Self-objectification and sexual dysfunction among women: Testing and extending objectification theory

Rotem Kahalon*, Verena Klein, Shani Alon, Nurit Shnabel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectification theory predicts that women's self-objectification should lead to sexual dysfunction, yet previous studies failed to provide consistent support for this prediction. The present research—which used two sufficiently powered samples and a self-objectification measurement (SOBBS) with improved psychometric qualities and content validity than previous measurements—found support for the expected association between self-objectification and sexual dysfunction among heterosexual women in Israel and the United States (N = 404 and 366, Mage= 30.59 and 36.93, respectively). We also examined two novel potential mediators of this association, entitlement for pleasure and sexual agency (i.e., the capability to express sexual desires and boundaries), and found that the latter mediated the link between self-objectification and sexual dysfunction. The mediators originally proposed by objectification theory (i.e. appearance anxiety, body shame, awareness of internal body states and flow) failed to mediate this link. Theoretical and methodological implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)878-891
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Volume54
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2024

Keywords

  • entitlement for pleasure
  • objectification theory
  • self-objectification
  • sexual agency
  • sexual dysfunction

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