Friday, January 21, 2022

Almost half of the participants had felt pressured to orgasm; most common action in response was to fake the orgasm

Orgasm Coercion: Overlaps Between Pressuring Someone to Orgasm and Sexual Coercion. Sara B. Chadwick & Sari M. van Anders. Archives of Sexual Behavior, Jan 20 2022.

Abstract: Trying to ensure that a partner orgasms during sex is generally seen as positive, but research has yet to assess how this might involve pressuring partners to orgasm in coercive ways. In the present study, we tested whether pressuring a partner to orgasm is a coercive behavior by assessing how this behavior overlaps with sexual coercion (i.e., pressuring someone into having sex). Participants of diverse gender/sex and sexual identities (N = 912, M age = 31.31 years, SD = 9.41) completed an online survey that asked them whether they had ever felt pressured by a partner to orgasm, to describe what partners have said or done to pressure them, and to answer a series of questions about the most recent incident in which this occurred. Mixed quantitative and qualitative results showed that orgasm pressure tactics were analogous to sexual coercion tactics and that being pressured to orgasm was associated with experiencing sexual coercion, faking orgasms, and negative psychological and relationship outcomes. Together, findings challenge the assumption that trying to ensure a partner’s orgasm occurrence is necessarily positive and demonstrate that orgasm coercion exists.

Relationship satisfaction is but one factor that contributes to whether a couple stays together or separates; other factors include investment, perception of alternatives, and commitment

Development of Relationship Satisfaction Across the Life Span: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Janina Larissa Bühler email the author, Samantha Krauss, Ulrich Orth. Psychological Bulletin, 147(10), 1012-1053, Jan 2022.

Abstract: Previous research has not led to any agreement as to the normative trajectory of relationship satisfaction. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we summarize the available evidence on development of relationship satisfaction, as a function of age and relationship duration. Data came from 165 independent samples including 165,039 participants. In the analyses, we examined cross-sectional information on mean level, that is, the percent-of-maximum-possible (POMP) score at the first assessment, and longitudinal information on mean change (i.e., change in POMP scores per year). The mean age associated with effect sizes ranged from 20 to 76 years and the mean relationship duration from 3 months to 46 years. Results on mean levels indicated that relationship satisfaction decreased from age 20 to 40, reached a low point at age 40, then increased until age 65, and plateaued in late adulthood. As regards the metric of relationship duration, relationship satisfaction decreased during the first 10 years of the relationship, reached a low point at 10 years, increased until 20 years, and then decreased again. Results on mean change indicated that relationship satisfaction decreased within a given relationship, with the largest declines in young adulthood and in the first years of a relationship. Moderator analyses suggested that presence of children and measure of relationship satisfaction explained variance in the mean level. Except for these two moderators, the pattern of findings held across characteristics such as birth cohort, sample type, country, ethnicity, gender, household shared with partner, marital status, relationship transitions, and dyadic data.

Public Significance Statement: This systematic review and meta-analysis provides a robust picture of normative development of relationship satisfaction across the life span, focusing on the role of age and relationship duration in describing this pattern. On average, results indicated both decreases and increases in relationship satisfaction across the life span, but trajectories differed systematically between the time metrics. Specifically, the findings showed a U-shaped trend for age and a more complex, dynamic pattern for relationship duration.

Keywords: relationship satisfaction, life-span development, longitudinal studies, meta-analysis

Is There a Reason to Worry?

