The Sexual Arousal and Desire Inventory (SADI): A Multidimensional Scale to Assess Subjective Sexual Arousal and Desire

Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology, Department of Psychology, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Journal of Sexual Medicine (Impact Factor: 3.15). 09/2006; 3(5):853-77. DOI: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2006.00293.x
Source: PubMed


Sexual arousal and desire are integral parts of the human sexual response that reflect physiological, emotional, and cognitive processes. Although subjective and physiological aspects of arousal and desire tend to be experienced concurrently, their differences become apparent in certain experimental and clinical populations in which one or more of these aspects are impaired. There are few subjective scales that assess sexual arousal and desire specifically in both men and women.
(i) To develop a multidimensional, descriptor-based Sexual Arousal and Desire Inventory (SADI) to assess subjective sexual arousal and desire in men and women; (ii) to evaluate convergent and divergent validity of the SADI; and (iii) to assess whether scores on the SADI would be altered when erotic fantasy or exposure to an erotic film was used to increase subjective arousal.
Adult men (N = 195) and women (N = 195) rated 54 descriptors as they applied to their normative experience of arousal and desire on a 5-point Likert scale. Another sample of men (N = 40) and women (N = 40) completed the SADI and other measures after viewing a 3-minute female-centered erotic film or engaging in a 3-minute period of erotic fantasy.
Principal components analyses derived factors that the scale descriptors loaded onto. These factors were categorized as subscales of the SADI, and gender differences in ratings and internal validity were analyzed statistically. Factors were considered subscales of the SADI, and mean ratings for each subscale were generated and related to the other scales used to assess convergent and divergent validity. These scales included the Feeling Scale, the Multiple Indicators of Subjective Sexual Arousal, the Sexual Desire Inventory, and the Attitudes Toward Erotica Questionnaire, the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)-II, and the Beck Anxiety Inventory.
Descriptors loaded onto four factors that accounted for 41.3% of the variance. Analysis of descriptor loadings > or = 0.30 revealed an Evaluative factor, a Physiological factor, a Motivational factor, and a Negative/Aversive factor based on the meaning of the descriptors. Men's and women's subjective experiences of sexual desire and arousal on the Physiological and Motivational factors were not significantly different, although on the Evaluative and Negative factors, statistically significant differences were found between the genders. Mean scores on the Evaluative factor were higher for men than for women, whereas mean scores on the Negative factor were higher for women than for men. Internal consistency estimates of the SADI and its subscales confirmed strong reliability. Mean scores on the Evaluative, Motivational, and Physiological subscales of the SADI were significantly higher in the fantasy condition than in the erotic clip condition. Women had significantly higher mean scores than men on the Physiological subscale in the fantasy condition. Cronbach's alpha coefficients demonstrated excellent reliability of the SADI subscales. Evidence of convergent validity between the SADI subscales and other scales that measured the same constructs was strong. Divergent validity was also confirmed between the SADI subscales and the other scales that did not measure levels of sexual arousal, desire, or affect, such as the BDI-II.
The SADI is a valid and reliable research tool to evaluate both state and trait aspects of subjective sexual arousal and desire in men and women.

Download full-text


Available from: James G. Pfaus, Jun 14, 2014
  • Source
    • "This definition appears inadequate, since the frequency of desire previous to the sexual act is very variable, even in persons with no sexual complaints. Hence, several authors are calling for a redefinition of this inclusion criteria on DSM, and propose a greater attention to subjective experiences of sexual encounters along with a vision that includes the multidimensional and interactional nature of sexual desire within the sexual response cycle (Toledano & Pfaus, 2006; Basson, 2001; 2002) "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The scientific community underlines that one of the main challenges for couples is the effect of time on sexual desire. Some studies suggest that although some dimensions associated with intimacy tend to increase during the relationship, sexual desire and the related constructs tend to decrease. Some researchers have recently suggested that couples' relationships with high degrees of sharing and fusion might be particularly detrimental for the sustenance of sexual desire. However, the authors found no empirical or theoretical studies that investigate the relations between intimacy and desire. Recovering the concept of differentiation as a possible influencing variable between intimacy and desire, this article develops reflections on this theme, which is of paramount relevance for the couple viability.
    Full-text · Article · May 2012 · Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy
  • Source
    • "According to Hamann et al. (11), the amygdala is more strongly activated in males than in females, while viewing identical sexual stimuli. The hippocampus processes intellectual, emotional, and actual information through the memory and experience, and is involved in a specific role with the amygdala during sexual arousal (15, 30). Activation of the hippocampus and amygdala noted here may thus be related to the appraisal process through which the erotic stimuli depicted in the male erotic nude pictures were evaluated as a sexual incentive (26). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to contrast the differential brain activation patterns in response to visual stimulation with both male and female erotic nude pictures in male-to-female (MTF) transsexuals who underwent a sex reassignment surgery. A total of nine healthy MTF transsexuals after a sex reassignment surgery underwent fMRI on a 3.0 Tesla MR Scanner. The brain activation patterns were induced by visual stimulation with both male and female erotic nude pictures. The sex hormone levels of the postoperative MTF transsexuals were in the normal range of healthy heterosexual females. The brain areas, which were activated by viewing male nude pictures when compared with viewing female nude pictures, included predominantly the cerebellum, hippocampus, putamen, anterior cingulate gyrus, head of caudate nucleus, amygdala, midbrain, thalamus, insula, and body of caudate nucleus. On the other hand, brain activation induced by viewing female nude pictures was predominantly observed in the hypothalamus and the septal area. Our findings suggest that distinct brain activation patterns associated with visual sexual arousal in postoperative MTF transsexuals reflect their sexual orientation to males.
    Full-text · Article · May 2012 · Korean journal of radiology: official journal of the Korean Radiological Society
  • Source
    • "In order to ensure that sexual arousal is achieved, sexual fantasies are often adapted (MacCulloch et al., 1983; Toledano & Pfaus, 2006). Support for this comes from research investigating sexual dysfunction. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Sexual fantasy is proposed to be an important factor in sexual offending. However, the existing research on this topic suggests that its role is multifaceted and interrelated with various other important factors associated with sexual offending. In this paper, we begin by examining some of the conceptual and definitional issues regarding the term ‘deviant sexual fantasy’. We then discuss the literature relating to sexual fantasies and some of its chief correlates, including: (1) sexual arousal, (2) affective states, (3) personality, and (4) behavior. Throughout the paper we discuss the relevant research and theories; identify possible areas for future research; and offer some suggestions for theoretical development.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2011 · Aggression and Violent Behavior
Show more