Overestimation of heterosexually attributed AIDS deaths is associated with immature psychological defence mechanisms and clitoral masturbation during penile-vaginal intercourse

Int J STD AIDS. 2009 Dec;20(12):869-75. doi: 10.1258/ijsa.2009.009435.


Research shows that (1) greater use of immature psychological defence mechanisms (associated with psychopathology) is associated with lesser orgasmic consistency from penile-vaginal intercourse (PVI), but greater frequency of other sexual behaviours and greater condom use for PVI, and (2) unlike the vectors of receptive anal intercourse and punctures, HIV acquisition during PVI is extremely unlikely in reasonably healthy persons. However, the relationship between overestimation of AIDS deaths due to 'heterosexual transmission' (often misunderstood as only PVI), sexual behaviour and mental health has been lacking. Two hundred and twenty-one Scottish women completed the Defense Style Questionnaire, reported past month frequencies of their various sexual activities, and estimated the total number of women who died from AIDS in Scotland nominally as a result of heterosexual transmission in the UK from a partner not known to be an injecting drug user, bisexual or infected through transfusion. The average respondent overestimated by 226,000%. Women providing lower estimates were less likely to use immature psychological defences, and had a lower frequency of orgasms from clitoral masturbation during PVI and from vibrator use. The results indicate that those who perceive 'heterosexual transmission' led to many AIDS deaths have poorer psychological functioning, and might be less able to appreciate PVI.

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / mortality*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / transmission
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / virology
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Clitoris
  • Coitus / psychology*
  • Defense Mechanisms*
  • Female
  • Heterosexuality*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Masturbation
  • Orgasm*
  • Personality Inventory
  • Risk
  • Scotland
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult