Author Date


Degree Name



Family Life


Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Defense Date


Publication Date


First Faculty Advisor

Dean Busby

First Faculty Reader

Shayne Anderson

Honors Coordinator

Mark Butler


Growth, destiny, beliefs, sexuality, sexual satisfaction, sexual passion


In this study I examined the understudied area of sexual beliefs. Two central types of sexual beliefs, growth and destiny, have been found in past research to be differentially associated with sexual and relationship outcomes; however, past research has not explored these beliefs with dyadic data nor considered common intervening variables that might be pathways through which beliefs influence outcomes. Consequently, I used dyadic data to analyze how couples’ specific sexual beliefs (growth and destiny) influenced their sexual mindfulness, communication, and functioning within their couple relationships and how all of these variables influenced sexual satisfaction and sexual passion in a national sample of dyadic data from 962 sexually active individuals (481 heterosexual couples) who had been in a committed relationship for at least two years. To explore the pathways through which sexual beliefs might influence outcomes, I analyzed an actor/partner structural equation model with distinguishable dyads. I found that while sexual growth and destiny beliefs had a significant impact on sexual mindfulness, communication, and functioning for both partners, once these intervening variables were introduced in the model, sexual beliefs had no direct effect on sexual satisfaction and harmonious sexual passion. Because growth beliefs had strong associations with sexual communication, it may be beneficial to help couples identify their implicit beliefs and encourage the development of sexual growth beliefs.