Female Orgasm Scale

Female Orgasm Scale‌

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

This Female Orgasm Scale assesses the consistency of female orgasm during partnered sexual activities (e.g., intercourse, oral stimulation, self-stimulation with partner present) and overall satisfaction with orgasm frequency and quality.

Description

The scale comprises seven items. Five items inquire about the frequency of orgasm during different sexual activities:

(a) intercourse, (b) intercourse with additional direct clitoral stimulation, (c) hand/manual stimulation of the clitoris and/or genitals by a partner, (d) self-stimulation of the clitoris and/or genitals in the presence of a partner, and (e) oral stimulation. Respondents indicate the percentage of time they experience orgasm on an 11-point scale in 10% increments ranging from 0% to 100%. Respondents are also provided with the option, “Does not apply to me (I do not have sexual interactions involving . . .)” to allow the 0% response option to identify respondents who engage in the type of stimulation described in the item but do not experience orgasm from it. Two other items assess perceived satisfaction with the number and quality of orgasms experienced during sexual activity with a partner. They are rated on a 7-point scale ranging from Very Satisfied to Very Unsatisfied.

Scale development followed an iterative process, whereby items were developed and refined over a series of three studies. An initial pool of 17 items was developed and administered to 198 female undergraduate students. Items were subject to individual item analyses and exploratory factor analyses. Nine items were deleted owing to poor empirical performance or poor conceptual overlap with the construct, and five new items were written. The 13 items were then administered to a second sample of 242 female undergraduate participants, and items were subjected to item analyses and exploratory factor analyses. Six items were deleted and two additional items were written. The nine items were administered to 211 female undergraduate participants, and responses were subjected to item analyses and test-retest reliability analyses. Seven 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 (< .30), (c) poor corrected item-total

correlations (< .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) poor item-wording as judged by scale developers,

(g) redundancy with other items, (h) poor conceptual over- lap (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 (= 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. Sampling for the purposes of scale development was conducted using the Internet. Paper-and-pencil administration of the scale requires 2 to 5 minutes.

No particular time frame was assigned to the scale (i.e., it provides a global overview of a woman’s orgasm experience rather than being limited to the past 4 weeks, current partner, etc.). This approach was chosen to allow the scale to be applicable to a broad range of temporal and relation- ship contexts. 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. The Female Orgasm Scale was strongly correlated with the Orgasm subscale of the Female Sexual Function Index (Rosen et al., 2000), r = .71, which measures orgasmic function over the past 4 weeks. This provides preliminary support for the consistency of female orgasmic experience as measured by the Female Orgasm Scale, and for tailoring the scale to a specific time frame.

Scoring

1. Examine the number of responses marked “Does not apply to me.” These responses can be coded either as missing data or as 0, depending on the rationale of the researcher and use of the scale.

2. Score Items 1–5 as follows: 0% = 0, 10% = 1, 20% = 2, . . . 100% = 10.

  1. Score Items 6–7 as follows: Very Unsatisfied = 1 . . . Very Satisfied = 7.
  2. Because Items 1–5 are essentially keyed on a 10-point scale (i.e., there is no conceptual equivalent to the 0% response option on the 7-point scale for Items 6–7), and the rest of the items are coded on a 7-point scale, items should be weighted in the following manner:
    1. Multiply Items 1–5 by 7.
    2. Multiply Items 6–7 by 10.
  3. Calculate the average score or the total score for all items. Higher scores indicate greater orgasm consis- tency and satisfaction.
  4. Calculate subscale scores if desired:
    1. Orgasm from Clitoral Stimulation—Items 2–5
    2. Satisfaction with Orgasm—Items 6–7

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., Items 2–5 are answered on a 7-point scale).

Reliability

Internal consistency of the Female Orgasm Scale was good in all three studies (α = .84–.86), and for both sub- scales: Orgasm from Clitoral Stimulation (α = .81–.82) and Satisfaction with Orgasm (α = .72–.90). Corrected item- total correlations ranged from = .41 to .77 for the total scale, and from = .56 to .81 for the subscales. Inter-item correlations ranged from =.19 to .61 for the total scale, and from = .43 to .68 for both subscales. Four-week test-retest reliability was excellent for the total scale (= .82) and both subscales (= .62–.78).

