The purpose of this research project was to examine how messages from the sociocultural context of conservative Protestant women influence the sexual scripts that inform the beliefs and expression of sexuality in marriage and how they process, navigate, express, and manage their sexuality during the transition from singlehood to marriage. In this grounded theory study interviews were held with 16 married heterosexual conservative Protestant women, all in first marriages of five years or less. The results of this study highlight the gaps in the process of preparation during the women’s premarital experience, exposing the conflict caused by the moral incongruence of sexual expression in marriage. We found three main constructs of sociocultural influences (familial, church and the larger culture) that play a role in how conservative Protestant women perceive their sexuality and in turn, influence the expression of sexuality in early marriage. The conclusion of this research was used to develop the Negotiation and Navigation of Sexual Self Marital Transition Model. Carrie Doehring’s (2015) concept of lived theology was used to add meaning to the model.

LLU Discipline

Systems, Families, and Couples


Counseling and Family Sciences


School of Behavioral Health

First Advisor

Zephon Lister

Second Advisor

Jackie Williams-Reade

Third Advisor

Mary Moline

Fourth Advisor

Barbara Hernández

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Protestantism -- psychology; Sexuality--Psychological aspects; Marriage; Female.



Page Count

viii, 152 p.

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives