Sexual practices and sexual satisfaction: A population based study of Chinese urban adults

William L. Parish*, Ye Luo, Ross Stolzenberg, Edward O. Laumann, Gracia Farrer, Suiming Pan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined sexual satisfaction and its social and behavioral correlates among urbanites aged 20-64 in China, using data from a nationally representative sample of 1,194 women and 1,217 men with a spouse or other long-term sexual partner with whom they had sex during the last year. The results from structural equation models suggest a multiplex set of determinants of sexual satisfaction, including relationship characteristics, sexual knowledge and personal values, physical vitality, and environmental impediments. A large proportion of the effect of these background characteristics was mediated by frequent orgasms, varied sexual practices, and perceived partner affection. In particular, much of the effect of knowledge and beliefs was mediated through variety in sexual practices. While many of the observed patterns were shared among women and men, much of the effect of relationship characteristics was mediated through perceived partner affection for women. Men, in contrast, paid greater attention to his partner's physical attractiveness and to her extramarital sex. A sexual transition is well underway in urban China, even if more rapidly for men than for women. While knowledge and values are arguably more important in this transitional period, many antecedents of sexual well-being drawn from the literature on sexual behavior in developed Western countries are also applicable to urban China.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-20
Number of pages16
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Feb
Externally publishedYes


  • China
  • Gender
  • Sexual practices
  • Sexual satisfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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