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Learn More. Higgins and M. Mullinax analyzed the data and wrote the article. Trussell supervised the data analysis process. Davidson Sr and N. Moore collected the data and provided sexual health expertise.
All of the authors edited the final article and tables. Despite the World Health Organization's definition of sexual health as a state of well-being, virtually no public health research has examined sexual well-being outcomes, including sexual satisfaction. Emerging evidence suggests that sexual well-being indicators are associated with more classic measures of healthy sexual behaviors. We surveyed university students in the United States and asked them to rate their physiological and psychological satisfaction with their current sexual lives.
Many respondents reported that they were either satisfied approximately half or very satisfied approximately one third. To enhance sexual well-being, public health practitioners should work to improve sexual self-comfort, alleviate sexual guilt, and promote longer term relationships.
The public health field has recently mounted a sustained effort toward more positive approaches to sexuality. Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being… not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction, or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination, and violence.
An empirical focus on Lady wants casual sex Prim sexual indicators is, with a few exceptions, absent for young people and particularly so for young women whose sexuality tends to be discouraged in both public health and the larger cultural milieu. Such an assessment is important for several reasons. First, our ability to promote and foster sexual well-being—one of the directives of the WHO definition—will be extraordinarily limited if no data exist concerning how to do so or which groups are most and least advantaged in terms of sexual well-being.
Second, a growing body of evidence suggests that positive sexual experiences such as sexual satisfaction are also strongly associated with more classic measures of sexual health e. For example, young women who masturbate are more likely to report consistent contraceptive use and positive communication with their partners than those who have never masturbated. Although numerous sexuality researchers have documented various aspects and predictors of sexual satisfaction, few public health researchers have integrated this concept into their studies, programs, or policies.
Even within the sexuality field, few studies have assessed aspects of sexual satisfaction specific to young adults; most studies have focused on adult populations. Factors consistently associated with satisfaction in adults may not influence sexual satisfaction in the same way for young people just beginning their sexual lives. Such factors include age 12—14 ; frequency of sexual activity and orgasm 15—17 ; relationship status, stability, and intimacy 15—21 ; more permissive sexual attitudes 16 ; psychological well-being and depressive symptoms 18,19,22 ; and sexual function or dysfunction.
Young women in one study cited guilt as the primary reason why their first sexual intercourse was not psychologically satisfying.
In addition, studies have failed to document the potential associations between sexual well-being and other more classic sexual health indicators such as condom use. Such data may be especially important in the case of young people who tend to be at an elevated risk of unintended pregnancies and STIs compared to older adults. No studies to our knowledge have assessed whether consistent contraceptive use can help facilitate sexual satisfaction among young adults or whether more sexually satisfied people are more likely to protect themselves against pregnancy and disease, information that could lead to powerful pro-contraception social marketing messages or interventions.
However, even if it is not connected to more traditional sexually healthy behaviors such as use of condoms and other contraceptives, sexual satisfaction deserves increased public health attention. Among adults, satisfying sexual activity is strongly linked to both mental health and relationship stability. Despite this focus on negative sexual health, several studies of young people and sexual satisfaction do exist. ificant correlates of satisfaction included greater relationship quality, more frequent sex, fewer lifetime sexual partners, and a Lady wants casual sex Prim proportion of condom-protected sex acts.
However, the study's small sample size precluded gender-specific analyses. A second study focused on young women alone. Similar to the Auslander et al. This study took a sophisticated approach to young women's unique satisfaction profiles, but its exclusion of adolescent boys warrants a similar exploration of young men; research on sexual satisfaction among young people beyond high school age is also needed. Finally, a few studies have examined satisfaction at first vaginal intercourse, and most of these studies indicate a substantial gender disadvantage for young women, particularly with respect to physical as opposed to emotional satisfaction.
These studies contribute a strong affective component to our knowledge of heterosexual virginity loss, a topic usually explored in public health only epidemiologically i. The purposes of our study were 4-fold. First, we wanted to assess the prevalence and correlates of sexual satisfaction among a sample of male and female university students in the United States. We agree with Guggino and Ponzetti 42 that ironically, despite more widespread acceptance of young men's sexual pleasure seeking, empirical studies of men's sexual satisfaction, especially young men's, are surprisingly rare.
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Second, we wanted to explore how young adults compare with adults in their sexual satisfaction profiles and correlates. Third, we wanted to compare young women and young men, who, for both physiological and sociocultural reasons, are likely to have different expectations and experiences relating to sexual satisfaction. We explored to what degree if at all a satisfaction catch-up effect exists among young women once they are more regularly sexually active. Finally, we wanted to examine whether contraceptive use can help facilitate sexual satisfaction, a finding that could greatly improve contraceptive and condom promotion efforts among young people.
