Article

Do Women’s Orgasms Function as a Masculinity Achievement for Men?

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Abstract

Orgasms have been promoted as symbols of sexual fulfillment for women, and have perhaps become the symbol of a woman’s healthy sex life. However, some research has suggested that this focus on women’s orgasms, though ostensibly for women, may actually serve men; but the mechanisms of this are unclear. In the present experiment, we hypothesized that women’s orgasms specifically function as a masculinity achievement for men. To test this, we randomly assigned 810 men (M age = 25.44, SD = 8.31) to read a vignette where they imagined that an attractive woman either did or did not orgasm during a sexual encounter with them. Participants then rated their sexual esteem and the extent to which they would feel masculine after experiencing the given situation. Our results showed that men felt more masculine and reported higher sexual esteem when they imagined that a woman orgasmed during sexual encounters with them, and that this effect was exacerbated for men with high masculine gender role stress. These results suggest that women’s orgasms do function—at least in part—as a masculinity achievement for men.

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... Men rarely contemplate the probability that their partners faked orgasm, or report an inability to discern between women's orgasm faking and authentic orgasm (Chadwick & Anders, 2017;Cormier & O'Sullivan, 2018;Fahs, 2014;Knox, Zusman, & McNeely, 2008;Leonhardt, Willoughby, Busby, Yorgason, & Holmes, 2018;Roberts et al., 1995), yet research shows women consistently orgasm less often than men (Richters, Visser, Rissel, & Smith, 2006). ...
... Men repeatedly echoed that sentiment throughout our conversations. Sara B. Childers and Sari M. van Anders found in 2017 that "men felt more masculine and reported higher sexual esteem when they imagined that a woman orgasmed during sexual encounters with them, and that this effect was exacerbated for men with high masculine gender role stress" (Chadwick & Anders, 2017). Thus, the researchers concluded that women's orgasms do in fact function as a "masculinity achievement" for men. ...
... For these men, inducing orgasms felt like winning, achieving, accomplishing. This echoes previous research demonstrating that women's orgasm often functions as achievement for men (Chadwick & Anders, 2017;Leonhardt et al., 2018). In fact, research conducted in 2003 found that for some women their desire to experience orgasm existed solely for the sake of their male partners (Nicolson & Burr, 2003). ...
Chapter
Men reported a sense of themselves as uniquely gifted and skilled in their ability to induce orgasm, and as such believed they owed a responsibility. However, men’s own pleasure remained absent in these narratives. Men reported that receiving praise served as their motivation for focusing on their partner’s orgasm. For many men, sexual performance worked as an act of compensatory masculinity, making up for other areas of their lives where they believed themselves to fall short. Many of the men in this inquiry espoused a belief in a highly sexual identity, and couched their masculinity in terms of it. Outside partnerships functioned as an outlet to perform that identity and reaffirm themselves as “men.”
... However, given that the orgasm gap occurs in the context of heterosexual sexual encounters, it is important to examine explanations for the orgasm gap in terms of male socialization. Theory and research suggest that there are at least four related factors that contribute to the orgasm gap including: a) men's lack of knowledge of female sexual anatomy and functioning (Wade et al., 2005); b) men's dysfunctional beliefs about sexuality and masculinity, including, but not limited to, sexual scripts that place the responsibility for a woman's orgasm on a man's penis (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Muehlenhard & Shippee, 2010); c) societal scripts that connect men's sexual prowess and self-worth; and d) men's lack of training in sexual communication skills (Armstrong et al., 2012;Salisbury & Fisher, 2014). ...
... Second, societal scripts about sexuality and masculinity are posited to contribute to the orgasm gap (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Muehlenhard & Shippee, 2010;Salisbury & Fisher, 2014). One particular dysfunctional belief associated with the orgasm gap is the idea that the male is responsible for the female orgasm and that he "gives" her one during penile vaginal penetration (Muehlenhard & Shippee, 2010;Salisbury & Fisher, 2014). ...
... Despite this need for additional study on the possible root cause of a decrease in dysfunctional beliefs about women's sexual pleasure, the finding of this decrease-as well as the decrease in dysfunctional "macho" beliefs-is noteworthy. As discussed earlier, sexual scripts often dictate that young adult men are responsible for providing women pleasure with penile vaginal intercourse (Muehlenhard & Shippee, 2010) and equate men's sense of masculinity with providing such an orgasm (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017). Therefore, the fact that the intervention chapter appeared to result in decreases in participants' dysfunctional "macho" beliefs and dysfunctional beliefs about women's sexual satisfaction means that the intervention was effective in helping men let go of this limiting sexual script, something that has much potential benefit for both young adult women and men, and could possibly result in more orgasms for women and less performance pressure for men (Kerner, 2004). ...
Article
Full-text available
The original article unfortunately contained mistakes. In the table, “95% usually always orgasm2” was not changed to “95% usually-always orgasmb”.
... Specifically, in three of the four statistical models tested, we found an effect of the belief that men need women to orgasm. We know from previous research that men value their partner's orgasm (McKibbin et al., 2010), over-estimate women's orgasm frequency (Shirazi, Renfro, Lloyd, & Wallen, 2018), and that for some men a woman's orgasm signifies a masculinity achievement (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017). According to an evolutionary perspective, men's preference for women's orgasm may be fitness related, such that a woman's orgasm signals fertility in the woman (Fox, 1976), and genetic quality in her partner (Sherlock, Sidari, Harris, Barlow, & Zietsch, 2016;Thornhill, Gangestad, & Comer, 1995). ...
... Step want women to orgasm, and that women are aware of this may be considered a sign of progress toward more egalitarian experiences of sexual pleasure. Feminist scholars have, however, argued that a woman's orgasm should be experienced primarily for her pleasure, and not her partner's (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Frith, 2015). It is, of course, possible (and potentially preferable) for both partners to be sexually excited by the potential of a woman's orgasm, but it becomes problematic when women forego their own genuine pleasure (such as when women fake orgasm) for their partner's pleasure and satisfaction. ...
... Ideally, a study of couples over time would address this issue, and would broaden our understanding of the factors that predict faking orgasms from personal factors to partner and relationship factors. It would be interesting to test whether women are more likely to fake their orgasms if they have a male partner who is particularly sensitive to whether or not his partner has an orgasm (e.g., men who are high in masculine gender role stress), independent of women's own gender ideologies (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017). ...
Article
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The majority of women have faked an orgasm at least once in their lives. In the current study, we assessed how women’s worldviews about gender relate to their faking orgasm behavior. A survey of 462 heterosexual women from the UK (Mage=38.38 years) found that those who espoused anti-feminist values—that is, those high in hostile sexism—had faked significantly more orgasms over their lifetime. In contrast, those who espoused ostensibly positive but restrictive ideas of gender relations—that is, those high in benevolent sexism—had faked significantly fewer orgasms over their lifetime. Furthermore, the more that women believed female orgasm was necessary for men’s sexual gratification, the more likely they were to have faked an orgasm at least once in their lives compared to women who had never faked an orgasm. These effects were small to moderate and emerged after controlling for demographics, sexual history, ease of orgasm, and previously established psychological correlates of faking orgasm, including suspected partner infidelity and intrasexual competition.
... Women's orgasms function as so central to men's self-perception of their masculinity that women regularly fake orgasms-or feel pressure to do so (Fahs, 2014;Jackson & Scott, 2007;Lafrance, Stelzl, & Bullock, 2017;Rogers, 2005). Men rarely contemplate the probability that their partners faked orgasm, or report an inability to discern between women's orgasm faking and authentic orgasm (Chadwick & Anders, 2017;Cormier & O'Sullivan, 2018;Fahs, 2014;Knox, Zusman, & McNeely, 2008;Leonhardt, Willoughby, Busby, Yorgason, & Holmes, 2018;Roberts et al., 1995), yet research shows women consistently orgasm less often than men (Richters, Visser, Rissel, & Smith, 2006). ...
... Men repeatedly echoed that sentiment throughout our conversations. Sara B. Childers and Sari M. van Anders found in 2017 that "men felt more masculine and reported higher sexual esteem when they imagined that a woman orgasmed during sexual encounters with them, and that this effect was exacerbated for men with high masculine gender role stress" (Chadwick & Anders, 2017). Thus, the researchers concluded that women's orgasms do in fact function as a "masculinity achievement" for men. ...
... For these men, inducing orgasms felt like winning, achieving, accomplishing. This echoes previous research demonstrating that women's orgasm often functions as achievement for men (Chadwick & Anders, 2017;Leonhardt et al., 2018). In fact, research conducted in 2003 found that for some women their desire to experience orgasm existed solely for the sake of their male partners (Nicolson & Burr, 2003). ...
Book
This book analyzes men’s experiences and perceptions regarding their participation in infidelity and offers a glimpse into the inner workings of their most intimate relationships, as well as the ways men negotiate marriages that fall short of their expectations. Using a sample collected from the online dating service Ashley Madison, this book finds that contrary to gendered social scripts, the men in this study described motivations for outside partnerships that were not rooted in the desire for sexual pleasure or variety. Rather, men described those relationships as an outlet to soothe their bruised egos, receive attention and validation from a romantic partner, and to fight their feelings of emasculation. These infidelities thus provide support and praise, and aid in the processing of complex emotions. This in-depth analysis provides a unique insight into men’s experiences of sexuality and masculinity, and will be of keen interest to those seeking to understand male infidelity from a sociological perspective, across gender studies, psychology, counselling, and beyond.
... Several sociocultural barriers result in low orgasm rates among young women during heterosexual sexual encounters, including: a) lack of knowledge of female sexual functioning (Wade et al., 2005); b) lack of skills in sexual communication and sexual assertion (Armstrong et al., 2012;Salisbury & Fisher, 2014); c) a societal sexual scripts that prioritize penile-vaginal intercourse (i.e., men's most reliable route to orgasm) over clitoral stimulation (i.e., women's most reliable route to orgasm) (Jannini et al., 2012;Muehlenhard & Shippee, 2010;Wade et al., 2005) and positions "men as assertive sexual agents and women as passive sexual recipients" (Chadwick & Anders, 2017, p. 1150; d) societal scripts that result in young women feeling less entitled to orgasm than young men (Horne & Zimmer-Gembeck, 2005); e) women's cognitive distraction due to negative body image and performance anxiety (Meana & Nunnink, 2006;); and f) women's genital self-consciousness (Algars et al., 2011). ...
... While sexual assertion and communication may be helpful in closing the orgasm gap, some theorists propose that individual skill training may not be sufficient since the orgasm gap is a symptom of a societal script that emphasizes penile-vaginal intercourse as the ultimate sexual act, during which men are responsible for providing women with orgasms. Indeed, one recent study (Chadwick & Anders, 2017) found that men view women's orgasms during sex as an achievement. Given that the vast majority of women need clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm, setting up intercourse as the ultimate sexual act and women's intercourse-based orgasms as reflection of their male partner's achievement clearly contributes to the orgasm gap, and is no doubt related to the finding that over 60% of women report faking orgasm during intercourse, with a top reason for faking being to protect their male partners' egos (Muehlenhard & Shippee, 2010). ...
... Given that the vast majority of women need clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm, setting up intercourse as the ultimate sexual act and women's intercourse-based orgasms as reflection of their male partner's achievement clearly contributes to the orgasm gap, and is no doubt related to the finding that over 60% of women report faking orgasm during intercourse, with a top reason for faking being to protect their male partners' egos (Muehlenhard & Shippee, 2010). Additionally, this societal script which positions "men as assertive sexual agents and women as passive sexual recipients" (Chadwick & Anders, 2017, p. 1150 contributes to women feeling less entitled to orgasm than men, particularly during heterosexual encounters that include intercourse. Some evidence indicates that this lack of feeling entitled to orgasm is especially pronounced during causal sexual encounters (Armstrong et al., 2012). ...
Article
Full-text available
This study examined the effectiveness of a bibliotherapy intervention (i.e., the reading of a book) among 50 women randomized to read the book (intervention group) or wait to receive the book (wait-list control group). The book examined was “Becoming Cliterate” (Mintz, 2017 Mintz, L. (2017). Becoming Cliterate: Why orgasm equality matters—And how to get it. New York, NY: HarperOne. [Google Scholar]) which combines feminist analysis and self-help for women’s orgasm difficulties. To examine intervention effectiveness, within group standardized effect sizes with confidence limits were used. In the intervention group, small to large pretest to posttest effect sizes were found for two measures of orgasm, attitudes toward women’s genitals, sexual-body esteem, self-efficacy in achieving sexual pleasure, arousal, sexual satisfaction, sexual pain, sexual assertiveness, and overall sexual functioning. A small effect size for one of the two orgasm measures was found among the control group. Implications are discussed.
