Alexithymia is inversely associated with women's frequency of vaginal intercourse

Arch Sex Behav. 2003 Feb;32(1):73-7. doi: 10.1023/a:1021897530286.


The study examined the relation between frequency of penile-vaginal intercourse (FSI; contrasted with other sexual behavior) and alexithymia (difficulty recognizing, identifying, and communicating emotions, reduced fantasy capacity, and an externally oriented cognitive style). To minimize response bias, persons scoring above the 86th percentile on the Eysenck Personality Inventory Lie scale were excluded. Participants (54 female and 39 male healthy young adults) completed the German version of the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20), and provided both recall and diary measures of FSI, partner sex without vaginal intercourse, and masturbation. For women, TAS-20 scores were inversely associated with both recall and diary measures of FSI but not other sexual behavior. For men, TAS-20 scores were unrelated to all sexual behavior measures. Thus, for normal women but not men, alexithymia was specifically associated with lower FSI. Results are discussed in terms of the unique nature of penile-vaginal intercourse, emotional integration and sexuality, and both less alexithymia and greater FSI being associated with indices of better physical and psychological health.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affective Symptoms / diagnosis*
  • Affective Symptoms / epidemiology*
  • Affective Symptoms / psychology
  • Coitus / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires