Sexual Kindred Spirits: Actual and Overperceived Similarity, Complementarity, and Partner Accuracy in Heterosexual Couples

Abstract

We examined whether sexual similarity, complementarity, and perceptual accuracy exist within a large sample of heterosexual
couples. Partners exhibited similarity and complementarity of sexual preferences, and they perceived each other’s preferences
with a considerable degree of accuracy; these effects were greater than found in randomly assigned pseudocouples. In addition,
people overperceived sexual similarity and complementarity, and they overperceived the accuracy with which their partner knew
their preferences. We suggest these three forms of overperception are the result of motivated cognitive processes in service
of sexual relationship maintenance. Using actor–partner interdependence modeling (Kenny, Kashy, Cook, 2006), overperception
predicted sexual satisfaction, as did complementarity, but similarity and accuracy did not. These findings indicate that motivated
cognition may foster sexual satisfaction, as theories of motivated relationship cognitions suggest.

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