... However, feeling obligated to ensure a partner's orgasm also arguably creates a scenario with high intrapersonal stakes, where absence of a partner's orgasm could reflect one's own inadequate sexual skills (Braun et al., 2003;Cohen et al., 2008;Gordon, 2006;Potts, 2000;Salisbury & Fisher, 2014). In support, research has shown that, for many men partnered with women, women's orgasm occurrence thwarts anticipated feelings of failure associated with women's orgasm absence (Braun et al., 2003;Chadwick & Anders, 2017;Salisbury & Fisher, 2014). Similarly, some clinical research has suggested that men partnered with men experience feelings of inadequacy or unwantedness when their partner's orgasm does not occur (Catalan, 1993). ...
... This stands in direct contrast with the notion that perpetrators of coercion are necessarily selfish (Anderson, 2017). But, as we noted previously, giving a partner an orgasm often does have personal stakes (Chadwick & Anders, 2017;Opperman et al., 2014;Salisbury & Fisher, 2014). As such, it is possible that (at least some) people who pressure their partner to orgasm do so for selfish reasons-that is, because they also stand to gain benefits from their partner's orgasm occurrence (e.g., masculinity, proof of sexual skill). ...
... Given what people stand to gain from a partner's orgasm occurrence, this certainly seems plausible. That is, because partner orgasm occurrence (especially for men partnered with women) is socially positioned a personal achievement and symbol of mastery over another person's body (Chadwick & Anders, 2017;Gilfoyle et al., 1992;Salisbury & Fisher, 2014), partner orgasm is perhaps an opportune site for exercising power and control. This is further supported by research demonstrating that other power and control behaviors tend to co-occur. ...
Article
Full-text available
Trying to ensure that a partner orgasms during sex is generally seen as positive, but research has yet to assess how this might involve pressuring partners to orgasm in coercive ways. In the present study, we tested whether pressuring a partner to orgasm is a coercive behavior by assessing how this behavior overlaps with sexual coercion (i.e., pressuring someone into having sex). Participants of diverse gender/sex and sexual identities (N = 912, M age = 31.31 years, SD = 9.41) completed an online survey that asked them whether they had ever felt pressured by a partner to orgasm, to describe what partners have said or done to pressure them, and to answer a series of questions about the most recent incident in which this occurred. Mixed quantitative and qualitative results showed that orgasm pressure tactics were analogous to sexual coercion tactics and that being pressured to orgasm was associated with experiencing sexual coercion, faking orgasms, and negative psychological and relationship outcomes. Together, findings challenge the assumption that trying to ensure a partner’s orgasm occurrence is necessarily positive and demonstrate that orgasm coercion exists.
... However, given that the orgasm gap occurs in the context of heterosexual sexual encounters, it is important to examine explanations for the orgasm gap in terms of male socialization. Theory and research suggest that there are at least four related factors that contribute to the orgasm gap including: a) men's lack of knowledge of female sexual anatomy and functioning (Wade et al., 2005); b) men's dysfunctional beliefs about sexuality and masculinity, including, but not limited to, sexual scripts that place the responsibility for a woman's orgasm on a man's penis (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Muehlenhard & Shippee, 2010); c) societal scripts that connect men's sexual prowess and self-worth; and d) men's lack of training in sexual communication skills (Armstrong et al., 2012;Salisbury & Fisher, 2014). ...
... Second, societal scripts about sexuality and masculinity are posited to contribute to the orgasm gap (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Muehlenhard & Shippee, 2010;Salisbury & Fisher, 2014). One particular dysfunctional belief associated with the orgasm gap is the idea that the male is responsible for the female orgasm and that he "gives" her one during penile vaginal penetration (Muehlenhard & Shippee, 2010;Salisbury & Fisher, 2014). ...
... Despite this need for additional study on the possible root cause of a decrease in dysfunctional beliefs about women's sexual pleasure, the finding of this decrease-as well as the decrease in dysfunctional "macho" beliefs-is noteworthy. As discussed earlier, sexual scripts often dictate that young adult men are responsible for providing women pleasure with penile vaginal intercourse (Muehlenhard & Shippee, 2010) and equate men's sense of masculinity with providing such an orgasm (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017). Therefore, the fact that the intervention chapter appeared to result in decreases in participants' dysfunctional "macho" beliefs and dysfunctional beliefs about women's sexual satisfaction means that the intervention was effective in helping men let go of this limiting sexual script, something that has much potential benefit for both young adult women and men, and could possibly result in more orgasms for women and less performance pressure for men (Kerner, 2004). ...
Article
Full-text available
The current study examined whether reading the chapter titled “Cliteracy for Him” from the book Becoming Cliterate is an effective intervention for increasing young heterosexual men’s sexual functioning. Specifically, this study compared an intervention group (i.e., those who read the chapter) to a waitlist control group at three points in time: before reading the chapter, immediately after reading the chapter, and three weeks later. Outcome measures included clitoral knowledge, sexual self-esteem, sexual depression, communication during sexual activity, and dysfunctional beliefs about sexuality (e.g., beliefs about women’s satisfaction, about being “macho,” and sexual conservatism). Participants who read the bibliotherapy chapter showed immediate improvement on clitoral knowledge, dysfunctional beliefs about women’s sexual satisfaction, and sexual communication. Longer-term improvements were found on clitoral knowledge, and dysfunctional beliefs about both women’s sexual satisfaction and being “macho.” Additionally, compared to the waitlist control group, men in the intervention group demonstrated better sexual communication and fewer dysfunctional beliefs about women’s sexual satisfaction immediately after reading the chapter, and more clitoral knowledge, fewer dysfunctional beliefs about women’s sexual satisfaction, fewer dysfunctional macho beliefs, and lower sexual depression three weeks after reading the chapter. Clinical implications and future research directions are discussed.
... Women's orgasms function as so central to men's self-perception of their masculinity that women regularly fake orgasms-or feel pressure to do so (Fahs, 2014;Jackson & Scott, 2007;Lafrance, Stelzl, & Bullock, 2017;Rogers, 2005). Men rarely contemplate the probability that their partners faked orgasm, or report an inability to discern between women's orgasm faking and authentic orgasm (Chadwick & Anders, 2017;Cormier & O'Sullivan, 2018;Fahs, 2014;Knox, Zusman, & McNeely, 2008;Leonhardt, Willoughby, Busby, Yorgason, & Holmes, 2018;Roberts et al., 1995), yet research shows women consistently orgasm less often than men (Richters, Visser, Rissel, & Smith, 2006). ...
... Men repeatedly echoed that sentiment throughout our conversations. Sara B. Childers and Sari M. van Anders found in 2017 that "men felt more masculine and reported higher sexual esteem when they imagined that a woman orgasmed during sexual encounters with them, and that this effect was exacerbated for men with high masculine gender role stress" (Chadwick & Anders, 2017). Thus, the researchers concluded that women's orgasms do in fact function as a "masculinity achievement" for men. ...
... For these men, inducing orgasms felt like winning, achieving, accomplishing. This echoes previous research demonstrating that women's orgasm often functions as achievement for men (Chadwick & Anders, 2017;Leonhardt et al., 2018). In fact, research conducted in 2003 found that for some women their desire to experience orgasm existed solely for the sake of their male partners (Nicolson & Burr, 2003). ...
Chapter
This book focuses on the meaning-making and experiences of men in the United States who purposefully sought out extramarital relationships onlineonline. These men did not fall into an affair due to opportunity. They created their own opportunities by logging on, creating a profile on Ashley Madison, and vettingvetting potential partners. For these men, ending their marriages was not an attractiveAttractive option, and living with unmet emotional needsemotional needs proved untenable. To avoid the hurt, financial challenges, stigma, and upset of a divorce, the men engaged in the Infidelity WorkaroundInfidelity Workaround, in an effort to outsourceoutsource the emotional aspect of their primary partnerships to a more enthusiastic third party.
... Indeed, qualitative studies have found that young adult men describe feelings of confidence and accomplishment in response to a woman experiencing pleasure and orgasm with them (Lamb et al., 2018;Salisbury & Fisher, 2014), as well as feeling upset or distressed-with some perceiving emasculation or failure-when their woman partner does not orgasm (Cormier & O'Sullivan, 2018). Likewise, a quantitative study conducted by Chadwick and van Anders (2017) found that, as compared to young men who imagined a woman did not orgasm with them, those who imagined a woman orgasmed during a sexual encounter with them imagined feeling more masculine and having higher sexual esteem. ...
... For the purposes of their innovative study, Chadwick and van Anders (2017) did not define the term sex for participants. However, because the words "sex" and "intercourse" are used synonymously in our culture (Opperman et al., 2014), it would be reasonable to assume that the men in the Chadwick and van Anders study were imagining a partner orgasming with them during intercourse. ...
... Oral and manual stimulation were grouped in the same vignette because they are both methods that can be used to induce women's orgasms using non-penile body parts and because we had no a priori reasons to assume that they would have differential effects on the outcome variables. After reading the vignette, the participants completed the Affect and Arousal Scale (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017), the Sexuality Scale (Snell & Papini, 1989), and a demographic questionnaire. ...
Article
Full-text available
Research indicates that men view their women partner’s orgasms as reflections of their masculinity and sexual esteem. The purpose of this study was to examine this phenomenon in more detail by exploring whether men’s feelings of masculinity and sexual esteem, as well as their feelings of accomplishment, were influenced by the method by which their woman partner experienced orgasm. Specifically, 193 young adult men (primarily between the ages of 18 and 24) read one of three vignettes (a partner orgasming from intercourse, from manual/oral stimulation, or from vibrator use) and then rated their imagined feelings of masculinity, accomplishment, and sexual esteem. Findings indicated that men who imagined their partner orgasmed from intercourse or manual/oral stimulation had higher feelings of masculinity and accomplishment than those who imagined their partner orgasmed from a vibrator. We found a significant interaction between clitoral knowledge and vignette condition in predicting masculinity, with clitoral knowledge only predicting masculinity for men in the manual/oral stimulation condition. The results of this study have important implications for sex education and the prevention of sexual problems, as well as for the future study of positive sexual functioning in women and men.
... What I have found, there's this thing of trying to prove yourself in trying to satisfy your partner. (Simon) This emphasis on the need to satisfy women sexually is certainly not unique to men with physical disabilities (see, for example, Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Porter, Douglas, & Collumbien, 2017), and some studies have even suggested that women's orgasms and pleasure in sexual experiences may be used by men as a way of measuring their own level of masculinity (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Porter et al., 2017). This is in contrast to many views of hegemonic masculinity as embodying an emphasis on men taking pleasure in sexual conquests, with relatively little concern with the women's experience (Alldred & Fox, 2015;Swartz, Colvin, & Harrison, 2018). ...
... What I have found, there's this thing of trying to prove yourself in trying to satisfy your partner. (Simon) This emphasis on the need to satisfy women sexually is certainly not unique to men with physical disabilities (see, for example, Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Porter, Douglas, & Collumbien, 2017), and some studies have even suggested that women's orgasms and pleasure in sexual experiences may be used by men as a way of measuring their own level of masculinity (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Porter et al., 2017). This is in contrast to many views of hegemonic masculinity as embodying an emphasis on men taking pleasure in sexual conquests, with relatively little concern with the women's experience (Alldred & Fox, 2015;Swartz, Colvin, & Harrison, 2018). ...
Chapter
Full-text available
In this chapter, we will explore the intersections of physical disability and femininity. We look at how societies’ ideas about disability influence the way women with physical disabilities are viewed and view themselves as sexual beings. Using a combination of background literature and qualitative data from our photovoice study, we explore how social representations of femininity and expectations for women may negatively affect women with physical disabilities’ sense of themselves. We include pictures, written texts, and stories produced by some of the female participants from the project.
... What I have found, there's this thing of trying to prove yourself in trying to satisfy your partner. (Simon) This emphasis on the need to satisfy women sexually is certainly not unique to men with physical disabilities (see, for example, Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Porter, Douglas, & Collumbien, 2017), and some studies have even suggested that women's orgasms and pleasure in sexual experiences may be used by men as a way of measuring their own level of masculinity (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Porter et al., 2017). This is in contrast to many views of hegemonic masculinity as embodying an emphasis on men taking pleasure in sexual conquests, with relatively little concern with the women's experience (Alldred & Fox, 2015;Swartz, Colvin, & Harrison, 2018). ...
