Article

The Significance of the Female Orgasm: A Nationally Representative, Dyadic Study of Newlyweds' Orgasm Experience

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Abstract

Background: Self-reported orgasm, perception of partner's orgasm, and misperception of partner's orgasm have each been correlated with individual sexual and relationship satisfaction, but these associations have rarely included dyadic data, have not fully accounted for potentially confounding variables such as sexual communication, and have never been simultaneously studied with a nationally representative sample. Aim: To provide a more complete picture of how the orgasmic experience within the heterosexual couple influences individual and partner sexual and relationship satisfaction. Methods: Using a nationally representative dyadic sample of 1,683 newlywed heterosexual couples, a structural equation model was estimated to test associations between husband and wife self-reported orgasm frequency, husband and wife report of the other partner's orgasm frequency, and husband and wife misperception of their partner's orgasm frequency, as correlates of relationship and sexual satisfaction. Outcomes: Both husband and wife completed the Couples Satisfaction Index to assess their own relationship satisfaction, and completed a sexual satisfaction instrument designed for the CREATE study. Results: 87% of husbands and 49% of wives reported consistently experiencing orgasm. 43% of husbands misperceived how often their wives experienced orgasm. The final structural equation model, including sexual communication, explained moderate amounts of variance in wives' and husbands' relationship satisfaction, and a high level of variance for wives' and husbands' sexual satisfaction. Wives' relationship satisfaction was positively associated with wives' and husbands' sexual communication. Wives' sexual satisfaction was positively associated with self-reported orgasm frequency, and both wives' and husbands' sexual communication. Husbands' relationship satisfaction was positively associated with husbands' and wives' sexual communication. Husbands' sexual satisfaction was positively associated with husbands' perception of wives' orgasm frequency, and both husbands' and wives' sexual communication. Clinical translation: When counseling couples, clinicians should give particular attention to the wife's orgasm experiences, to potentially help both husbands and wives have higher sexual satisfaction. Strengths & limitations: Strengths of this study include the use of a nationally representative sample and dyadic data. Limitations include cross-sectional data, and the assessment of sexual experiences only in newlywed couples. Conclusion: Wives' orgasm (wives' self-report of frequency and husbands' perception of frequency) has a unique positive association with sexual satisfaction, even after taking into account other aspects of the orgasm experience and sexual communication. Leonhardt ND, Willoughby BJ, Busby DM, et al. The Significance of the Female Orgasm: A Nationally Representative, Dyadic Study of Newlyweds' Orgasm Experience. J Sex Med 2018;XX:XXX-XXX.

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... There has been limited research exploring the orgasm gap in couples from a dyadic perspective. Two recent studies have done so, using heterosexual couples who were newlyweds (Leonhardt et al., 2018) or in committed relationships (Jones et al., 2018). Both studies identified orgasm gaps within the dyadic pairs, with men having more orgasms than their partners. ...
... In fact, studies have found that experiencing orgasm is one of the strongest predictors of sexual satisfaction in general, and especially for women (Haavio-Mannila & Kontula, 1997;Haning et al., 2007). Additionally, an individual's partner's orgasm rate is highly correlated with an individual's own sexual satisfaction, and both men and women have been shown to base their sexual satisfaction at least partially on the perceived pleasure or orgasm of their partner (Kontula & Miettinen, 2016;Leonhardt et al., 2018;McClelland, 2011;Young et al., 1998). ...
... Sexual satisfaction is positively correlated with several other sexual measures, including sex frequency, sexual communication, commitment, and relationship satisfaction, as well as general psychological well-being (Byers, 2005;Davison et al., 2009;Leonhardt et al., 2018;Litzinger & Gordon, 2005;Sprecher, 2002;Young et al., 1998). As such, experiencing greater orgasm frequency for one's self and one's partner has benefits for individuals' and couples' sexual and relationship outcomes. ...
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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.
... Journal of Child and Family Studies in child spoiling. A difference score was created by subtracting fathers' response time from mothers' response time then taking the absolute value (Leonhardt, Willoughby, Busby, Yorgason, & Holmes, 2018). Higher values represent greater differences in spoiling beliefs. ...
... Separate differences scores were then created for maternal strictness and paternal strictness respectively. For example, a maternal strictness difference score was created by subtracting men's report of maternal strictness from women's report of maternal strictness then taking the absolute value (Leonhardt et al., 2018). Higher values represent greater differences in strictness beliefs. ...
... Cronbach's α was 0.74 and 0.72 for mothers and fathers respectively. A difference score was created by subtracting fathers' gender ideology from mothers' and then taking the absolute value (Leonhardt et al., 2018). Higher values represent greater differences in couples gender ideology. ...
Article
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Within the United States, approximately 17% of marriages occur between spouses of different races and/or ethnicities, while 1 out of every 7 children born identify as multiracial. Research suggests that, compared with monoracial couples, multiracial couples are at increased risk for negative relationship outcomes including divorce or separation. Although little research explores why these disparities exist, we surmise that poorer relational outcomes in multiracial families may be the result of heightened conflict caused by a greater difference in partners’ values and beliefs. In an understudied sample of expectant couples working in low-wage jobs, we examine differences in partner gender ideology and parenting beliefs as possible mechanisms underlying differential outcomes in relationship quality among multiracial families. This study examines whether the relationship between couple’s racial and ethnic composition (i.e., same versus different racial/ethnic backgrounds) and relationship quality (conflict, love, satisfaction) is mediated by differences in parenting beliefs and gender ideology. It is hypothesized that one mechanism that explains poorer outcomes (i.e., more conflict, less love, less satisfaction) is greater cross-racial differences in parenting beliefs and gender ideologies. Results indicated that multiracial families have lower love and relationship satisfaction and greater partner differences in gender ideology beliefs, however, gender ideology did not mediate the relationship between couple type and relationship quality. Overall, this study highlights the need for more longitudinal research and the exploration of other mechanisms underlying the different relationship outcomes for monoracial and multiracial families like social support, religiosity, and multicultural values.
... Relationship satisfaction. The relationship satisfaction construct was measured using the 4-item version of the Couple Satisfaction Index (Funk & Rogge, 2007) that was collected at Times 1 and 2. This instrument has extensive reliability and validity information and is considered one of the strongest short scales used for relationship satisfaction (Leonhardt et al., 2018). Respondents were asked to rate "how satisfied" they were in their relationship, "how rewarding" their relationships were, and whether they had a "warm and comfortable" relationship with their partner; these items were measured on a 6-point scale from 0 (not at all) to 5 (completely). ...
... The participants' sexual satisfaction was measured using 4 items from the 28-item Golombok-Rust Inventory of Sexual Satisfaction (Rust & Golombok, 1985). This instrument has been used extensively for decades to measure sexual satisfaction and is considered reliable and valid (Leonhardt et al., 2018). These items included questions that asked the participants how satisfied they were with the amount of time/variety and affection they experienced in their sexual relationships with their partners. ...
