This study constitutes an important first step, and invites other researchers to explore the topic further.
The methodology was entirely through self-reporting, measuring the participants' sexual satisfaction and their perceived self-image in relation to body, fitness, and activity level. Two hundred and ninety women and one hundred and eighteen men participated in the study; all were voluntary participants enrolled in an undergraduate health class at a university. The majority of the class was white, with other races nominally represented. The respondents completed a questionnaire which included demographic information, "An 11-item modified Derogatis Sexual Satisfaction Scale (Young et al., 1998)" (Penhollow and Young "Predictors" par. 12) and a "A 13-item body image self-consciousness scale (Wiederman, 2000)" (Penhollow and Young "Predictors" par. ...
their satisfaction with everything from individual body parts, the quality of their orgasms, and how satisfied they were with their level of physical activity. This allowed researchers to draw very specific conclusions about which aspects of body consciousness affected sexual satisfaction. All the data was compiled and statistics reached using a Statistical Analysis System, and multiple regression analysis was run with sexual satisfaction as the independent variable (Penhollow and Young "Predictors" par. 15)
The study succeed in its goal to identify the variables in self-esteem and body image that most affected sexual satisfaction. The researchers found that:
For females, the three most important variables were concerns about being nude, fitness level, and exercise frequency. Together these three variables accounted for 44% of the variation in sexual satisfaction. For males, the three most important variables included strength and build, exercise frequency, and concerns about being nude. Together these three variables explained 21% of the variation in sexual satisfaction.(Penhollow and Young "Predictors" par. 20)
Thus, the variables for sexual satisfaction and body image were established, but the link
is as yet uncertain as to causation; this study, like many important and informative scientific studies, opens more questions than it answers. Do people suffering from mild to moderate depression generally report both low sexual satisfaction and heightened insecurity about their body image Does exercise create better self-image, better sexual satisfaction, or both Could an experiment be conducted where participants exercise and then self-report sexual satisfaction and body image, to more fully understand this correlation Does the media influence people (especially