Article

Attribution Patterns in Women With and Without Orgasmic Difficulties

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Abstract

People with sexual problems are more likely to attribute negative sexual experiences to themselves, in contrast with sexually functional individuals who attribute negative sexual experiences to external factors such as the circumstance or situation. We investigated attribution patterns in women reporting difficult or absent orgasm-a group only minimally investigated in this regard-to determine whether they differed from women without orgasmic problems. Using an internet-based approach, we compared attribution responses of 376 women with orgasmic difficulty with 367 women without orgasmic difficulty to five sexual scenarios, two presenting positive sexual experiences and three presenting negative sexual experiences. Women with orgasmic difficulty were more likely to take blame for any negative sexual experience, including ones not related to orgasmic difficulty. They were also more likely to attribute responsibility to their partner's lack of skill, whereas orgasmic women attributed negative outcomes more to circumstance. Women with orgasmic difficulty were also less likely to assume credit or responsibility for positive sexual experiences. Differences between orgasmic and non-orgasmic groups persisted or were augmented when age and arousal difficulty were controlled. These results emphasize the stark contrast in the way women with and without orgasmic problems approach sexual situations and suggest several therapeutic strategies.

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... Moreover, Loos, Bridges and Critelli [68] found that women with orgasmic difficulties attribute them to internal factors, minimizing potential external influences (such as situational circumstances or sexual partner's inability). Additionally, they have been shown to attribute positive sexual outcomes more to situational (i.e., external) factors and less to internal or partner-related factors than do sexually healthy controls [69]. ...
... Recent studies by Rowland et al. [69,72] explored the causal attributions of women and men with and without self-reported orgasmic difficulties regarding positive and negative sexual experiences. Overall, women were more likely to attribute negative sexual experiences to themselves and positive sexual experiences to their partner, whereas men were more likely to attribute negative sexual experiences to factors related to their partner. ...
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Introduction Cognitive factors are conceptualized as playing a role in maintaining psychological disorders—including sexual dysfunction—by influencing the way in which individuals ascribe meaning, and ultimately respond, to sexual events. Objectives To systematically review and integrate the findings from studies on cognitive processing factors and sexual function and dysfunction in women and men. Methods A systematic search of major electronic databases was conducted from inception to July 2019 to identify peer-reviewed studies examining cognitive processing factors associated with sexual function and dysfunction. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines were followed. Main Outcome Measure The main outcome measure was the association of cognitive processing variables with women's and men's sexual function and dysfunction. Results From 122 studies, 67 studies were deemed eligible for inclusion. Studies demonstrated a consistent association between cognitive processing factors and dimensions of sexual functioning in women and men. The main cognitive processing factors associated with sexual functioning include cognitive distraction and attentional focus, automatic thoughts and sexual cognitions, causal attributions to negative sexual events, efficacy expectations, and perceived performance demands. Specific associations between cognitive processing factors and particular male and female sexual dysfunctions were identified and discussed. Conclusion Overall, research supports the critical role of cognitive processing factors in predicting women's and men's sexual (dys)function. Evidence suggests that these dimensions should be systematically addressed during the assessment of sexual dysfunction and one of the main treatment targets of psychological interventions. Tavares IM, Moura CV, Nobre PJ. The Role of Cognitive Processing Factors in Sexual Function and Dysfunction in Women and Men: A Systematic Review. Sex Med 2020;XX:XXX–XXX.
... 25 Furthermore, these women can "externalize" their OD to "non-self" factors, a psychological process known to mitigate anxiety/distress. 11,26,27 As an example, women who attribute the cause of their OD to situational factors (eg, I was distracted by the stresses of the day) or even partner issues (eg, he/she is not attending to my needs) typically report less distress about their condition. 20 In contrast, women who attribute a sexual problem to factors about themselves (eg, my partner does not seem to enjoy sex with me) assume at least partial blame for the situation and are thereby internalizing the cause of the problem. ...
... And third, we predicted self-reported (OD-related) sexual distress from subgroup membership, including in our regression analysis sociodemographic, control, and other empirically supported (non-orgasmic) sexual response variables. 27,20,44 ...
Article
Background About 50% of women who report orgasmic difficulty (OD) during partnered sex are distressed by their condition, yet why some women are distressed and others are not is unclear. Aim To determine whether sexual distress is related to women's perceived causes of their OD during partnered sex. Methods We established homogenous subgroups of women based on their attributions for OD during partnered sex, and these groups were validated by comparing them on variables relevant to sexual response. We then predicted OD-related distress from subgroup memberships as well as from a number of sociodemographic, control, and empirically supported sexual response variables. Results 3 distinct OD subgroups emerged: type 1—high psychological–high somatic reasons; type 2—partner-related reasons; and type 3—moderate psychological–low somatic reasons. These groups also differed on independent parameters related to sexual frequency and arousal. Subgroup membership, along with age, sexual relationship satisfaction, and frequency of partnered sex predicted sexual distress related to OD. Clinical Implication Particular perceptions regarding the causes for OD help predict women's sexual distress, and such factors might be considered in identifying sexual issues and managing them within the context of a sexual relationship. Strengths & Limitations A large sample size drawn from a multinational population powered the study, while the cross-sectional nature of the sample could not rule out bidirectional associations between predictor covariates (including OD subgroup) and the outcome measure (sexual distress). Conclusion Type 1 membership (high levels of psychological and somatic attributions) predicted greater levels of OD-related distress than type 2 (partner-related attributions) or type 3 (moderate psychological and low somatic attributions) membership, with type 1 women having a greater likelihood of internalizing (accepting responsibility/blame for) OD attributions. Hevesi K, Miklós E, Horváth Z, et al. Typologies of Women With Orgasmic Difficulty and Their Relationship to Sexual Distress. J Sex Med 2020;XX:XXX–XXX.
... 47 Furthermore, we investigated sexual response parameters in the context of empirically supported covariates reported in the research literature. 33,43,48 At the same time, we recognize the study's limitations. For one, the test-retest correlation for orgasmic difficulty (OD) was lower than optimal. ...
Article
Introduction: The relationship between masturbation activities and their effect on partnered sex is understudied. Aim: The aim of this study was to assess the alignment of activities between masturbation and partnered sex, and to determine whether different levels of alignment affect orgasmic parameters during partnered sex. Methods: 2,215 women completed an online survey about activities during masturbation and reasons for orgasmic difficulty during masturbation, and these were compared with activities and reasons for orgasmic difficulty during partnered sex. Main outcome measure: Degree of alignment between masturbation activities and partnered sex activities was used to predict sexual arousal difficulty, orgasmic probability, orgasmic pleasure, orgasmic latency, and orgasmic difficulty during partnered sex. Results: Women showed only moderate alignment regarding masturbation and partnered sex activities, as well as reasons for masturbation orgasmic difficulty and reasons for partnered sex orgasmic difficulty. However, those that showed greater alignment of activities showed better orgasmic response during partnered sex and were more likely to prefer partnered sex over masturbation. Clinical implications: Women tend to use less conventional techniques for arousal during masturbation compared with partnered sex. Increasing alignment between masturbation and partnered sexual activities may lead to better arousal and orgasmic response, and lower orgasmic difficulty. Strength & limitations: The study was well-powered and drew from a multinational population, providing perspective on a long-standing unanswered question. Major limitations were the younger age and self-selection of the sample. Conclusion: Women that align masturbation stimulation activities with partnered sex activities are more likely to experience orgasm and enhanced orgasmic pleasure, with sexual relationship satisfaction playing an important role in this process. Rowland DL, Hevesi K, Conway GR, et al. Relationship Between Masturbation and Partnered Sex in Women: Does the Former Facilitate, Inhibit, or Not Affect the Latter? J Sex Med 2019;XX:XXX-XXX.
