Table of Contents
Sexual Self-Efficacy Scale for Female Functioning
SALLY BAILES,1 LAURA CRETI, CATHERINE S. FICHTEN, EVA LIBMAN, AND WILLIAM
BRENDER, SMBD-Jewish General Hospital
RHONDA AMSEL, McGill University
The evaluation and alteration of self-efficacy expectations is important in the cognitive-behavioral treatment of psycho- sexual problems. The Sexual Self-Efficacy Scale for females (SSES-F) is a measure of perceived competence in the behavioral, cognitive, and affective dimensions of female sexual response. Recently, researchers studying women’s perceived sexual self-efficacy, using the SSES-F, have focused on sexual adjustment (Reissing, Laliberté, & Davis, 2005), marital satisfaction (Oluwole, 2008), and the treatment of genital pain (Sutton, Pukall, & Chamberlain, 2009).
The Sexual Self-Efficacy Scale for Female Functioning SSES-F was developed as a multidimensional counterpart to the SSES-E (erectile function in men), and has been used for clinical screening and assessment, as well as for research (Fichten et al., 2010; Libman, Rothenberg, Fichten, & Amsel, 1985).
The SSES-F has 37 items, sampling capabilities in four phases of sexual response: interest, desire, arousal, and orgasm. In addition, the measure samples diverse aspects of female individual and interpersonal sexual expression (e.g., communication, body comfort and acceptance, and enjoyment of various sexual activities). The instrument includes the following subscales determined by factor analysis (items in parentheses): Interpersonal Orgasm (4, 28, 29, 30, 32, 33, 34, 36, 37), Interpersonal Interest/ Desire (1, 5, 6, 7, 9, 22), Sensuality (17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 27), Individual Arousal (24, 25, 26, 31), Affection (8, 15, 16), Communication (12, 13, 14, 23, 35), Body Acceptance (2, 3), and Refusal (10, 11).
The SSES-F may be used by single or partnered women of all ages. Female respondents indicate those activities they can do and, for each of these, rate their confidence level. In addition, their partners can rate how they perceive the respondents’ capabilities and confidence levels.
Response Mode and Timing
For each item, respondents check whether the female can do the described activity and rate her confidence in being able to engage in the activity. Confidence ratings range from 10 (Quite Uncertain) to 100 (Quite Certain). If an item is unchecked, the corresponding confidence rating is assumed to be zero. The measure takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete.
The SSES-F yields an overall self-efficacy strength score as well as eight subscale scores. The total strength score is given by the average of the confidence ratings; items not checked in the “Can Do” column are scored as zero. The strength scores for the separate subscales are given by the average of the confidence ratings for that subscale.
The SSES-F was administered to a nonclinical sample of 131 women (age range = 25 to 68 years). The sample included 51 married or cohabiting women and 80 single women. Thirty-six of the women completed the SSES-F a second time, after an interval of 4 weeks. The male partners of the 51 married or cohabiting women also completed the SSES-F.
Evaluation of the women’s confidence ratings (N = 131) included a factor analysis to identify subscales and analyses to assess test-retest reliability and internal consistency. Item analysis demonstrated a high degree of internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha = .93) for the overall test. A factor analysis, using a varimax rotation, yielded eight significant factors, accounting for 68% of the total variance. Internal consistency coefficients for the separate subscales ranged from α = .70 to α = .87. Subscale-total and intersubscale correlations, carried out on the mean confidence score for each subscale, indicated reasonably high subscale-total correlations (range = .31 to .85) and moderate intersubscale correlations (range = .08 to .63). Test-retest correlations for the total scores (r = .83, p < .001) and for the subscales (range = .50 to .93) indicate good stability over time. For the married or cohabiting couples, the correlation between the partners’ total SSES-F scores was r = .46, p < .001.
Creti et al. (1989) reported on a preliminary validity analysis for the SSES-F. Both nonclinical and clinical samples were administered the SSES-F along with a test battery including measures of psychological, marital, and sexual adjustment and functioning. The overall strength score of the SSES-F was found to correlate significantly with other measures of sexual functioning, such as the Sexual History Form (Nowinski & LoPiccolo, 1979), the Golombok Rust Inventory of Sexual Satisfaction (Rust & Golombok, 1985), and the Sexual Interaction Inventory (LoPiccolo & Steger, 1974), and with marital satisfaction (Locke Wallace Marital Adjustment Scale; Kimmel & Van der Veen, 1974). In addition, the overall strength scores of the SSES-F were significantly lower for sexually dysfunctional women who presented for sex therapy at our clinic than for those of a sample of women from the community who reported no sexual dysfunction. Sexually dysfunctional women also showed significantly lower scores than the community sample on the Interpersonal Orgasm, Interpersonal Interest/ Desire, Sensuality, and Communication subscales. Creti et al. (1989) found that older women (age > 50) had significantly lower total strength scores than younger women (age < 50). Recently, Sutton et al. (2009) reported that women with provoked vestibulodynia had lower scores on the total SSES-F score as well as on the sensuality, affection, and communication subscales compared to controls. Reissing et al. (2005) found that sexual self-efficacy, as measured by the SSES-F, was a mediating variable between sexual self- schema and sexual adjustment.