Article
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In this study, the relationships between attachment patterns and relationship outcomes were explored through the mechanism of sexuality with two large national samples. In the first sample (N=4,834) the associations between insecure attachment patterns, the number of committed and casual sexual partners, timing of sexual debut, and relationship status were explored. In the second sample, a nationally representative sample of recently married couples (N=4,234), an actor/partner model was used to explore the associations between gender and attachment on the number of sexual partners, sexual timing, and subsequent influence on relationship and sexual satisfaction over two time points. The results indicated that, for sample 1, insecure attachment was associated with the number of casual sexual partners and with an increased likelihood of being single for males and females. For sample 2, the actor-partner measures of attachment and gender were associated with relationship and sexual satisfaction over two time points, but had weak associations with the number of sexual partners and sexual timing.
... Deceptive sexual communication may temporarily bolster men's sense of masculinity but at the cost of sexual satisfaction. Open and honest sexual communication predicts women's sexual satisfaction and orgasms (Davis et al., 2006;Kelly et al., 2004;Leonhardt et al., 2018). In addition, male partners of women who orgasmed infrequently were much less accurate in their perceptions of their partner's sexual preferences (Kelly et al., 2004). ...
... Poor communication based on anxiety about men's precarious manhood provides an additional explanation. Poor sexual communication may not only predict future unsatisfying sexual encounters (Davis et al., 2006;Leonhardt et al., 2018) but presumably also decreases men's ability to accurately evaluate and adjust their own sexual behaviors. Notably, in Studies 1 and 2, we found a positive relationship between orgasm rate and sexual satisfaction. ...
Article
Full-text available
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.
... 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). ...
... 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.
... 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). ...
... 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.
... The first approach would obviously provide a sexual context for kissing, and we suspect it might be a good bellwether of specific sexual dynamics (e.g., how often sex occurs, how arousing sex is), whereas the later may be more indicative of the quality of the sexual and overall relationship. While there are many sexual variables we could have selected, we use sexual frequency as it is sometimes used as a measure of sexual engagement (Leavitt, Leonhardt, & Busby, 2019;McNulty, Wenner, & Fisher, 2016) whereas orgasm consistency is sometimes used as a measure of success at reaching high levels of sexual arousal (Leonhardt, Willoughby, Busby, Yorgason, & Holmes, 2018). ...
... It appears that a measure of specific kissing is tapping into aspects of sexuality that influence the quality of the sexual relationship for women, and the invariance test comparing women's and men's results do suggest that these are significantly different from the results for men. A relatively straightforward explanation does come to mind in terms of the sex differences as men show very little variability in terms of orgasm consistency as compared to women Leonhardt et al., 2018) and this variability is significantly related to women's enjoyment and satisfaction with their sexuality. The findings then suggest that a potential pathway to improving female orgasm consistency, sexual frequency, and sexual satisfaction is through encouraging kissing during sexual experiences. ...
Article
In this study we explored how the amount of kissing during the most recent sexual experience (specific kissing) and amount of kissing during the last year (global kissing) were both associated with the quality of the sexual relationship and overall relationship satisfaction and dissatisfaction. To understand these associations, we obtained surveys from a national sample of 878 participants who had been in a romantic relationship for at least two years. We evaluated their results through a structural equation model and found that for women the rates of specific kissing were associated with their ability to orgasm, sexual frequency, and indirectly to sexual satisfaction. For both men and women, measures of global kissing were associated with both sexual and relationship satisfaction but more strongly with measures of sexual and relationship dissatisfaction. These findings suggest that measures of kissing could be used as a bellwether of both the quality of the sexual relationship for women and of feelings of dissatisfaction about both the sexual and overall relationship for both sexes.
... 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). ...
... 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.”
... Nonetheless, there is little research with self and partner ratings in the sexuality area. However, the existing research shows that with something as specific as whether each partner reached orgasm there are often substantial discrepancies in this awareness, and that these discrepancies are associated with important sexual and relational outcomes (Leonhardt et al., 2018). Nonetheless, to date we have not been able to locate any article using self and partner ratings in the sexuality area that explores sexual response patterns, again something that is so interactively dynamic that it seems unusual that we have not yet seen these types of studies. ...
Article
In this study we explored the sexual response process in couple relationships. With a U.S. sample of 383 mixed-sex couples we found seven different classes of couple sexual response using Dyadic Latent Class Growth Analysis for ratings of self and partner about their most recent sexual experience. These classes ranged from synchronous High Arousal (31.6%) and Medium Arousal (27.7%) groups, to a few classes where one partner had a quick arousal process and the other partner had very low levels of arousal. Couples in these classes were differentiated on their levels of accuracy in understanding what their partner was experiencing, as one class had couples where men experienced higher arousal than women in the first part of the experience, but the male partner was aware of the discrepancy (Equifinality, 6.8%, i.e. couples start at different levels of arousal but end up at the same place), and another where men experienced higher arousal than women throughout the experience, but men inaccurately thought their partner also experienced higher arousal (Inaccurate Split, 7.3%). The seven classes had significantly different values on variables measuring the quality of the specific sexual experience. These classes also significantly differed on a variety of measures assessing the overall sexual relationship and the relationship as a whole. These findings counter the argument that the sexual response cycle is uniform for most couples.
... This scale was measured with six items from Rust and Golombok's (1986) Golombok Rust Inventory of Sexual Satisfaction to assess how satisfied participants were with their sexual relationship (e.g., frequency of intercourse, amount of variety, time spent on foreplay, etc.). This inventory has shown adequate reliability and predictive validity in a variety of studies over the years (Brown et al., 2017;Leonhardt, Willoughby, Busby, Yorgason, & Holmes, 2018). Items were rated on a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1ϭ never to 5ϭ very often. ...
... In Sample 2 participants were respondents in the Couple Relationships and Transition Experiences (CREATE) study which is a nationally representative survey of newly married couples (Leonhardt et al. 2018). Data collection efforts for Wave I took place from October 2016 to September 2017 with Wave II taking place approximately one year later. ...
Article
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Objectives The objectives were to examine the recently emerging topic of sexual passion in relationships by addressing four research questions: Was sexual passion in a relationship distinct from general passion for sexuality, general passion in life, and romantic passion? Did the different sexual passion styles in a relationship meet the criteria for a passion? What were general descriptive statistics for passion styles in a nationally representative sample? Was obsessive sexual passion relevant when explored in more depth? Methods Data were collected data on a variety of measures from three distinct samples, including a sample of 1776 individuals in a committed romantic relationship sampled from the Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk); a nationally representative newly married sample of 1813 couples; and a sample of 244 couples from MTurk. Results Sexual passion in relationships was strongly associated with sexual and relationship satisfaction and was distinct from other constructs such as general passion, romantic passion, and general sexual passion. The results from the couple datasets demonstrated that the harmonious passion style was the most common of the three styles and was the most predictive of relationship outcomes. The inhibited sexual passion style had substantial negative associations with relationship outcomes. Couples where one partner had higher scores on obsessive sexual passion and the other partner had higher scores on inhibited sexual passion had lower scores on relationship outcomes. Conclusions The results provided support for the importance of sexual passion in relationships and the differential associations of the three passion styles with sexual and relationship satisfaction.