... Self-presentation theory may also explain "self-handicapping, " that is, "any action or choice of performance setting that enhances the opportunity to externalize (or excuse) failure and to internalize (accept credit for) success" (Gardner et al., 2015; but also see Berglas and Jones, 1978), an attribution process that also plays a significant role in sexual anxiety and performance in men and women (Rowland et al., 2016(Rowland et al., , 2018. Players' anxiety will often lead to self-handicapping (e.g., verbalizing lack of practice, physical/mental ailment, or ill-preparedness) as a means to protect their self-image (Coudevylle et al., 2008). ...
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.
... For example, men with erectile or ejaculatory difficulty are more likely to attribute negative sexual experiences to stable internal factors such as their own sense of personal inadequacy, a pattern that starkly contrasts with attribution theory expectation of minimizing negative emotional impact (Bradley, 1978;Rowland, Kostelyk, & Tempel, 2016a;Scepkowski et al., 2004;Simkins-Bullock, Wildman, Bullock, & Sugrue, 1992;Snyder & Higgins, 1988). Research on attribution and sexual dysfunction in women with orgasmic difficulty has uncovered a pattern somewhat similar to men's, suggesting that the phenomenon is apparent across sexes and for a variety of sexual problems (Loos, Bridges, & Critelli;1987;Rowland, Medina, & Dabbs, 2017). Thus, men and women with a sexual difficulty are more likely to internalize negative sexual outcomes by blaming themselves-even when the negative outcome is not specific to their sexual difficulty-in contrast to those not having a sexual problem who are more likely to attribute the negative outcome to the partner or situation/circumstance. ...
Article
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People with sexual problems are more likely to attribute negative sexual experiences to themselves, in contrast to sexually functional individuals who attribute negative sexual experiences to external factors such as the circumstance or partner. We investigated attribution patterns in 820 men and 753 women, some of whom reported an orgasmic problem, to assess differences between the sexes and those with and without an orgasmic difficulty. Specifically, using an Internet-based approach, we compared attribution responses to four sexual scenarios, one representing a positive sexual experience and three representing negative sexual experiences. Women were more likely to attribute positive outcomes to their partner than men. Women were also more likely to attribute negative outcomes to themselves than men, but they more readily blamed their partner and circumstances for negative outcomes than men as well. Those with orgasmic problems were less willing to take credit for positive outcomes and more willing to accept blame for negative outcomes. Interaction effects between sex and orgasmic problems further highlighted differences between men's and women's attribution patterns. These results are interpreted in the context of traditional notions that men's attributions tend to be more self-serving and women's attributions more self-derogatory.
... In fact, women with orgasmic difficulties tend to approach negatively both in autoerotism and partnered sex. [52,53] Among the factors that negatively affect orgasmic intensity, we identified low scores in the FSFI obvious domains of orgasm and sexual satisfaction but also in the domain of lubrication. This finding fully agrees with the idea that a SD in women is seldom restricted to just one of the phase of sexual response [26,27]. ...
Article
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The female orgasm represents one of the most complex functions in the field of human sexuality. The conjunction of the anatomical, physiological, psycho-relational and socio-cultural components contributes to make the female orgasm still partly unclear. The female orgasmic experience, its correlates and the relation with sexual desire, arousal and lubrication as predictors are highly debated in scientific community. In this context, little is known about the impact of female sexual dysfunction (SD) on sexual pleasure expressed by subjective orgasmic intensity, and there are no suitable psychometric tools suited to investigate this dimension. Thus, we validate, in female subjects, a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) that we named Orgasmometer-F, to verify if SD is accompanied by a lower perceived orgasmic intensity. A total of 526 women, recruited through a web-based platform and from sexological outpatient clinic, were enrolled in the study. They were divided into, on the basis of the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) score in two groups: 1) 112women suffering from SD, (SD Group); and 2) 414 sexually healthy women (Control Group). The participants were requested to fill out the Orgasmometer-F, recording orgasmic intensity on a Likert scale from 0 (absence of orgasmic intensity) to 10 (maximum orgasmic intensity experienced). Women with SD experienced significantly lower orgasmic intensity than controls, as measured by the Orgasmometer-F (p < 0.0001). Interestingly, masturbatory frequency was positively correlated with orgasmic intensity, as were the lubrication, orgasm and sexual satisfaction domains of the FSFI. The Orgasmometer-F was well understood, had a good test-retest reliability (ICC = 0.93) and a high AUC in differentiating between women with and without sexual dysfunction (AUC = 0.9; p < 0.0001). The ROC curve analysis showed that a cut-off <5 had 86.5% sensitivity (95% CI 82,8–89,6), 80.4% specificity (95% CI 71.8–87.3), 75.4% positive predictive value (PPV) and 89.5% negative predictive value (NPV). In conclusion, the Orgasmometer-F, a new psychometrically sound tool for measuring orgasmic intensity in female population, demonstrated that SD impair orgasmic intensity.
Article
Introduction: Orgasmic latency (OL) during partnered sex (POL) and OL during masturbatory sex (MOL) in women with and without orgasmic difficulty have received minimal attention. Aim: To ascertain POL and MOL both overall and more specifically in women with and without difficulty reaching orgasm and to explore interrelationships between masturbatory and partnered latencies and sexual satisfaction. Methods: Participants for this study were 2,304 women drawn from community-based samples in the United States and Hungary who completed an investigator-derived questionnaire regarding their sexual history and response, including items related to frequency of masturbation and partnered sex, sexual desire, sexual arousal, orgasmic response, OL, distress, partner distress, and sexual satisfaction. Main outcome measure: Self-reported OL and related orgasmic parameters during masturbation and partnered sex in women with and without difficulty reaching orgasm were assessed. Results: POL were longer than those during MOL. Women experiencing difficulty reaching orgasm showed even longer latencies during partnered sex but comparable latencies during masturbation. Covariates related to POL included age, overall relationship quality, masturbation frequency, MOL, and level of distress about not reaching orgasm. Clinical implications: POL in women are substantially longer than men's, suggesting the potential need for an increased repertoire of stimulatory behaviors to increase the woman's arousal. Strength and limitations: The study was well powered and drew from a multi-national population. However, specific types of sexual stimulation during partnered and masturbatory sex were not included in this analysis. Conclusion: MOL for women and POL differ significantly, with latencies during partnered sex being substantially longer than masturbation, although women reporting the greatest difficulty reaching orgasm have the longest latencies and are likely to find masturbation more satisfying than women who do not. Rowland DL, Sullivan SL, Hevesi K, et al. Orgasmic Latency and Related Parameters in Women During Partnered and Masturbatory Sex. J Sex Med 2018;XX:XXX-XXX.
Article
Pleasure is critically important to the experience of sexual behavior, yet few studies have examined factors that influence it. We explored orgasmic pleasure during masturbation and partnered sex in women with and without orgasmic difficulty, as well the mutual influence of each type of activity on the other. Data were collected from 2059 women through online surveys and paper-and-pencil tests in both the USA and Hungary. Among women who both masturbated and had partnered sex, orgasmic pleasure was higher during partnered sex. Although women with orgasmic difficulty exhibited a similar pattern of greater pleasure during partnered sex, they reported lower pleasure during partnered sex than women without orgasmic difficulty. Women struggling most to reach orgasm were likely to view masturbation as equally or more satisfying than partnered sex. Several covariates were relevant to pleasure during partnered sex, including the importance of sex, the frequency of partnered sex, and the relationship quality, affirming the idea that relational factors play a critical role in orgasmic pleasure in women. Pleasure during masturbation was associated with higher age, frequency of masturbation, and shorter latencies to orgasm, suggesting that pleasure during masturbation was related to greater experience with masturbation and greater efficiency in reaching orgasm.
