels
Author: Kristen P. Mark
Author: Laura M. Vowels ORCID iD
Author: Nathan D. Wood

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