Validation of an Event-Level, Male Sexual Pleasure Scale (EMSEXpleasure) Among Condom-Using Men in the U.S

Arch Sex Behav. 2018 Aug;47(6):1745-1754. doi: 10.1007/s10508-017-1103-5. Epub 2018 Feb 1.


Sexual pleasure is a key determinant of condom use. We developed and validated a male, event-level sexual pleasure scale (EMSEXpleasure) among a sample of condom-using men in the U.S. in order to facilitate improved measurement of sexual pleasure. Based on an expert panel process, a 12-item scale was developed. An online sample of 169 men who have sex with men and 162 men who have sex with women were recruited. Factor analysis yielded a two-factor solution that matched domains identified a priori by the expert panel, general pleasure and condom-specific pleasure, indicating internal validity of the instrument. One item was deleted from the scale due to poor validity performance. The overall EMSEXpleasure scale, and each subscale, had high (> 0.8) Cronbach's alpha coefficients, indicating internal reliability. The scale demonstrated convergent validity, with theoretically related constructs associated both with individual scale items and with scale totals. Overall relationship quality (b 3.0, 95% CI 2.0, 4.0), sexual relationship quality (b 2.9, 95% CI 2.0, 4.0), foreplay quality (b 7.5, 95% CI 2, 13), positive feelings about condoms (b 18.8, 95% CI 15, 23), and erection problems while using condoms (b - 17.9, 95% CI - 22, - 14) were associated with the EMSEXpleasure scale in expected directions. The validated EMSEXpleasure event-level scale may be advantageous for future assessments of the ephemeral experience of sexual pleasure, including clinical trials of condoms and other interventions, because it can be used immediately after sex, potentially limiting recall error.

Keywords: Condoms; HIV; Men; Sexual pleasure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Condoms / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Heterosexuality / statistics & numerical data*
  • Homosexuality, Male / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pleasure*
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Safe Sex / statistics & numerical data
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*