Article
Introduction Specific sexual activities during partnered sex are likely to affect orgasmic parameters, such as latency, pleasure, and difficulty, but such relationships have not been examined in detail. Aim To ascertain whether specific kinds of sexual activities account for variation in orgasmic latency, pleasure, and difficulty during partnered sex. Method Participants were 2,068 women drawn from community-based samples in the United States and Hungary who completed an investigator-derived questionnaire regarding their sexual history and response, including items related to frequency of masturbation and partnered sex, sexual desire, sexual arousal, orgasmic response, orgasmic latency, distress, partner distress, and sexual satisfaction. Main Outcome Measures Self-reported orgasmic latency, pleasure, and difficulty during partnered sex were assessed. Results Orgasmic pleasure and orgasmic difficulty were related to the types of sexual activities incorporated into partnered sex. Nevertheless, relationship satisfaction played as large a role in both orgasmic parameters. Orgasmic latency, on the other hand, was less affected by the type of sexual activity during partnered sex, but it was also affected by relationship satisfaction and orgasmic difficulty. Clinical Implication Addressing relationship satisfaction and expanding the behavioral repertoire of activities during partnered sex may increase sexual satisfaction and mitigate orgasmic difficulty. Strength & Limitations The study, well powered and drawing from a multinational population, is 1 of the few to analyze specific types of sexual activity and stimulation during partnered sex. Major limitations were the younger age and self-selection of the sample. Conclusion Type and conventionality of sexual activities during partnered sex affect orgasmic pleasure and difficulty. Rowland DL, Kolba TN. Relationship of Specific Sexual Activities to Orgasmic Latency, Pleasure, and Difficulty during Partnered Sex. J Sex Med 2019;16:559–568.
Article
Studies investigating women's attributions for positive and negative sexual experiences have been slow to adopt a cross-cultural perspective, resulting in a perspective defined by Western experiences. This cross-cultural analysis examined such attribution processes in 88 Pakistani and 187 USA women, and identified differences related to orgasmic difficulty and country-of-origin. Pakistani and USA women differed on both self-blame and relationship blame related to negative sexual outcomes, an effect intensified in Pakistani women who reported orgasmic difficulty during partnered sex. Differences are interpreted within a cultural context and underscore the importance of addressing women's sexual experiences in a more global context.
Article
Purpose: This study investigated women’s perceived causes for orgasmic difficulty during partnered sex and their relation to orgasmic pleasure. Method: From a community sample of 1843 women, we investigated 814 women’s attributions for their orgasmic difficulty during partnered sex. Frequencies of 18 attributions were generated and subsequently reduced to eight principal variables through dimension reduction. Women with and without distress were compared across these eight principal variables. These variables, along with relevant covariates, were then used to predict orgasmic pleasure through regression analysis. Results: The most frequently endorsed reasons for orgasmic difficulty were, in descending order, general stress/anxiety, arousal difficulty, sex-specific anxiety and issues with the partner. Women reporting high distress were more likely to cite partner issues and less likely to report general stress/anxiety as reasons for their difficulty. Regression analysis, however, indicated that the reasons most frequently endorsed by women were not necessarily those accounting for the greater variance in orgasmic pleasure, such reasons including inhibition/lack of interest, insufficient experience and partner-related issues. Difficulty reaching orgasm during masturbation as well as relationship satisfaction also explained differences in orgasmic pleasure. Conclusion: Women cite various reasons for orgasmic difficulty, most commonly general anxiety/stress, inadequate arousal, sex-specific stress and partner issues. Women who were distressed by their condition more frequently cited partner issues. Variance in orgasmic pleasure was most related to partner issues, sexual inhibition/lack of interest and insufficient experience. Overall, partner issues and relationship satisfaction played important roles in attributions for both orgasmic difficulty and orgasmic pleasure.
Article
Objective To investigate how orgasmic difficulty may impact women’s sexual/relationship quality depending upon their cultural origin. Method: We used a cross-sectional, multinational survey designed to assess orgasmic difficulty during partnered sex and other sexual/relationship factors in 88 Pakistani and 188 U.S. women. Results: Pakistani women reported less orgasmic difficulty than U.S. women, but those Pakistani women having orgasmic difficulty reported lower relationship satisfaction, less interest in sex, and greater difficulty becoming sexually aroused compared to U.S. respondents with orgasmic difficulty. Conclusions: The presence of orgasmic difficulty affected sexual and relationship factors more in Pakistani women than U.S. women.
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The data on the effect of the absence or presence of orgasm on the representation in the domain of self-awareness of women of sexual and emotional experience at different age stages is given. 429 women with an average age of sexual debut 18,220,12 years were surveyed anonymously. Between the ages of 18 and 24, 179 women had regularly experienced orgasm, but 37 had not. At the age of 25-60, 186 women had experienced orgasm, and 27 had not. We used the method of sampling experiences. The women noted the signs consistent with their usual experiences during “normal” intercourse. It has been established that the appearance of an orgasm before 25 years of age strengthens and reinforces psychological satisfaction, inner comfort, meeting expectations, sexual interest, intensity of reaction and acceptance of what is happening, weakens dysphoria and shame. At the age of over 25 years, appearance of an orgasm maximally stimulates sexual interest, intensity of response, acceptance of what is happening, sharpness of perception, reduces shame and weakens physical discomfort more strongly. The absence of an orgasm before the age of 25 does not have a bright negative effect. After 25 years, this, first of all, leads to a decrease in sexual interest and mood, increased shame, guilt, hopelessness, and disruption of interpersonal interaction.
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Masturbation, as a significant sexual activity within its own right, has garnered substantial interest as a research topic only within the past 10–20 years. In this in-depth analysis of masturbation in women, we examined relationships among frequencies of, reasons for, and activities during masturbation, and investigated how such parameters predict orgasmic pleasure, latency, and difficulty. Participants were 2215 women at least 18 years of age participating in a 42-item opt-in online survey that collected detailed information about women’s orgasmic response during masturbation and partnered sex. Higher frequency of masturbation was related to lower satisfaction with partner, greater importance of sex, and higher levels of general anxiety/depression. Frequency of, reasons for, and activities during masturbation predicted both orgasmic pleasure and orgasmic difficulty during masturbation. The pattern of results enabled the development of three typologies of women who differ systematically with respect to their masturbation and partnered sex behaviors.
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Studies using Western samples have found that people with sexual problems attribute negative sexual experiences more to themselves whereas those without sexual problems attribute negative sexual experiences more to external factors such as the particular situation or even the partner. While attribution patterns vary across sex, age, dysfunction status, and generations, to date no studies have investigated how they might vary across cultures. We compared attribution patterns of (presumed) heterosexual/cisgender Pakistani women with varying levels of orgasmic difficulty (OD) on hypothetical scenarios presenting either positive or negative partnered sexual outcomes, with attributions to four possible targets: self, husband, situation, and relationship. Similar to previous research using Western samples, Pakistani women with greater OD were more likely than non-OD counterparts to blame themselves and their partners for negative sexual experiences. In contrast with prior research, for Pakistani women, attributions were distributed widely across all targets, including relationship factors (e.g., compatibility and communication). Specifically, Pakistani women tied their explanations for both positive and negative sexual outcomes more strongly to assessment of their relationship with their husband. The way in which women with sexual difficulties in non-Western cultures interpret their sexual experiences suggests the need for remediation strategies sensitive to socio-sexual scripts of the culture.
Article
Introduction Female orgasmic disorder (FOD) is defined as the absence, delay, infrequency, or marked diminishment in intensity of orgasm in at least 75% of sexual experiences, persisting for at least 6 months and causing distress, has specified subtypes, and affects up to 28% of women in the United States and up to 46% in countries across Asia. Orgasmic difficulties are relatively common and create distress for a substantial number of women, though efficacious treatments exist. Objective This article provides a review of psychological treatment of FOD. Methods A literature search was conducted using PsycINFO to identify research reporting methods and outcomes of psychological treatment of FOD in peer-reviewed journals and textbooks. Search terms were female orgasmic disorder, anorgasmia, female sexual dysfunction, and orgasm. This search was supplemented with hand-searching references of review articles and journal articles. Results Psychological treatment has been shown to be effective in helping women with FOD to gain or regain the ability to have orgasms, with higher success rates overall of treating lifelong or generalized vs acquired or situational FOD. Of the variety of treatment approaches that have been tested, the most consistent support emerges for directed masturbation, sensate focus, and psychotherapy. Approaches with little evidence for efficacy as a primary mode of treatment include systematic desensitization, bibliotherapy, and coital alignment technique training. Conclusion While existing research provides a solid foundation of knowledge, treatment of FOD has seen little innovation since the 1980s. Future research should aim for broader understanding of etiologies of all types of FOD, understanding reasons for lack of treatment success for women who have not improved with treatment, and identifying ways of tailoring FOD treatment and success rates for multicultural and community populations. Erica Marchand. Psychological and Behavioral Treatment of Female Orgasmic Disorder. Sex Med Rev 2020;XX:XXX–XXX.
