Amy Muise, a post-doctoral fellow of the University of Toronto, and colleagues at the University of Cambridge in England and the University of Guelph in Canada said in a 21-day daily experience study of 44 long-term couples, individuals higher in sexual communal strength engaged in daily sexual interactions for approach goals, and in turn, reported high levels of daily sexual desire.
"Communal relationships" refers to giving to a partner based on need without the expectation of direct reciprocation, where exchange relationships involve giving with the expectation that similar benefits will be returned or tit-for-tat.
"Sexual communal strength is communal motivation in the specific domain of sexuality -- so a motivation to meet a partner's needs without the expectation of direct reciprocation," Muise told United Press International.
Sexual communal strength also buffered against declines in sexual desire over a four-month period of time. These associations held after controlling for general communal strength, relationship satisfaction, sexual frequency, age and whether or not the couples had children, the study said.
In other words, those who put the needs of their partner ahead of their own and put the relationship ahead of their own needs, ended up having higher intimacy and more desire for sex.
The findings are scheduled to be published in the May issue of Social Psychological and Personality Science.