... This may not be true. Across decades, researchers have noted that orgasm consistency is not always strongly correlated with sexual satisfaction and enjoyment in men (Leonhardt, Willoughby, Busby, Yorgason, & Holmes, 2018;Mah & Binik, 2001;Waterman & Chiauzzi, 1982). This could imply that although most men orgasm, perhaps their reports of the timing and degree of arousal are variable. ...
Article
Full-text available
Historically the male sexual response cycle was seen as uniform and used as the standard for women. Recent research has suggested that men’s sexual response cycle may vary more than previously thought. We asked 520 sexually active men between the ages of 18–73 to report on their sexual desire and arousal patterns during their last sexual experience. Using a latent class mixture model from retrospective sexual response data, we found five classes of desire and arousal patterns. These patterns were examined for associations with demographics, outcomes during the sexual experience, and outcomes for the global relationship. The experiences of arousal and desire appear to be indistinguishable for men in this sample. The Fluctuation sexual response class (19% of men) and the High sexual response class (40%) were significantly different from most of the other classes in duration of their sexual experiences and overall satisfaction with their sexual experiences. Still, most sexual response patterns were associated with healthy relational and sexual outcomes. Variability in the male sexual response cycle is important to acknowledge and normalize.
... In the Frederick et al. [9•], this was usually-always orgasm. In Leonhardt et al. [12], the response options for participants' frequencies of orgasm ranged from orgasming 0-20% of the time to 81-100% of the time; we report the percentages who orgasmed 81-100% of the time. ...
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.
... Orgasm consistency shows links to sexual and relational satisfaction. 30,31,32,33,34 Despite orgasm's contribution to sexual and relational satisfaction, other factors also contribute to achieving sexual satisfaction or pleasure, 7,35,36,37,38,39 indicating that although orgasm is important, it is not the only path to satisfaction. Curvilinearity has been found for sexual frequency, 9 but research has not examined whether curvilinear associations exist for other aspects of sexual relationships like orgasm consistency. ...
Article
Background Curvilinearity has been found for sexual frequency, but research has not examined whether curvilinear associations exist for other aspects of sexual relationships like orgasm consistency. Aim We examined whether there is curvilinearity and the nature of that curvilinearity between orgasm consistency and sexual and relational satisfaction for men and women. Methods With pooled samples of 1,619 and 1,695 men and women from Amazon's Mechanical Turk, we examined the differences of orgasm consistency values and both sexual satisfaction and relationship satisfaction through analysis of variance. We then tested for curvilinearity between orgasm consistency and sexual and relational satisfaction with regression analyses. Outcomes For men we found no evidence of a curvilinear relationship, but for women we found a curvilinear relationship between orgasm consistency values and both sexual satisfaction and relationship satisfaction. Results Across tests, the overall picture suggests that there is no curvilinear association for men, but there is for women. For women, with each unit increase in orgasm consistency, the increase in sexual satisfaction and relationship satisfaction became progressively smaller. Past the 61-80% threshold for orgasm consistency, there was little gain in sexual satisfaction and no gain in relational satisfaction. Clinical Translation Physicians, therapists, and educators can reorient women's orgasm expectations by explaining that having regular orgasms—not necessarily always—is associated with satisfaction in their relationship and sexual experience. Strengths & Limitations Converging large samples and data analytic techniques evinced the curvilinear association between orgasm consistency and both relational and sexual satisfaction for women. However, this study is cross-sectional and correlational, which limits the conclusions we can draw from it. Conclusion While men's orgasm consistency is linearly associated with relational and sexual satisfaction, more consistent orgasms seem to be associated with women's sexual and relational satisfaction, to a point.
... The sample for this study was acquired through data from the CREATE study, which is described by Leonhardt, Willoughby, Busby, Yorgason, and Holmes (2018): ...
Article
The association of mindfulness with couples’ relational and sexual satisfaction may be mediated by forgiveness and gratitude. Although forgiveness and gratitude have individually been shown to play a role in couples’ relational and sexual satisfaction, we use an integrated model. This study included 1,360 couples recruited through a nationwide two-stage cluster stratification. Using an actor–partner interdependence model, we found significant indirect effects (β = 0.01, 0.08, p < .01), indicating that forgiveness and gratitude mediated many of the associations between couples’ mindfulness and their sexual and relational satisfaction. This may provide useful information for clinicians and therapists when addressing marital issues.
... Furthermore, in addition to the theoretical perspective highlighted earlier, many studies have highlighted differences between women and men in the sexual domain (e.g., Katz-Wise & Hyde, 2014). For example, variance exists in how sexuality measures are perceived (e.g., Leonhardt et al., 2020;Sakaluk, 2019), reasons they desire to engage in sex (Mark et al., 2014a), and ease in achieving orgasm (e.g., Kontula & Miettinen, 2016;Leonhardt et al., 2018). Therefore, our second research question (R2) was "Do wives and husbands have similar sexual satisfaction trajectories? ...
Article
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Most research has shown that sexual satisfaction in long-term relationships tends to decline over time. Studies showing the average trajectory, however, are limited by only assessing one slope. With longitudinal data from the Flourishing Families Project, Marital Instability Dataset, and the Iowa Youth and Families Project, we utilized growth mixture modeling to assess what trajectories of sexual satisfaction exist in midlife marriages. In the three samples (one individual, two dyadic), we found clear evidence for heterogeneous sexual satisfaction trajectories, for both wives and husbands. Through the datasets, we found some trajectories did decline over time. We also found stably high, stably medium, stably low, and some trajectories that showed an increase in sexual satisfaction over time. Overall, trajectories were similar for wives and husbands, though some classes had one partner with variability while the other was stable, some classes had trajectories with wives having higher sexual satisfaction than husbands, and some classes had trajectories with husbands having higher sexual satisfaction than wives. Demographic variables were not strong distinguishers of these differing trajectories. Both marital satisfaction and perceived marital stability trajectories (based on sexual satisfaction classes) generally had similar patterns to sexual satisfaction trajectories, with a few exceptions. Both marital satisfaction and perceived marital stability were less likely to significantly change over time, have discrepancies between wives and husbands, and have either low marital satisfaction or high perceived marital instability, even if sexual satisfaction was low. These data can help couples recognize various possibilities for sexual satisfaction over time, perhaps helping them to avoid cultural myths of inevitably declining sexual satisfaction.
... The importance of women's orgasm has been debated (Laan & Rellini, 2011;Leavitt et al., 2021a), but is generally considered a large contributor to women's sexual satisfaction (Laan & Rellini, 2011;Leavitt et al., 2021a;Leonhardt et al., 2018). Instead of over-emphasizing orgasm, sexual mindfulness encourages individuals to let go of the need to focus on orgasm as the end goal and instead focus on being present in each moment, which may lead to greater arousal. ...