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Difficulty reaching orgasm during partnered sex is relatively common among women. Yet the reasons, likely multivariate, are not fully understood. This study identified perceived causes for orgasmic difficulty in 452 women during partnered sex. The most commonly-endorsed reasons were stress/anxiety, insufficient arousal, and lack of time during sex; body image, pain, inadequate lubrication, and medical/medication issues were endorsed less frequently. Distressed and non-distressed women differed on several attributions, including sexual interest, partner perceptions, stress, and adequate time during sex. These findings implicate greater internalization of attributions among distressed women compared with non-distressed women and suggest possible avenues for remediation.
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Theory and interventions for female sexual dysfunction typically emphasize the role of cognitions, including the perceived causes of impaired sexual function (causal attributions). Although causal attributions have been extensively studied in the context of mood disorders and relational distress, research in the area of sexual dysfunction has been limited. The current study explored the factor structure of women’s causal attributions regarding their impaired sexual function and the association between these attributions and multiple indicators of subjective well-being. Women in heterosexual relationships reporting current impairments in sexual function (N = 147) completed self-report scales assessing 13 distinct causal attributions, sexual function, and subjective well-being. Results suggested moderately reliable patterns of attributions regarding responsibility (e.g., self vs. partner), specificity to sexual activity, and the degree to which women could effectively address the causes of their difficulties. Beliefs that impaired sexual function was the fault of one’s self or one’s partner, caused by wider issues in the relationship, and difficult to effectively address were generally associated with lower well-being over and above severity of functional impairment. These findings support multiple theories of sexual dysfunction, and highlight the potential importance of cognitive factors in understanding and treating female sexual dysfunction.
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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.
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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.
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This investigation examined attributions for sexual dysfunctions made by 63 individuals and 21 of their partners who presented at a sex therapy service for the following problems: erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and female orgasmic dysfunctions. All participants completed measures of marital adjustment, locus of control, depression and a questionnaire which assessed: attributions of responsibility for the sexual problem, perceived control over sexual functioning, distress, effort made to improve the sexual relationship, and expectations about the efficacy of sex therapy for the problem. Results indicate that both identified patients and their partners, regardless of the dysfunction, blamed the sexual problem on the "dysfunctional individual" rather than on the circumstances or the partner. With respect to the partners, husbands of women with orgasmic dysfunction were more likely to blame themselves than the circumstances, while the opposite was true for wives of males with erectile difficulties. Individuals experiencing the dysfunction perceived themselves and their partners as having little, but equal control over the identified patient's sexuality. Correlational analyses indicate that in identified patients, the better the quality of the marital relationship, the greater the self-blame and the lower the partner blame. Those with happy marriages also made greater efforts to improve their sexual relationship and had higher expectations of success with therapy. The implications of the results for research on the role of attributions in sexual dysfunction and for assessment of cognitive factors in sexually dysfunctional individuals and their partners is discussed.
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This article presents the development of a brief, self-report measure of female sexual function. Initial face validity testing of questionnaire items, identified by an expert panel, was followed by a study aimed at further refining the questionnaire. It was administered to 131 normal controls and 128 age-matched subjects with female sexual arousal disorder (FSAD) at five research centers. Based on clinical interpretations of a principal components analysis, a 6-domain structure was identified, which included desire, subjective arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain. Overall test-retest reliability coefficients were high for each of the individual domains (r = 0.79 to 0.86) and a high degree of internal consistency was observed (Cronbach's alpha values of 0.82 and higher) Good construct validity was demonstrated by highly significant mean difference scores between the FSAD and control groups for each of the domains (p < or = 0.001). Additionally, divergent validity with a scale of marital satisfaction was observed. These results support the reliability and psychometric (as well as clinical) validity of the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) in the assessment of key dimensions of female sexual function in clinical and nonclinical samples. Our findings also suggest important gender differences in the patterning of female sexual function in comparison with similar questionnaire studies in males.
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In light of various shortcomings of the traditional nosology of women's sexual disorders for both clinical practice and research, an international multi-disciplinary group has reviewed the evidence for traditional assumptions about women's sexual response. It is apparent that fullfilment of sexual desire is an uncommon reason/incentive for sexual activity for many women and, in fact, sexual desire is frequently experienced only after sexual stimuli have elicited subjective sexual arousal. The latter is often poorly correlated with genital vasocongestion. Complaints of lack of subjective arousal despite apparently normal genital vasocongestion are common. Based on the review of existing evidence-based research, many modifications to the definitions of women's sexual dysfunctions are recommended. There is a new definition of sexual interest/desire disorder, sexual arousal disorders are separated into genital and subjective subtypes and the recently recognized condition of persistent sexual arousal is included. The definition of dyspareunia reflects the possibility of the pain precluding intercourse. The anticipation and fear of pain characteristic of vaginismus is noted while the assumed muscular spasm is omitted given the lack of evidence. Finally, a recommendation is made that all diagnoses be accompanied by descriptors relating to associated contextual factors and to the degree of distress.
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This study reports on genetic and environmental influences on the frequency of orgasm in women during sexual intercourse, during other sexual contact with a partner, and during masturbation. Participants were drawn from the Australian Twin Registry, and recruited from a large, partly longitudinal twin-family study. Three thousand and eighty women responded to the anonymous self-report questionnaire, including 667 complete monozygotic (MZ) pairs and 377 complete dizygotic (DZ) same-sex pairs, 366 women from complete DZ opposite-sex pairs, and 626 women whose co-twins did not participate. Significant twin correlations were found for both MZ and DZ twin pairs for all three items of interest. Age effects were statistically significant for some items. Models incorporating additive genetic, shared and nonshared environmental influences provided the best fit for Items 1 and 3, while a model with additive and nonadditive genetic influences along with nonshared environment fitted the data from Item 2. While an independent pathway model fits the data most par-simoniously, a common pathway model incorporating additive genetic (A), shared environment (C), and unique environment (E) effects cannot be ruled out. Overall, genetic influences account for approximately 31% of the variance of frequency of orgasm during sexual intercourse, 37% of the variance of frequency of orgasm during sexual contact other than during intercourse, and 51% of the variance of frequency of orgasm during masturbation. Following Baker (1996), we speculate that this additive genetic variance might arise from frequency-dependent selection for a variety of female sexual strategies.
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Orgasm is a sensation of intense pleasure creating an altered consciousness state accompanied by pelvic striated circumvaginal musculature and uterine/anal contractions and myotonia that resolves sexually-induced vasocongestion and induces well-being/contentment. In 1,749 randomly-sampled U.S. women, 24% reported an orgasmic dysfunction. To provide recommendations/guidelines concerning state-of-the-art knowledge for management of orgasmic disorders in women. An International Consultation in collaboration with the major urology and sexual medicine associations assembled over 200 multidisciplinary experts from 60 countries into 17 committees. Committee members established specific objectives and scopes for various male and female sexual medicine topics. The recommendations concerning state-of-the-art knowledge in the respective sexual medicine topic represent the opinion of experts from five continents developed in a process over a 2-year period. Concerning the Disorders of Orgasm in Women Committee, there were four experts from two countries. Expert opinion was based on grading of evidence-based medical literature, widespread internal committee discussion, public presentation and debate. Female Orgasmic Disorder, the second most frequently reported women's sexual problem is considered to be the persistent or recurrent delay in, or absence of, orgasm following a normal sexual excitement phase that causes marked distress or interpersonal difficulty (DSM-IV). Empirical treatment outcome research is available for cognitive behavioral and pharmacological approaches. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for anorgasmia promotes attitude and sexually-relevant thought changes and anxiety reduction using behavioral exercises such as directed masturbation, sensate focus, and systematic desensitization treatments as well as sex education, communication skills training, and Kegel exercises. To date there are no pharmacological agents trials (i.e., bupropion, granisetron, and sildenafil) proven to be beneficial beyond placebo in enhancing orgasmic function in women diagnosed with Female Orgasmic Disorder. More research is needed in understanding management of women with orgasmic dysfunction.
