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Is Charisma the Key to Better Sex?

The charismatic may be more responsive to their partners' needs.

Key points

  • Sexual desire and satisfaction are key predictors of relationship satisfaction, yet can be difficult to maintain in long-term relationships.
  • New research examined whether charismatic people might be more likely to experience higher desire and greater sexual satisfaction.
  • The findings suggest that, by being more responsive to a partner's sexual needs, charismatic people report being more sexually satisfied.
AlessandroBiascioli/Shutterstock
Source: AlessandroBiascioli/Shutterstock

If you’ve ever wanted to increase your sexual desire or experience greater sexual satisfaction, you may have come across a myriad of advice, including increasing your sexual communication, addressing relationship dynamics, reducing stress, increasing affection, or trying various sexual positions and techniques that enhance sexual pleasure.

But is it possible that some of us are just more likely to experience sexual desire and sexual satisfaction based on our personality traits?

The authors of a new study, just published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, were curious about this and set out to explore whether those of us higher in charisma (defined as “the quality of being influential and likable”) might have higher sexual desire and greater sexual satisfaction.

How the Study Was Set Up

The first part of their study consisted of 413 participants (290 females, 115 males, 6 other) who were 36 years old on average and in relationships for 11.8 years on average. Just over half (52.1 percent) were married. The majority (84.3 percent) were White and 81.3 percent identified as heterosexual.

The researchers asked participants to complete questionnaires that measured: a) charisma (both their own and their perception of their partner’s charisma), b) sexual satisfaction, c) sexual desire, d) communal strength (how much one is willing to meet a partner's needs in general), e) sexual communal strength (how much one is willing to meet their partner's sexual needs), and f) The Big Five personality dimensions (Extroversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Negative Emotionality, and Open-Mindedness).

The findings suggested that people who scored higher in charisma reported higher sexual satisfaction and higher levels of sexual desire. Additionally, those who rated their partner as having higher levels of charisma were found to have higher sexual satisfaction. The authors also noted that those who were higher in charisma were found to have more general communal strength and sexual communal strength.

However, when controlling for extroversion, charisma was no longer a significant predictor of the sexual desire nor sexual satisfaction.

Taking the Findings Further

The second study was a three-week daily diary study that included 121 couples who were together for at least two years duration, currently living together, and sexually active. The mean age was 32.63 years.

The authors again gave participants questionnaires to complete each day that measured a) charisma (self-reported and perceptions of one's partner’s charisma), b) sexual satisfaction, c) sexual desire, and d) sexual communal strength. As this was part of a larger study, there were no scales that addressed the Big Five Personality scales used in Study One.

Similar to Study One, the authors found that people higher in charisma reported higher sexual satisfaction (yet, in this sample, charisma did not predict sexual desire). Having a charismatic partner was not significantly associated with sexual desire nor sexual satisfaction.

Participants that scored higher in charisma reported being more communal during sex over the course of the study. In other words, people higher in charisma tended to be more motivated to meet their partner’s needs during sex, and this was associated with both their and their partner’s higher sexual satisfaction and sexual desire.

What Do These Findings Mean?

Taken together, the findings from these two studies suggest that charisma is associated with higher levels of sexual desire and sexual satisfaction. However, it appears that sexual communal strength (how much we’re willing to meet our partners’ sexual needs) may be the key factor that explains the connections. In other words, being communally motivated to meet our partner’s sexual needs may be a unique pathway through which charismatic people experience higher sexual desire and greater sexual satisfaction.

Many of us strive to experience more satisfying sexual encounters. The good news is that while the findings from this study suggest that charismatic people may experience more sexual desire and greater sexual satisfaction, the key factor is that charismatic people tend to be more responsive to their partner’s sexual needs.

Rather than the findings suggesting that some people are naturally wired to experience better sex, they suggest that any of us might improve our sexual satisfaction by being more attentive and responsive to our partner's sexual wants and needs and having our partner be more attentive and responsive to our sexual needs in return.

Facebook image: AlessandroBiascioli/Shutterstock

References

Tu, E., Raposo, S., & Muise, A. (2021). Leading better sex lives: Is trait charisma associated with higher sexual desire and sexual satisfaction in romantic relationships? Archives of Sexual Behavior, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-021-02138-x

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