Associate Professor
Dr. Uzma Rehman

BA, International University; PhD, Indiana University

Contact information

The Relationship Research Lab website

Research interests

My research is in the area of human sexuality; I focus specifically on factors that promote or hinder healthy and open sexual communication between partners. In one line of my research, I investigate the role of emotional avoidance in sexual communication. That is, to what extent does the motivation to avoid certain emotional states, such as shame and guilt, influence the quality of sexual communication between partners. In this research, the role of emotional avoidance is also compared to other factors, such as skills deficits or knowledge deficits. In a related area of research, I examine how an individual’s working models of intimacy and attachment needs influence the course and types of sexual difficulties they experience in their current relationship. Below are some of the research projects currently underway in my lab:

  • What is the role of emotional avoidance in safer sex communication and sexual consent processes?
  • What are the mechanisms by which poor body image influences sexual satisfaction and pleasure?
  • Is low sexual desire in women better conceptualized as a singular phenomenon or are there distinct subtypes of women with low desire?
  • What are the emotional mechanisms that link early childhood sexual trauma to current sexual functioning?
  • How do individuals construe the meaning of their partner's sexual behaviours (e.g., pornography use)?")

Key words: intimate relationships; human sexuality; sexual communication; safer sex communication; emotional avoidance; sexual satisfaction; attachment; sexual problems

Selected Publications

  • Rehman, U. S., Balan, D., Sutherland, S., & McNeil, J. (in press). Understanding barriers to sexual communication. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
  • Rehman, U. S., Lizdek, I., Fallis, E. E., Sutherland, S., & Goodnight, J. A. (2017). How is sexual communication different from nonsexual communication? A moment-by-moment analysis of discussions between romantic partners. Archives of Sexual Behavior.
  • Fallis, E. E., Rehman, U. S., Woody, E. Z., & Purdon, C. (2016). The longitudinal association of relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction in long-term relationships. Journal of Family Psychology, 30, 822-831.
  • Fallis, E. E., Rehman, U. S., & Purdon, C. (2014). Perceptions of partner sexual satisfaction in heterosexual committed relationships. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 43, 541-550.
  • Byers, E. S., & Rehman, U. S. (2014). Sexual well-being. In D. L. Tolman, L. M. Diamond, J. A. Bauermeister, W. H. George, J. G. Pfaus, & L. M. Ward (Eds.), APA handbook of sexuality and psychology, Vol. 1. Person-based approaches (pp. 317-337). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association.
  • Sutherland, S. E., Rehman, U. S., Fallis, E. E., & Goodnight, J. A. (2015). Understanding the phenomenon of sexual desire discrepancy in couples. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 24(2), 141-150.
  • Rehman, U. S., Gollan, J., & Mortimer, A. R. (2008). The marital context of depression: Research, limitations, and new directions. Clinical Psychology Review, 28, 179-198.
Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo

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