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Do negative cognitive styles provide similar vulnerability to first onsets versus recurrences of depressive disorders, and are these associations specific to depression? The authors followed for 2.5 years prospectively college freshmen (N = 347) with no initial psychiatric disorders at high-risk (HR) versus low-risk (LR) for depression on the basis of their cognitive styles. HR participants had odds of major, minor, and hopelessness depression that were 3.5-6.8 times greater than the odds for LR individuals. Negative cognitive styles were similarly predictive of first onsets and recurrences of major depression and hopelessness depression but predicted first onsets of minor depression more strongly than recurrences. The risk groups did not differ in incidence of anxiety disorders not comorbid with depression or other disorders, but HR participants were more likely to have an onset of anxiety comorbid with depression.
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The relationship between automatic thoughts and emotions presented during sexual activity and their correlation with sexual arousal was investigated. A total of 491 individuals (163 women and 232 men without sexual problems and 47 women and 49 men with a DSM-IV diagnosis of sexual dysfunction) completed the Sexual Modes Questionnaire (SMQ; Nobre and Pinto-Gouveia, Journal of Sex Research, 40, 368-382, 2003). Results indicated several significant correlations among automatic thoughts, emotions, and sexual arousal. Erection concern thoughts in the men and failure/disengagement thoughts and lack of erotic thoughts in the women presented the most significant negative correlations with sexual arousal. Additionally, sadness and disillusion were positively related to these negative cognitions and negatively associated with sexual arousal in both sexes. On the other hand, pleasure and satisfaction were negatively associated with the above-mentioned negative cognitions and positively associated with subjective sexual arousal in both men and women. Overall, findings support the hypothesis that cognitive, emotional, and behavioral dimensions are closely linked and suggest a mode typical of sexual dysfunction composed of negative automatic thoughts, depressive affect, and low subjective sexual arousal.
Article
Introduction The increasing prevalence of obesity represents a major public health problem, with can effect on physical and emotional well-being and psychosocial function. Somatic and psychological dysfunctions, such as infertility, osteoarthritis, social disabilities caused by stigmatization, sleeping problems or apnea, are also known to follow obesity. Sexual dysfunction (SD) may also be related to obesity, but is rarely mentioned, and may cause concern for the affected individual and partner, constituting a great problem. Objectives The aim of this study was to identify the frequency of SD among obese women. Methods Our study concerned 42 obese married women consulting in endocrinology department. Obesity was defined by body mass index (BMI) ≥30. All participants assessed a sociodemographic data and the “Female Sexual Function Index” (FSFI). FSFI is a 19-item multidimensional self-reporting measure that quantifies six domains of female sexual dysfunction (FSD), including desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain. Score ≤26 indicate the presence of FSD. Results The mean age was 33.6 years (20 → 47 years). The mean total score of FSFI was 22.5 (3.2 → 32.6). The percentage of SD among obese women was 68.2%. FSFI score was correlated to ancient obesity (P = 0.026; r = 0.347) and waist circumference (P = 0.007; r = 0.412). High socio-economic level was correlated to desire and satisfaction (P = 0.021 and P = 0.048 respectively). Women with high educational level have better blurbification (P = 0.005). FSFI score was not correlated to BMI or obesity class. Conclusion Almost two-thirds of obese women have sexual dysfunctions. Women with ancient obesity and higher waist circumference seemed to have better sexual functions.
Article
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.
Article
Introduction: Women's primary issue with the orgasmic phase is usually difficulty reaching orgasm. Aims: To identify predictors of orgasmic difficulty in women within the context of a partnered sexual experience; to assess the relation between orgasmic difficulty and self-reported levels of sexual desire or interest and arousal in women; and to assess the interrelations among three dimensions of orgasmic response during partnered sex: self-reported time to reach orgasm, general difficulty or ease of reaching orgasm, and level of distress or concern. Methods: Drawing from a community-based sample using the Internet, 866 women were queried on a 26-item survey regarding their difficulty reaching orgasm during partnered sex. Four hundred sixteen women who indicated difficulty also responded to items assessing arousal and desire difficulties, level of distress about their condition, and their estimated time to reach orgasm. Main outcome measures: Answers to a 26-item survey on surveyed women's difficulty reaching orgasm during partnered sex. Results: Age, arousal difficulty, and lubrication difficulty predicted difficulty reaching orgasm in the overall sample. In the subsample of women reporting difficulty, approximately half reported issues with arousal. Women with arousal problems reported greater difficulty reaching orgasm but did not differ from those without arousal problems on measurements of orgasm latency or levels of distress. Slightly more than half the women experiencing difficulty reaching orgasm were distressed by their condition; distressed women reported greater difficulty reaching orgasm and longer latencies to orgasm than non-distressed counterparts. They also reported lower satisfaction with their sexual relationship. Conclusion: This study indicates the importance of assessing multiple parameters when investigating orgasmic problems in women, including arousal issues, levels of distress, and latency to orgasm. Results also clarify that women with arousal problems do not differ substantially from those without arousal problems; in contrast, women distressed by their condition differ from non-distressed women along some critical dimensions. Although orgasmic problems decreased with age, the overall relation of this variable to distress, arousal, and latency to orgasm was essentially unchanged across age groups.
Article
Introduction: Psychological, interpersonal, and sociocultural factors play a significant role in making one vulnerable to developing a sexual concern, in triggering the onset of a sexual difficulty, and in maintaining sexual dysfunction in the long term. Aim: To focus on psychological and interpersonal aspects of sexual functioning in women and men after a critical review of the literature from 2010 to the present. Methods: This report is part 1 of 2 of our collaborative work during the 2015 International Consultation on Sexual Medicine for Committee 2. Main outcome measures: Systematic review of the literature with a focus on publications since 2010. Results: Our work as sexual medicine clinicians is essentially transdisciplinary, which involves not only the collaboration of multidisciplinary professionals but also the integration and application of new knowledge and evaluation and subsequent revision of our practices to ensure the highest level of care provided. There is scant literature on gender non-conforming children and adolescents to clarify specific developmental factors that shape the development of gender identity, orientation, and sexuality. Conversely, studies consistently have demonstrated the interdependence of sexual function between partners, with dysfunction in one partner often contributing to problems in sexual functioning and/or sexual satisfaction for the other. We recommend that clinicians explore attachment styles of patients, childhood experiences (including sexual abuse), onset of sexual activity, personality, cognitive schemas, infertility concerns, and sexual expectations. Assessment of depression, anxiety, stress, substance use and post-traumatic stress (and their medical treatments) should be carried out as part of the initial evaluation. Clinicians should attempt to ascertain whether the anxiety and/or depression is a consequence or a cause of the sexual complaint, and treatment should be administered accordingly. Cognitive distraction is a significant contributor to sexual response problems in men and women and is observed more consistently for genital arousal than for subjective arousal. Assessment of physical and mental illnesses that commonly occur in later life should be included as part of the initial evaluation in middle-aged and older persons presenting with sexual complaints. Menopausal status has an independent effect on reported changes in sex life and difficulties with intercourse. There is strong support for the use of psychological treatment for sexual desire and orgasm difficulties in women (but not in men). Combination therapies should be provided to men, whenever possible. Conclusion: Overall, research strongly supports the routine clinical investigation of psychological factors, partner-related factors, context, and life stressors. A biopsychosocial model to understand how these factors predispose to sexual dysfunction is recommended.