... What I have found, there's this thing of trying to prove yourself in trying to satisfy your partner. (Simon) This emphasis on the need to satisfy women sexually is certainly not unique to men with physical disabilities (see, for example, Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Porter, Douglas, & Collumbien, 2017), and some studies have even suggested that women's orgasms and pleasure in sexual experiences may be used by men as a way of measuring their own level of masculinity (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Porter et al., 2017). This is in contrast to many views of hegemonic masculinity as embodying an emphasis on men taking pleasure in sexual conquests, with relatively little concern with the women's experience (Alldred & Fox, 2015;Swartz, Colvin, & Harrison, 2018). ...
Book
Full-text available
This open access edited volume explores physical disability and sexuality in South Africa, drawing on past studies, new research conducted by the editors, and first-person narratives from people with physical disabilities in the country. Sexuality has long been a site of oppression and discrimination for people with disabilities based on myths and misconceptions, and this book explores how these play out for people with physical disabilities in the South African setting. One myth with which the book is centrally concerned, is that people with disabilities are unable to have sex, or are seen as lacking sexuality by society at large. Societal understandings of masculinity, femininity, bodies and attractiveness, often lead people with physical disabilities to be seen as being undesirable romantic or sexual partners. The contributions in this volume explore how these prevailing social conditions impact on the access to sexual and reproductive healthcare, involvement in romantic relationships, childbearing, and sexual citizenship as a whole, of people with physical disabilities in the Western Cape of the country. The authors' research, and first person contributions by people with physical disabilities themselves, suggest that education and public health policy must change, if the sexual and reproductive health rights and full inclusion of people with disabilities are to be achieved. Xanthe Hunt is Senior Researcher at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Stine Hellum Braathen is Research Manager at SINTEF, Norway. Mussa Chiwaula is Director of the Southern African Federation of the Disabled, Botswana. Mark T. Carew is Honorary Research Associate at the UCL International Disability Research Centre, UK. Poul Rohleder is Senior Lecturer at the University of Essex, UK. Leslie Swartz is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
... The focus is only on women who identify as heterosexual and their male partners' influence, since (a) prevalence data indicates a significant prevalence of sex toy use among heterosexual couples (Döring & Pöschl, 2019;Herbenick et al., 2010), (b) there are several factors that influence women's purchase and use of feminine sex toys, including intimate relationships (Waskul & Anklan, 2019;Wood, 2019) and (c) heterosexual relationship sexual scripts and norms (e.g., conceptualizations of proper sexual behaviour; ideas about closeness and intimacy) may impact the way people think about vibrators within couple relationships (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Lodge & Umberson, 2012;Treger, Sprecher, Hatfield, & Erber, 2013). A collection of information from both relationship partners was not necessary, "since the key component of how relationship partners influence decisions is through the perceptions of what an individual believes his or her partner thinks about a particular decision" (Simpson, Griskevicius, & Rothman, 2012, p. 380). ...
... Main reasons for not needing a vibrator were that the women viewed these products as unnecessary in a relationship or saw it as the partner's task to please a woman. The statements matched the results presented by Lodge and Umberson (2012), who found out that women often resist initiating sex and display lower levels of sexual desire, primarily because traditional sexual scripts require men to sexually please women, while women produce orgasm (real or fake) as a kind of product (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Jackson & Scott, 2007). The current study's results regarding women preferring their male partners to using vibrators highlighted much of this work as the women equally expressed discourses of heterosex. ...
Article
Full-text available
This article presents an exploration into women’s purchasing of vibrators and how they negotiate the meaning of these sex toys with their partners’ preferences and attitudes. Drawing on semi‐structured interviews with 32 female consumers, the study identifies ways in which emotional, transformative and contextual aspects of meaning revolve around choosing, buying, and using vibrators in heterosexual relationships. In analysing such experiences, the article points to the potential of vibrators to become imbued with notions of desire, maintenance, privacy, and preference. Overall, this research draws attention to salient and non‐salient meanings attached to vibrators that constitute the sex toys’ significance beyond simply functional elements. The paper enriches research on consumer behaviour and vibrator use in sexual relationships and proposes an understanding of object relations grounded in the intimate spheres of consumer studies.
... Similarly, Nicolson and Burr (2003) highlighted that the women in their study (aged 19-60, mean age ¼ 28.6 years) expressed less concern about having an orgasm during sexual intercourse for themselves than for the sake of their partner. In an experimental study with men (N ¼ 810), Chadwick and van Anders (2017) reported that despite greater attention to women's pleasure, men's concerns regarding women's orgasms may be in line with societal expectations that prioritize men's masculinity. Heterosexual women's descriptions of feeling pressured to experience orgasm with a male partner (Fahs, 2011, pp. ...
... Heterosexual women's descriptions of feeling pressured to experience orgasm with a male partner (Fahs, 2011, pp. 53-55;Salisbury & Fisher, 2014), or men's perceived achievement of masculinity resulting from a woman's orgasm (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017), can partially be explained through sexual scripts. Established sexual scripts might lead women to compromise their own sexuality as a means of maintaining a strong relationship with a partner rather than achieving their own sexual pleasure (Wiederman, 2005). ...
Article
This systematic review provides an overview of what qualitative research has revealed about partner-related factors around women’s masturbation and explores how these factors relate to women’s behavior, perceptions, and motives towards masturbation. Eleven studies were identified and secondary thematic analysis was used for synthesis. Women’s perceptions often focus on the (potential) negative influences of masturbation on current or future relationships. Motivations some women reported for masturbating due to partner-related factors were diverse. Findings suggested that some women modify their masturbation behavior when in a relationship. The implications of these findings for sexual health educators and clinicians are discussed.<br/
... What I have found, there's this thing of trying to prove yourself in trying to satisfy your partner. (Simon) This emphasis on the need to satisfy women sexually is certainly not unique to men with physical disabilities (see, for example, Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Porter, Douglas, & Collumbien, 2017), and some studies have even suggested that women's orgasms and pleasure in sexual experiences may be used by men as a way of measuring their own level of masculinity (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Porter et al., 2017). This is in contrast to many views of hegemonic masculinity as embodying an emphasis on men taking pleasure in sexual conquests, with relatively little concern with the women's experience (Alldred & Fox, 2015;Swartz, Colvin, & Harrison, 2018). ...
... What I have found, there's this thing of trying to prove yourself in trying to satisfy your partner. (Simon) This emphasis on the need to satisfy women sexually is certainly not unique to men with physical disabilities (see, for example, Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Porter, Douglas, & Collumbien, 2017), and some studies have even suggested that women's orgasms and pleasure in sexual experiences may be used by men as a way of measuring their own level of masculinity (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Porter et al., 2017). This is in contrast to many views of hegemonic masculinity as embodying an emphasis on men taking pleasure in sexual conquests, with relatively little concern with the women's experience (Alldred & Fox, 2015;Swartz, Colvin, & Harrison, 2018). ...
Chapter
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In this chapter, we will explore the intersections of disability and masculinity. We will look at how disability influences how men are viewed by others, and how men with disabilities view themselves as masculine and as sexual beings. We also look at the influence of culture on masculinity in the South African context. We draw on existing research knowledge, as well as the pictures and personal stories of some of the male participants in our research project.
... OM is thought to have features that promote feelings of safety. For example, sexual anxiety would be minimized by not using intimate activities that required erections (Barlow, 1986) or orgasms (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017). This is a comfortable area for female genital stimulation (Schober et al., 2004). ...
... For example, the clitoral glans' sensitivity is more likely to result in pain in response to touch. Human clitoral touch afferents also (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017) are active in processing social touch (Georgiadis & Kringelbach, 2016). ...
Article
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Partnered sexual interactions can provoke distressing emotional experiences for individuals with a history of childhood adversity impeding the experience of sexual arousal. Some theorize that such histories impair the ability to feel close to any person, leading to difficulty connecting with intimate partners and sexual dissatisfaction. In contrast, it is possible that alleged deficits in closeness are due to contextual factors. To test this hypothesis, we examined whether the same deficits were present during Orgasmic Meditation (OM), a form of partnered sexual interaction that specifically promotes closeness. Couples (N=125) experienced in OM with varying childhood adversity rated their positive and negative emotions before and after OM in a laboratory. Participants reported higher positive (happy, amused, sexually aroused) and lower negative (anxiety, anger) emotions after OM. Those reporting more childhood adversity, especially sexual abuse, reported higher sexual arousal relative to those who had less childhood adversity. We conclude that effects of adverse childhood on perceived closeness and arousal can be mitigated contextually.
... What I have found, there's this thing of trying to prove yourself in trying to satisfy your partner. (Simon) This emphasis on the need to satisfy women sexually is certainly not unique to men with physical disabilities (see, for example, Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Porter, Douglas, & Collumbien, 2017), and some studies have even suggested that women's orgasms and pleasure in sexual experiences may be used by men as a way of measuring their own level of masculinity (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Porter et al., 2017). This is in contrast to many views of hegemonic masculinity as embodying an emphasis on men taking pleasure in sexual conquests, with relatively little concern with the women's experience (Alldred & Fox, 2015;Swartz, Colvin, & Harrison, 2018). ...
... What I have found, there's this thing of trying to prove yourself in trying to satisfy your partner. (Simon) This emphasis on the need to satisfy women sexually is certainly not unique to men with physical disabilities (see, for example, Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Porter, Douglas, & Collumbien, 2017), and some studies have even suggested that women's orgasms and pleasure in sexual experiences may be used by men as a way of measuring their own level of masculinity (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Porter et al., 2017). This is in contrast to many views of hegemonic masculinity as embodying an emphasis on men taking pleasure in sexual conquests, with relatively little concern with the women's experience (Alldred & Fox, 2015;Swartz, Colvin, & Harrison, 2018). ...
Chapter
Full-text available
... Heterosexual women also often still feel that vaginal orgasms are superior to clitoral orgasms, despite evidence that clitoral and vaginal orgasms are biologically indistinguishable (Mah & Binik, 2001). Additionally, many women (of various sexualities) and men feel that being able to elicit women's orgasms is a valuable sexual skill (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;McClelland, 2014;Salisbury & Fisher, 2014;Walker, 2014), so much so that women will fake orgasms to ensure that sex is perceived as successful for their partners (Califia, 1979;Fahs, 2014;Láng, Cooper, & Meskó, 2018;Roberts, Kippax, Waldby, & Crawford, 1995;Thomas, Stelzl, & LaFrance, 2017). For men, being able to orgasm during sexual activities is expected, arguably because of the assumption that men constantly desire and are always ready for sex (Wiederman, 2005). ...
... When citing gender expectations, many women who had sex with men reported feeling pressured to have an orgasm to protect their male partner's ego; and, many women who were explicitly pressured by their partner to orgasm reported that their partner was concerned about demonstrating his sexual skill. These reports align with sexual scripts that position women's orgasm as a masculinity achievement for men and reflect the notion that men are likely to become upset when women do not orgasm with them (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Fahs, 2014;Salisbury & Fisher, 2014). Furthermore, because men are stereotyped as uninterested in women's sexual pleasure at all, some women felt that they should be especially grateful for men who express interest in women's orgasms. ...
Article
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Orgasms during consensual sex are often assumed to be wholly positive experiences. This assumption overshadows the possibility that orgasm experiences during consensual sex could be “bad” (i.e., negative and/or non-positive). In the present study, we employed an online survey to explore the possibility that orgasm experiences could be “bad” during consensual sex by asking participants of diverse gender and sexual identities (N = 726, M age = 28.42 years, SD = 7.85) about a subset of potential bad orgasm experiences. Specifically, we asked participants whether they have ever had an orgasm during coerced sex, compliant sex, and/or when they felt pressured to have an orgasm (i.e., orgasm pressure). We also asked participants who had such an experience to describe it, resulting in qualitative descriptions from 289 participants. Using mixed quantitative and qualitative analyses, we found compelling evidence that orgasm experiences can be “bad” during consensual sex. Specifically, many participants described their experiences in negative and/or non-positive ways despite orgasm occurrence, reported that their orgasms were less pleasurable compared to other experiences, and suggested that their orgasm experiences had negative impacts on their relationships, sexuality, and/or psychological health. Participants also suggested that social location shaped their bad orgasm experiences, citing gender and sexual identity, gender identity conflict, race/ethnicity, and religion as important to their perceptions of and responses to their experiences. Results directly challenge the assumption that orgasms during consensual sex are always and/or unilaterally positive experiences.
... Ett speciellt och viktigt skäl finns dock som skiljer deras motiv från kvinnornas. När de framkallar en och gärna flera orgasmer känner de sig nämligen "duktiga" och mera manliga (Chadwick & van Anders 2017). Det är för dem också en (mycket) upphetsande upplevelse att uppleva den stegrande upphetsningen när orgasmen närmar sig och när de spasmiska ryckningarna av orgasmen sker samt hur nästa orgasm byggs upp och kommer. ...
