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Our current understanding of psychological and relationship factors that influence the nature and intensity of sexual desire in women is limited. This study was designed to include both psychological and a range of relationship variables in a single study, and examine the differential impact of these variables on a number of dimensions of desire. In relation to psychological variables, body image and mood have been suggested as playing a role in levels of sexual desire. Low sexual desire has been associated with negative thoughts that women hold about themselves, including concerns with physical appearance and body image (Trudel et al., 2001). The impact of body image perceptions and dissatisfaction among women has recently received consideration as a mediating factor in the development of sexual dysfunction (McCabe & Giles, in press). Sanchez and Kiefer (2007) reported that women were more likely to report appearance concerns than men in both sexual and nonsexual contexts, and these appearance concerns were related to the level of sexual problems. Hartmann, Heiser, Ruffer-Hesse, and Kloth (2002) found a correlation between desire complaints and both guilt about sexual behavior and low self-image among women. Specific to sexual desire, higher body esteem was demonstrated to be related to higher levels of desire among non-clinical college students (Seal, Bradford, & Meston, 2009). Further, Woo, Brotto, and Gorzalka (2011) also found that both Caucasian and East Asian women who exhibited more sex guilt also reported lower sexual desire. Andersen and LeGrand (1991) reported that women aged 22 to 65 with a more negative body image had significantly lower levels of sexual desire compared to women who had a positive body image. Koch, Mansfield, Thurau, and Carey (2005) also reported that a poorer body image was associated with significantly reduced sexual desire in middle-aged women.

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