Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Sexual desire and its relationship with subjective orgasm experience

Abstract

Orgasm and sexual desire are components of the human sexual response. The main objective of this study was to examine the relationship between the sexual desire and dimensions of the subjective orgasm experience. A sample composed of 1161 heterosexual adults, distributed into three age groups (18–34, 35–49, and 50 years old or older), completed a background questionnaire, the Orgasm Rating Scale, and the Sexual Desire Inventory. First, the effect that sex and age have on the subjective orgasm experience was analyzed. Second, correlations between sexual desire and orgasm experience were examined. Also, the predictive capacity that dimensions of sexual desire have on the subjective orgasm experience in the context of sexual relationship was examined. Results showed that age had a significant effect on the intensity of the subjective orgasm experience perceived during sexual relationships with a partner and that this experience decreased as people get older. There was an association between the components of sexual desire and the dimensions of subjective orgasm experience. Furthermore, partner-focused sexual desire contributed in a relevant manner to the subjective orgasm experience. Implications for both research and clinical field are also discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. Arcos-Romero AI, Sierra JC. Systematic review of the subjective experience of orgasm. Rev Int Androl. 2018;16:75–81. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.androl.2017.09.003.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Bancroft J. Human sexuality and its problems. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingston; 1989.

  3. Levin RJ, Van, Berlo W. Sexual arousal and orgasm in subjects who experience forced or non-consensual sexual stimulation - a review. J Clin Forensic Med. 2004;11:82–88. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcfm.2003.10.008.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Bunzl M, Mullen S. A self-report investigation of two types of myotonic response during sexual orgasm. J Sex Res. 1974;10:10–20. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224497409550821.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Fisher S. The female orgasm. New York: Basic Books; 1973.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Fox CA. Some aspects and implications of coital physiology. J Sex Marital Ther. 1976;2:205–13. https://doi.org/10.1080/00926237608405323.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Singer J, Singer I. Types of female orgasm. J Sex Res. 1972;8:255–67. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224497209550761.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Labbate LA, Lare SB. Sexual dysfunction in male psychiatric outpatients: Validity of the Massachusetts General Hospital Sexual Functioning Questionnaire. Psychother Psychosom. 2001;70:221–5. https://doi.org/10.1159/000056257.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Rosen R, Brown C, Heiman J, Leiblum S, Meston C, Shabsigh R, et al. The Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI): a multidimensional self-report instrument for the assessment of female sexual function. J Sex Marital Ther. 2000;26:191–208. https://doi.org/10.1080/009262300278597.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Mah K, Binik Y. The nature of human orgasm: a critical review of major trends. Clin Psychol Rev. 2001;21:823–56. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0272-7358(00)00069-6.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Mah K, Binik Y. Do all orgasms feel alike? evaluating a two-dimensional model of the orgasm experience across gender and sexual context. J Sex Res. 2002;39:104–13. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224490209552129.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Arcos-Romero AI, Moyano N, Sierra JC. Psychometric properties of the Orgasm Rating Scale in context of sexual relationship in a Spanish sample. J Sex Med. 2018;15:741–9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsxm.2018.03.005.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Arcos-Romero AI, Granados MR, Sierra JC. Relationship between orgasm experience and sexual excitation: validation of the Model of the Subjective Orgasm Experience. Int J Impot Res. 2019;31:282–7. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41443-018-0095-6.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Arcos Romero AI, Sierra JC. Factors associated with subjective orgasm experience in heterosexual relationships. J Sex Marital Ther. 2020;46:314–29. https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2019.1711273.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Prause N, Kuang L, Lee P, Miller G. Clitorally stimulated orgasms are associated with better control of sexual desire, and not associated with depression or anxiety, compared with vaginally stimulated orgasms. J Sex Med. 2016;13:1676–85. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsxm.2016.08.014.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Sánchez-Fuentes MM, Moyano N, Granados MR, Sierra JC. Validation of the Spanish version of the Arizona Sexual Experience Scale (ASEX) using self-reported and psychophysiological measures. Rev Iberoam Psicol Salud. 2019;10:1–14. https://doi.org/10.23923/j.rips.2019.01.021.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Sierra JC, Díaz G, Álvarez-Muelas A, Calvillo C, Granados R, Arcos-Romero AI. Relationship between sexual desire and sexual arousal (objective and subjective). Rev Psicop Psicol Clin. 2019;24:173–80. https://doi.org/10.5944/rppc.25374.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Sierra JC, Vallejo-Medina P, Santos-Iglesias P, Lameiras-Fernández M. Validation of Massachusetts General Hospital-Sexual Functioning Questionnaire (MGH-SFQ) in a Spanish population. Aten Primaria. 2012;44:516–26. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aprim.2012.02.004.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Yen Chiang A, Chiang WY. Behold, I am Coming Soon! A study on the conceptualization of sexual orgasm in 27 languages. Metaphor Symb. 2016;31:131–47. https://doi.org/10.1080/10926488.2016.1187043.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Brody S, Laan E, Van, Lunsen RH. Concordance between women’s physiological and subjective sexual arousal is associated with consistency of orgasm during intercourse but not other sexual behavior. J Sex Marital Ther. 2003;29:15–23. https://doi.org/10.1080/713847101.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Brody S, Klapilova K, Krejcová L. More frequent vaginal orgasm in associated with experiencing greater excitement from deep vaginal simulation. J Sex Med. 2013;10:1730–6. https://doi.org/10.1111/jsm.12153.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Paterson L, Jin ES, Amsel R, Binik Y. Gender similarities and differences in sexual arousal, desire, and orgasmic pleasure in the laboratory. J Sex Res. 2014;51:801–13. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2013.867922.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Brody S, Weiss P. Simultaneous penile–vaginal intercourse orgasm is associated with satisfaction (sexual, life, partnership, and mental health). J Sex Med. 2011;8:734–41. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2010.02149.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Mah K, Binik Y. Are orgasms in the mind or the body? Psychosocial versus physiological correlates of orgasmic pleasure and satisfaction. J Sex Marital Ther. 2005;31:187–200. https://doi.org/10.1080/00926230590513401.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Sánchez-Fuentes MM, Salinas JM, Sierra JC. Use of an ecological model of study sexual satisfaction in a heterosexual Spanish sample. Arch Sex Behav. 2016;45:1973–88. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-016-0703-9.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Spector IP, Carey MP, Steinberg L. The sexual desire inventory: development, factor structure, and evidence of reliability. J Sex Marital Ther. 1996;22:175–90. https://doi.org/10.1080/00926239608414655.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  27. Leiblum SR, Rosen RC. Sexual desire disorders. New York: Guilford Press; 1988.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Moyano N, Vallejo-Medina P, Sierra JC. Sexual desire inventory: two or three dimensions? J Sex Res. 2017;54:105–16. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2015.1109581.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Vallejo-Medina P, Rojas-Paoli I, Álvarez-Muelas A. Validation of the sexual desire inventory in Colombia. J Sex Marital Ther. 2020;46:385–98. https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2020.1739181.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Busby DM, Leonhardt ND, Leavitt CE, Hanna-Walker V. Challenging the standard model of sexual response: evidence of a variable male sexual response cycle. J Sex Res. 2020. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2019.1705960.