... Man har också funnit att män som får sina kvinnliga partners att få orgasmer känner sig mera manliga (Chadwick & van Anders 2017). ...
Preprint
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A book in Swedish with the translated title "Sex as enjoyable medicine" based much on published material the last decade by other researchers. It is aimed to be a popular science book that might remove errors and misunderstandings such as the porn industry is spreading and that can increase knowledge about sexual anatomy for men and women.
... 55 The latter underlies many heterosexual interactions, including positive ones as seen in research, for example, on women's orgasms as related to men's masculinity achievements. 56 Here, the emotional labor some women are expending in their relationships was quite evident, such that women were responsible for satisfying men's sexual urges, managing their feelings, and keeping the relationship intact. These dynamics are also seen in research on other sexual matters. ...
Article
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Introduction: Although much research has examined correlates of pain during sex, far less research has examined why women have sex despite having pain and why they avoid telling their partner. Aim: The purpose of our study was to examine women's reports of painful sex, including location of pain, whether they told their partner, factors associated with not disclosing their pain, and their reasons for not disclosing. Methods: We used data from the 2018 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, a probability-based online survey of 2,007 individuals ages 14 to 49 years. We limited our sample to adult women who reported a sexual experience that was painful in the past year (n = 382; 23.2%). The primary outcome in quantitative analyses was whether women told their partner they experienced pain during sex. Associations with social identities and sexual health were explored via logistic regression. Those who did not tell their partner about painful sex were asked why; their accounts were coded and analyzed qualitatively. Main outcome measure: Women were asked, "To what extent was this sexual experience physically painful for you?" Those who reported any pain were asked, "Did you tell your partner that you were in pain during sex?" and, if applicable, "Why didn't you tell your partner that you were in pain during sex?" Results: Of those reporting pain during sex, most said it was "a little painful" (81.6%) and occurred at the vaginal entrance (31.5%), inside the vagina (34.4%), or at or around the cervix (17.4%). Overall, 51.0% (n = 193/382) told their partner about their pain. Adjusting for age and wantedness, women who reported little or no event-level sexual pleasure had nearly 3-fold greater odds of not telling a partner about painful sex (adjusted odds ratio = 3.24; 95% CI, 1.43-7.37). Normalizing painful sex, considering pain to be inconsequential, prioritizing the partner's enjoyment, and gendered interactional pressures were the predominant themes in women's narratives. Clinical implications: Providers should ask about painful sex, if the woman continues intercourse despite pain, and how she feels about this as a means of assessing any sexual and social pressures. Strengths & limitations: Strengths include the use of social theory in nationally representative survey research to examine how contextual factors influence sexual health, but experiences were largely limited to heterosexual interactions. Conclusion: Many women do not discuss painful sex with their partners, lack of pleasure is significantly more likely among this group, and gender norms and cultural scripts are critical to understanding why. Carter A, Ford JV, Luetke M, et al. "Fulfilling His Needs, Not Mine": Reasons for Not Talking About Painful Sex and Associations with Lack of Pleasure in a Nationally Representative Sample of Women in the United States. J Sex Med 2019; XX:XXX-XXX.
... For instance, our findings held for both men and women after controlling for gender norm conformity; however, we expect there are qualitative differences between the ramifications of neoliberal ideology for women's and men's sexualities. As we noted in the literature review, the performative demands on men may focus predominantly on physiological performance (Gurevich et al., 2017), including their ability to "give" women orgasms (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017). Sexual skill is an important metric for women, too (Farvid & Braun, 2006;Frith, 2013), but their sexual self-monitoring may also entail working to ensure that others see them as sexually agentic and in control (i.e., ideal neoliberal actors) rather than as hapless victims (Bay-Cheng, 2015). ...
Article
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Background Neoliberal ideology has permeated US culture, creating a climate that values individual choice and self-interest over collective welfare. This has extended into the domain of sexuality and intimate relationships in a discourse that encourages people to put their own interest first sexually, with little thought of their partner’s.Methods This project analyzed survey data from 249 US young adults collected via MTurk in 2015 to explore relations between neoliberal ideology and sexual attitudes while controlling for gender norm conformity.ResultsNeoliberal beliefs seemed beneficial in that they were predictive of self-affirming sexual attitudes. Less favorably, stronger neoliberal beliefs were also associated with endorsing a sexual double standard that disadvantages women, and with feeling more sensitive to the judgments of others.Conclusions We argue that the neoliberal call to prioritize oneself may come at a price, to others and oneself.
... In Sex, the consequences are more personal, usually related to shame and embarrassment in front of the partner, althoughfor men vs. women-the presumed norms against which individuals compare themselves are likely different. For example, for women, norms are often tied to attractiveness, appearance, and ability to please the partner; for men, norms may be tied to stamina/endurance, size of erection, and ability to please the partner (Zilbergeld, 1992;Chadwick and van Anders, 2017). ...
Article
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Anxiety has long been associated with diminished performance within a number of domains involving evaluative interpersonal interactions, including Sex, Sport, and Stage. Here, we pose three questions: (1) how do these disparate fields approach and understand anxiety and performance; (2) how does the understanding of the issue within one field offer insight to another field; and (3) how could each field benefit from the ideas and strategies used by the others. We begin with a short review of models of anxiety/arousal and performance and then explore definitions, models, presumed underlying physiological processes, and characterizing and influencing factors within each domain separately in a narrative review. This discussion is followed by a synthesis that identifies elements specific to and common across the various domains, with the latter captured in a model of essential characteristics. Concluding remarks note the potential value of promoting increased cross-disciplinary conversation and research, with each domain likely benefiting from the conceptualizations and expert knowledge of the others.
... This may well serve to strengthen the man's love for the woman and to encourage him to make the long-term commitment. Indeed there is evidence that men report feeling more masculine if a female partner orgasms in an imagined sexual encounter (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017). Both genders acknowledge a female's orgasm is a boost to the male's ego (Salisbury & Fisher, 2014). ...
... A qualitative study found that men often felt distressed and sometimes emasculated when their female partner does not orgasm [48]. Similarly, a recent vignette study found that men reporting having higher sexual self-esteem and feeling more masculine when they imagined that their partner orgasmed during sex versus imagining that she did not [49]. The female partner that the men were instructed to imagine was an attractive woman that they had had sex three times with, so neither a first-time hookup nor a relationship partner. ...
Article
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Purpose of Review Studies have consistently found that there is a gendered orgasm gap, with men experiencing orgasm more frequently than women in heterosexual sexual encounters. This literature review aims to highlight the current state of research on orgasm equality and to explore the reasons underlying this orgasm gap. Recent Findings Our review of recently published studies indicates that the gendered orgasm gap still exists today. Additionally, these studies underscore how sociocultural factors can contribute to the differences in reported orgasm frequency between men and women in heterosexual encounters. Summary This review suggests that our cultural prioritization of penile-vaginal intercourse over more clitorally focused sexual activities is linked to the gendered orgasm gap. Additional related contributing sociocultural factors may include women’s lack of entitlement to partnered sexual pleasure, societal scripts about masculinity, and women’s cognitive distractions during partnered sex. Recommendations to increase orgasm equality are discussed.
... Both men and women are portrayed as reaching orgasm less consistently in VSS than in studies of the general population (Séguin, Rodrigue, & Lavigne, 2018). Yet, men still value their own sexual worth by the occurrence of their female partner's orgasm (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Salisbury & Fisher, 2013). If men view female anorgasmia as a male failure, can this support VSS promoting scripts that ignore partner's sexual needs? ...
... The women we interviewed repeatedly stated that feigning sexual pleasure is wrong, on the one hand: it is lying and deceitful. However, on the other hand, not feigning sexual pleasure has the potential of being hurtful to the partner as it threatens his ego and can undermine his masculinity (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017). The following excerpt from an interview with Lily further illustrates this bind: "I don't like doing that, I don't like lying and, cause, that just sets up for more in the future. ...
Article
Faking orgasm has been identified as a common practice among women and feminist scholars have probed the connections between the socio-cultural meanings associated with faking and heterosex. Expanding on this line of inquiry, feigning sexual pleasure was explored in interviews with 14 women who reported having sex with men. Using a feminist critical discourse analytic approach, we attend to the dilemma that was frequently evoked in women’s accounts. Participants explained that feigning sexual pleasure was done in order to protect their partners’ ego. However, participants also talked about faking orgasm as being problematic in the sense that it was “deceitful” and “dishonest”. These contrasting discursive patterns created a dilemma whereby faking was situated as “necessary” but “dishonest”. As a way of negotiating this dilemma, participants made a distinction between exaggerating sexual pleasure and faking orgasm. We posit that exaggeration can be interpreted as a form of material (during the sexual encounter) and discursive (during accounting of the encounter) disruption of dominant discourses of heterosex such as the orgasmic imperative. Drawing on Annamarie Jagose’s and Hannah Frith’s problematizations of the prevailing tendency to position orgasm as either “authentic” or “fake”, we discuss women’s negotiation of the limited constructions of “real” pleasure.
... 73 The finding that men with increased erection problems reported increased SS with their partners, and decreased SS with themselves, may reflect a shift in IP towards promoting masculine achievement with female orgasm. 74 As such, men with increased depression and selfperceived IP addiction may feel guilt/shame about their sexual performance and focus their attention towards pleasing their partner with manual or oral sexual activity. 75 Being able to sexually satisfy their partner may help to reduce feelings of sexual inadequacy; however, it may also exacerbate erection problems by prioritising a partner's sexual needs over their own. ...
Article
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Introduction The way men consume pornography changed over the last decade, with increased numbers of men presenting with self-perceived Internet pornography (IP) addiction and related sexual dysfunction. A lack of consensus and formal recognition in the DSM-5 lead to a variety of definitions of IP addiction. Currently, the majority of evidence linking IP addiction and sexual dysfunction was derived from consumers, case studies, and qualitative research. Where empirical measures were used, researchers found mixed outcomes in sexual response. Inconclusive data appeared to relate to the conflation of IP use and self-perceived IP addiction, and normal variations in sexual response with clinical diagnosis of sexual dysfunction. Thus, further empirical clarification is required to assess the impact of both IP use and self-perceived IP addiction, on men's sexual function. Aims This study has 3 aims: First, to assess if there is an association between IP use alone and erectile dysfunction (ED), premature (early) ejaculation (EE) and sexual satisfaction (SS); Second, to assess whether there is an association between self-perceived IP addiction and ED, EE and SS. Third, to assess whether IP use or self-perceived IP addiction uniquely predicts ED, EE, SS in men. Method Correlation and regression analysis was conducted on a cross-sectional sample of 942 heterosexual men aged 18-44 years who participated in an online survey sourced from Reddit IP subgroups. Main Outcome Measures Cyber-Pornography Use Inventory; International Index Erectile Dysfunction; The Checklist for Early Ejaculation Symptoms; New Sexual Satisfaction Scale; Depression Anxiety Stress Scale-21. Results There was no evidence for an association between IP use with ED, EE, or SS. However, there were small to moderate positive correlations between self-perceived IP addiction and ED, EE and sexual dissatisfaction. Further, self-perceived IP addiction uniquely predicted increased ED, EE and individual sexual dissatisfaction. Contrary to expectations, self-perceived IP addiction did not predict sexual dissatisfaction with one's sexual partner. Conclusion These results suggest that IP use alone does not predict sexual dysfunction. Rather, self-perception of increased IP addiction was related to negative sexual outcomes. Thus, we concluded that subjective interpretation of ones IP use was a contributor to IP related sexual problems in our sample of males who share IP on social media sites. We recommend that clinicians consider self-perceived IP addiction as a possible contributing factor to sexual dysfunction. Whelan G, Brown J. Pornography Addiction: An Exploration of the Association Between Perceived Addiction, Erectile Dysfunction, Premature (Early) Ejaculation, and Sexual Satisfaction in Males Aged 18-44 Years. J Sex Med 2021;XX:XXX–XXX.
... Sexual incompetence threatens manhood status, while sexual competence affirms it (Murray, 2018). When heterosexual men imagined a female partner not having an orgasm with them, they reported a lower sense of masculinity and sexual esteem (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017), and following a manhood threat, men reported having more sexual partners (Cheryan, et al., 2015). Following precarious manhood theory, these findings illustrate men's psychological and compensatory responses to lost masculinity. ...
