Female Partner’s Communication During Sexual Activity Scale

Female Partner’s Communication During Sexual Activity Scale

ALEXANDRA MCINTYRE-SMITH1 AND WILLIAM A. FISHERUniversity of Western Ontario

This scale assesses female respondents’ perceptions of how easy it is to communicate with a partner during sexual activity, and how frequently they communicate their sexual preferences and the type of stimulation they desire to their partners.

Description

The scale is composed of three items measuring how easy it is for respondents to communicate with a partner during sexual activity, rated on a 7-point scale from Very Difficult to Very Easy, and three items measuring the frequency of use of different verbal and nonverbal communication strategies, rated on a 6-point scale ranging from 0% of the time to 100% of the time.

Scale development followed an iterative process, whereby items were developed and refined over a series of three studies. An initial pool of 20 items was developed and administered to 198 female undergraduate students. Items were subject to individual item analyses and exploratory factor analyses. Fourteen items were deleted owing to poor empirical performance or poor conceptual overlap with the construct. The six remaining 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 they were suggested by two or more people. For this scale, no wording changes were made. The six items were then administered to a second sample of 242 female undergraduate participants, and items were subjected to item analyses and exploratory factor analyses. Two items were deleted and two additional items were written. The six remaining items were administered to 211 female undergraduate participants, and responses were subjected to item analyses and test-retest reliability analyses. All 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 (< .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) low clarity ratings by expert raters (< 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 (= 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.

Scoring

  • Score Items 1–3, 5 as follows: Very Difficult = 1, Moderately Difficult = 2 . . . Very Easy = 7.
  • Score Items 4–6 as follows: 0% = 0, 1–25% = 1, 26– 50% = 2, 51–75% = 3, 76–99% = 4, 100% = 5.

Because Items 4–6 are 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 1–3), and the rest of the items are coded on a 7–point scale, items should be weighted in the following manner:

    1. Multiply Items 1–3 by 5.
    2. Multiply Items 4–6 by 7.

Calculate the average score or the total score for all items. Higher scores indicate a greater self-rated ease and frequency of sexual communication with a partner during sexual activity.

Calculate subscale scores if desired as follows:

    1. Ease of Sexual Communication—Items 1–3
    2. Frequency of Sexual Communication—Items 4–6

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 1–3 are all answered on a 7-point scale).

Reliability

In Study III, when all six items were available for calculating reliability, internal consistency of the total scale was good (α = .83). In Studies I and II, only four of the final six items were available, and internal consistency scores were somewhat lower as a result (α = .76–.77). The corrected item-to-total correlations across all three studies were good, = .54–.63, as were the inter-item correlations, = .27–.64. Four-week test-retest reliability was reason- able for the total scale (= .72).

As the two subscales comprised only two or three items each (two items in Studies I and II, and three items in Study III), internal consistency estimates were somewhat lower than for the total scale (α = .64–.79). Nonetheless, the inter- correlations between subscale items were in the range = .51–.64, suggesting that the items can be combined to form a subscale. Four-week test-retest reliability was reasonable for both subscales (= .65–.67).

Validity

We hypothesized that correlations between scores on the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI; Rosen et al., 2000) and scores on the Female Partner’s Communication During Sexual Activity Scale would provide evidence of convergent validity because communication with a partner has been shown to facilitate sexual response during sexual activity with a partner (e.g., Hayes et al., 2008). As hypothesized, the Female Partner’s Communication During Sexual Activity Scale and subscales scores were associated with the total FSFI score (= .30–.37), as well as scores on the Desire (= .19–.23), Arousal (= .19–.22), and Satisfaction (= .26–.30) subscales.

Other evidence of convergent validity includes the correlation of the total score and subscales with the Sexual Opinion Survey measure of erotophobia-erotophilia, = .16–.27, which is the tendency to respond to sexual stimuli with negative-to-positive affect and avoidant-to-approach behavior (Fisher, Byrne, White, & Kelley, 1988), and with the Dyadic Sexual Regulation Scale= .33–.47, which measures the degree to which the respondent initiates sexual activity (vs. waiting for a partner to do so), and is an active (vs. more passive) participant during sexual activity (Catania, McDermott, & Wood, 1984). Frequency of intercourse (= .25–.47) and frequency of masturbation (r = .22–.26) were also correlated with the total scale and sub- scale scores. The Female Partner’s Communication During Sexual Activity 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.

Female Partner’s Communication During Sexual Activity Scale

Instructions: The following questions ask about your thoughts and feelings concerning sexual activities with a partner and your sexual experiences. You are asked to rate each item on the scale provided. Please check off one box per item to indicate your response.

1. Telling my partner what to do to stimulate me during intercourse would be:

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

Very Difficult

Moderately

Slightly Difficult

Neither Easy

Slightly Easy

Moderately Easy

Very Easy

Difficult

nor Difficult

2. Showing my partner what to do to stimulate me during intercourse would be:

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

Very Difficult

Moderately

Slightly Difficult

Neither Easy

Slightly Easy

Moderately Easy

Very Easy

Difficult

nor Difficult

3. Asking my partner to stimulate me to orgasm (i.e., by massaging my genitals/clitoris) when I have intercourse with my partner

would be:

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

Very Difficult

Moderately

Slightly Difficult

Neither Easy

Slightly Easy

Moderately Easy

Very Easy

Difficult

nor Difficult

4. When having sex with a partner, how often do you tell your partner what feels good? D 0% of the time 1–25% of the time 26–50% of the time 51–75% of the time 76–99% of the time 100% of the time

5. When having sex with a partner, how often do you show your partner what feels good? D 0% of the time 1–25% of the time 26–50% of the time 51–75% of the time 76–99% of the time 100% of the time

6. When having sex with a partner, how often do you ask your partner to stimulate your clitoris to orgasm? 0% of the time 1–25% of the time 26–50% of the time 51–75% of the time 76–99% of the time 100% of the time

References

Catania, J. A., McDermott, L. V., & Wood, J. A. (1984). Assessment of locus of control: Situational specificity in the sexual context. The Journal of Sex Research, 20, 310–324.

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.

Hayes, R. D., Dennerstein, L., Bennett, C. M., Sidat, M., Gurrin, L. C., & Fairley, C. K. (2008). Risk factors for female sexual dysfunction in the general population: Exploring factors associated with low sexual function and sexual distress. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 5, 1681–1693.

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.

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.