Article
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Marriage is an important adult relationship, and recent research indicates that sexual mindfulness, awareness and non-judgment, may be an important tool in helping maintain relational and sexual well-being. Using a nationally representative U.S. sample of newly married, mixed-sex couples (women’s age M = 29.70 years; men’s age M = 31.76 years; N = 1473 couples), we evaluated whether the two factors of sexual mindfulness, awareness and non-judgment, were linked with relational flourishing, sexual harmony, and orgasm consistency. We utilized an actor–partner interdependence model within a structural equation modeling framework to evaluate how husbands’ and wives’ awareness and non-judgment were associated with relational flourishing, sexual harmony, and orgasm consistency. Results indicated that both wives’ and husbands’ awareness was positively associated with relational flourishing, sexual harmony, and orgasm consistency. Partner effects were found for all outcomes. However, no partner effects were found between non-judgment and orgasm consistency. Therapists, educators, and couples may consider the use of sexual mindfulness skills when addressing marriage and sexual relationships.
... The female orgasm can be important for the sexual satisfaction of women (Leonhardt et al., 2018). For example, sexually satisfied women in long-term relationships reported a higher orgasm consistency (78%) than sexually unsatisfied women (41%), with the length of relationship having an increasing effect on orgasm consistency (Frederick et al., 2017). ...
Article
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Introduction Societal assumptions and individual myths that define vaginal penetration as normal sexuality can affect the sexual pleasure of varied sexual activities. Although women orgasm much more easily through direct clitoral stimulation than through vaginal intercourse, many couples desire the latter. The purpose of this study is to investigate how orgasms from different types of stimulation with a partner affect sexual satisfaction and orgasm satisfaction in cisgender women. Also, the attitude of women to stimulate their clitoris themselves to reach orgasm during sex with their partner will be included. Methods Two independent surveys (N = 388 and N = 555) were conducted online in 2016 and 2020. Results Regression analyses showed that orgasm consistency through sexual intercourse had a stronger influence on orgasm satisfaction and sexual satisfaction than orgasm consistency through oral sex, stimulation by the partner’s hand, or self-stimulation. Positive thoughts and feelings about self-stimulation of the clitoris during sex with the partner showed only little effect, but in some cases, they were even negatively related to the reported satisfaction. Conclusions The results indicate that the common misconception about sexuality, that it is normal for women to experience orgasms during penile-vaginal intercourse, influences the subjective evaluation of one’s own sexuality. Orgasms from clitoral stimulation seem to have a second-class quality for some women, although there is no evidence that these orgasms feel like less pleasureable. Policy Implication Rigid assumptions about what normal sexuality should look like should be publicly addressed and discussed in sex education classes.
... husbands = .84; see Leonhardt et al., 2018, for previous use of a 4-item version). ...
Article
Although not all couples achieve high levels of sexual satisfaction during pregnancy, evidence of variability in couple sexual satisfaction during pregnancy indicates that sexual dissatisfaction in pregnancy does not apply to all. Subsequently, the current study examined whether a nationally representative U.S. sample of wives and husbands (N = 523 couples) fell into subgroups in terms of their sexual satisfaction during pregnancy and to what degree biopsychosocial factors distinguish potential subgroups. Latent profile analyses, adjusted for pregnancy-related biological factors, indicated that couples could be classified into two subsets – a larger subset of couples where wives and husbands were satisfied with sex overall (79%) and a smaller subset where wives and husbands were neutral about satisfaction with sex (21%). Lower depressive symptoms among wives was associated with a greater likelihood of being in the more satisfied subset over the less satisfied subset – the only significant group membership predictor among a variety of other factors. Implications include notions that couples and practitioners should consider women’s depressive symptoms throughout pregnancy in addition to the perinatal period, and that most U.S. newly married pregnant couples do well navigating sexual satisfaction challenges during pregnancy.
... Indirect evidence from questionnaire research suggests that greater orgasm consistency is associated with more highly incentivized sex. For instance, orgasm frequency is positively associated with sexual satisfaction in women ( Lentz & Zaikman, 2021 ;Leonhardt et al., 2018 ) and pleasure is one aspect of sexual satisfaction ( Pascoal et al., 2014 ). More consistent orgasm may, therefore, be related to greater sexual pleasure from sexual activity for women. ...
Article
According to the Incentive Motivation Model (IMM) of sexual response, the rewarding and pleasurable aspects of a sexual act strengthen its incentive value and capacity to trigger sexual motivation. One such sexual reward is orgasm consistency, the percentage of time that orgasm is experienced during a sex act. Orgasm consistency may serve to influence the incentive value of a sexual behaviour. We tested this tenet of the IMM by examining whether orgasm consistency predicted women’s sexual responses to films depicting various sex acts. Data were collected from four separate studies examining women’s genital and subjective sexual response. Participants ( N = 144, age range = 18–65) were presented with neutral and erotic film stimuli while their genital arousal was assessed using vaginal photoplethysmography or thermography. Participants reported their sexual arousal level before, during, and after each stimulus presentation, and completed questionnaires assessing sexual history and experiences, sexual interests, and sexual functioning. Orgasm consistency during penile–vaginal intercourse (PVI) significantly predicted genital arousal to films depicting PVI, but similar relationships were not observed between genital or self-reported arousal and orgasm consistency during receptive oral sex and masturbation. Findings suggest that increasing orgasm consistency to a sex act may increase its incentive value, thereby triggering greater genital response to depictions of that act. Lack of consistent orgasm or generally pleasurable and rewarding sex may limit the capacity of sex acts to trigger sexual motivation in future sexual encounters, thus contributing to low sexual arousal and desire in women.
... The items were based off of the frequently used and validated GRISS scale (Rust & Golombok, 1985). These adapted five items have also been used in recently published research and have validity as a general sexual outcome (Leonhardt et al., 2018). Responses ranged on a 5-point Likert scale (1 = very dissatisfied, 5 = very satisfied). ...
Article
Individual, biological, psychological, and social factors have each been associated with sexual satisfaction. In the current study we examine ways that these factors combined in the same study might be associated with understanding couples’ sexual satisfaction and harmonious sexual passion by evaluating an actor-partner-interdependence-model (APIM). This model was based on data (N = 2,187 couples) collected as part of a nationally representative study of the Couple Relationships and Transition Experiences (CREATE) study. Structural equation modeling was used to assess the APIM model. The results indicated that the quality of sleep and the number of physical symptoms both partners were experiencing were substantially associated with the same individual’s depression and anxiety. In turn, depression and anxiety were associated with the quality of communication and the ability to resolve conflict. These social variables had strong associations with sexual satisfaction and they, along with sexual satisfaction, were significantly associated with the couple’s ability to experience harmonious sexual passion in their relationship.
... Al hacer una revisión de la literatura sobre cómo se ha evaluado la comunicación sexual, generalmente, se toma en cuenta uno de los componentes, sobre todo el contenido (Dimbuene, 2015;Fernández, et al., 2017;González et al., 2017;López-Olmos, 2018;Uribe et al., 2016); el cual suele estar centrado en conductas sexuales, satisfacción sexual y su influencia en la díada de pareja. Esto puede verse en la Escala de Comunicación Diádica Sexual (dsc), el Cuestionario de Patrones de Comunicación Sexual s-cpq o la Escala de Comunicación Autopercibida en la Relación de Pareja (carp) (Anderson et al., 2016;Iglesias-García et al., 2019;Jones et al., 2017;Leonhardt et al., 2018;Martínez-Huertas y Jastrzebska, 2019;Pazmany et al., 2015;Rancourt et al., 2017;Rancourt et al., 2016). ...