Article
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We explored whether women who perceive that their partners’ manhood is precarious (i.e., easily threatened) censor their sexual communication to avoid further threatening their partners’ masculinity. We operationalized women’s perceptions of precarious manhood in a variety of ways: In Study 1, women who made more money than their partners were twice as likely as those who did not to fake orgasms. In Study 2, women’s higher perceptions of partners’ precarious manhood indirectly predicted faking orgasms more, lower sexual satisfaction, and lower orgasms rate through greater anxiety and less honest communication. In Study 3, women who imagined a partner whose masculinity was insecure (vs. secure) were less willing to provide honest sexual communication, via anxiety. Together, the studies demonstrate a relationship between women’s perceptions of partner insecurity, anxiety, sexual communication, and sexual satisfaction.
... But similar to above, this could be due to low power (again, the 95% CI suggested a positive association); additional research with larger sample sizes is needed to clarify this possibility. That self-interested intentions predict negative psychological outcomes for cisgender women would make sense given that women's bodies and orgasms are already often exploited for the sake of their sexual partners' pleasure (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Frith & Kitzinger, 1997). As such, women may feel especially negative upon perceiving that their partner is pressuring them to orgasm for personal gain. ...
Article
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Orgasm coercion involves pressuring a partner to orgasm by implying that not orgasming will have negative consequences. In the present study, we used mixed methods to explore (1) how various individual and contextual factors—i.e., frequency of orgasm coercion, orgasm frequency, gender/sex, sexual identity, the orgasm coercion tactics used, and perceptions of the perpetrator’s intention—affect relationship and psychological outcomes associated with orgasm coercion, and (2) how different individuals characterize these outcomes. Cisgender women, cisgender men, and gender/sex minority participants (N = 308, M age = 30.44 years, SD = 8.16) described the most recent encounter in which they experienced orgasm coercion and then rated and described the positive and negative relationship and psychological outcomes associated with the incident. Quantitative results showed that the following predicted significantly higher negative relationship and psychological outcomes: a higher frequency of experiencing orgasm coercion, lower frequency of orgasming with partners in general, and experiencing orgasm coercion via physical or emotional threats. Believing that the perpetrator was motivated by altruism or social pressures mitigated these effects. And, experiencing orgasm coercion via implied fault predicted significantly higher negative relationship outcomes only for cisgender women. Additionally, being a sexual minority predicted higher negative relationship (but not psychological) outcomes, whereas being a gender/sex minority predicted higher negative psychological (but not relationship) outcomes. Qualitative results showed that relationship and psychological outcomes varied; for example, participants discussed making a partner happy, disappointment with their partner’s behaviors, ending the relationship, and lasting feelings of anxiety, guilt, and abuse. Together, findings offer new insights into how orgasm coercion affects those who experience it.
... It's important to consider how gender differences in orgasm expectations (e.g., men's orgasm is the expected result of sex while women's orgasm is perceived as a bonus or achievement; Armstrong et al., 2012;Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Fahs, 2011;Klein & Conley, 2021;Matsick et al., 2016) may influence how participants chose to respond to the orgasm frequency measures, given the subjective and limited response options. For example, if a man and a woman both objectively experience orgasm at an equal frequency (e.g., 90%), their subjective reports on the scale may differ because of gendered expectations. ...
Article
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While previous research has established the existence of an orgasm gap between men and women, research exploring this phenomenon within dyadic samples of mixed-sex couples has been limited. The current study aims to investigate the impact of this orgasm disparity on novel sexual outcomes for couples, including desire and expectation for orgasm. We conducted secondary data analyses on a sample of 104 sexually active mixed-sex couples using an online Qualtrics panel (Mage = 43.9 years; 94.2% heterosexual; 79.3% White). Cisgender men and women within the couple reported on their sexual satisfaction, orgasm frequency, desired orgasm frequency, expectation for how often people should orgasm (“orgasm expectation”), and perceptions of their partner’s orgasm frequency. An orgasm gap emerged, and men significantly underreported the size of the orgasm gap in their relationships. In a dyadic path model, men’s and women’s own orgasm frequency positively predicted their desire and expectation for orgasm. Additionally, women’s orgasm frequency predicted men’s orgasm expectation. This relationship between orgasm frequencies and expectancies may partially explain women’s lower orgasm importance compared to men. A cycle of orgasm inequality within relationships may be perpetuated when women who experience less frequent orgasms lower their desire and expectation for orgasm. Sex educators, activists, and therapists should work to improve entitlement to sexual pleasure and orgasm, particularly for women who wish to increase their orgasm frequency.
... "He kept bringing it up all the time," she said, until "it became the only thing that he would, you know, want sort of thing." Such insistence is consistent with pervasive cultural norms around (particularly men's) orgasm as the ultimate purpose of sexual interactions (Frith, 2015;Potts, 2002) and an expression of male achievement (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017). ...
Article
In this article, we explore the gendered dynamics of coercion described by 18 women we interviewed about their experiences of unwanted and nonconsensual heterosexual anal sex. Several women referred to what they believed to be the normative status of heterosexual anal sex. In many cases, the socially coercive effects of perceived norms intertwined with threads of interpersonal coercion, leaving women feeling pressured to agree to, or little room to refuse, anal sex they did not want. We discuss the ways that new sexual norms can translate into new pressures for women within the gendered framework of heterosexual relationships.
... In turn, women adhering to the SDS that favours men implies that women show greater orientation towards men's pleasure and sexual satisfaction during sexual relations (Kelly et al., 2017). There are reports of men believing that when women have an orgasm during sexual relations, it is an achievement of their masculinity (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017). For women, Arcos-Romero et al. (2019) report that the RGS is associated with the sensorial dimension of the subjective orgasm experience in sexual relations. ...
Article
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Background/objective: Sexual concordance (i.e., relationship between genital response and subjective sexual arousal) is higher in men than in women. Among the factors that could explain this difference would be the sexual double standard (SDS). Sexual concordance is examined by SDS typologies of adherence (egalitarian, man-favorable, and woman-favorable). Method: During exposure to a film with sexual content, genital response (penile circumference/vaginal pulse amplitude) and self-reported sexual arousal were recorded in 104 young adults (42 men and 62 women), distributed into SDS typologies of adherence on the basis of their scores on the Sexual Double Standard Scale. Results: Sexual concordance was obtained in men and women with egalitarian and man-favorable typology. Subjective sexual arousal explained a significant percentage of the variance in genital response in the egalitarian typology (men: R2 = .32, p < .01; women: R2 = .19, p < .05) and man-favorable typology (men: R2 = .21, p < .05; women: R2 = .23, p < .05). Conclusions: Agreement between genital responsiveness and subjective sexual arousal depends on DES adherence typology.
... Even within consensual sex, sexual scripts increasingly, and disproportionately, involve women on the receiving end of rough sex behaviors such as choking, slapping, and aggressive fellatio (Herbenick et al., , 2021Sun et al., 2008) (which some experience as pleasurable but many or most do not) as well as sex that moves beyond unpleasurable and into frightening territory . Even when women's pleasure is on the table, it can be in the service of men: some men see women's orgasms as trophies signaling the men's sexual ability rather than experiences of the women's pleasure (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Salisbury & Fisher, 2014). ...
Article
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Low sexual desire in women partnered with men is typically presumed to be a problem—one that exists in women and encourages a research agenda on causation and treatment targeting women. In this paper, we present a distinct way forward for research on low sexual desire in women partnered with men that attends to a more structural explanation: heteronormativity. A heteronormative worldview assumes that relationships and structures are heterosexual, gender (usually conflated with sex) is binary and complementary, and gender roles fit within narrow bounds including nurturant labor for women. We propose the heteronormativity theory of low sexual desire in women partnered with men, arguing that heteronormative gender inequities are contributing factors. We outline four hypotheses and their predictions related to: inequitable divisions of household labor, blurring of partner and mother roles, objectification of women, and gender norms surrounding sexual initiation. We discuss some mechanisms—social, physiological, and otherwise—for the heteronormativity theory, especially related to stress, objectification, and nurturance. We close by noting some limitations of our paper and the ways that the heteronormativity theory of low sexual desire in women partnered with men provides a rigorous, generative, and empirical way forward.
... Women may also fear that if they speak up and ask for more kinds of sex or orgasms that this may offend or insult their partner's sense of masculinity or sexual prowess. A recent study revealed that men often viewed their female partner's orgasm as a masculinity achievement (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017). Other research has found that men feel a sense of responsibility towards their female partner's orgasms, as though they "give" their partners orgasms through an investment in sexual labor (Fahs, 2011). ...
Thesis
“Hook ups” are common among adolescents and young adults on college campuses. Prior research positions women as risking a lot when they hook up, including physical, emotional, and social costs, while they stand to benefit little from hook ups. Additionally, research shows that women do not often experience orgasms during hook ups, but little is known about women’s pleasure in hook ups outside their rates of orgasm. The current studies sought to better understand what women’s experiences in hook ups consist of in terms of behaviors, emotions, and pleasures. Study 1 (discussed in Chapter 3) asked young women (N=23) to perform a card-sort in relation to their actual and desired behaviors and emotions in their most recent hook up. Results from Study 1 show that women reported desiring more oral and manual sex and more orgasms from a variety of sexual activities. Study 2 (discussed in Chapter 4) asked young college women (N=23) to participate in in-depth interviews regarding their sexual pleasure during hook ups with men. Results from Study 2 revealed that women reported that they experienced a range of different pleasures in their hook ups with men, including but not limited to orgasm. Women in Study 2 also discussed how the norms of hook up culture impacted their ability to prioritize or pursue their own sexual pleasure, and how men violated the norm of reciprocity. Study 3 (discussed in Chapter 5) surveyed young college women (N=102) about their behaviors, emotions, and pleasures in hook ups. Results from Study 3 revealed that a typical hook up involved a range of sexual behaviors; women reported giving oral sex more often than they received it. Women in Study 3 also reported frequent positive emotions in relation to their hook ups and fewer negative emotions in contrast to prior research. Results from Study 3 also showed that while a typical hook up included men’s orgasm, women rarely experienced orgasm in their hook ups. Women who reported engaging in a greater number of hook ups in Study 3 were more likely to experience a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction and a greater likelihood of receiving oral sex from their partner. Across the three studies, women reported positive emotions in relation to their hook ups, but reported greater desire for more reciprocity, oral and manual sex, and orgasms during their hook ups with men. Results are discussed in relation to women’s sexual freedom to prioritize their own pleasure amidst a sexual milieu that privileges men’s pleasure during sexual encounters.
... Lack of orgasm or consistent orgasm is clearly very common for young women, and although normative in the statistical sense, does not imply it is not problematic for the women involved. We know that there is considerable interest in as well as pressure to experience orgasm, especially during heterosexual partnered activities (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017). ...
Article
Many young adults report poor sexual function, but research typically fails to consider relationship context and how problems might evolve over time. Research is needed to provide insights into how sexual problems are experienced across relationships, as well as the types of sexual function problems associated with various trajectories. We investigated retrospective trajectories of sexual problems across the multiple relationships of 688 young adults (18–24 years) as well as the individual and relationship factors associated with these trajectories. Both persistent suboptimal and optimal trajectories emerged for men and women. However, persistent and variable problematic function trajectories also emerged for women (and not men). Across all individual and relationship factors analyzed, multivariate multinomial regression analysis indicated that higher sexual esteem and more traditional gender beliefs best predicted membership in trajectories capturing better sexual function. Implications are discussed in terms of the need to provide substantive information regarding sexual function to young people as they transition to adulthood.
... Men also play the role of protectors by perceiving that it is their responsibility to uphold the honour of the women and the family (46). In doing so, they may resort to aggressive behaviour, display strength to guard the sanctity of the family (46) Extending their role in the intimate space, as pleasuregivers, men view women's pleasure as a masculinity achievement and experience performance anxieties if they are unable to (63). ...
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Background: Across societies, gender norms often allow men to hold key decision-making power within relationships, households and communities. This extends to almost all domains, consisting of family planning (FP) as well. FP programmes have largely engaged men as clients and rarely as equal partners or influencers although across lower and middle income countries (LMICs), and especially in South Asia, men hold key decision-making power on the domain of family planning. The objective of this article is to explore couple dynamics through the lens of spousal communication and decision-making and unpacking male engagement and spousal dynamics in family planning. Methods: This review presents a synthesis of evidence from two peer-reviewed databases, PubMed and Jstor, and and insights from programmatic documents to shed light on gender equitable engagement of young married men in family planning. Inclusion and exclusion criteria for both these databases was set and search strategies were finalized. This was followed by title and abstract screening, data extraction, synthesis and analysis. Results: Study participants included unmarried men (16%, n= 8), married men (19%, n= 9), married women (19%, n=9), married couples (25%, n =12) or more than two respondent categories (21%, n= 10). Almost three-fourth (71%, n=34) of the studies selected had FP as the primary area of inquiry. Other prominent thematics on which the studies reported were around norms (n=9, 16%), couple dynamics and intimacies (n=12, 22%). Conclusion: The evidence presented provides sufficient impetus to expand on gender-equitable male engagement, viewing men as equal and supportive partners for informed, equitable and collaborative contraceptive uptake and FP choices by couples.
