For this study, researchers analyzed existing research on sexual responsiveness as it relates to relationship quality and satisfaction. They define sexual responsiveness as “understanding, accommodating, and being willing or motivated to meet a partner’s sexual desires.”
And based on the existing research, as you might imagine, when two people offer each other mutual sexual responsiveness, which they call “high sexual communal strength,” it’s associated with everything from sexual desire maintenance, to higher sexual desire, to sexual satisfaction, and even better relationship quality overall.
These benefits are even stronger when partners have different sexual needs, interests, or are dealing with any sexual issues or traumas.
However, this analysis also found that the benefits of sexual responsiveness are not present if one partner feels they have to neglect themselves in the process of being responsive.
As the study authors write, “Being a sexually responsive partner does not mean meeting a partner’s sexual needs unequivocally, but instead involves aiming to understand and be open to a partner’s sexual interests, while still asserting your own needs and boundaries.”
They add that when sexual responsiveness involves self-neglect (such as having sex when you don’t want to in order to meet your partner’s needs) it’s associated with lower desire and satisfaction, and further, more sexual distress.