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Objetivo: Diseñar y validar dos escalas de comunicación sexual con la pareja en hombres que tienen sexo con hombres, que en conjunto evalúan cinco componentes de la comunicación, contenido, extensión, estilo, tiempo y contexto. Metodología: Se dividió en dos fases, la primera para elaborar los reactivos que conforman cada escala, y la segunda para obtener sus propiedades psicométricas. En la primera fase participaron 200 hombres y en la segunda fase 1190 hombres, en ambos casos con una vida sexual activa, solteros y que reportaron tener sexo con hombres, la mitad de ellos con diagnóstico de VIH y cuya vía de infección fue por contacto sexual. Se aplicó la estrategia de redes semánticas naturales modificadas para obtener las principales definidoras a los estímulos: temas sexuales y comunicación sexual con la pareja, con base en los resultados, se diseñaron los reactivos para conformar dos escalas. En ambas fases la aplicación se realizó en una clínica especializada en atención de personas con VIH. Resultados: Los resultados de la validación muestra evidencias de validez de constructo y validez concurrente, así como la confiabilidad interna de cada escala mostrando propiedades psicométricas adecuadas. Conclusiones: Es necesario evaluar la comunicación considerando todos sus componentes para lo cual se requiere de instrumentos culturalmente válidos como las escalas presentadas en la presente investigación.
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The purpose of this study was to examine how problematic media use (technoference, internet gaming disorder symptoms, and pornography use) predicted later partner relationship outcomes, operating through the mediator of partner responsiveness. Participants ( N = 1039) were from Waves II–IV of a nationally representative quantitative study on marriage relationships across the United States. Both spouses completed surveys reporting problematic media use, partner responsiveness, and relationship outcomes at three separate time points each spaced a year apart. In order to test the hypotheses, three longitudinal actor-partner interdependence models with indirect paths were estimated, with each model corresponding to one type of problematic media use. Results indicated that at the cross-sectional level, all three types of problematic media use had significant indirect actor and partner effects, where problematic media use predicted lower relationship outcomes through the intervening variable of partner non-responsiveness. Longitudinally, wife technoference directly negatively predicted later partner responsiveness, but there were no full indirect paths of Wave II problematic media to Wave IV relationship outcomes through the intervening variable of Wave III partner responsiveness. Implications of these findings and future directions are discussed.
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Objective: Sexual satisfaction is a predictor of marital satisfaction, and marital satisfaction is a predictor of sexual satisfaction. This study was an evaluation of the quality of this relationship in Turkish women and men with diagnosed sexual dysfunction (SD). Method: A total of 65 married couples in which at least 1 partner had diagnosed SD and who had presented at the Eskişehir Osmangazi University Faculty of Medicine Psychiatry Outpatient Clinic were enrolled in the study. Data were collected using a sociodemographic and clinical data form, the Golombok-Rust Inventory of Sexual Satisfaction (GRISS), and the Birtchnell Marital Partner Evaluation Scale (BMPES). The participants were divided into 4 groups according to gender and the presence of SD: SD+ female (n=44), SD- female (n=14), SD+ male (n=23), and SD- male (n=35). Results: Comparison of the men and women who were SD+ revealed that the BMPES directiveness subscale scores were higher among the males, whereas the detachment and dependency scores were lower. When compared with their SD- partners, the males also had higher BMPES directiveness scores and lower detachment scores. Analysis of the SD+ and SD- female group findings indicated a significant difference only in the GRISS vaginismus subdimension. Among the men, those who were SD+ had higher total GRISS scores than those who were SD-. Correlations between marital adjustment and sexual satisfaction scores demonstrated a significant relationship between dependency and reliability, and dependency and the total GRISS score in the SD+ male group. The SD+ male group responses indicated that a perception of the female partner as dependent was associated with a higher quality sex life and greater sexual satisfaction, in addition to a high reliability score. Conclusion: Gender and other significant complexities are important considerations for clinicians evaluating sexual satisfaction and marital adjustment in couples with SD. Marital adjustment problems should be examined in couples with SD, and sexual problems should be examined in couples with marital adjustment problems. Keywords: Gender, marital adjustment, sexual dysfunction, sexual function disorder, sexual satisfaction
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Background Orgasm occurrence plays an important role in general sexual satisfaction for women. Until now, only few studies have focused on examining a broad spectrum of sexuality- and relationship-specific factors associated with orgasm in heterosexual women currently in a long-term relationship or on differences between the overall experience of orgasm and multiple orgasms. Aim The present study aims to understand how various sexuality- and relationship-associated factors are related to experiencing partnered orgasm among heterosexual women having stable relationships in Germany. Moreover, the study aims to differentiate between the overall experience of orgasm and the experience of multiple orgasms and shed light on their impact on general sexual satisfaction. Methods Within the nationwide representative survey GeSiD (German Health and Sexuality Survey), n = 1,641 sexually active women aged between 18 and 75 years in heterosexual relationships reported their experience of orgasm during the latest sexual encounter. Data on the type of sexual practices, frequency of sexual activity and of masturbation, relationship satisfaction, feelings of love, closeness, and general sexual satisfaction were analyzed. Outcomes The overall experience of orgasm, the experience of multiple orgasms, and associations between experiencing orgasm and sexual satisfaction. Results Frequency of sexual activity, relationship satisfaction, feelings of love and closeness were moderately to strongly positively correlated with each other and each showed positive associations with the likelihood of orgasm. Greater number of sexual practices and frequency of sexual activity were associated with an increased likelihood of experiencing multiple orgasms, which in turn was correlated with higher sexual satisfaction. Clinical Implications In clinical and therapeutic work with women who have difficulty achieving orgasm, central issues should be the perceived relationship quality as well as regular sexual activity with the partner. Strengths & Limitations The present population-representative study is the first in Germany to identify significant factors associated with the experience of orgasm among heterosexual women in relationships. Further studies ought to include the frequency of orgasms in partnered sex over a longer period of time as well as the experience of orgasm during masturbation. Conclusion The experience of orgasm for women is related to a variety of complex interpersonal mechanisms and to be associated with sexual satisfaction. Cerwenka S, Dekker A, Pietras L, et al. Single and Multiple Orgasm Experience Among Women in Heterosexual Partnerships. Results of the German Health and Sexuality Survey (GeSiD). J Sex Med 2021;XX:XXX–XXX.