Chapter
Web-based surveys have become increasingly popular with researchers. Unfortunately, they are subject to the same response rate issues that plague traditional surveys. This entry briefly reviews some of the theories about why individuals elect or decline to participate in surveys. It then discusses methods that might be considered when a researcher is thinking about how to improve survey responses. The methods are divided into two categories: the first category includes methods adapted from traditional mail surveys such as using incentives, pre-notifications, survey invitations, and reminders. The second category includes methods specific to Web-based surveys, including Web-based survey design and confidentiality issues.
Article
Previous research indicates that individuals with sexual problems are more likely to attribute negative sexual experiences to themselves, in contrast with sexually functional individuals who attribute negative experiences to external factors such as their partner, circumstance, or relationship. Both men with erectile dysfunction (ED) and men with premature ejaculation (PE) show such patterns, as demonstrated through separate studies. In this analysis of 1249 men responding to an online survey posted on the Internet, we undertook a head-to-head comparison of men with ED and PE problems to determine whether their attribution patterns, though clearly different from functional men, were also different from one another. We also compared men with combined PE and ED to men with just PE to ascertain whether patterns of self-blame in these men were greater. Results indicate that men with PE accepted a higher level of self-blame than men with ED for negative sexual experiences. Men with both PE and ED exhibited slightly stronger attribution patterns of self-blame. These results point out similarities and differences in attribution styles across men with various sexual problems, indicate that men with sexual problems may be vulnerable to self-fulfilling prophecies regarding any negative sexual experience, and suggest focal points for therapeutic strategies in helping such men to overcome negative self-perceptions.
Article
Introduction Mental illness has a large effect on sexual function and the expression of sexuality. Many studies have illustrated that sexual dysfunction is significantly associated with depression. Objectifs Assess the quality of sexual response in a population of depressed women. Search factors associated with impaired sexual function. Aims Investigate the degree of correlation between sexual dysfunction and depression. Methodes Analytical and descriptive Study involving 30 sexually active women seen for the first time at the Razi hospital. They presents a first major depressive episode according to DSM IV. Exclusion criteria were the presence of psychotic symptoms, the use of antidepressants in the last three months and inflammatory or neoplastic comorbidity. The severity of depression was assessed by the Beck Depression Scale. The evaluation of sexuality was made ??by Aziona sexual experience scale Results The middle-age was 37 years, 80% were married. Depression was severe in 60% of cases and the average time of care was 3.7 months. Sexual function was altered in 70% of cases with a positive correlation between the severity of depression, the depressive episode duration, and the sexual dysfunction. Sexual desire was the most affected by depression, distorted in more than half of patients. Sexual arousal and vaginal lubrication were also altered in respectively 40% and 36.7% of cases, while orgasm and satisfaction with orgasm were more conserved. Conclusion Taking into account the dimension of sexuality is important in the management of a depressive episode. Early treatment is a protective factor from sexual dysfunction in depressed women.
Article
With few exceptions, much of sexual science builds upon data from opportunistic nonprobability samples of limited generalizability. Although probability-based studies are considered the gold standard in terms of generalizability, they are costly to apply to many of the hard-to-reach populations of interest to sexologists. The present article discusses recent conclusions by sampling experts that have relevance to sexual science that advocates for nonprobability methods. In this regard, we provide an overview of Internet sampling as a useful, cost-efficient, nonprobability sampling method of value to sex researchers conducting modeling work or clinical trials. We also argue that probability-based sampling methods may be more readily applied in sex research with hard-to-reach populations than is typically thought. In this context, we provide three case studies that utilize qualitative and quantitative techniques directed at reducing limitations in applying probability-based sampling to hard-to-reach populations: indigenous Peruvians, African American youth, and urban men who have sex with men (MSM). Recommendations are made with regard to presampling studies, adaptive and disproportionate sampling methods, and strategies that may be utilized in evaluating nonprobability and probability-based sampling methods.
Article
While self-efficacy has been widely used to explain and treat various biobehavioral responses, few investigations have examined this concept in the context of sexual response and dysfunction. In this study, the authors constructed a measure of sexual self-efficacy, investigated whether it differentiated men with and without sexual dysfunction, and determined the utility of this construct by exploring its relation to other variables known to be related to erectile dysfunction in a sample of 60 men with erectile dysfunction and 14 functional men visiting a urology clinic. The sexual self-efficacy index differentiated men with and without erectile dysfunction, and general linear modeling showed that the index did indeed relate to other variables known to affect sexual and emotional response during a partnered sexual experience. These findings suggest that, as a unifying construct that predicts cognitive, affective, motivational, and behavioral responses, sexual self-efficacy has the potential to play an important role in the assessment of effective treatments for sexual problems.
Article
This study examined how the sex of a participant could moderate the elicitation of shame and guilt. Four hundred ninety students (107 men and 383 women) between the age of 17 and 20 (M=18.66, SD=.80) volunteered to participate. Moderated multiple regression analyses indicated an interaction effect between sex and external attribution with men likely to attribute experienced guilt to external stable causes while both sexes experienced more guilt when they attributed the cause of an event to external, unstable causes. External attributional styles may therefore be responsible for the differences in the experience of guilt in men and women. These results emphasize the importance of contextual appraisal in the elicitation of guilt.
Article
In a study of female orgasmic functioning, hypotheses derived from Weiner's (1974) achievement‐motivation model of attribution theory were contrasted with those from a model of self‐serving attributional bias. A 40‐item Sexual Behavior Questionnaire that elicited expectations and causal attributions for orgasmic and nonorgasmic coital outcomes was administered to 87 women. Predictions that (a) unexpected orgasmic outcomes will be attributed to unstable causes, (b) expectancy for future outcomes will depend on the stability of attributions made for previous outcomes, and (c) attributions for coital outcomes will be consistent with previous personal history were confirmed for high, but not low orgasmic consistency women (all ps < .05). High consistency women used a typically masculine strategy, attributing success to stable, internal causes and failure to unstable, external causes. Low consistency women, on the other hand, did not make attributions consistent with their previous history. They employed a self‐handicapping strategy by blaming themselves for failure and not taking credit for success. These results, consistent with previous attributional literature, suggest that modifications need to be made in Weiner's model as it is extended to this clinical area.
