Sexual satisfaction and sexual health among university students in the United States

Am J Public Health. 2011 Sep;101(9):1643-54. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300154. Epub 2011 Jul 21.


Despite the World Health Organization's definition of sexual health as a state of well-being, virtually no public health research has examined sexual well-being outcomes, including sexual satisfaction. Emerging evidence suggests that sexual well-being indicators are associated with more classic measures of healthy sexual behaviors. We surveyed 2168 university students in the United States and asked them to rate their physiological and psychological satisfaction with their current sexual lives. Many respondents reported that they were either satisfied (approximately half) or very satisfied (approximately one third). In multivariate analyses, significant (P < .05) correlates of both physiological and psychological satisfaction included sexual guilt, sexual self-comfort, self-esteem (especially among men), relationship status, and sexual frequency. To enhance sexual well-being, public health practitioners should work to improve sexual self-comfort, alleviate sexual guilt, and promote longer term relationships.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Contraception Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reproductive Medicine*
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Students / psychology*
  • United States
  • Universities*