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Despite consistent evidence that sexual communication positively correlates with relationship and sexual satisfaction, there has been empirical murkiness regarding which aspects of sexual communication matter more or less for relationship and sexual satisfaction. A systematic meta-analysis was conducted to investigate if the strength of the association between sexual communication and relationship and sexual satisfaction varied by dimensions of sexual communication and individual, interpersonal, and cultural factors. The meta-analysis included 93 studies with 209 unique effect sizes, which represented 38,499 unique individuals in a current relationship. The multilevel meta-analysis evidenced a positive association between sexual communication and both relationship (r = .37) and sexual satisfaction (r = .43). For relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction, the effect size for quality of sexual communication (r = .43; .52) was larger compared to the frequency of sexual communication (r = .31; .31) and sexual self-disclosure (r = .28; .39). After controlling for the average age and relationship length of the sample, samples with married participants (r = .49) had larger effect sizes compared to samples with mixed relationship statuses (r = .35). Higher levels of individualism (b = .003) strengthened, and higher levels of gender inequality (b = -.06) weakened, the association between sexual communication and sexual satisfaction. Finally, when sociosexuality was low, sexual communication had a large association with relationship satisfaction for men (r = .69) and a small association for women (r = .16). Measurement, sample characteristics, and cultural factors have an important role in understanding the link between partners' sexual communication and their relationship and sexual satisfaction. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
The “orgasm gap” refers to the finding that cisgender men, on average, have more orgasms than cisgender women during heterosexual partnered sex. In the current research, we replicated evidence for several orgasm discrepancies across sexual contexts and assessed men’s and women’s perceptions of the orgasm gap. Our sample consisted of 276 heterosexual, cisgender, sexually active undergraduate students (56.52% women; M age = 18.84). We assessed participants’ self-reported orgasm frequencies with a familiar partner, with a new partner, and during masturbation, as well as participants’ perceptions of their partners’ orgasm frequencies. We found evidence for orgasm discrepancies between young men and women within contexts and for women across contexts. Additionally, men perceived the size of the orgasm gap to be smaller than women perceived it to be. We used qualitative analyses to assess participants’ perceptions of driving forces behind the orgasm gap and their responses could be grouped into five overarching themes: Sociocultural Influence, Women’s Orgasm Difficulty, Biology, Men’s Fault, and Interpersonal Communication. This qualitative data can inform education and advocacy efforts focused on improving orgasm outcomes for young women, particularly by disproving prominent biological justifications for orgasm difference and addressing relevant sociocultural concerns. Additional online materials for this article are available on PWQ’s website at http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/suppl/10.1177/03616843221076410 .
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____**Einleitung**___ Seit den 1960er-Jahren wird in Wissenschaft, Frauenbewegung und breiter Öffentlichkeit darüber diskutiert, dass und warum Frauen beim Heterosex seltener Orgasmen erleben als Männer und ob und wie man diesen Gender Orgasm Gap schließen kann. Im Rahmen eines bio-psycho-sozialen Verständnisses von Sexualität werden Gender Orgasm Gaps theoretisch sehr unterschiedlich erklärt. ___**Forschungsziele**___ Ziel des vorliegenden Forschungsüberblicks ist es, die bisherigen empirischen Befunde zur Größe des Gender Orgasm Gap zu berichten sowie die vorgeschlagenen Praxismaßnahmen zu seiner Überwindung zu präsentieren und kritisch zu diskutieren. ___**Methoden**___ Im Zuge einer systematischen Literaturrecherche wurden n = 20 empirische Publikationen zum Gender Orgasm Gap und zusätzlich n = 16 wissenschaftliche Originalarbeiten zu seinem Abbau identifiziert und kodiert (1982–2021). ___**Ergebnisse**___ Die eingeschlossenen Umfragen basieren auf Angaben von N = 49 940 Frauen und N = 48 329 Männern und zeigen, dass typischerweise 30 % bis 60 % der befragten Frauen berichten, beim Heterosex zum Orgasmus zu kommen, im Unterschied zu 70 % bis 100 % der Männer. Je nach Rahmenbedingungen des Heterosex schwankt die Größe des Gender Orgasm Gap zwischen –20 % und –72 % zuungunsten der Frauen. Die vorliegenden zehn bevölkerungsrepräsentativen Umfragen ergeben einen gewichteten mittleren Gender Orgasm Gap von –30 % [95 %iges Konfidenzintervall: –31 %; –30 %]. Die in der bisherigen Fachliteratur vorgeschlagenen Maßnahmen zum Schließen dieser Orgasmus-Lücke beziehen sich auf personale Faktoren, Beziehungsfaktoren, sexuelle Interaktionsfaktoren und gesellschaftliche Faktoren: Frauen wird empfohlen, den eigenen Orgasmus bewusster anzustreben und in der Beziehung offener über sexuelle Wünsche zu sprechen. Zudem wird Frauen und Männern geraten, mehr direkte klitorale Stimulation in den Heterosex zu integrieren und Orgasmen von Frauen gesellschaftlich zu demarginalisieren. ___**Schlussfolgerung**___ Aus dem bisherigen Forschungsstand leitet sich die Notwendigkeit ab, Fragen rund um den Gender Orgasm Gap weiterhin in Wissenschaft und Praxis zu bearbeiten. Angesichts der begrenzten Erfolge der letzten Dekaden scheint es jedoch auch geboten, die bisher verfolgten Ansätze im „Kampf um Orgasmus-Gerechtigkeit“ kritisch zu hinterfragen.
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Background: The pursuit of sexual pleasure is a key motivating factor in sexual activity. Many things can stand in the way of sexual orgasms and enjoyment, particularly among women. These are essential issues of sexual well-being and gender equality. Objective: This study presents long-term trends and determinants of female orgasms in Finland. The aim is to analyze the roles of factors such as the personal importance of orgasms, sexual desire, masturbation, clitoral and vaginal stimulation, sexual self-esteem, communication with partner, and partner's sexual techniques. Design: In Finland, five national sex surveys that are based on random samples from the central population register have been conducted. They are representative of the total population within the age range of 18-54 years in 1971 (N=2,152), 18-74 years in 1992 (N=2,250), 18-81 years in 1999 (N=1,496), 18-74 years in 2007 (N=2,590), and 18-79 years in 2015 (N=2,150). Another dataset of 2,049 women in the age group of 18-70 years was collected in 2015 via a national Internet panel. Results: Contrary to expectations, women did not have orgasms that are more frequent by increasing their experience and practice of masturbation, or by experimenting with different partners in their lifetime. The keys to their more frequent orgasms lay in mental and relationship factors. These factors and capacities included orgasm importance, sexual desire, sexual self-esteem, and openness of sexual communication with partners. Women valued their partner's orgasm more than their own. In addition, positive determinants were the ability to concentrate, mutual sexual initiations, and partner's good sexual techniques. A relationship that felt good and worked well emotionally, and where sex was approached openly and appreciatively, promoted orgasms. Conclusion: The findings indicate that women differ greatly from one another in terms of their tendency and capacity to experience orgasms. The improvements in gender equality and sexual education since the 1970s have not helped women to become more orgasmic. Neither has the major increase in masturbation habits (among women in general). One challenge for future studies is to understand why women value their partner's orgasms more than their own.