  31. Leavitt CE, Leonhardt ND, Busby DM. Different ways to get there: evidence of a variable female sexual response cycle. J Sex Res. 2019;56:899–912. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2019.1616278.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Arcos Romero AI, Sierra JC. Factorial invariance, differential item functioning, and norms of the Orgasm Rating Scale. Int J Clin Health Psychol. 2019;19:57–66. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijchp.2018.11.001.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Carreno DF, Eisenbeck N, Cangas AJ, García-Montes JM, Del Vas LG, María AT. Spanish adaptation of the personal meaning profile-brief: meaning in life, psychological well-being, and distress. Int J Clin Health Psychol. 2020;20:151–62. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijchp.2020.02.003.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Sierra JC, Moyano N, Vallejo-Medina P, Gómez-Berrocal C. An abridge Spanish version of Sexual Double Standard Scale: Factorial structure, reliability and validity evidence. Int J Clin Health Psychol. 2018;18:69–80. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijchp.2017.05.003.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Dormann CF, Elith J, Bacher S, Buchmann C, Carl G, Carré G, et al. Collinearity: a review of methods to deal with it and a simulation study evaluating their performance. Ecography. 2013;36:27–46. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0587.2012.07348.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Lavery MR, Acharya P, Sivo SA, Xu L. Number of predictors and multicollinearity: What are their effects on error and bias in regression? Commun Stat Simul Comput. 2017;48:27–38. https://doi.org/10.1080/03610918.2017.1371750.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Vance EB, Wagner NN. Written descriptions of orgasm: a study of sex differences. Arch Sex Behav. 1976;5:87–98. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01542242.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  38. Sierra JC, Ortiz A, Calvillo C, Arcos-Romero AI. Subjective orgasm experience in the context of solitary masturbation. Rev Int Androl. 2020. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.androl.2019.10.001.

  39. Agronin ME. Sexuality and aging. In: Binik Y, Hall KSK, editors. Principles and practice of sex therapy. 5th edn. New York: Guilford Press; 2014. p. 525–39.

  40. López F. Sexuality and affects in old age. Madrid: Pirámide; 2012.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Sierra JC, Vallejo-Medina P, Santos-Iglesias P, Moyano N, Granados MR, Sánchez-Fuentes M. Sexual functioning in the elderly: Influence of age and psychosexual factors. Rev Int Androl. 2014;12:64–70. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.androl.2013.10.002.

    Google Scholar 

  42. Trompeter SE, Bettencourt R, Barrett-Connor E. Sexual activity and satisfaction in healthy community-dwelling older women. Am J Med. 2012;125:37–43. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2011.07.036.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Graham CA. Orgasm disorders in women. In: Binik Y, Hall KSK, editors. Principles and practice of sex therapy. 5th edn. New York: Guilford Press; 2014. p. 89–111.

  44. Perelman MA. Delayed ejaculation. In: Binik Y, Hall KSK, editors. Principles and practice of sex therapy. 5th edn. New York: Guilford Press; 2014. p. 138–55.

  45. Calvillo C, Sánchez-Fuentes MM, Parrón-Carreño T, Sierra JC. Validation of the Interpersonal Exchange Model of Sexual Satisfaction Questionnaire in adults with a same-sex partner. Int J Clin Health Psychol. 2020;20:140–50. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijchp.2019.07.005.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Calvillo C, Sánchez-Fuentes MM, Sierra JC. Revisión sistemática sobre la satisfacción sexual en parejas del mismo sexo. Rev Iberoam Psicol Salud. 2018;9:115–36. https://doi.org/10.23923/j.rips.2018.02.018.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ana Isabel Arcos-Romero.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Arcos-Romero, A.I., Expósito-Guerra, D. & Sierra, J.C. Sexual desire and its relationship with subjective orgasm experience. Int J Impot Res 34, 93–99 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41443-020-00375-7

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41443-020-00375-7

This article is cited by

Search

Quick links