... The women we interviewed repeatedly stated that feigning sexual pleasure is wrong, on the one hand: it is lying and deceitful. However, on the other hand, not feigning sexual pleasure has the potential of being hurtful to the partner as it threatens his ego and can undermine his masculinity (Chadwick & van Anders, 2017). The following excerpt from an interview with Lily further illustrates this bind: "I don't like doing that, I don't like lying and, cause, that just sets up for more in the future. ...
... Nevertheless, it is also recognised here and elsewhere that men may be actively involved in their regular or casual partners' gratification because the female orgasm plays an important role in confirming masculinity and male sexual reputation (e.g. Chadwick & van Anders, 2017;Salisbury & Fisher, 2014). Such an involvement could favour female satisfaction and gender equality; however, the perceived pressure to succeed, to give partners an orgasm, is seen to put men at risk. ...
Article
Understanding how young women experience pornography is a modern imperative in promoting sexual health. There has been, until now, no Australian research exploring what pornography means to women in relation to sexual pleasure. We conducted in-depth interviews with 27 women from around Australia. A thematic analysis of their accounts, supported by narrative theory, revealed that pornography both enhanced and interfered with pleasure. Women described pornography’s contributions to the enhancement of pleasure through solo pleasure, shared viewing with partners, discovering new sexual preferences, and reassurance about body appearance. Pornography was constructed as interfering with pleasure through its misrepresentation (of bodies, sexual acts, and expression of pleasure), women’s concern for actors’ wellbeing, and its disruption of intimacy. Accounts were consistent with women’s place in a culture that subordinates female pleasure to male pleasure. It was evident in women’s accounts that pornography plays complex, dynamic roles in the production of pleasure, acting in the domains of physiology, psychology, relationships, ethics, society, and culture.
Article
Considerable work has examined the reasons men and women pretend to orgasm, but few studies have examined how mating motives relate to the various reasons they might do so. Data from an online (N = 656), snowball sample revealed—through factor analysis—five potential reasons people pretend to orgasm (i.e., positive feedback, enhancing pleasure, avoidance, mate deception, and sexual boredom). These reasons were differentially related to an array of individual differences in mating psychology as captured with the Dark Triad traits (i.e., narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism), sociosexuality, and (self-reported) mate value. There were also sex differences in who pretended for some of the reasons (e.g., women pretended more to offer positive feedback; men pretended more to avoid an awkward situation) and differences depending on whether people genuinely pretended or quasi-pretended (i.e., exaggerated their enjoyment). This study adds to the relevant literature on the reasons people pretend to orgasm but examined how individual differences in mating psychology predict those reasons. It seems that pretending to orgasm may be motivated by different relationship goals and interpersonal styles.
Article
Objective: Previous research has established a gap in orgasm frequency between men and women. This study investigates explanations for the gender gap in orgasm. Methods: Crosstab analysis and logistic regression are used to examine the gender gap in orgasms from one Canadian city: Hamilton, Ontario (N = 194). Results: We find a strong association between women’s orgasms and the type of sexual behavior in which partners engage. Women who receive oral sex are more likely to reach orgasm. Conclusion: Sexual practices focused on clitoral stimulation are important to reducing the gender gap in orgasms.
Article
It is important to understand how people experience pleasure and sexual satisfaction with a partner, as these phenomena can impact how they view their relationships, themselves, as well as the role of sexual activities within relationships. Three hundred and four undergraduates at East Carolina University and California State University Chico who reported having at least one sexual experience with a partner completed a 45 item survey assessing social correlates of sexual pleasure and sexual satisfaction. Analysis revealed that those in a committed relationship reported the highest sexual pleasure (on average), followed by those in an emotionally-involved relationship, followed by those in a hookup. A parallel analysis for sexual satisfaction revealed the same associations. Regarding the length of relationship, being in a relationship for at least six weeks appeared to matter for pleasure and satisfaction, but being in a relationship longer than six months did not indicate greater advantages than those in a relationship between six weeks and six months. Limitations of the research are identified.
Article
This article is based on ethnographic fieldwork, focusing on the processes and practices of cuddle parties. Data was collected from a combination of participant-observation, interviews, and diaries aimed to understand and interpret this unique form of intimate interaction. By disentangling bodily disciplines and dramaturgical (self-)presentations, this study explores how and to what extent cuddle party participants embody safe and nonsexual touch experiences in forms of “playful” interaction rituals. Alongside the chance for participants to explore bodies, with permission, this study concludes that cuddle parties are experiential, bounded playgrounds where both intimacy and touch are (re)created in the context of loosened normative, relational, and sexual constraints.
Article
Drawing on a study consisting of 29 multimodal accounts of orgasms, we make visible processes, emotions, and notions of playfulness that highlight the critical role of orgasms in transcending the fleeting distinction between reality and play. As sexual pleasure does not necessarily result from experiencing an orgasm, our data also reveals how playful strategies are enacted in order to mitigate ambiguity and societal norms. Instead of seeing the orgasm as a physiological or psychological change in an individual or as an epitome of “good” sex, the multimodal accounts employed in the study reveal attitudes, assumptions, and expectations related to playful pleasure.
Article
There is a persistent gender difference in how positively young adults react to casual sex, with men reporting slightly more positive responses than women. Multiple factors have been studied as possible explanations for the gender difference, but nothing has completely accounted the variance between women and men's responses to casual sex. Although prior research identifies sexual pleasure as a primary factor associated with positive responses, women and men may understand or report on this construct differently due to gendered socialization, making it difficult to compare responses across groups. One measure that is less subject to subjective interpretation or response bias may be whether a person orgasms during a given casual sex encounter. In the present research, we test the relationships between gender, orgasm, and reactions following most recent casual sex encounter across three samples of young adults. Results indicate that orgasm mediates the gender difference in how positively participants respond to casual sex. Specifically, men are more likely to orgasm during casual sex, and people who orgasm during casual sex are more likely to experience positive reactions afterwards. Therefore, while gender may be one way to describe the discrepancy in how positive people feel following casual sex, orgasm explains it.
Book
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Everyone, but especially those who work in healthcare or who influences it, needs to be made aware of the consequences of a number of new trends that have to do with sexology as well as the results of recent medical research that is in some way related to sexology. Therefore, this book is mainly about new important knowledge that has been generated in research and outside research from 2015 to August 2020.Above all, research on women's sexual anatomy and physiology has provided significant new and important knowledge of women's sexuality from having previously much been neglected in research and has it in general been mystified and even been taboo ever since the days of Freud. The book is in Swedish and has, at the end of the book 513 references divided into 185 scientific articles and books and 328 non-fiction and other sources. Approximately 60% of the referenced publications in the book are published from 2018 to July 2020. Approximately 15% are from the period 2015 to 2017. Approximately 11% are from the period 2010 to 2014 and approximately 14% are from the period up to and including 2009. The Swedish paper back book can be bought at stimuera.se
Article
Background: Across societies, gender norms often allow men to hold key decision-making power within relationships, households and communities. This extends to almost all domains, consisting of family planning (FP) as well. FP programs have largely engaged men as clients and rarely as equal partners or influencers although across lower- and middle-income countries (LMICs), and especially in South Asia, men hold key decision-making power on the domain of family planning. The objective of this article is to explore couple dynamics through the lens of spousal communication and decision-making and unpack male engagement and spousal dynamics in family planning. Methods : This review presents a synthesis of evidence from two peer-reviewed databases, PubMed and Jstor, and and insights from programmatic documents to shed light on gender equitable engagement of young married men in family planning. Inclusion and exclusion criteria for both these databases was set and search strategies were finalized. This was followed by title and abstract screening, data extraction, synthesis and analysis. Results: Study participants included unmarried men (16%, n=8), married men (19%, n=9), married women (19%, n=9), married couples (25%, n=12) or more than two respondent categories (21%, n=10). Almost three quarters (71%, n=34) of the studies selected had FP as the primary area of inquiry. Other prominent thematics on which the studies reported were around norms (n=9, 16%), couple dynamics and intimacy (n=12, 22%). Conclusions: The evidence presented provides sufficient impetus to expand on gender-equitable male engagement, viewing men as equal and supportive partners for informed, equitable and collaborative contraceptive uptake and FP choices by couples.
Article
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This study explored gender differences in young adult heterosexual men's and women's experiences, beliefs, and concerns regarding the occurrence or nonoccurrence of orgasm during sexual interactions, with emphasis on the absence of female orgasm during intercourse. Qualitative reports were obtained from five female focus groups (N = 24, M age = 19.08) and five male focus groups (N = 21, M age = 19.29), involving three to five participants per group. Transcripts of the discussions were analyzed for emerging themes across focus group discussions. Results indicated that, for both male and female participants, the most common concern regarding lack of female orgasm in a partnered context focused on the negative impact this might have on the male partner's ego. Male and female participants also agreed that men have the physical responsibility to stimulate their female partner to orgasm, while women have the psychological responsibility of being mentally prepared to experience the orgasm. Men and women tended to maintain different beliefs, however, regarding clitoral stimulation during intercourse, as well as the importance of female orgasm for a woman's sexual satisfaction in a partnered context. Findings suggest foci for sexual education.
Article
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Understanding the determinants of men's participation in housework has been the focus of much research in the past two decades. Increasingly, scholars argue that men's reluctance to do family work is because they associate it with “women's work” and thus a threat to their masculinity. The authors extend this idea by considering the link between challenges to men's identities in the workplace and their behavior in the home. Using data collected for the Class Structure and Class Consciousness Survey, it was found that the extent of men's workplace subordination was negatively related to their performance of “feminine” tasks in the home. Moreover, this relationship was stronger in families in which wives' earnings approached those of their husbands'. The theoretical implications of the results are discussed, and a call is made for more longitudinal studies to understand the complex and evolving relationship between work and family.
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Social scripting theory points to the fact that much of sexual behavior seems to follow a script. Similar to scripts that stage actors use to guide their behavior, social scripts instruct members of a society as to appropriate behavior and the meanings to attach to certain behaviors. In Western cultures, scripts for sexual activity are markedly different for males and females. In this article, the goals are to provide (a) an introduction to social scripting theory, (b) an exploration of the ways and potential reasons sexual scripts differ by gender, and (c) a discussion of ways that a social scripting perspective can be applied to work with individuals and couples experiencing sexual problems.
Article
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One of the most consistent and troubling findings in sexuality research is that men report a substantially greater number of sexual intercourse partners compared to women. In a population that is more or less closed and is comprised of approximately equal proportions of men and women, such a finding is illogical. In the current article, I review the primary explanations that have been offered for this gender discrepancy and review the relevant data that exist for each explanation. Afterwards, I present data from two studies in which I further explored the apparent gender discrepancy and factors that may account for it. The first study involved a sample of college students (N = 324), whereas the second study was based on a nationally representative sample of adults (N = 2,524; 1994 General Social Survey, Davis & Smith, 1994). In Study 1, accounting for a lack of inclusion of casual sex partners and for self‐rated dishonesty in reporting did not affect the gender discrepancy in lifetime number of sex partners, whereas correcting for the ratio of men versus women on campus did to a small degree. Only correcting for self‐rated inaccuracy eliminated the gender discrepancy. In Study 2, removing those respondents who had participated in prostitution reduced the gender discrepancy somewhat. However, the gender discrepancy appeared to be driven primarily by men's greater tendency to report large, “round” numbers of partners. The results are discussed with regard to possible explanations for greater distortion in men's estimates of lifetime sex partners compared to women's estimates, directions for further investigation are suggested, and recommendations are provided for researchers who ask respondents to report lifetime number of sex partners.
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On surveys, men report two to four times as many lifetime opposite‐sex sexual partners (SPs) as women. However, these estimates should be equivalent because each new sexual partner for a man is also a new sexual partner for a woman. The source of this discrepancy was investigated in this study. Participants reported number of lifetime and past‐year SPs and estimation strategies. The pattern of lifetime estimates replicated. The lifetime protocols indicated that people used different estimation strategies, that people who used the same strategy produced similar estimates, that some strategies were associated with large estimates and others with small ones, and that men were more likely to use the former and women the latter. No sex differences in estimates or strategies were apparent in the past‐year protocols. Our findings suggest that discrepant lifetime partner reports occur because men and women rely on different estimation strategies, not because they intentionally misrepresent their sexual histories.