The meta-analytic evidence on a decline in relationship satisfaction—particularly in young adulthood and in relationships with a duration of less than 10 years—raises the important question of whether there is reason to worry. Do couples unavoidably become less satisfied in their relationship over the years? And does declining relationship satisfaction automatically lead to relationship dissolution?
First, it is crucial to emphasize that the present findings show the average trajectory across a large number of individuals. Clearly, the development of relationship satisfaction is characterized by a large degree of interindividual (or between-couple) variability, as evident from many primary studies (e.g., Bühler et al., 2020; Mund et al., 2015). Research has identified a number of key individual differences that account for variability in relationship development and that may soften or aggravate the decline of relationship satisfaction (e.g., couple members’ personality; e.g., Karney & Bradbury, 1995; McNulty, 2016). Hence, individuals and couples may well deviate from the average trajectory of relationship satisfaction.
Second, although classic theories on romantic relationships considered declining relationship satisfaction as the major reason why couples separate (Gottman & Levenson, 1992; Lewis & Spanier, 1982), research has questioned this assumption. Instead, as described in the investment model (Rusbult, 1980, 1983), relationship satisfaction is but one factor that contributes to whether a couple stays together or separates. Other factors include investment, perception of alternatives, and commitment. Consequently, although relationship satisfaction may decrease—especially in young adulthood and at the beginning of the relationship—commitment may increase and bond the couple together.
Third, relationship satisfaction mainly declined from age 20 to 40 years and during the first 10 years of relationships but the absolute level of relationship satisfaction at the low points was still relatively high. Indeed, mean POMP scores never went below 77% (of the maximum possible), neither as a function of age nor as a function of relationship duration. Hence, even individuals with lower scores in relationship satisfaction were fairly satisfied with their romantic relationship. These findings might contribute to understanding why the association of relationship satisfaction and relationship stability is often much weaker than expected (Karney & Bradbury, 1995).

Relative to right-wing authoritarians, left-wing ones were lower in dogmatism & cognitive rigidity, & higher in negative emotionality; LWA powerfully predicts behavioral aggression and is strongly correlated with participation in political violence

Costello, T. H., Bowes, S. M., Stevens, S. T., Waldman, I. D., Tasimi, A., & Lilienfeld, S. O. (2022). Clarifying the structure and nature of left-wing authoritarianism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 122(1), 135–170, Jan 2022.

Authoritarianism has been the subject of scientific inquiry for nearly a century, yet the vast majority of authoritarianism research has focused on right-wing authoritarianism. In the present studies, we investigate the nature, structure, and nomological network of left-wing authoritarianism (LWA), a construct famously known as “the Loch Ness Monster” of political psychology. We iteratively construct a measure and data-driven conceptualization of LWA across six samples (N = 7,258) and conduct quantitative tests of LWA’s relations with more than 60 authoritarianism-related variables. We find that LWA, right-wing authoritarianism, and social dominance orientation reflect a shared constellation of personality traits, cognitive features, beliefs, and motivational values that might be considered the “heart” of authoritarianism. Relative to right-wing authoritarians, left-wing authoritarians were lower in dogmatism and cognitive rigidity, higher in negative emotionality, and expressed stronger support for a political system with substantial centralized state control. Our results also indicate that LWA powerfully predicts behavioral aggression and is strongly correlated with participation in political violence. We conclude that a movement away from exclusively right-wing conceptualizations of authoritarianism may be required to illuminate authoritarianism’s central features, conceptual breadth, and psychological appeal.

Dehumanization: trends, insights, and challenges

Dehumanization: trends, insights, and challenges. Nour S. Kteily, Alexander P. Landry. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, January 15 2022.


To deny or overlook the humanity of others is to exclude them from one of the core category memberships that all people share. Still, research suggests that individuals engage in dehumanization surprisingly often, both in subtle ways and, in certain contexts, by blatantly associating other groups with ‘lower’ animals.

We review evidence highlighting the plethora of distinct ways in which we dehumanize, the consequences dehumanization imposes on its targets, and intervention efforts to alleviate dehumanization.

We provide a framework to think about different operationalizations of dehumanization and consider how researchers’ definitions of dehumanization may shape the conclusions they draw about key questions such as the association between dehumanization and violence.

We address a number of theoretical challenges to dehumanization research and lay out several important questions dehumanization researchers need to address in order to propel the field further forward.

Despite our many differences, one superordinate category we all belong to is ‘humans’. To strip away or overlook others’ humanity, then, is to mark them as ‘other’ and, typically, ‘less than’. We review growing evidence revealing how and why we subtly disregard the humanity of those around us. We then highlight new research suggesting that we continue to blatantly dehumanize certain groups, overtly likening them to animals, with important implications for intergroup hostility. We discuss advances in understanding the experience of being dehumanized and novel interventions to mitigate dehumanization, address the conceptual boundaries of dehumanization, and consider recent accounts challenging the importance of dehumanization and its role in intergroup violence. Finally, we present an agenda of outstanding questions to propel dehumanization research forward.

