Endorsement of models describing sexual response of men and women with a sexual partner: an online survey in a population sample of Danish adults ages 20-65 years

Annamaria Giraldi, Ellids Kristensen, Michael Sand
Journal of Sexual Medicine 2015, 12 (1): 116-28

INTRODUCTION: Several models have been used to describe men's and women's sexual responses. These models have been conceptualized as linear or circular models. The circular models were proposed to describe women's sexual function best.

AIM: This study aims to determine whether men and women thought that current theoretical models of sexual responses accurately reflected their own sexual experience and to what extent this was influenced by sexual dysfunction.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study of a large, broadly sampled, nonclinical population, cohort of Danish men and women. The Female Sexual Function Index, Female Sexual Distress Scale, and the International Index of Erectile Function were used to describe sexual function. Also, participants completed questionnaires with written descriptions of different sexual responses to describe their most experienced sexual response.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: For women, we measured desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, sexual satisfaction, pain during sexual activity, sexual distress, and satisfaction with sexual life. For men, we measured erectile function, orgasm, desire, intercourse satisfaction, overall satisfaction, and satisfaction with sexual life.

RESULTS: A total of 499 men and 573 women participated. We only analyzed responses from sexually active participants with a partner (401 men and 429 women). The majority of men endorsed the Masters & Johnson model (48.5%) or the Kaplan model (38.3%); only 5.4% endorsed the Basson model, and 7.3% endorsed none of the models. Among women, 34% endorsed the Kaplan model, 28% the Masters & Johnson model, 25.6% the Basson model, and 12.5% none of the models. Among women, sexual dysfunction and distress were significantly (P = 0.01) related to endorsement of the Basson model or none of the models. Among men, erectile dysfunction and dissatisfaction with sexual life were significantly related to endorsement of the Basson model or none of the models (P = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: No single model of sexual response could describe men's and women's sexual responses. The majority of men and women with no sexual dysfunction that were satisfied with their sexual life endorsed the linear models.

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