Are orgasms in the mind or the body? Psychosocial versus physiological correlates of orgasmic pleasure and satisfaction

J Sex Marital Ther. 2005 May-Jun;31(3):187-200. doi: 10.1080/00926230590513401.


We investigated the hypothesis that the subjective experience of orgasmic pleasure and satisfaction depends more on psychological and psychosocial than on physical factors. Male and female participants rated adjectives to describe orgasm attained during either solitary masturbation (n = 356) or sex with a partner (n = 442). Orgasmic pleasure and satisfaction were related more to (a) the cognitive-affective than sensory aspects of the orgasm experience; (b) the overall physical and psychological intensity of orgasm but not to anatomical location of orgasm sensations; and (d) relationship satisfaction. These findings emphasize the importance of psychosocial determinants of the orgasm experience.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Coitus* / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Masturbation* / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Orgasm*
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sexual Partners / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires