The development and validation of the Male Genital Self-Image Scale: results from a nationally representative probability sample of men in the United States

J Sex Med. 2013 Jun;10(6):1516-25. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12124. Epub 2013 Mar 28.


Introduction: Numerous factors may affect men's sexual experiences, including their health status, past trauma or abuse, medication use, relationships, mood, anxiety, and body image. Little research has assessed the influence of men's genital self-image on their sexual function or behaviors and none has done so in a nationally representative sample.

Aims: The purpose of this study was to, in a nationally representative probability sample of men ages 18 to 60, assess the reliability and validity of the Male Genital Self-Image Scale (MGSIS), and to examine the relationship between scores on the MGSIS and men's scores on the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF).

Methods: The MGSIS was developed in two stages. Phase One involved a review of the literature and an analysis of cross-sectional survey data. Phase Two involved an administration of the scale items to a nationally representative sample of men in the United States ages 18 to 60.

Main outcome measures: Measures include demographic items, the IIEF, and the MGSIS.

Results: Overall, most men felt positively about their genitals. However, 24.6% of men expressed some discomfort letting a healthcare provider examine their genitals and about 20% reported dissatisfaction with their genital size. The MGSIS was found to be reliable and valid, with the MGSIS-5 (consisting of five items) being the best fit to the data.

Conclusion: The MGSIS was found to be a reliable and valid measure. In addition, men's scores on the MGSIS-5 were found to be positively related to men's scores on the IIEF.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Body Image*
  • Emotions
  • Genitalia, Male / anatomy & histology*
  • Genitalia, Male / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Penile Erection
  • Psychometrics
  • Self Concept*
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Young Adult