Date of Conferral







Gordon Forbes


Since the late 1990s, researchers have reported a high degree of sexual dysfunction among American women that is associated with significant negative consequences (e.g., reduced quality of life and sexual satisfaction). In addition, sexual satisfaction is a primary factor in marital stability. Because of the widespread impact on both individual well-being and marital relationships, female sexual dysfunction is a significant public health problem. Most research has supported the predominance of psychocultural factors in women's sexual issues. Authenticity, defined by Kernis and Goldman as acting in accord with one's natural inclinations, is associated with increased well-being, but researchers have often overlooked it in the literature on female sexual dysfunction. This study, guided by Kernis and Goldman's authenticity theory, argued that gender culture impairs the ability of women to be authentic in the sexual realm, and, thereby, increases the risk of sexual problems. The purpose of this research study was to examine the relationship between authenticity, as measured by The Authenticity Inventory, Version 3, and female sexual dysfunction, as measured by The Female Sexual Function Index and The Female Sexual Distress Scale, Revised, in a group of 55 women attending an online university. The hypothesis was that women with higher rates of dysfunction and/or distress would score lower on authenticity. The results from a regression analysis did not reach significance and failed to confirm the hypothesis; however, there was an association between distress and dysfunction. This study contributes to social change by examining an association between authenticity and female sexual dysfunction that is of help to researchers and therapists working with women in the area of sexual health.