Article
• As the title suggests, this book examines the psychology of interpersonal relations. In the context of this book, the term "interpersonal relations" denotes relations between a few, usually between two, people. How one person thinks and feels about another person, how he perceives him and what he does to him, what he expects him to do or think, how he reacts to the actions of the other--these are some of the phenomena that will be treated. Our concern will be with "surface" matters, the events that occur in everyday life on a conscious level, rather than with the unconscious processes studied by psychoanalysis in "depth" psychology. These intuitively understood and "obvious" human relations can, as we shall see, be just as challenging and psychologically significant as the deeper and stranger phenomena. The discussion will center on the person as the basic unit to be investigated. That is to say, the two-person group and its properties as a superindividual unit will not be the focus of attention. Of course, in dealing with the person as a member of a dyad, he cannot be described as a lone subject in an impersonal environment, but must be represented as standing in relation to and interacting with another person. The chapter topics included in this book include: Perceiving the Other Person; The Other Person as Perceiver; The Naive Analysis of Action; Desire and Pleasure; Environmental Effects; Sentiment; Ought and Value; Request and Command; Benefit and Harm; and Reaction to the Lot of the Other Person. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved) • As the title suggests, this book examines the psychology of interpersonal relations. In the context of this book, the term "interpersonal relations" denotes relations between a few, usually between two, people. How one person thinks and feels about another person, how he perceives him and what he does to him, what he expects him to do or think, how he reacts to the actions of the other--these are some of the phenomena that will be treated. Our concern will be with "surface" matters, the events that occur in everyday life on a conscious level, rather than with the unconscious processes studied by psychoanalysis in "depth" psychology. These intuitively understood and "obvious" human relations can, as we shall see, be just as challenging and psychologically significant as the deeper and stranger phenomena. The discussion will center on the person as the basic unit to be investigated. That is to say, the two-person group and its properties as a superindividual unit will not be the focus of attention. Of course, in dealing with the person as a member of a dyad, he cannot be described as a lone subject in an impersonal environment, but must be represented as standing in relation to and interacting with another person. The chapter topics included in this book include: Perceiving the Other Person; The Other Person as Perceiver; The Naive Analysis of Action; Desire and Pleasure; Environmental Effects; Sentiment; Ought and Value; Request and Command; Benefit and Harm; and Reaction to the Lot of the Other Person. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Presents a summary and synthesis of the author's work on attribution theory concerning the mechanisms involved in the process of causal explanations. The attribution theory is related to studies of social perception, self-perception, and psychological epistemology. Two systematic statements of attribution theory are described, discussed, and illustrated with empirical data: the covariation and the configuration concepts. Some problems for attribution theory are considered, including the interplay between preconceptions and new information, simple vs. complex schemata, attribution of covariation among causes, and illusions in attributions. The role of attribution in decision making and behavior is discussed. (56 ref.) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The articles included in the special series in this issue of Developmental Psychology demonstrate that perceived self-efficacy for memory functioning is an important facet of metamemory. Self-beliefs of efficacy can enhance or impair performance through their effects on cognitive, affective, or motivational intervening processes. This commentary addresses a number of issues concerning the extension of self-efficacy theory to memory functioning. These include the following: the multidimensionality and measurement of perceived memory capabilities; the veridicality of memory self-appraisal; the efficacious exercise of personal control over memory functioning; the psychosocial processes by which people preserve a favorable sense of memory self-efficacy over the life span; and strategies for generalizing the impact of training in memory skills. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Argues that the variety of ways in which cognitive processes in depression have been conceptualized warrant the presentation of 6 models. The cross-sectional model states that the systematic negativity that pervades the cognitive processes is a necessary (but not sufficient) component of depression. The structural model stipulates that certain negatively biased schemas become hypervalent in depression and produce a systematic bias in the abstraction and interpretation of data. The stressor-vulnerability model stipulates that specific patterns of schemas make a person sensitive to specific stressors. The reciprocal-interaction model focuses on interaction with key figures. The psychobiological model integrates cognitive processes and biological processes as different sides of the same coin. The evolutionary model views depression as an atavistic mechanism or program that may have been adaptational in a prehistoric environment but is not adaptive in our current milieu. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Examines the empirical evidence related to the notion of self-serving biases in causal attributions. D. T. Miller and M. Ross's (see record 1975-21041-001) reinterpretations of data that presumably reflect bias are discussed. The studies reviewed show relatively strong support for the causal asymmetry generally cited as evidence for self-serving, or defensive, attributions. Futhermore, a broadened self-serving bias formulation is presented, which suggests that under certain conditions, esteem needs may be best served by making counterdefensive attributions. Conditions that may be expected to elicit defensive or counterdefensive attributions are delineated. (46 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Study Type – Therapy (qualitative) Level of Evidence 4 What's known on the subject? and What does the study add? Sexually dysfunctional men report higher negative affect and lower positive affect than sexually functional men. Furthermore, men with sexual problems tend to make internal, self-blaming, attributions for negative sexual events, which can result in a diminished sense of self-efficacy and cause men to expect similar negative outcomes across future sexual situations. This pattern may sustain and actually intensify the sexual problem. This study shows that causal attributions for dysfunctional response influence emotional response to a partnered sexual situation. Specifically, sexually dysfunctional men who attribute their problem to a medical condition do better emotionally than those who attribute the problem to unknown or psychological factors – and this attribution process is a more powerful and reliable predictor of emotional response than the man's actual diagnosed somatic risk for a sexual problem. Furthermore, the study strongly suggests that those men who attribute their problem to a physical/medical issue are able to ‘externalize’ it – needing to assume less responsibility for and/or control over it, thereby reducing their psychological burden. These findings indicate not only that communication between physician and patient regarding the aetiology of a sexual problem may be critically important but also that, at least for some patients, pharmacological treatment should be combined with strategies that promote the development of internal positive self-serving attributions surrounding sexual activity.
Article
Two studies investigated sex differences in attributions about sexual experiences. Subjects were asked to provide causal explanations for satisfying and unsatisfying past experiences. Men were expected to display a greater self-serving bias than women. This hypothesis was supported for unsatisfying but not for satisfying experiences. In both experiments, males were found to blame their partners more for unsatisfying experiences than females. Males used self-serving attributions, assigning more responsibility to the partner than to themselves (Experiment I), whereas women displayed self-derogatory attributions, attributing negative outcomes more to themselves than to their partners (Experiment II). Furthermore, self-derogatory attribution patterns were correlated with unsatisfactory sexual histories in women but not in men. Implications for the treatment of sexual dysfunctions via reattribution training are discussed.
Article
To estimate frequencies of behaviors not carried out in public view, researchers generally must rely on self-report data. We explored 2 factors expected to influence the decision to reveal: (a) privacy (anonymity vs. confidentiality) and (b) normalization (providing information so that a behavior is reputedly commonplace or rare). We administered a questionnaire to I55 undergraduates. For 79 respondents, we had corroborative information regarding a negative behavior: cheating. The privacy variable had an enormous impact; of those who had cheated, 25% acknowledged having done so under confidentiality, but 74% admitted the behavior under anonymity. Normalization had no effect. There were also dramatic differences between anonymity and confidentiality on some of our other questions, for which we did not have validation.
Article
This study investigated the relation between general relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction by seeking to identify which aspects of one's relationship would predict attributions made about sexual experiences. Subjects were 233 male and female graduate and undergraduate students who were asked to rate the extent to which self, partner, situational, and relationship factors were causes for sexually satisfying and unsatisfying experiences. General relationship satisfaction, phase of relationship involvement, depth of sexual involvement, importance of sexual satisfaction to overall relationship contentment, sexual history, and gender were variables entered into multiple regression analysis to identify the best fit model predicting causal attributions to each dimension. Findings revealed that relationship satisfaction and gender appeared to contribute to a reliable best fit model which predicted attributions to the sexual relationship for satisfying sexual outcomes. Sexual history was a strong predictor variable, occurring in the best fit models for all but two attribution dimensions; other relationship variables were not strong contributors to predictive models. Finally, the inclusion of an interpersonal attributional dimension, the relationship, appeared to be highly relevant when persons identified explanations for their sexual experience outcomes. Implications of the findings and suggestions for further research are discussed.
Article
Accurate estimates of prevalence/incidence are important in understanding the true burden of male and female sexual dysfunction and in identifying risk factors for prevention efforts. This is the summary of the report by the International Consultation Committee for Sexual Medicine on Definitions/Epidemiology/Risk Factors for Sexual Dysfunction. The main aim of this article is to provide a general overview of the definitions of sexual dysfunction for men and women, the incidence and prevalence rates, and a description of the risk factors identified in large population-based studies. Literature regarding definitions, descriptive and analytical epidemiology of sexual dysfunction in men and women were selected using evidence-based criteria. For descriptive epidemiological studies, a Prins score of 10 or higher was utilized to identify population-based studies with adequately stringent criteria. This report represents the opinions of eight experts from five countries developed in a consensus process and encompassing a detailed literature review over a 2-year period. The study aims to provide state-of-the-art prevalence and incidence rates reported for each dysfunction and stratified by age and gender. Expert opinion was based on the grading of evidence-based medical literature, widespread internal committee discussion, public presentation, and debate. A wealth of information is presented on erectile dysfunction, its development through time, and its correlates. The field is still in need of more epidemiological studies on the other men's sexual dysfunction and on all women's sexual dysfunctions. A review of the currently available evidence from epidemiological studies is provided.
