Models of female orgasm

Arch Sex Behav. 1979 Sep;8(5):405-23. doi: 10.1007/BF01541197.


Self-report instruments concerning personality and subjective responses to sexual orgasm were filled out by 281 female university undergraduates. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were used to evaluate the dimensionality of women's subjective responsiveness to orgasm. The results did not support the concept of a unidimensional orgasm process; separate coital and masturbatory factors of orgasmic experience were obtained. Highly internally consistent scales were developed to assess the two factors, and both scales were found to be significantly correlated with indices of extraversion, attitudes toward masturbation, and sexual experience. A path-analytic model was developed which is consistent with the hypothesis that heterosexual and monosexual behaviors act as mediators between extraversion, neuroticism, and attitudes toward masturbation, on the one hand, and subjective coital or masturbatory orgasmic responsiveness, on the other. It appears that attitudes toward masturbation may also have a direct influence on masturbatory responsiveness. Various therapeutic implications of the path model are described. Replications and extensions of the study with older, more experienced populations are necessary.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude
  • Coitus*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Masturbation / psychology*
  • Orgasm / physiology*
  • Personality
  • Reaction Time
  • Sexual Behavior*