Clitoral Self-Stimulation Scale

Clitoral Self-Stimulation Scale

ALEXANDRA MCINTYRE-SMITH AND WILLIAM A. FISHER,1 University of Western Ontario

This scale assesses the frequency of women’s self-stimulation of the clitoris and genitals in the presence of a partner, as well as their attitudes and affective reactions to such self- stimulation.

Description

The Clitoral Self-Stimulation scale is composed of five items measuring attitudinal and affective states in relation to self-stimulation of the clitoris and genitals in the context of sexual interaction with a partner, and one item assessing the frequency of self-stimulation in such situations. Response options vary, reflecting the content of the item.

Scale development followed an iterative process, whereby items were developed and refined over a series of three studies. An initial pool of 18 items was developed and administered to 198 female undergraduate students. Items were subject to individual item analyses and exploratory factor analyses. Ten items were deleted owing to poor empirical performance or poor conceptual overlap with the construct. The eight remaining items and four new items were provided to 16 graduate students, who rated the items for clarity and provided feedback and suggestions for wording changes (see Hinkin, 1998; Streiner & Norman, 2008, for evidence for the use of students as item judges). Recommendations to improve item wording were considered if two or more people suggested them; wording changes were made to three items. The 12 items were then administered to a second sample of 242 female under- graduate participants, and items were subjected to item analyses and exploratory factor analyses. Five items were deleted and two additional items were written. The seven items were administered to 211 female undergraduate participants, and responses were subjected to item analyses and test-retest reliability analyses. Six items were retained for the final scale.

Decision-making regarding item deletion was based on the following scale-development guidelines (see Netemeyer, Bearden, & Sharma, 2003; Streiner & Norman, 2008): (a) range restriction problems (i.e., more than 50% of the sample endorsed a single response option, low standard deviations), (b) poor inter-item correlations with two or more scale items (r < .30), (c) poor corrected item-total correlations (r < .30), (d) high cross-loadings on nontarget factors (> .35 or more), (e) low percentage of variance accounted for within items (i.e., poor communalities, < .30), (f) low clarity ratings by expert raters (M < 5.5 on a 7-point scale), (g) poor item wording as judged by expert raters, (h) redundancy with other items, (i) poor conceptual overlap (i.e., item was judged to be too dissimilar from other items and/or to poorly reflect the construct). Sampling was conducted with three groups of female undergraduate students, aged 17–49 years (M = 18.83– 19.24, SD = 2.67–3.38), who were heterosexually active (i.e., they reported having sexual intercourse with a male partner at least twice per month). As this scale was developed based on responses from undergraduate female participants, it is most appropriate for use with this population. Future studies examining the use of this measure with additional populations are needed.

Response Mode and Timing

Respondents are provided with the scale and instructions, and are asked to complete the survey on their own and with as much privacy as possible. The scale was administered using the Internet for the purpose of scale development research. Paper-and-pencil administration of the scale requires 2 to 5 minutes.

This scale was designed to measure individual differences in attitudinal, affective, and behavioral components of the tendency to engage in self-stimulation of the clitoris and genitals in the context of sexual interaction with a partner. No particular time frame or relationship context was assigned to the scale. This approach was chosen so that the scale assesses individual difference dispositions more broadly, rather than being limited to a particular relation- ship or temporal context. If one were interested in limiting the use of the scale to a specific time frame or sexual relationship (e.g., current partner), the scale could be prefaced with additional instructions specifying this constraint. It should be noted, however, that the scale was not designed or validated with this purpose in mind.

Scoring

Score Items 2, 3, and 5 as follows: Very Unimportant, Strongly Disagree, Very Difficult = 1. Moderately Unimportant/Disagree/Difficult =2. Slightly Unimportant/ Disagree/Difficult = 3. Neither . . . = 4. Slightly Important/ Agree/Easy = 5. Moderately Important/Agree/Easy = 6. Very Important, Strongly Agree, Very Easy = 7.

Score Items 1 and 4 as follows: Very Bad, Strongly Agree = 1. Moderately Bad/Agree = 2. Slightly Bad/Agree = 3. Neither . . . = 4. Slightly Good/Disagree = 5. Moderately Good/Disagree = 6. Very Good, Strongly Disagree = 7. 3. Score Item 6 as follows: 0% = 0, 1–25% = 1, 26–50% = 2, 51–75% = 3, 76–99% = 4, 100% = 5.

Because Item 6 is essentially keyed on a 5-point scale (i.e., there is no conceptual equivalent to the 0% response option on the 7-point scales for Items 1–5), and the rest of the items are coded on a 7-point scale, items should be weighted in the following manner:

  • Multiply Items 1–5 by 5.
  • Multiply Item 6 by 7.

Calculate the average score or the total score for all items. Higher scores indicate a greater proclivity for engaging in self-stimulation of the clitoris or genitals during sexual interaction with a partner.