Article
There are limited outcome data on the etiology and efficacy of psychological interventions for male and female sexual dysfunction as well as the role of innovative combined treatment paradigms. This study aimed to highlight the salient psychological and interpersonal issues contributing to sexual health and dysfunction, to offer an etiological model for understanding the evolution and maintenance of sexual symptoms, and to offer recommendations for clinical management and research. This study reviewed the current literature on the psychological and interpersonal issues contributing to male and female sexual dysfunction. This study provides expert opinion based on a comprehensive review of the medical and psychological literature, widespread internal committee discussion, public presentation, and debate. Medical and psychological therapies for sexual dysfunctions should address the intricate biopsychosocial influences of the patient, the partner, and the couple. The biopsychosocial model provides an integrated paradigm for understanding and treating sexual dysfunction. There is need for collaboration between healthcare practitioners from different disciplines in the evaluation, treatment, and education issues surrounding sexual dysfunction. In many cases, neither psychotherapy alone nor medical intervention alone is sufficient for the lasting resolution of sexual problems. The assessment of male, female, and couples' sexual dysfunction should ideally include inquiry about predisposing, precipitating, maintaining, and contextual factors. Research is needed to identify efficacious combined and/or integrated treatments for sexual dysfunction.
Article
The relationships between responsibility attributions, etiological attributions (psychogenically versus biogenically caused), and marital adjustment were explored in 30 erectile dysfunction patients and their partners via the Attributions Regarding Sexual Dysfunction Questionnaire and the Dyadic Adjustment Scale. Exploration of responsibility attributions yielded a consistent pattern of blaming the identified patient. This pattern is discussed in terms of two perspectives in attributional theory: the "self-serving bias" and the "just world" hypothesis. Etiological attributions were not relevant to actual diagnosis, marital adjustment, choice of treatment professional, or expectations for treatment outcome. Partner agreement regarding etiology was not related to actual cause or marital adjustment.
Article
An unprecedented number of human sexuality studies have been initiated in response to the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic. Unfortunately, methodological developments in the field of sex research have been slow in meeting the demands of AIDS investigations focusing on the diverse populations at risk for infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (e.g., adolescents, gay men, intravenous-drug users, ethnic minorities, elderly transfusees). In this article, we review and integrate current literature on measurement error and participation bias in sex research, with an emphasis on collecting sexual information in the context of AIDS. The relevance of these findings for AIDS-related sex research is discussed, and recommendations are made to guide future investigations.
Article
Excuse making is defined here as the process of shifting causal attributions for negative personal outcomes from sources that are relatively more central to the person's sense of self to sources that are relatively less central, thereby resulting in perceived benefits to the person's image and sense of control. This definition is used to examine the image- and control-related effects of excuse making on the variables of emotional states (self-esteem, anxiety, depression), health, and performance. Generally, excuse making appears to have positive benefits for the excuse giver. The sequence of events whereby excuses work to maintain the individual's image and sense of control at the personal and interpersonal levels is also analyzed. Finally, excuse making is placed in the context of a larger reality-negotiation process that rests on the maintenance of adaptive illusions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Recent research findings have implicated, in a preliminary manner, five factors that seem to differentiate sexually functional subjects from sexually dysfunctional subjects suffering from inhibited sexual excitement. These factors include differences in affect during sexual stimulation, differences in self-reports of sexual arousal and perception of control over arousal, distractibility during sexual stimulation, and differential sexual responding while anxious. These findings suggest a working model of sexual dysfunction that is based on cognitive interference and anxiety. Implications of this model for the treatment of sexual dysfunction are suggested.
Article
The relationship between patients' causal attributions for pain and biopsychosocial measures was investigated in a sample of 100 women with dyspareunia. Independently of findings from the gynecological examinations, causal attributions were related to adjustment. More specifically, the women who made psychosocial attributions reported higher pain scores, higher levels of psychological distress, lower levels of marital adjustment, more problems with sexual function, and more frequent reports of sexual assault. The relationship between psychosocial causal attributions for pain and psychosocial distress may be clinically useful in the multidisciplinary treatment of this and other pain disorders, regardless of actual physical pathology.
Article
Emotions presumably play an important role in sexual response and dysfunction in men. Yet, few studies have investigated differences in affect between sexually dysfunctional and functional men or changes in dysfunctional men resulting from successful treatment. We compared men having premature ejaculation (PE) with sexually functional counterparts on positive and negative affects, and examined changes in their affective response to pharmacotherapeutic treatment with clomipramine, an ejaculation-retarding agent. Results indicated higher levels of specific negative affects in PE men than controls. Positive affect also differed among groups, and showed variation in response to erotic stimulation and drug treatment. When specific positive affects were analyzed, they diverged in their response to stimulus and drug manipulations. For example, all groups exhibited a decrease in arousal/sensual during clomipramine treatment, but only PE men who responded positively to pharmacological treatment exhibited significant elevation in their enjoyment of the sexual experience. The fact that alleviation of the dysfunction improved positive affect in PE men responsive to clomipramine argues for the efficacy of pharmacotherapy in promoting positive emotional experiences associated with sexual response. But the failure of negative affects to approximate the low levels typical of sexually functional men also suggests the need to consider nonpharmacological methods to ensure complete reinstatement of healthy sexual response.
Article
This study investigated the attributional styles of men with and without sexual dysfunction for both positive and negative sexual and general events using a sex-specific version of the Attributional Style Questionnaire (Sex-ASQ), and ascertained the preliminary psychometric properties of the measure. The Sex-ASQ was created by embedding 8 hypothetical sexual events (4 positive, 4 negative) among the original 12 events in the Attributional Style Questionnaire (ASQ; C. Peterson, A. Semmel, C. von Baeyer, L. Y. Abramson, G. I. Metalsky, & M. E. Seligman, 1982). The Sex-ASQ was completed by 21 men with a principal DSM-IV diagnosis of Male Erectile Disorder (MED) and 32 male control participants. The psychometrics of the Sex-ASQ were satisfactory, but with the positive sexual event scales found to be less stable and internally consistent than the negative sexual event scales. Reasons for modest reliability of the positive event scales are discussed in terms of the original ASQ. As expected, men with MED did not differ significantly from men without sexual dysfunction in their causal attributions for general events, indicating that both groups exhibited an optimistic attributional style in general. Also as predicted, men with MED made more internal and stable causal attributions for negative sexual events than men without sexual dysfunction, and also rated negative sexual events as more important. For positive sexual events, the 2 groups did not differ in attributional style, with both groups making more external/unstable/specific causal attributions than for positive general events. Differences between explanatory style for sexual versus nonsexual events found in both sexually functional and dysfunctional men lend support for explanatory style models that propose both cross-situational consistency and situational specificity.
Article
Women report anorgasmia and other difficulties achieving orgasm. One approach to alleviating this problem is to teach women about the clitoris. This assumes that women lack information about the clitoris and that knowledge about the clitoris is correlated with orgasm. Using a non-random sample of 833 undergraduate students, our study investigates both assumptions. First, we test the amount of knowledge about the clitoris, the reported sources of this knowledge, and the correlation between citing a source and actual knowledge. Second, we measure the correlation between clitoral knowledge and orgasm in both masturbation and partnered sex. Among a sample of undergraduate students, the most frequently cited sources of clitoral knowledge (school and friends) were associated with the least amount of tested knowledge. The source most likely to correlate with clitoral knowledge (self-exploration) was among the most rarely cited. Despite this, respondents correctly answered, on average, three of the five clitoral knowledge measures. Knowledge correlated significantly with the frequency of women's orgasm in masturbation but not partnered sex. Our results are discussed in light of gender inequality and a social construction of sexuality, endorsed by both men and women, that privileges men's sexual pleasure over women's, such that orgasm for women is pleasing, but ultimately incidental.