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Objectives: To explore, in an age perspective, women's lifetime sexual techniques and the extent to which they had led to orgasm. To relate these techniques and current erotic perceptions to orgasmic function in women sexually active during the last 12 months and to describe the relative impact of orgasmic function/dysfunction on their sexual well-being. Methods: A nationally representative sample of 18- to 74-year-old women (N = 1,335) participated. Nearly all were heterosexual. Current orgasmic capacity was broadly and subjectively classified into: no, mild, or manifest dysfunction. Sexual techniques and erotic perceptions were recorded together with level of sexual satisfaction. Results: Generational differences characterized age at first orgasm and intercourse, types and width of sexual repertoire, and also current erotic perceptions, while orgasmic dysfunction and distress caused by it were less age dependent. Likely protectors of good orgasmic function, mainly against manifest dysfunction, were: a relatively early age at first orgasm, a relatively greater repertoire of techniques used--in particular having been caressed manually or orally by partner(s), achievement of orgasm by penile intravaginal movements, attaching importance to sexuality and being relatively easily sexually aroused. In turn, among other aspects of female sexual function women who did not have orgasmic dysfunction or distress were particularly likely to be satisfied with their sexual life. Conclusion: Besides providing data on matters frequently said to be sensitive this investigation shows that women's generation and with it several long-ranging aspects of women's sexual history and their feelings of being sexual are important indicators of their orgasmic and thereby their overall sexual well-being. When (in clinical practice) establishing treatment strategy for women with orgasmic dysfunction due respect should be given to these factors.
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Traditionally, school-based sex education has provided information-based programmes, with the assumption that young people make rational decisions with regard to the use of condoms. However, these programmes fail to take into account contextual issues and developing subjectivities. This paper presents the talk of 42 young people from a New Zealand secondary school who were questioned in-depth about the sex education programme they had received. They discussed a programme that concentrated on the 'dangers' and 'risks' of sexual intercourse and that failed to enhance negotiation skills or take into account the contexts in which sex occurred for many young people. Although participants were well aware of the public health discourses of the importance of condom use, the implications of putting these discourses into practice held the potential for 'risks' of a greater magnitude in the reality of their everyday life. The 'risk' to reputation and subjectivity overrode any 'risks' that may have occurred through non-use of condoms. This highlights the need for sex education programmes to put greater effort into developing skills of assertiveness, communication and empowerment.
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Communication problems are among the most common complaints brought to couples' counseling and are believed to play a central role in the development and maintenance of many sexual dysfunctions. The present study examined self-reported communication patterns within heterosexual couples where the wife is experiencing anorgasmia and within two groups of control couples. As hypothesized, couples with an anorgasmic female partner reported more problematic communication regarding issues of sexuality than did control couples. In particular, the anorgasmic women and their male partners reported significantly more discomfort than did controls in discussing sexual activities associated with direct clitoral stimulation. The etiologic and treatment implications of these differences are discussed.
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The present study took a critical look at a central construct in couples research: relationship satisfaction. Eight well-validated self-report measures of relationship satisfaction, including the Marital Adjustment Test (MAT; H. J. Locke & K. M. Wallace, 1959), the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS; G. B. Spanier, 1976), and an additional 75 potential satisfaction items, were given to 5,315 online participants. Using item response theory, the authors demonstrated that the MAT and DAS provided relatively poor levels of precision in assessing satisfaction, particularly given the length of those scales. Principal-components analysis and item response theory applied to the larger item pool were used to develop the Couples Satisfaction Index (CSI) scales. Compared with the MAS and the DAS, the CSI scales were shown to have higher precision of measurement (less noise) and correspondingly greater power for detecting differences in levels of satisfaction. The CSI scales demonstrated strong convergent validity with other measures of satisfaction and excellent construct validity with anchor scales from the nomological net surrounding satisfaction, suggesting that they assess the same theoretical construct as do prior scales. Implications for research are discussed.
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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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Relationship quality is the most frequently assessed construct in the intimate relationships literature. Dozens of assessment instruments exist, but the vast majority conceptualize relationship quality in terms of satisfaction (or a similar construct), which focuses on the hedonic (pleasure or happiness) dimension of the relationship. Some scholars question whether the richness and depth of adult intimate relationships can be captured by satisfaction ratings and suggest focusing on a complementary eudaimonic (human flourishing) dimension of the relationship. This study evaluates the development of the Relationship Flourishing Scale, a 12-item measure of eudaimonic relationship quality that assesses meaning, personal growth, relational giving, and goal sharing. The study supports the construct validity of the Relationship Flourishing Scale, including its content, concurrent, convergent, discriminant, and incremental validity. Its incremental validity and independence suggest that it provides information about deeper and richer aspects of relationship quality than do current hedonic relationship quality measures.
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When a linear model is adjusted to control for additional explanatory variables the sign of a fitted coefficient may reverse. Here these reversals are studied using coefficients of determination. The resulting theory can be used to determine directions of unique effects in the presence of substantial model uncertainty. This process is called model-independent estimation when the estimates are invariant across changes to the model structure. When a single covariate is added, the reversal region can be understood geometrically as an elliptical cone of two nappes with an axis of symmetry relating to a best-possible condition for a reversal using a single coefficient of determination. When a set of covariates are added to a model with a single explanatory variable, model-independent estimation can be implemented using subject matter knowledge. More general theory with partial coefficients is applicable to analysis of large data sets. Applications are demonstrated with dietary health data from the United Nations. Necessary conditions for Simpson's paradox are derived.
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Introduction: Over the past two decades, sexual desire and desire discrepancy have become more frequently studied as have potential pharmaceutical interventions to treat low sexual desire. However, the complexities of sexual desire-including what exactly is desired-remain poorly understood. Aims: To understand the object of men's and women's sexual desire, evaluate gender differences and similarities in the object of desire, and examine the impact of object of desire discrepancies on overall desire for partner in men and women in the context of long-term relationships. Methods: A total of 406 individuals, 203 men and 203 women in a relationship with one another, completed an online survey on sexual desire. Main outcome measures: Reports of the object of sexual desire in addition to measures of sexual desire for current partner were collected from both members of the couple. Results: There were significant gender differences in the object of sexual desire. Men were significantly more likely to endorse desire for sexual release, orgasm, and pleasing their partner than were women. Women were significantly more likely to endorse desire for intimacy, emotional closeness, love, and feeling sexually desirable than men. Discrepancies within the couple with regard to object of desire were related to their level of sexual desire for partner, accounting for 17% of variance in men's desire and 37% of variance in women's desire. Conclusions: This research provides insights into the conceptualization of sexual desire in long-term relationships and the multifaceted nature of sexual desire that may aid in more focused ways to maintain desire over long-term relationships. Future research on the utility of this perspective of sexual desire and implications for clinicians working with couples struggling with low sexual desire in their relationships is discussed.
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While some literature has explored women's sexual satisfaction and, to a lesser degree, women's faking orgasm experiences, little research has examined the context and conditions around women's best and most memorable orgasms. This paper utilised thematic analysis of qualitative data from a community sample of 20 women in the USA (mean age = 34 years, SD = 13.35 years) from a wide range of racial, socioeconomic, and sexual identity backgrounds to illuminate their experiences with fake or pretend orgasms, and with their best orgasms. While faking orgasm narratives reflected themes of wanting to reinforce a partner's sexual skills, strategically ending sexual interactions, and suppressing feelings of abnormality and shame, best orgasm experiences showcased the power of interpersonal connection, the joys of masturbation and other non-penile-vaginal intercourse behaviours, and the significance of 'transformative embodiment'. Implications for the relative failures of (hetero)sex, particularly in the context of gendered power imbalances, along with the importance of deconstructing the sexually 'functional' or 'dysfunctional' woman are explored.
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We examined two proposed pathways between sexual self-disclosure and sexual satisfaction. According to the proposed expressive pathway, reciprocal sexual self-disclosure contributes to relationship satisfaction, which in turn leads to greater sexual satisfaction. According to the instrumental pathway, own sexual self-disclosure leads to greater partner understanding of sexual likes and dislikes, which in turn leads to a more favorable balance of sexual rewards and costs and thus to higher sexual satisfaction. Seventy-four heterosexual dating couples completed questionnaires assessing self-disclosure, sexual and relationship satisfaction, as well as own and partner positive and negative sexual exchanges. Support was found for the instrumental pathway for both women and men and for the expressive pathway for women. For men, the expressive pathway was between own nonsexual self-disclosure and sexual satisfaction. These results are interpreted in light of the more instrumental role for men in sexual relationships.
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This study examined dating individuals' self‐disclosure about their sexual likes and dislikes to their partner. Forty‐seven college men and 52 college women in a dating relationship of 3 to 36 months completed a questionnaire measuring sexual exchange variables, sexual satisfaction, relationship satisfaction, sexual communication satisfaction, and sexual and non‐sexual self‐disclosure with their partner. Both sexual and nonsexual self‐disclosure were at the level of revealing some detail but not fully disclosing personal attitudes and feelings. Participants reported self‐disclosing significantly more about non‐sexual than about sexual topics. Sexual and nonsexual self‐disclosure were related to sexual satisfaction, relationship satisfaction, and sexual communication satisfaction. Sexual self‐disclosure was uniquely related to sexual communication satisfaction when nonsexual self‐disclosure was controlled, but was not uniquely associated with relationship satisfaction or sexual satisfaction. The study provided evidence that both sexual exchanges and relationship satisfaction mediate the relationship between sexual self‐disclosure and sexual satisfaction as proposed by Cupach and Metts (1991). The results of a series of analyses suggest that self‐disclosure affects sexual satisfaction through two routes. First, sexual self‐disclosure may increase sexual rewards in the relationship. Second, it may increase overall relationship satisfaction. Both increased sexual rewards and increased relationship satisfaction, in turn, enhance sexual satisfaction.
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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.
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The present study used a sample of 8,096 dating couples from the United States to explore how sexual desire discrepancy was associated with relationship satisfaction and stability. Sexual desire discrepancy was the difference between an individual's desired level of sexual intercourse and the actual frequency of sexual intercourse within a given relationship. Actor and partner effects were explored. Results suggested that higher discrepancy between sexual desire and frequency was associated with higher relationship satisfaction and lower relationship stability but that these associations were moderated by gender and relationship length. Female sexual desire discrepancy had a particularly strong effect on relationship satisfaction. It was also found that high discrepancies tended to be associated with negative outcomes in relationships with longer relationship length.
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The Social Organization of Sexuality reports the complete results of the nation's most comprehensive representative survey of sexual practices in the general adult population of the United States. This highly detailed portrait of sex in America and its social context and implications has established a new and original scientific orientation to the study of sexual behavior. "The most comprehensive U.S. sex survey ever." —USA Today "The findings from this survey, the first in decades to provide detailed insights about the sexual behavior of a representative sample of Americans, will have a profound impact on how policy makers tackle a number of pressing health problems." —Alison Bass, The Boston Globe "A fat, sophisticated, and sperm-freezingly serious volume. . . . This book is not in the business of giving us a good time. It is in the business of asking three thousand four hundred and thirty-two other people whether they had a good time, and exactly what they did to make it so good." —Anthony Lane, The New Yorker New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year
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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.
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The Golombok-Rust Inventory of Sexual Satisfaction (GRISS) is a short 28-item questionnaire for assessing the existence and severity of sexual problems. The design, construction and item analysis of the GRISS are described. It is shown to have high reliability and good validity for both the overall scales and the subscales.
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The aim of this study was to investigate the psychometric properties of the Golombok Rust Inventory of Sexual Satisfaction (GRISS) in a Dutch population. The participants in this study were 373 heterosexual couples: 305 couples with a sexual problem and 68 student couples (test-retest). Evidence for a 12-factor solution corresponding to the original 12 subscales of GRISS was found, although some of the subscales were rather highly correlated. The homogeneity of the 12 GRISS subscales, as determined by mean interitem correlations, item-rest correlations, and Cronbach's coefficient alpha, was satisfactory to good. The test-retest reliability of the GRISS scales was sufficient. The GRISS subscales were reasonably stable with respect to age, duration of the relationship, and level of education. Furthermore, a higher order factor analysis on the 12 subscales suggested a male and a female sexual dissatisfaction factor.
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This study examined whether and how self-efficacy to communicate with parents and peers about sex relate to sexually experienced adolescent males' and females' (N= 144, 112) condom attitudes, intentions, and use. Results showed that males who reported greater self-efficacy to communicate with parents used condoms more frequently; and both males and females who can communicate with peers used condoms more frequently. Self-efficacy to communicate with peers was related to more positive condom attitudes, which in turn were associated with greater condom commitment and use. Greater ability to communicate with parents was also related to greater condom commitment and use among males. These results suggest the importance of designing interventions that give adolescents the skills they need to feel efficacious in their ability to communicate about sex and contraception.
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.
Young adults' experience of orgasm and sexual pleasure
  • E Opperman
  • V Braun
  • V Clarke
Opperman E, Braun V, Clarke V, et al. "It feels so good it almost hurts." Young adults' experience of orgasm and sexual pleasure. J Sex Res 2014;51:503-515.
A qualitative exploration of gender differences in beliefs, experiences, and concerns regarding female orgasm occurrence during heterosexual sexual interactions
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  • W A Fisher
Salibury CMA, Fisher WA. "Did you come?" A qualitative exploration of gender differences in beliefs, experiences, and concerns regarding female orgasm occurrence during heterosexual sexual interactions. J Sex Res 2014;51:616-631.
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Klapilova K, Brody S, Krjcova L, et al. Sexual satisfaction, sexual compatibility, and relationship adjustment in couples: the role of sexual behaviors, orgasm, and men's discernment of women's intercourse orgasm. J Sex Med 2015;12:667-675.
Couple relationships and transition experiences (CREATE) codebook (wave 1)
  • J B Yorgason
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Yorgason JB, James SL, Holmes EK, et al. Couple relationships and transition experiences (CREATE) codebook (wave 1).
Internet, phone, mail, and mixed-mode surveys: the tailored design method
  • D A Dillman
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Dillman DA, Smyth JD, Christian LM. Internet, phone, mail, and mixed-mode surveys: the tailored design method. NJ: John Wiley & Sons; 2014.
Handbook of sexualityrelated measures
  • J A Catania
  • T D Fisher
  • C M Davis
  • W L Yarber
Catania JA. Dyadic sexual communication scale. In: Fisher TD, Davis CM, Yarber WL, et al., eds. Handbook of sexualityrelated measures. 3rd ed. New York, NY: Routledge; 2011. p. 22-26.
UT: School of Family Life
  • Provo
Provo, UT: School of Family Life, Brigham Young University; 2018.