Sexual Attitude Scale

Sexual Attitude Scale‌


GERALD J. MURPHYNew Orleans, Louisiana

The Sexual Attitude Scale (SAS) is a short-form scale designed to measure liberal versus conservative attitudes toward human sexual expression.


The SAS contains 25 category partition (Likert type) items, two of which are worded negatively to partially offset the potential for response set bias. Each item is scored on a relative frequency scale as shown in the scoring key of the instrument. Obtained scores range from 0 to 100, where higher scores indicate greater degrees of conservatism, and lower scores indicate more liberal attitudes. The SAS has a cutting score of 50, such that scores above that value indicate the presence of an increasingly conservative attitude toward human sexual expression, whereas scores below that value indicate the presence of an increasingly liberal orientation. A score of 0 represents the most liberal position and a score of 100 represents the most conservative position. The SAS can be used with all English speaking populations aged 12 or older.

Readability statistics are as follows: Flesch Reading Ease: 63; Gunning’s Fog Index: 10; and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 7.

Response Mode and Timing

The SAS is a self-report scale that is normally completed in 5–7 minutes.


Items 21 and 22 must first be reverse-scored by subtracting the item response from + 1, where is the number of response categories in the scoring key. After making all appropriate item reversals, compute the total score as = (∑SXi – N)(100) / [(K–1)N], where is an item response, 1st small i is italic is the number of response categories, and is the number of properly completed items. Total scores remain valid in the face of missing values (omitted items) provided the respondent completes at least 80% of the items. The effect of the scoring formula is to replace missing values with the mean item response value so that scores range from 0 to 100 regard- less of the value of N.


Cronbach’s alpha = .94 and the SEM = 4.20. Test-retest reliability is not available.


The known-groups validity coefficient is .73 as deter- mined by the point-biserial correlation between group status (liberal vs. conservative criterion groups) and the SAS scores. Detailed information about content, facto- rial, and construct validity are reported in the WALMYR Assessment Scale Scoring Manual which is available from the publisher.

Other Information

The proper use of the WALMYR assessment scales is easily mastered, and the scales can be readily understood by qualified professional practitioners. These measurement tools are not intended for use by untrained individuals. The scales are simple, powerful devices that, when used by trained professionals, are capable of revealing both minor and serious problems that individuals might have in many areas of personal and social functioning. They are not intended for use by persons who are not trained to deal with such problems and should be used only by competent professionals, researchers, scholars and those who are engaged in supervised study and training.

Sexual Attitude Scale (SAS)

Name:                                          Today’s Date:                                   

This questionnaire is designed to measure the way you feel about sexual behaviour. It is not a test, so there are no right or wrong answers. Answer each item as carefully and as accurately as you can by placing a number beside each one as follows.

1 = Strongly disagree 2 = Disagree

3 = Neither agree nor disagree 4 = Agree

5 = Strongly agree

  1. I think there is too much sexual freedom given to adults these days.

  2. I think that increased sexual freedom undermines the American family.

  3. I think that young people have been given too much information about sex.

  4. Sex education should be restricted to the home.
  5. Older people do not need to have sex.

  6.  Sex education should be given only when people are ready for marriage.

  7. Pre-marital sex may be a sign of a decaying social order.

  8. Extra-marital sex is never excusable.

  9. I think there is too much sexual freedom given to teenagers these days.

  10. I think there is not enough sexual restraint among young people.

  11. I think people indulge in sex too much.

  12. I think the only proper way to have sex is through intercourse.

  13. I think sex should be reserved for marriage.

  14. Sex should be only for the young.

  15. Too much social approval has been given to homosexuals.

  16. Sex should be devoted to the business of procreation.

  17. People should not masturbate.

  18. Heavy sexual petting should be discouraged.

  19. People should not discuss their sexual affairs or business with others.

  20. Severely handicapped (physically and mentally) people should not have sex.

  21. There should be no laws prohibiting sexual acts between consenting adults.

  22. What two consenting adults do together sexually is their own business.

  23. There is too much sex on television.

  24. Movies today are too sexually explicit.

  25. Pornography should be totally banned from our bookstores.

Note. Item 21and 22 are reverse scored.


Hudson, W. W., Murphy, G. J., & Nurius, P. S. (1983). A short-form scale to measure liberal vs. conservative orientations toward human sexual expression. The Journal of Sex Research, 19, 258–272.

Nurius, P. S., & Hudson, W. W. (1993). Human services practice, evalua- tion & computers. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole. Walter W. Hudson, 1934–1999.