School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision (PhD)


Frederick Volk


Relationship Satisfaction, Sacred, Sexuality, Sexual Satisfaction, Spirituality, Transcendence


Gender and Sexuality | Religion


Spirituality and sexuality are related concepts that include sacredness and transcendence. When the spiritual concepts of sacredness and transcendence are the filter through which sexuality is understood, there are many positive benefits, including increased sexual and relationship satisfaction. Previous research has considered the concepts. However, little empirical work has addressed the idea of transcendence, spirituality, and sacredness without explicitly religious overtones. Previous measures that have considered spirituality and sexuality have been found lacking in the ability to capture the multidimensionality of sex fully and have utilized explicitly religious terminology that may not capture the experience of non-religious or spiritual individuals. This study created and validated a measure with the idea that the spiritualization of sexuality will predict an increase in sexual satisfaction and couple satisfaction. The Sexuality and Spirituality Measure (SSM) was created to explore the relationship between transcendence, sacredness, and sexuality. The results of this study suggested that there were four subscales: sacred, transcendence, peak experience, and spiritual importance. The SSM accounted for about 4% of the variance of couple satisfaction beyond what sexual satisfaction predicted. This indicated that spiritualization of sexuality is meaningful for relationship satisfaction.