Emotional intelligence and its association with orgasmic frequency in women

J Sex Med. 2009 Jul;6(7):1930-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01297.x. Epub 2009 Apr 28.


Introduction: Up to 30% of women suffer from female orgasmic disorder (FOD)-the second most common type of female sexual dysfunction. FOD has been acknowledged to be multifactorial and recent research has implicated the importance of psychosocial risk factors.

Aim: The aim of this study is to investigate whether normal variations in emotional intelligence--the ability to identify and manage emotions of one's self and others--are associated with orgasmic frequency during intercourse and masturbation. To our knowledge, this is the first such study in a large unselected population.

Methods: A total of 2035 women from the TwinsUK registry completed questionnaires relating to emotional intelligence and sexual behavior. Global emotional intelligence was measured using the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire-Short Form (TEIQue-SF). Orgasmic frequency was assessed using two self-constructed questions.

Main outcome measures: Using Spearman's rank correlation and quartile logistic regression, we investigated whether variations in emotional intelligence are associated with female orgasmic frequency during intercourse and masturbation.

Results: Emotional intelligence was not associated with the potential confounders of age and years of education, nor did we find a significant association between emotional intelligence and potential risk factors for FOD such as age, body mass index, physical or sexual abuse, or menopause. We found emotional intelligence to be positively correlated with both frequency of orgasm during intercourse (r = 0.13, P < 0.001) and masturbation (r = 0.23, P < 0.001). Women in the lowest quartile of emotional intelligence had an approximate twofold increased risk of infrequent orgasm (Intercourse = odds ratio [OR] 2.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.4-3.9; Masturbation = [OR] 1.8, [CI] 1.3-2.5).

Conclusion: Low emotional intelligence seems to be a significant risk factor for low orgasmic frequency. Consideration of this behavioral risk factor may need to be incorporated into research into FOD and possible treatment approaches.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence*
  • Libido
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Orgasm*
  • Psychometrics
  • Self Concept
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / epidemiology*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / etiology
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology