Stereotypes About Male Sexuality Scale

Stereotypes About Male Sexuality Scale

WILLIAM E. SNELL, JR.,Southeast Missouri State University

Cognitive approaches to human sexuality have recently received considerable attention. However, there has been a paucity of instruments designed to deal with the types of cognitive beliefs that might influence sexual feelings and behaviors. Snell and his colleagues attempted to address this concern through the development and validation of the Stereotypes About Male Sexuality Scale (SAMSS; Snell, Belk, & Hawkins, 1986, 1990; Snell, Hawkins, & Belk, 1988). The SAMSS is an objective self-report questionnaire that is designed to measure 10 distinctive stereotypic beliefs about males and their sexuality (cf. Zilbergeld, 1978; Chap. 4): (a) Inexpressiveness, (b) Sex Equals Performance, (c) Males Orchestrate Sex, (d) Always Ready for Sex, (e) Touching Leads to Sex, (f) Sex Equals Intercourse, (g) Sex Requires Erection, (h) Sex Requires Orgasm, (i) Spontaneous Sex, and (j) Sexually Aware Men. The 10 subscales on the SAMSS can be used in research as individual-tendency measures of stereotypes about males and their sexuality.


The Stereotypes About Male Sexuality Scale (SAMSS) consists of 60 items. Individuals respond to the 60 items on the Stereotypes About Male Sexuality Scale (SAMSS) using a 5-point Likert-type scale: agree (+2); slightly agree (+1); neither agree nor disagree (0); slightly disagree (–1); and disagree (–2).

Response Mode and Timing

Individuals typically indicate their responses on a computer scan sheet by darkening in a response ranging from A (agree) to E (disagree). The questionnaire usually takes about 20–25 minutes to complete.


Individuals respond to the 60 statements on the SAMSS using a 5-point Likert-type scale. The items are recoded so that A = +2, B = +1, C = 0, D = –1, and E = –2, so that the anchors range from agree (+2) to disagree (–2). The items assigned to each subscale are (a) Inexpressiveness (1, 11, 21, 31, 41, 51); (b) Sex Equals Performance (2, 12, 22, 32, 42, 52); (c) Males Orchestrate Sex (3, 13, 23, 33, 43, 53); (d) Always Ready for Sex (4, 14, 24, 34, 44, 54); (e) Touching Leads to Sex (5, 15, 25, 35, 45, 55); (f) Sex Equals Intercourse (6, 16, 26, 36, 46, 56); (g) Sex Requires Erection (7, 17, 27, 37, 47, 57); (h) Sex Requires Orgasm (8, 18, 28, 38, 48, 58); (i) Spontaneous Sex (9, 19, 29, 39, 49, 59); and (j) Sexually Aware Men (10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60). Higher sub- scale scores thus correspond to greater agreement with the 10 cognitive beliefs measured by the SAMSS.


The alpha values for these 10 subscales range from a low of .63 to a high of .93 with an average of .80 (Snell et al., 1986).


Snell et al. (1990) reported the results of two investigations involving the SAMSS. In the first study, the relation- ship between the SAMSS and two gender-role measures were examined. The results were that the restrictive emotionality aspect of the masculine role was strongly associated with stereotypic beliefs about male sexuality (Doyle, 1989; Gould, 1982; Gross, 1978; Herek, 1987; Mosher & Anderson, 1986; Mosher & Sirkin, 1984). Other gender-role preferences and behaviors were also found to be positively associated with conventional “performance” approaches to male sexuality. In the second investigation, counseling trainees were asked to describe how mentally healthy adult men and women would respond to the SAMSS. The responses of both male and female in-training counselors indicated that they expected mentally healthy males (a) to reject inhibited, control, and constant readiness approaches to the expression of male sexuality and (b) to express greater disagreement toward defining male sexuality only in terms of sexual inter- course and toward viewing males as inherently knowledge-able about sex. These results thus provide evidence for the importance of the SAMSS and a cognitive approach to the study of male sexuality. Finally, the SAMSS has been found to correlate significantly and negatively with the use of bilateral social influence strategies (Snell et al., 1988), thus providing evidence for the validity of the SAMSS in that conventional beliefs about sex, as measured by the SAMSS, were expected to be associated with the use of selfish (vs. bilateral) influence strategy use with an intimate partner.

Stereotypes About Male Sexuality Scale

Instructions: We would like to know something about people’s beliefs about male sexuality. For this reason we are asking you to respond to a number of items that deal with male sexuality, indicating the extent to which you disagree/agree with the statements. For each of the items on this page, you will be indicating your answer on the computer-scoreable answer sheet by darkening in the number (or letter) that corresponds to your response. Your response should be based on the sorts of things that you believe about male sexuality. Use the following scale to indicate your degree of agreement/disagreement with each item:







Slightly Agree

Neither Agree nor Disagree

Slightly Disagree


There are no right or wrong answers. Your choices should be a description of your own personal beliefs.

  1. Men should not be held.

  2. Most men believe that sex is a performance.

  3. Men generally want to be the guiding participant in sexual behavior.

  4. Most men are ready for sex at any time.

  5. Most men desire physical contact only as a prelude to sex.

  6. The ultimate sexual goal in men’s mind is intercourse.

  7. Lack of an erection will always spoil sex for a man.

  8. From a man’s perspective, good sex usually has an “earthshaking” aspect to it.

  9. Men don’t really like to plan their sexual experiences.

  10. Most men are sexually well-adjusted.

  11. Only a narrow range of emotions should be permitted to men.

  12. Men are almost always concerned with their sexual performance.

  13. Most men don’t want to assume a passive role in sex.

  14. Men usually want sex, regardless of where they are.

  15. Among men, touching is simply the first step towards sex.

  16. Men are not sexually satisfied with any behavior other than intercourse.

  17. Without an erection a man is sexually lost.

  18. Quiet, lazy sex is usually not all that satisfying for a man.

  19. Men usually like good sex to “just happen.”

  20. Most men have healthy attitudes toward sex.

  21. A man who is vulnerable is a sissy.

  22. In sex, it’s a man’s performance that counts.

  23. Sexual activity is easier if the man assumes a leadership role.

  24. Men are always ready for sex.

  25. A man never really wants “only” a hug or caress.

  26. Men want their sexual experiences to end with intercourse.

  27. A sexual situation cannot be gratifying for a man unless he “can get it up.”

  28. Sexual climax is a necessary part of men’s sexual behavior.

  29. Most men yearn for spontaneous sex that requires little conscious effort.

  30. In these days of increased openness about sex, most men have become free of past inhibiting ideas about their sexual behavior.

  31. A man should be careful to hide his feelings.

  32. Men’s sexuality is often goal-orientated in its nature.

  33. Sex is a man’s responsibility.

  34. Most men come to a sexual situation in a state of constant desire.

  35. Men use physical contact as a request for sex.

  36. Men believe that every sexual act should include intercourse.

  37. Any kind of sexual activity for a man requires an erection.

  38. Satisfying sexual activity for a man always includes increasing excitement and passion.

  39. A satisfying sexual experience for a man does not really require all that much forethought.

  40. Most men have progressive ideas about sex.

  41. It is unacceptable for men to reveal their deepest concerns.

  42. Men usually think of sex as work.

  43. A man is supposed to initiate sexual contact.

  44. Men are perpetually ready for sex.

  45. Many men are dissatisfied with any bodily contact which is not followed by sexual activity.

  46. Many men are only interested in sexual intercourse as a form of sexual stimulation.

  47. An erection is considered by almost all men as vital for sex.

  48. Men’s sexual desire is often “imperative and driven” in nature.

  49. Men consider sex artificial if it is preplanned.

  50. In these days of wider availability of accurate information, most men are realistic about their sexual activities.

  51. Intense emotional expressiveness should not be discussed by men.

  52. Sex is a pressure-filled activity for most men.

  53. Men are responsible for choosing sexual positions.

  54. Men usually never get enough sex.

  55. For men, kissing and touching are merely the preliminaries to sexual activity.

  56. During sex, men are always thinking about getting to intercourse.

  57. Without an erection, sexual activity for a man will end in misery.

  58. Sexual activity must end with an orgasm for a man to feel satisfied.

  59. For men, natural sex means “just doing it instinctively.”

  60. Most men have realistic insight into their sexual preferences and desires.


Doyle, J. A. (1989). The male experience (2nd ed.). Dubuque, IA: Brown.

Gould, R. (1982). Sexual functioning in relation to the changing roles of men. In K. Solomon & N. Levy (Eds.), Men in transition: Theory and therapy (pp. 165–173). New York: Plenum.

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Mosher, D. L., & Sirkin, M. (1984). Measuring a macho personality con- stellation. Journal of Research in Personality, 18, 150–163.

Snell, W. E., Jr., Belk, S. S., & Hawkins, R. C., II. (1986). The Stereotypes About Male Sexuality Scale (SAMSS): Components, correlates, ante- cedents, consequences, and counselor bias. Social and Behavioral Sciences Documents, 16, 10. (Ms. No. 2747)

Snell, W. E., Jr., Belk, S. S., & Hawkins, R. C., II (1990). Cognitive beliefs about male sexuality: The impact of gender roles and counselor per- spectives. Journal of Rational-Emotive Therapy, 8, 249–265.

Snell, W. E., Jr., Hawkins, R. C., II, & Belk, S. S. (1988). Stereotypes about male sexuality and the use of social influence strategies in intimate relationships. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 7, 42–48.

Tiefer, L. (1987). In pursuit of the perfect penis: The medicalization of male sexuality. In M. Kimmel (Ed.), Changing men: New directions in research on men and masculinity (pp. 165–184). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Zilbergeld, B. (1978). Male sexuality. Boston: Little, Brown.