Article
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Sexual relationships may be viewed from a communal perspective which emphasizes caring and concern for a partner's sexual needs and preferences, or else from an exchange perspective which emphasizes a quid pro quo approach. The purpose of the present investigation was to construct and validate an objective self-report instrument measuring communal and exchange approaches to sexual relations, the Sexual Relationship Scale (SRS). Reliability analyses indicated that the two SRS scales designed to measure communal and exchange approaches to sexual relations had reasonably strong internal consistency, and other analyses revealed that, among females, the two SRS subscales were essentially orthogonal to one another. In addition, it was found that the Sexual Relationship Scale correlated in predictable ways with measures of relationship orientation. Additional evidence indicated that men's and women's relationship satisfaction was influenced by their tendency to approach sexual relationships from either a communal or an exchange perspective.
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I conceptualize sex-based harassment as behavior that derogates an individual based on sex. I propose that sex-based harassment is fundamentally motivated by the harasser's desire to protect or enhance his or her own sex-based status, a desire that stems from the fact that social status is stratified by a system of gender hierarchy. This theory explains currently identified forms of sexual harassment and predicts others, including nonsexual harassment between women.
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Reciprocity is a basic premise of egalitarian relationships, and is typically depicted as a `good thing' within heterosexual sex and relationships. Here we examine a discourse of reciprocity - articulated as orgasm for both partners - evident in accounts of heterosex collected from 15 heterosexual women and 15 men. We argue that notions of reciprocity are not necessarily as liberatory as they might seem, as they do not occur in a social or sexual vacuum. In conjunction with other dominant sexual meanings, a discourse of reciprocity produces entitlements and obligations that can render `choice' in heterosex problematic, particularly for women.
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This article describes the development of the Sexuality Scale, an instrument designed to measure three aspects of human sexuality: sexual‐esteem, defined as positive regard for and confidence in the capacity to experience one's sexuality in a satisfying and enjoyable way; sexual‐depression, defined as the experience of feelings of depression regarding one's sex life; and sexual‐preoccupation, defined as the tendency to think about sex to an excessive degree. The procedure involved (a) item construction, selection and subsequent validation through item analysis; and (b) a factor analysis of the items on the Sexuality Scale and the establishment of factorial validity. The results indicated that the three subscales were psychometrically sound, that males reported more sexual‐preoccupation than did females, and that the three subscales have unique intercorrelation patterns. The exploratory nature of these findings are discussed.
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In the current dispute about the medicalization of female sexual dysfunction, both sides warrant their case on meeting women's needs and wishes. Yet there has been very little research about women's subjective experiences and the meaning they attach to them. This paper aims to gain a greater understanding of women's experiences of problems with orgasm and the social discourse and social praxes which produce them. The paper draws on a semi-structured interview-based study, consisting of 50 interviews with women age 25 to 67. Its findings challenge the idea that absence of orgasm is a medical condition, and argue that it is an embodiment experience that is socially constructed, both through media portrayals and through male expectations and “needs”.
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Like fast food and fizzy drinks, discourses are globally marketed by powerful multinational corporations. In this article we look at discourses about women which are distributed around the planet by the 44 different national versions of Cosmopolitan. These versions are localized, but still transmit the Cosmo brand, resulting in similarities between the versions. We apply a multimodal discourse analytic approach to understand this global branding, the type of analysis which is lacking in existing accounts of globalization, and ask, what exactly does remain the same across the localized versions? What this article offers is not an analysis of the magazine per se, but an analysis of the discourses that underpin it. We show how the magazine creates a fantasy world through the use of low modality images, which allow a particular kind of agency, mainly sex, to signify power. The multimodal realizations of Cosmo discourse enable women to signify their alignment with the Cosmo world through such things as the cafes they frequent, the clothes they wear and the way that they dance. Cosmo presents these not as real, but as playful fantasies, something which existing literature on women's magazines has missed. In these fantasies, women act alone and rely on acts of seduction and social manoeuvreing, rather than on intellect, to act in and on the world.
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Orgasm is a "goal" of much sexual activity, and a source of potentially intense pleasure and fulfillment, yet can be fraught with difficulty or distress. Relatively little social science research has explored people's experiences around, and their meanings related to, orgasm, and indeed other sexual pleasures, especially with young adults. This study aimed to provide a rich exploration of the meanings associated with orgasm and sexual pleasure during sex with a partner, to understand the social patterning of orgasm experience. A qualitative survey was used to collect data from 119 sexually experienced British young adults (81% women, mean age 20, 92% heterosexual). A descriptive form of thematic analysis that prioritizes participants' meanings and experiences was used to identify and explore patterns in the data. Five main themes are reported here: (a) orgasm: the purpose and end of sex; (b) "it's more about my partner's orgasm"; (c) orgasm: the ultimate pleasure?; (d) orgasm is not a simple physiological response; and (e) faking orgasm is not uncommon. These (mostly not gendered) themes demonstrate the complex and contradictory meanings around orgasm, and reveal meaning to be dependent on situation and context. However, they do resonate strongly with widespread discourses of sexuality that prioritize heterosexual coitus, orgasm, and orgasm reciprocity.
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Male-male social bonds have a powerful influence on the sexual relations of some young heterosexual men. Qualitative analysis among young men aged eighteen to twenty-six in Canberra, Australia, documents the homosocial organization of men's heterosexual relations. Homosociality organizes men's sociosexual relations in at least four ways. For some of these young men, male-male friendships take priority over male-female relations, and platonic friendships with women are dangerously feminizing. Sexual activity is a key path to masculine status, and other men are the audience, always imagined and sometimes real, for one's sexual activities. Heterosexual sex itself can be the medium through which male bonding is enacted. Last, men's sexual storytelling is shaped by homosocial masculine cultures. While these patterns were evident particularly among young men in the highly homosocial culture of a military academy, their presence also among other groups suggests the wider influence of homosociality on men's sexual and social relations.
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Inorgasmia is under-studied in the domain of sexual health psychology. This study explores women's experiences of inorgasmia and the meanings giving to this experience. Interviews with six inorgasmic women were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). The analysis showed that the absence of orgasm was experienced as problematic and disturbing. A search for reasons for their condition, and its effects on self-image and self-confidence underpinned the experience of inorgasmia as a problem. The spectrum of meanings surrounding female orgasm demonstrates that, far from being perceived as a merely physical experience, the moment of orgasm takes on relational significance and it has implications for the women's identities. The paper identifies areas for future research and theorising.
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The Conformity to Masculine Norms Inventory – 46 (Parent & Moradi, 2009) is a useful tool with which to assess masculine gender role conformity. The CMNI-46 retained and built on the psychometric strengths of the original CMNI (Mahalik et al., 2003) while offering greater efficiency at approximately half of the length of the original measure. The present study offers additional examination of the reliability, validity, and factor structure of the CMNI-46 with a sample of 255 college men. In this sample, confirmatory factor analysis results suggested acceptable fit of the posited factor structure. Evidence of reliability was garnered with Cronbach's alphas in the good to excellent range across subscales. Correlations with convergent and discriminant validity indicators were supportive of the validity of subscale scores in this sample, but suggested some caution in interpreting scores on the Playboy subscale. Overall, the findings offered psychometric support for use of the CMNI-46 in research and practice pertaining to men and masculinity. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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This article reports on the development of a Likert-type scale measuring attitudes toward egalitarian-traditional sex roles. A total of 484 undergraduates participated in six phases of the study. An item analysis study yielded 20 items with part-whole correlations p.001). Five other phases of research show promising concurrent and construct validity. In particular, traditional attitudes are related to rigidity as measured by authoritarian, religious, same-sex touching, rape acceptance, divorce, and conservative attitudes. Overall, a varimax rotated factor analysis revealed one major factor accounting for 84.6% of the variance. Further, females were shown to have higher levels of egalitarian attitudes as compared to males.
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This study examines women's social representations of female orgasm. Fifty semi-structured interviews were conducted with British women. The data were thematically analysed and compared with the content of female orgasm-related writing in two women's magazines over a 30-year period. The results indicate that orgasm is deemed the goal of sex with emphasis on its physiological dimension. However, the women and the magazines graft onto this scientifically driven representation the importance of relational and emotive aspects of orgasm. For the women, particularly those who experience themselves as having problems with orgasm, the scientifically driven representations induce feelings of failure, but are also resisted. The findings highlight the role played by the social context in women's subjective experience of their sexual health.
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The authors report 5 studies that demonstrate that manhood, in contrast to womanhood, is seen as a precarious state requiring continual social proof and validation. Because of this precariousness, they argue that men feel especially threatened by challenges to their masculinity. Certain male-typed behaviors, such as physical aggression, may result from this anxiety. Studies 1-3 document a robust belief in (a) the precarious nature of manhood relative to womanhood and (b) the idea that manhood is defined more by social proof than by biological markers. Study 4 demonstrates that when the precarious nature of manhood is made salient through feedback indicating gender-atypical performance, men experience heightened feelings of threat, whereas similar negative gender feedback has no effect on women. Study 5 suggests that threatening manhood (but not womanhood) activates physically aggressive thoughts.
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Heterosexual masculinity is the cultural pressure exerted on males to be masculine in traits and heterosexual in orientation or else be viewed as feminine and socially unacceptable. The current study investigated the link between heterosexual masculinity and homophobia in 74 college males. Specifically, gender self-discrepancy (how well males think they fit cultural expectations of how they should act as a man), attribute importance (perceived importance of possessing masculine attributes), and self-esteem were examined as predictors of homophobia. Attribute importance, self-discrepancy along masculine traits, and their interaction significantly predicted degree of homophobia in this sample.
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Men report more permissive sexual attitudes and behavior than do women. This experiment tested whether these differences might result from false accommodation to gender norms (distorted reporting consistent with gender stereotypes). Participants completed questionnaires under three conditions. Sex differences in self-reported sexual behavior were negligible in a bogus pipeline condition in which participants believed lying could be detected, moderate in an anonymous condition, and greatest in an exposure threat condition in which the experimenter could potentially view participants responses. This pattern was clearest for behaviors considered less acceptable for women than men (e.g., masturbation, exposure to hardcore & softcore erotica). Results suggest that some sex differences in self-reported sexual behavior reflect responses influenced by normative expectations for men and women.
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No systematic study has examined the psychological impact of premature ejaculation (PE) on the man and his partner. This study explores this vital issue by reporting on interviews of 28 men with self-diagnosed PE. From a qualitative perspective, these interviews assess whether these men had concerns about their PE and, if so, what they were. These men focused on two major themes: impact on self-confidence and future/current relationships. This suggests that PE has a similar qualitative impact on the individual as erectile dysfunction. Further investigation will need to determine how prevalent these concerns are in the PE population and also to delineate the impact on the men s partners.
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Two laboratory experiments investigated the hypothesis that threat to male identity would increase the likelihood of gender harassment. In both experiments, using the computer harassment paradigm, male university students (N=80 in Experiment 1, N=90 in Experiment 2) were exposed to different types of identity threat (legitimacy threat and threat to group value in Experiment 1 and distinctiveness threat and prototypicality threat in Experiment 2) or to no threat and were then given the opportunity to send pornographic material to a virtual female interaction partner. Results show that (a) participants harassed the female interaction partner more when they were exposed to a legitimacy, distinctiveness, or prototypicality threat than to no threat; (b) this was mainly true for highly identified males; and (c) harassment enhanced postexperimental gender identification. Results are interpreted as supporting a social identity account of gender harassment.
Article
Jealousy evokes strong psychological responses, but little is known about physiological effects. This study investigated whether actively thinking about a jealousy-provoking situation would result in a testosterone (T) response, and what factors might mediate this effect. We examined T responses to imagining one’s partner engaging in one of three activities: a neutral conversation with a co-worker, a flirtatious conversation with an attractive person, or a passionate kiss with an attractive person. Women in the flirting condition experienced a significantly larger increase in T relative to those in the neutral condition; the kissing condition was intermediate. In men, there were no significant effects of jealousy condition on T. These findings are consistent with the Steroid/Peptide Theory of Social Bonds, such that the flirting condition elicited a ‘competitive’ T response, and the kissing condition elicited responses consistent with defeat.
Article
The masculine overcompensation thesis asserts that men react to masculinity threats with extreme demonstrations of masculinity, a proposition tested here across four studies. In study 1, men and women were randomly given feedback suggesting they were either masculine or feminine. Women showed no effects when told they were masculine; however, men given feedback suggesting they were feminine expressed more support for war, homophobic attitudes, and interest in purchasing an SUV. Study 2 found that threatened men expressed greater support for, and desire to advance in, dominance hierarchies. Study 3 showed in a large-scale survey on a diverse sample that men who reported that social changes threatened the status of men also reported more homophopic and prodominance attitudes, support for war, and belief in male superiority. Finally, study 4 found that higher testosterone men showed stronger reactions to masculinity threats than those lower in testosterone. Together, these results support the masculine overcompensation thesis, show how it can shape political and cultural attitudes, and identify a hormonal factor influencing the effect.
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This paper examines the phenomenon of faking orgasm in order to construct a critical analysis of heterosexual relations. Such an analysis, we argue, is central to the task of developing effective HIV/AIDS educational campaigns for heterosexual people. In the paper we examine the different narratives upon which heterosexual men and women rely when they are discussing their sexual and relationship experiences. We analyse these in terms of recent feminist theories of embodiment. We conclude by arguing the importance of this kind of analysis to HIV/AIDS prevention and education.
Article
This article presents a feminist discursive analysis of orgasm, focusing on the transcripts from discussions with women and men in Aotearoa/New Zealand regarding the meanings that attach to (hetero) sexual health. Certain aspects of deconstructive theory lie behind the approach used to read the transcript material. In the first place, as Derrida (1981) has pointed out, ` “everyday language” is not innocent or neutral' (p. 19); rather, it is laden with assumptions and investments that may not be immediately apparent. This textual analysis is thus principally concerned with examining one of the habitual structures underlying Western thought and language - the distinction between presence and absence - and with examining how this binary pairing produces, and is produced by, the `common-sense' attitudes to sex within the `everyday language' of the participants. Examining the functioning of notions of presence and absence reveals some of the paradoxes inherent in contemporary ideas about orgasm; for example, the notion that orgasm offers a transcendental experience (a meeting with one's `true' self) at the same time as it involves a loss or absence of `self'. Finally, it is suggested that the deconstructive properties of `desire' have the potential to challenge the conventional place of orgasm as the ultimate (or only) measure of healthy heterosex.
Article
The sexual self-help genre constitutes an ever-expanding market for the modern heterosexual couple, influenced by decades of `personal growth' therapy, literature and television. John Gray's (1992) best-seller Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, for example, claimed to offer some ostensibly ground-breaking insights into differences between men and women, and into the means by which heterosexual communication in relationships covvvvbe imprnved. It also paved the way for a series of popular sequels. This article employs feminist critique, influenced by poststructuralism, in order to examine the kinds of discursive strategies employed in Gray's recent (1995) Mars and Venus in the Bedroom: A Guide to Lasting Romance and Passion. In particular, this analysis seeks to demonstrate how the text attempts to regulate and normalize heterosexual behaviours, and how it functions to construct its predominantly female audience as female.
Article
This paper attempts to synthesize general issues pertaining to masculinity and male sexuality using essentialist and postmod- ern theoretical ideologies. According to essentialist ideologies, the construction of male gender requires one's molding into a masculine role, which presupposes autonomy, competition, and aggressiveness, and the suppression of the innate human needs for connectedness, intimacy, and self-disclosure, which have been traditionally devalued as feminine traits. Alterna- tively, postmodern ideologies call for the deconstruction of essentialist notions of male sexuality and the reconstruction of a more balanced androgynous ideology drawing from the his- torical, social, and cultural determinants of sexuality and cher- ishing both masculine and feminine traits. The historical, social, and cultural perspective may be viewed as an overarch- ing umbrella encompassing economic and power issues, an arena where the inequality wars are being waged, primarily those of gender, sexual orientation, age, physical ability, race, and social stratification. The reconstruction process is attained by helping one re-narrate his/her lifelong sexual narrative.
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The prevalence rates of unwanted sexual activity indicate that a substantial proportion of both men and women are at risk for experiencing unwanted (nonconsensual) sexual activity. However, little is known about the extent to which men and women consent to unwanted sexual activity, such as when a person indicates willingness to engage in a sexual activity at a time when he or she experiences no sexual desire. In the current study, 80 male and 80 female U.S. college students involved in committed dating relationships kept diaries of their sexual interactions for two weeks. More than one third (38%) of the participants reported consenting to unwanted sexual activity during this period. The most common motives for engaging in this behavior were to satisfy a partner's needs, to promote intimacy, and to avoid relationship tension. Most participants reported positive outcomes associated with these motives. The results indicate that previous estimates of the prevalence of unwanted (nonconsensual) sexual experiences may actually represent a confound of nonconsensual and consensual forms.
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This article examines talk about sex and heterosexual relationships, based on a study of 12 women and 13 men who participated in semi-structured interviews, in order to identify the `discourses' of sexuality which inform talk about heterosexual sex. One theme in talk about heterosexuality can be understood through the `pseudo-reciprocal gift discourse': women are described as `giving' themselves to men, whereas men `give' women orgasms, reproducing dominant norms of male activity and female passivity, — and thereby reinforcing the oppression of women. Men talk more graphically about sex than women — we suggest the resources of meaning concerning sex suit men's interests rather than women's, and reflect men's dominance in a (hetero)sexist society.
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It is proposed that masculine gender role socialization affects whether men appraise specific situations as stressful. Behavioral research on stress and coping has remained relatively blind to the possibility of significant gender role differences in appraising events as stressful. Therefore, a new scale was developed to measure masculine gender role stress (MGRS). Data were presented to substantiate hypotheses that MGRS scores (1) significantly distinguish men from women, (2) are unrelated to global measures of sex-typed masculinity, and (3) are significantly associated with at least two measures of self-reported stress (i.e., anger and anxiety). Stressful situations represented on the MGRS scale include cognitive, behavioral, and environmental events associated with the male gender role. Factor analysis demonstrates that these concerns cluster in five particular domains reflecting physical inadequacy, emotional inexpressiveness, subordination to women, intellectual inferiority, and performance failures involving work and sex. The findings are discussed in terms of cognitive-behavioral concepts of stress and coping.
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Desire is the core element in healthy, vital sexuality. The majority of professional and public focus has been on female desire problems. Although male hypoactive sexual desire is a common problem, there is a paucity of research on this stigmatized disorder. This clinically oriented paper discusses understanding, assessment, treatment, and relapse prevention for both lifelong and acquired male hypoactive sexual desire disorder.
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Introduction. Traditionally, sexual desire is understood to occur spontaneously, but more recent models propose that desire responds to sexual stimuli. Aims. To experimentally assess whether sexual stimuli increased sexual desire; to compare how sexual arousal and desire responded to three modalities of sexual stimuli: erotic story, unstructured fantasy, and the Imagined Social Situation Exercise (ISSE). Methods. In an online study, participants (128 women, 98 men) were randomly assigned to one of four arousal conditions (ISSE, story, fantasy, or neutral), and then completed desire measures. In the ISSE, participants imagined and wrote about a positive sexual encounter with a self-defined attractive person. Main Outcome Measures. Sexual arousal (perceived genital, psychological, and perceived autonomic), anxiety, positive and negative affect, and state sexual desire via self-report measures pre- and post-condition; “trait” desire via the Sexual Desire Inventory post-condition. Results. All three sexual conditions significantly increased sexual arousal and positive affect compared with the neutral condition, with trends for higher arousal to unstructured fantasy than the ISSE or story conditions. Sexual conditions significantly increased scores on state measures of sexual desire. In addition, sexual context influenced measurement of “trait” solitary sexual desire in women, such that women reported significantly higher trait desire after the neutral and ISSE conditions vs. fantasy. Conclusion. Results highlight the responsiveness of sexual desire, problems with measurement of desire as a long-term trait, trade-offs of using the ISSE and other stimuli in sexuality research, and the need to address context in discussions of women's and men's desire. Goldey KL and van Anders SM. Sexual arousal and desire: Interrelations and responses to three modalities of sexual stimuli. J Sex Med 2012;9:2315–2329.
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Testosterone (T) is generally theorized within a trade-off framework that contrasts parenting and low T with competitive challenges and high T. Paradoxically, baby cues increase T, prompting questions of whether T or its behavioral expression has been mischaracterized. We tested 55 men using a novel interactive infant doll paradigm, and results supported our hypotheses: We showed for the first time that baby cries do decrease T in men, but only when coupled with nurturant responses. In contrast, baby cries uncoupled from nurturant responses increased T. These findings highlight the need to partition infant cues and interactions into nurturant versus competitive-related contexts to more accurately conceptualize T, as per the Steroid/Peptide Theory of Social Bonds. This experiment also supports the utility of this paradigm for studying effects of infant interactions on hormonal responses, which may provide critical insights into ameliorating the darker sides of caregiving (e.g. anger, frustration, violence) and enhancing the positive sides (e.g. intimacy, nurturance, reward).
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Previous research suggests that sexual stimuli increase testosterone (T) in women and shows inconsistent effects of sexual arousal on cortisol (C), but effects of cognitive aspects of arousal, rather than behaviors or sensory stimuli, are unclear. The present study examined whether sexual thoughts affect T or C and whether hormonal contraceptive (HC) use moderated this effect, given mixed findings of HC use confounding hormone responses. Participants (79 women) provided a baseline saliva sample for radioimmunoassay. We created the Imagined Social Situation Exercise (ISSE) to test effects of imagining social interactions on hormones, and participants were assigned to the experimental (sexual) or one of three control (positive, neutral, stressful) conditions. Participants provided a second saliva sample 15 min post-activity. Results indicated that for women not using HCs, the sexual condition increased T compared to the stressful or positive conditions. In contrast, HC using women in the sexual condition had decreased T relative to the stressful condition and similar T to the positive condition. The effect was specific to T, as sexual thoughts did not change C. For participants in the sexual condition, higher baseline T predicted larger increases in sexual arousal but smaller increases in T, likely due to ceiling effects on T. Our results suggest that sexual thoughts change T but not C, baseline T levels and HC use may contribute to variation in the T response to sexual thoughts, and cognitive aspects of sexual arousal affect physiology.
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Note: Thesis now published. Potts, Annie (2002). The Science/Fiction of sex: feminist deconstruction and the vocabularies of heterosex. London & New York: Routledge. ISBN 04152567312. Whole document restricted, see Access Instructions file below for details of how to access the print copy. This research conducts a feminist poststructuralist examination of the vocabularies of heterosex: it investigates those terms, modes of talking, and meanings relating to sex which are associated with discourses such as scientific and popular sexology, medicine and psychiatry, public health, philosophy, and some feminist critique. The analysis of these various representations of heterosex involves the deconstruction of binaries such as presence/absence, mind/body, inside/outside and masculine/feminine, that are endemic to Western notions of sex. It is argued that such dualisms (re)produce and perpetuate differential power relations between men and women, and jeopardize the negotiation of mutually pleasurable and safer heterosex. Particular attention is paid to the ways in which sexological discourse deploys such dualisms as normal/abnormal, natural/unnatural, and healthy/unhealthy sex, and produces specifically gendered 'experiences' of sexual corporeality. The thesis examines a variety of written texts and excerpts from film and television; it also analyzes transcript material from individual and group interviews conducted by the researcher with heterosexual women and men, as well as sexual health and mental health professionals, in order to identify cultural pressures influencing participation in risky heterosexual behaviours, and also to identify alternative and safer pleasurable practices. Some of these alternative practices are suggested to rely on a radical reformulation of sexual relations which derives from the disruption of particular dualistic ways of understanding and enacting sex. The overall objective of the thesis is to deconstruct cultural imperatives of heterosex and promote the generation and acceptance of other modes of erotic pleasure. It is hoped that this research will be of use in the future planning and implementation of sex education and safer sex campaigns in Aotearoa/New Zealand which aim to be non-phallocentric and non-heterosexist, and which might recognize a feminist poststructuralist politics of sexual difference.
Article
Research shows that many women pretend or "fake" orgasm, but little is known about whether men pretend orgasm. The purpose of this study was to investigate (a) whether, how, and why men pretend orgasm and (b) what men's and women's reports of pretending orgasm reveal about their sexual scripts and the functions of orgasms within these scripts. Participants were 180 male and 101 female college students; 85% of the men and 68% of the women had experienced penile-vaginal intercourse (PVI). Participants completed a qualitative questionnaire anonymously. Both men (25%) and women (50%) reported pretending orgasm (28% and 67%, respectively, for PVI-experienced participants). Most pretended during PVI, but some pretended during oral sex, manual stimulation, and phone sex. Frequently reported reasons were that orgasm was unlikely, they wanted sex to end, and they wanted to avoid negative consequences (e.g., hurting their partner's feelings) and to obtain positive consequences (e.g., pleasing their partner). Results suggest a sexual script in which women should orgasm before men, and men are responsible for women's orgasms.