Male Body Image Self-Consciousness Scale

Male Body Image Self-Consciousness Scale‌

LORRAINE K. MCDONAGHNational University of Ireland, Galway

TODD G. MORRISON,University of Saskatchewan, Canada

BRIAN E. MCGUIRENational University of Ireland, Galway

The Male Body Image Self-Consciousness Scale (M-BISC) measures body image self-consciousness during sexual intimacy, which may be defined as the extent to which one feels self-conscious about one’s body and physical features when engaged in physically intimate situations, such as sexual intercourse.


Items were generated through a focus group with male participants. Conversations were recorded and transcribed verbatim, and the text was analyzed, resulting in the development of 39 items. All items were written such that men, with and without sexual experience involving a partner (male or female), can respond. To reduce the number of scale items, corrected item-total and inter-item correlations were inspected. Twenty-two items were removed. To gauge the dimensionality of the 17 remaining items, an exploratory factor analysis was conducted, with unweighted least squares serving as the extraction method and parallel analysis in conjunction with the scree plot being used for fac- tor retention. A one-factor solution provided an acceptable representation of the data (eigenvalue = 7.61, accounting for 44% of the variance).

Response Mode and Timing

Respondents indicate their answer by circling the number that best corresponds to their agreement or disagreement with each statement. Responses are coded on a 5-point Likert scale (1 = Strongly Disagree; 2 = Disagree; 3 = Don’t Know; 4 = Agree; and 5 = Strongly Agree). The anchors should be reversed for a random subset of items (i.e., 1 = Strongly Agree; 5 = Strongly Disagree), so as to prevent acquiescent and response set behaviors. The scale takes no more than 5 minutes to complete.


Items are summed to provide a total scale score (possible range is 17 to 85), with higher scores denoting greater levels of body image self-consciousness during physical intimacy.


Cronbach’s alpha for the 17-item M-BISC was .92 (95% CI = .90 to .94), which suggests good scale score reliability (McDonagh, Morrison, & McGuire, 2008).


To assess the construct validity of the M-BISC, five hypotheses were tested. Levels of body image self-consciousness were related to levels of body esteem, r(131) = −.56, < .001; sexual esteem, r(130) = −.56, < .001; sexual anxiety, r(131) = .40, < .001; self-rated physical attractiveness, r(130) = −.50, < .001; and the drive for muscularity, r(131) = .26, < .005. A series of point-bise- rial and Pearson’s correlation coefficients also revealed that higher levels of body image self-consciousness during physical intimacy were associated with being less likely to have: (a) engaged in vaginal intercourse, rpb(129) = −.24, p < .01, (b) performed oral sex on another person, rpb(129) = −.28, < .001, or (c) received oral sex from another person, rpb(129) = .27, < .01.

Male Body Image Self-Consciousness Scale

Instructions: Please read each item carefully and then CIRCLE the most appropriate response UNDER each statement. The term part- ner refers to someone with whom you are romantically or sexually intimate.

The response format is:

1 = Strongly Disagree 2 = Disagree 3 = Don’t Know 4 = Agree 5 = Strongly Agree

    1. During sex, I would worry that my partner would think my chest is not muscular enough.
    2. During sexual activity, it would be difficult not to think about how unattractive my body is.

    3. During sex, I would worry that my partner would think my stomach is not muscular enough.

    4. I would feel anxious receiving a full-body massage from a partner.

    5. The first time I have sex with a new partner, I would worry that my partner would get turned off by seeing my body without clothes.

    6. I would feel nervous if a partner were to explore my body before or after having sex.

    7. I would worry about the length of my erect penis during physically intimate situations.

    8. During sex, I would prefer to be on the bottom so that my stomach appears flat.

    9. The worst part of having sex is being nude in front of another person.

    10. I would feel embarrassed about the size of my testicles if a partner were to see them.

    11. I would have difficulty taking a shower or a bath with a partner.

    12. During sexual activity, I would be concerned about how my body looks to a partner.

    13. If a partner were to put a hand on my buttocks I would think, “My partner can feel my fat.”

    14. During sexually intimate situations, I would be concerned that my partner thinks I am too fat.

    15. I could only feel comfortable enough to have sex if it were dark so that my partner could not clearly see my body.

    16. If a partner were to see me nude I would be concerned about the overall muscularity of the body.

    17. The idea of having sex without any covers over my body causes me anxiety.

Address correspondence to Todd G. Morrison, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, CA S7N 5A5; e-mail: [email protected]


McDonagh, L. K., Morrison, T. G., & McGuire, B. E. (2008). The naked truth: Development of a scale designed to measure male body image self-consciousness during physical intimacy. Journal of Men’s Studies, 16, 253–265.