The SSES-F is available in the French language.
Address correspondence to Sally Bailes, Department of Psychiatry, SMBD-Jewish General Hospital, 4333 Cote Ste. Catherine, Montreal, Quebec, H3T 1E4, Canada; e-mail: [email protected]
Sexual Self-Efficacy Scale for Female Functioning
The attached form lists sexual activities that women engage in.
For women respondents only:
Under column I (Can Do), check (✓) the activities you think you could do if you were asked to do them today. For only those activities you checked in column I, rate your degree of confidence that you could do them by selecting a number from 10 to 100 using the scale given below. Write this number in column II (Confidence).
For partners only:
Under column I (Can Do), check (✓) the activities you think your female partner could do if she were asked to do them today. For only those activities you checked in column I, rate your degree of confidence that your female partner could do them by selecting a number from 10 to 100 using the scale given below. Write this number in column II (Confidence).
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Quite Moderately Quite
1. Anticipate (think about) having intercourse without fear or anxiety.
2. Feel comfortable being nude with the partner.
3. Feel comfortable with your body.
4. In general, feel good about your ability to respond sexually.
5. Be interested in sex.
6. Feel sexual desire for the partner.
7. Feel sexually desirable to the partner.
8. Initiate an exchange of affection without feeling obliged to have sexual relations.
9. Initiate sexual activities.
10. Refuse a sexual advance by the partner.
11. Cope with the partner’s refusal of your sexual advance.
12. Ask the partner to provide the type and amount of sexual stimulation needed.
13. Provide the partner with the type and amount of sexual stimulation requested.
14. Deal with discrepancies in sexual preference between you and your partner.
15. Enjoy an exchange of affection without having sexual relations.
16. Enjoy a sexual encounter with a partner without having intercourse.
17. Enjoy having your body caressed by the partner (excluding genitals and breasts).
18. Enjoy having your genitals caressed by the partner.
19. Enjoy having your breasts caressed by the partner.
20. Enjoy caressing the partner’s body (excluding genitals).
21. Enjoy caressing the partner’s genitals.
22. Enjoy intercourse.
23. Enjoy a lovemaking encounter in which you do not reach orgasm.
24. Feel sexually aroused in response to erotica (pictures, books, films, etc.).
25. Become sexually aroused by masturbating when alone.
26. Become sexually aroused during foreplay when both partners are clothed.
Uncertain Certain Certain If you think your partner is not able to do a particular activity, leave columns I and II blank for that activity.
27. Become sexually aroused during foreplay when both partners are nude.
28. Maintain sexual arousal throughout a sexual encounter.
29. Become sufficiently lubricated to engage in intercourse.
30. Engage in intercourse without pain or discomfort.
31. Have an orgasm while masturbating when alone.
32. Have an orgasm while the partner stimulates you by means other than intercourse.
33. Have an orgasm during intercourse with concurrent stimulation of the clitoris.
34. Have an orgasm during intercourse without concurrent stimulation of the clitoris.
35. Stimulate a partner to orgasm by means other than intercourse.
36. Stimulate a partner to orgasm by means of intercourse.
37. Reach orgasm within a reasonable period of time.
Creti, L., Bailes, S., Fichten, C., Libman, E., Amsel, R., Liederman, G., et al. (1989, August). Validation of the Sexual Self-Efficacy Scale for Females. Poster presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association, New Orleans, LA.
Fichten, C. S., Budd, J., Spector, I., Amsel, R., Creti, L., Brender, W., et al. (2010). Sexual Self-Efficacy Scale—Erectile Functioning. In T. D. Fisher, C. M. Davis, W. L. Yarber, & S. L. Davis (Eds.), Handbook of sexuality-related measures. New York: Routledge.
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Sutton, K. S., Pukall, C. F., & Chamberlain, S. (2009). Pain ratings, sensory thresholds, and psychosocial functioning in women with provoked vestibulodynia. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 35, 262–281.