Calculate subscale scores if desired as follows:

  • Attitudes Towards Clitoral Self-Stimulation—Items 1, 2, 5
  • Affective Reactions to Clitoral Self-Stimulation— Items 3–4

When calculating subscale scores, items do not need to be weighted within a given subscale, because the response options are the same for all items (e.g., they are all answered on a 7-point scale).

Reliability

Internal consistency of the total scale was good in all three studies (α = .82–.86). Four-week test-retest reliability was good for the total scale (r = .84) and both subscales (r = .74–.77). The internal consistency of the Attitudes Towards Clitoral Self-Stimulation subscale was excellent in two of the three studies (α = .81–.86) and was adequate in the third study (α = .72), providing good evidence of internal consistency, particularly for a three-item measure. The internal consistency of the Affective Reactions to Clitoral Self-Stimulation Subscale was adequate for two of the three studies (α = .70–.71) but was less desirable in the third study (α = .59), though still acceptable for a two-item subscale.

Validity

Clitoral self-stimulation is a sexual behavior that may not usually be part of the typical sexual script (Gagnon, 1977) and may require a certain degree of openness to sexual experience. Evidence for the convergent validity of the Clitoral Self-Stimulation Scale was explored using measures of openness to a broad range of sexual experiences. The Clitoral Self-Stimulation Scale and subscale scores were correlated with the Sexual Opinion Survey measure of erotophobia-erotophilia (SOS; Fisher, Byrne, White, & Kelley, 1988), r = .39–.48, which is the tendency to respond to sexual stimuli with negative-to-positive affect, and avoidant-to-approach behavior. SOS scores were calculated without two of the 21 items that inquire about self- stimulation (“Manipulating my genitals would probably be an arousing experience” and “Masturbation can be an exciting experience”) to reduce inflated estimates of the correlation between the Clitoral Self-Stimulation Scale and erotophobia-erotophilia.

Other evidence of convergent validity includes the correlation of the total score and subscale scores with the Sociosexual Inventory (Simpson & Gangestad, 1991), r =.15–.22, a measure of respondents’ willingness to engage in casual, uncommitted sexual relationships; and with frequency of intercourse with a dating partner (r = .20–.27) and a casual sexual partner (r = .53–.66), as well as frequency of masturbation (r = .33–.49). The total scale and subscales were not correlated with the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale (Crowne & Marlowe, 1964) or with measures of depression and anxiety (Henry & Crawford, 2005), providing evidence of discriminant validity and freedom from response bias.

Clitoral Self-Stimulation Scale

Instructions: The following questions ask about your thoughts and feelings concerning your sexual experiences and sexual activities with a partner. You are asked to rate each item on the scale provided. Please check off one box per item to indicate your response.
Stimulating myself (i.e., massaging my genitals/clitoris) to help me have an orgasm during intercourse with a partner would be:
1. Good
Very Good
Moderately
Slightly
Neither Good
Slightly
Moderately
Very Bad
Good
Good
nor Bad
Bad
Bad
2. Important
Very
Moderately
Very
Neither Important
Slightly
Moderately
Very
Unimportant
Unimportant
Unimportant
nor Unimportant
Important
Important
Important
3. Exciting
Strongly
Moderately
Slightly
Neither Agree
Slightly
Moderately
Strongly
Disagree
Disagree
Disagree
nor Disagree
Agree
Agree
Agree
4. Embarrassing
Strongly
Moderately
Slightly
Neither Agree
Slightly
Moderately
Strongly
Disagree
Disagree
Disagree
nor Disagree
Agree
Agree
Agree
5. Easy
Very
Moderately
Slightly
Neither Easy
Slightly
Moderately
Very Easy
Difficult
Difficult
Difficult
nor Difficult
Easy
Easy
6. When having sex with a partner, how often do you stimulate your clitoris to orgasm?
D 0% of the time
D 1–25% of the time D 26–50% of the time D 51–75% of the time D 76–99% of the time D 100% of the time
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References

Crowne, D. P., & Marlowe, D. (1964). The approval motive: Studies in evaluative dependence. New York: Wiley.

Fisher, W. A., Byrne, D., White, L. A., & Kelley, K. (1988). Erotophobiaerotophilia as a dimension of personality. The Journal of Sex Research, 25, 123–151.

Gagnon, J. H. (1977). Human sexualities. Dallas, TX: Scott, Foresman. Henry, J. D., & Crawford, J. R. (2005). The short-form version of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS-21): Construct validity and normative data in a large non-clinical sample. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 44, 227–239.

Hinkin, T. R. (1998). A brief tutorial on the development of measures for use in survey questionnaires. Organizational Research Methods, 1, 104–121.

Netemeyer, R. G., Bearden, W. O., & Sharma, S. (2003). Scaling procedures: Issues and applications. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Simpson, J. A., & Gangestad, S. W. (1991). Individual differences in sociosexuality: Evidence for convergent and discriminant validity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 60, 870–883.

Streiner, D. L. & Norman, G. R. (2008). Health measurement scales: A practical guide to their development and use (4th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.