Validity

As expected, the Female Orgasm Experiences Scale was highly correlated (= .71) with the Orgasm subscale of the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI; Rosen et al., 2000), providing evidence of convergent validity. The current scale was also correlated with the total FSFI score and the other subscales scores (= .20–.55), except for the Desire subscale. The Satisfaction with Orgasm subscale was correlated with the Satisfaction subscale of the FSFI (= .31), providing some evidence of convergent validity. The Female Orgasm Scale, subscales, and individual items were not correlated with the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale (MCSD; Crowne & Marlowe, 1964) or with measures of depression and anxiety (Henry & Crawford, 2005), providing evidence of discriminant validity and freedom from response bias.

Female Orgasm Scale Instructions:

The following questions ask about your sexual experiences (such as 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.

  1. How often do you have an orgasm from vaginal penetration only (no direct clitoral stimulation) during intercourse with a partner? Please indicate what percentage of the time:

    0%

    10%

    20%

    30%

    40%

    50%

    60%

    70%

    80%

    90%

    100%

    OR □ Does not apply to me

    (i.e., I do not have sexual interactions involving vaginal penetration only during intercourse with a partner)

  2. How often do you have an orgasm from intercourse with a partner that includes both vaginal penetration and direct clitoral stimulation? Please indicate what percentage of the time:

    0%

    10%

    20%

    30%

    40%

    50%

    60%

    70%

    80%

    90%

    100%

    OR □ Does not apply to me

    (i.e., I do not have sexual interactions involving vaginal penetration and simultaneous clitoral stimulation)

  3. How often do you have an orgasm from HAND/MANUAL stimulation of your genitals/clitoris by a partner? Please indicate what percentage of the time:

    0%

    10%

    20%

    30%

    40%

    50%

    60%

    70%

    80%

    90%

    100%

    OR □ Does not apply to me

    (i.e., I do not have sexual interactions involving manual stimulation of the genitals/clitoris with a partner)

  4. How often do you have an orgasm when you yourself manipulate or rub your own genitals/clitoris when you are with a partner? Please indicate what percentage of the time:

    0%

    10%

    20%

    30%

    40%

    50%

    60%

    70%

    80%

    90%

    100%

    OR □ Does not apply to me

    (i.e., I do not have sexual interactions where I self-manipulate my own genitals/clitoris when I am with a partner)

  5. How often do you have an orgasm from ORAL stimulation of your genital/clitoris by a partner? Please indicate what percentage of the time:

    0%

    10%

    20%

    30%

    40%

    50%

    60%

    70%

    80%

    90%

    100%

    OR □ Does not apply to me

    (i.e., I do not have sexual interactions involving oral stimulation of the genitals/clitoris with a partner)

  6. In general, how satisfied . . . unsatisfied are you with the number of orgasms that you have during sexual activity with a partner?

    Very Satisfied

    Moderately

    Slightly

    Neither Satisfied

    Slightly

    Moderately

    Very

    Satisfied

    Satisfied

    nor Unsatisfied

    Unsatisfied

    Unsatisfied

    Unsatisfied

  7. In general, how satisfied . . . unsatisfied are you with the quality or experience of orgasm that you have during sexual activity with a partner?

Very Satisfied

Moderately

Slightly

Neither Satisfied

Slightly

Moderately

Very

Satisfied

Satisfied

nor Unsatisfied

Unsatisfied

Unsatisfied

Unsatisfied

Address correspondence to Alexandra McIntyre-Smith or William Fisher, Department of Psychology, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5C2; e-mail: [email protected] or [email protected]

References

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

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.

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

Rosen, R., Brown, C., Heiman, J., Leiblum, S., Meston, C., Shabsigh, R., et al. (2000). The Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI): A multidi- mensional self-report instrument for the assessment of female sexual function. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 26, 191–208.

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.