Keywords: dehumanizationmoralityprejudiceaggressionconflict

Concluding remarks

Dehumanization has attracted renewed and widespread interest amidst prominent examples of overtly dehumanizing rhetoric and rising hate crimesxii. We reviewed advances in research on subtle dehumanization, highlighting new conceptualizations ranging from the ways we visually process faces to our attributions of individuals’ psychological (versus physiological) needs. We also highlight the revived scholarly attention to blatant forms of dehumanization in which individuals openly liken some groups to lower animals, noting that such dehumanization may be more prevalent than previously assumed, and documenting its stronger association (versus subtle dehumanization) with hostile attitudes and behaviors. Additionally, we point to new work on the experience of being dehumanized and on intervention efforts that seek to reduce the prevalence of dehumanization. Despite its growth, dehumanization research has recently faced several important challenges, with scholars wondering whether certain conclusions may have been overstated and questioning the role of dehumanization in facilitating violence. We use these debates to advance a broader perspective on dehumanization, arguing that several of the critiques arrive at their conclusions on the basis of operationalizations of dehumanization that may not capture the breadth of the phenomenon. Still, these challenges place an onus on dehumanization researchers to better specify the contours of psychological processes underlying dehumanization and to clarify its causal contributions to violent conflict (see Outstanding questions). By rising to this challenge, dehumanization researchers will be better positioned to help address one of the most pressing issues of our time.

Outstanding questions

To what extent are the various measures of dehumanization inter-related? For example, how closely associated are the tendency to downplay a target’s capacity for agency and experience; the tendency to process a target’s face using featural (versus holistic) processing; and the tendency to consider a target group ‘savage’ or ‘unevolved’, like lower animals? Under what conditions are these associations stronger versus weaker? Can they be considered interchangeable measures of a singular underlying construct, or is it more useful to think of them as assessing distinct aspects of a multifaceted phenomenon?

Under what conditions are dehumanization and dislike more likely to converge versus diverge? Given that they appear to be less associated among children versus adults, how (and why) does the degree of convergence develop over time?

What is the full set of traits and qualities that comprise individuals’ concept of an ‘ideal human’? What comes spontaneously to mind when individuals are asked to define membership in the human category and to what extent are the relevant traits desirable versus undesirable? Which attributions carry particular weight in influencing perceptions of humanness?

What is the threshold at which falling short of the human ideal becomes meaningful and precisely how do the consequences of slipping away from the human ideal track with distance from it? Although this remains an (testable) empirical question, we posit that the consequences may not track linearly; there may be a particular ‘hump’ at the threshold at which the target is seen to cross from just within the category human (even if at its ‘lower limits’) to just outside it.

How does dehumanization contribute to violent aggression? Is this association causal? Does dehumanization precede violence, follow violence, or both? To what extent are the answers to these questions dependent on the type of dehumanization assessed? Experiments and longitudinal studies (perhaps leveraging natural language at scale) considering multiple forms of dehumanization and aggression would be ideal to address these questions.

Sexual satisfaction did not change significantly before retirement, but decreased afterards; women showed higher levels of sexual satisfaction as well as a more positive development of both pre- and post-retirement sexual satisfaction

Henning, Georg, Dikla Segel-Karaps, Marcus P. Björk, Pär Bjälkebring, and Anne I. Berg. 2022. “Retirement and Sexual Satisfaction.” PsyArXiv. January 21. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: Although interest in sexuality in older age has increased over the last decades, few studies have focused on longitudinal change in sexual satisfaction around retirement age. In the present study, we studied change in sexual satisfaction across retirement in a sample of Swedish older adults with a partner. Our analyses were based on n = 759 participants (359 male, 400 female) from the Health, Aging, and Retirement Transitions in Sweden (HEARTS) study. The HEARTS study is an ongoing longitudinal study with annual measurements. For this study, we used five waves spanning over a period of four years. On average, sexual satisfaction did not change significantly before retirement, but decreased after retirement. Interestingly, women showed higher levels of sexual satisfaction (compared to men) as well as a more positive development of both pre- and post-retirement sexual satisfaction. Individuals with higher relationship satisfaction had a higher sexual satisfaction until retirement, but their sexual satisfaction also decreased faster after retirement whereas those with lower relationship satisfaction showed a stable but lower sexual satisfaction. In conclusion, the transition to retirement significantly impacts sexual satisfaction in several important ways, further studies on the impact of retirement and other late life stage transitions is warranted.