13. Personal relationships
This facet examines the extent to which people feel the companionship, love and support they desire from the intimate relationship(s) in their life. This facet also addresses commitment to and current experience of caring for and providing for other people.
This facet includes the ability and opportunity to love, to be loved and to be intimate with others both emotionally and physically. The extent to which people feel they can share moments of both happiness and distress with loved ones, and a sense of loving and being loved are included. The physical aspects of intimacy such as hugging and touch are also included. It is acknowledged, however, that this facet is likely to overlap considerably with the intimacy of sex that is covered in the facet Sexual activity.
The questions include how much satisfaction a person gets from, or has problems managing the burdens of caring for others. The possibility of this being both a positive as well as a negative experience is implicit to the facet.
This facet addresses all types of loving relationships, such as close friendships, marriages and both heterosexual and homosexual partnerships.
14. Social support
This facet examines how much a person feels the commitment, approval and availability of practical assistance from family and friends. Questions explore how much family and friends share in responsibility and work together to solve personal and family problems. The facet’s focus is on how much the person feels he/she has the support of family and friends, in particular to what extent he/she might depend on this support in a crisis.
This includes how much the person feels he/she receives approval and encouragement from family and friends. The potentially negative role of family and friends in a person’s life is included in this facet and questions are framed to allow negative effects of family and friends such as verbal and physical abuse to be recorded.
15. Sexual activity
This facet concerns a person’s urge and desire for sex, and the extent to which the person is able to express and enjoy his/her sexual desire appropriately.
Sexual activity and intimacy are for many people intertwined. Questions, however, enquire only about sex drive, sexual expression and sexual fulfilment, with other forms of physical intimacy being covered elsewhere. In some cultures fertility is central to this facet, and child bearing is an extremely valued role. This facet incorporates this aspect of sex in these cultures, and is likely to be interpreted in these terms in these cultures. Questions do not include the value judgements surrounding sex, and address only the relevance of sexual activity to a person’s quality of life. Thus the person’s sexual orientation and sexual practices are not seen as important in and of themselves: rather it is the desire for, expression of, opportunity for and fulfilment from sex that is the focus of this facet.
It is acknowledged that sexual activity is difficult to ask about, and it is likely that responses to these questions in some cultures may be more guarded. It is further anticipated that people of different ages and different gender will answer these questions differently. Some respondents may report little or no desire for sex without this having any adverse effects on their quality of life.