The anonymous survey was administered to students in lower and upper division classes in general education, social sciences, business, and family studies. In the data collection process, the principal survey investigators J. Sr and N. As a means of obtaining representative samples from each university, classes were chosen to reflect a broad range of academic majors and a similar distribution of freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
A total of 57 faculty members were approached; 53 permitted the investigators to use their classes, and 4 declined as a result of pending class work Lady wants casual sex Prim the week they were approached. During the class period devoted to the survey, students were informed by the investigators that they were conducting a study concerning the sexual attitudes and behaviors of college students that had been approved by the institutional review board on their campus. The investigators assured potential respondents that their participation was voluntary and anonymous.
Students were instructed that if they did not wish to participate, they were to return the questionnaire incomplete.
No incentives of any kind were offered. After completing the questionnaire, which required approximately 45 minutes, students deposited the surveys into a ballot box at the front of the room. A research assistant monitored the return of the questionnaires. The higher of female than male participants was a function of the classes available in which to conduct the survey and not an indication that a greater proportion of men than women declined to participate in the study.
Our research question in this study pertained to satisfaction with one's current sexual life. At first, we did not limit the sample to those who identified as heterosexual only. However, several of the variables explored pertained exclusively to heterosexual sex e. The lack of gay and bisexually identified students in the analysis was unfortunate.
These exclusion and inclusion criteria resulted in a final sample of students women and men. The survey investigators piloted and created these questions, which were not part of a scale. In our regression analyses, we focused on the factors that could help predict the highest level of satisfaction very satisfied for 2 reasons. First, given the absence of positive sexual health indicators in the literature, we wanted to focus on the presence of satisfaction.
Second, the large proportion of respondents who were satisfied on at least some level well above two thirds of the respondents warranted our use of a less prevalent condition very satisfied as the outcome in our regression models. Except for several recoded or collapsed variables, the other variables assessed Table 1 do not require additional explanation.
Because men experience orgasm more frequently than women and are more likely to reach orgasm during sexual encounters, the orgasm frequency variable for men was dichotomous always or almost always vs sometimes, rarely, or never. The orgasm frequency variable for women included 3 : always or almost always, sometimes, and rarely or never. As a result of prohibitively small cell sizes that would have prohibited comparisons across all of the within our regression models, some of the response for the following variables were collapsed: sexual self-comfort; guilt about engaging in sexual intercourse; whether one's sexual decisions are determined by one's own thoughts, feelings, and values; level of self-esteem; frequency of satisfaction with self; and frequency of discussion of sexual topics with one's mother or father.
For example, response for level of self-esteem were combined so that fair, poor, and very poor were all Lady wants casual sex Prim in the same category.
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Data on recoded are shown in Table 2. Except for the orgasm frequency variable, all recoded variables were identical for women and men. The ificant of gender interactions warranted separate regressions for women and men. Separate multivariate logistic regression analyses explored which factors could ificantly predict current physiological and psychological sexual satisfaction among women and men. After presenting a descriptive snapshot of the sample, we describe findings from the multivariate analyses exploring the variables most associated with sexual satisfaction.
Table 1 contains the percentage distribution for both the satisfaction variables and the majority of the covariates included in the regression models. Data on the variables just described are not included here in the interest of space more information on these covariates is available from the authors.
More details about the sexual health characteristics of this sample can be found in a related article. Reports of sexual satisfaction were widespread among our respondents. Notably, neither physiological nor psychological satisfaction differed ificantly by gender. However, ificant gender differences marked most of the other variables assessing sexual experiences and attitudes.
Sexual satisfaction and sexual health among university students in the united states
Men were twice as likely as women to report that they always or almost always experience an orgasm during sexual intercourse In keeping with the gendered, socially encouraged sexual expressions of women and men, women also tended to report more conservative sexual attitudes and less sexual comfort than did men. For example, women were ificantly less likely than were men to agree that premarital sex is acceptable with a casual acquaintance.
Many respondents indicated that they were very comfortable with their sexuality: overall, However, these percentages indicate as well that half or more of the respondents feel guilty at least some of the time, and half do not always feel comfortable with their sexuality. Many respondents were involved in relationships of some type. Overall, Men were slightly but ificantly more likely than were women to report not dating and to report being involved in more casual dating relationships.
Most respondents had either 1 partner The 2-tailed Pearson correlation for the 2 variables was 0. Among those respondents who reported that they were very physiologically satisfied with their current sex lives, Similarly, Despite ificant univariate associations data not shownfew variables were ificantly predictive of sexual satisfaction in our multivariate models.