Document Type



Master of Arts



Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Sandra J.E. Langeslag, Ph.D.


Sandra J. E. Langeslag, Ph.D.

Suzanne Welcome, Ph.D.

Carissa Philippi, Ph.D.


Diminished sexual desire is a common in long-term relationships yet little research has examined strategies to promote sexual desire within healthy intact couples. This study focused on three regulation strategies: 1) positive reappraisal of the partner, 2) reappraisal of sexual desire decline, and 3) sexual imagery. These regulation strategies were used to test for an increase in sexual desire, infatuation, attachment, and relationship satisfaction for the partner. We additionally examined whether these strategies increased motivated attention to the partner as indicated by the late positive potential (LPP), an event-related potential (ERP) component. Participants (N=25, age=18-32 yrs, 6 men) in long-term relationships of at least two years completed the three regulation conditions and a no regulation condition while their electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded. At the end of each condition block they completed four ratings: sexual desire, attachment, infatuation, and relationship satisfaction. Participants felt more sexual desire for and felt more infatuated with their partner after sexual imagery than after no regulation. There were no additional changes in sexual desire, infatuation, attachment, or relationship satisfaction resulting from the strategies tested. Further, there were no significant differences in the LPP amplitude between conditions. Given that sexual desire typically declines over the course of a relationship, the use of sexual imagery could help those in long-term relationships who wish to maintain or increase sexual desire for their partner and could also help increase infatuation for their partner.

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Psychology Commons