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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Rural Sociology


Identity role theory was used to examine a set of research questions used to explain a disinterested wife’s behavior when approached by her husband to engage in sexual intercourse. It was hypothesized that due to a disinterested wife’s commitment to her identity as wife and her role as sexual partner to her husband, she would either verbally agree or equivocate when approached by her husband. It was also hypothesized that the disinterested wife would engage in sexual intercourse and even approach her husband to engage in sexual intercourse. This study is based on a non-random sample of sixty-one women focusing on their intimate communication patterns with their husbands regarding sexual intercourse in marriage. The behaviors studied were the responses and actions of these women when approached by their husbands to engage in sexual intercourse. The responses include giving an affirmative response, giving an affirmative response when not interested, giving a negative response, and equivocation. The actions include having sex for his benefit – not hers, having sex when she does not feel like it, and the wife approaching her husband to have sex when she herself is not interested in engaging in sexual intercourse. The open-ended responses of the women to questions allowed for the development of themed patterns regarding their reasons/actions toward their husbands. The two hypotheses divided into six sub-hypotheses were not supported in this study. Two recommendations are suggested for further research on this subject. Use of a larger sample of women that are representative of a broader population from which they are chosen.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Communication in marriage

Sex in marriage

Communication and sex

Married women -- Attitudes



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University