The Big “O”: Social influences on the frequency of orgasms in females

A.M. Longoria & Y. Zaikman (2020)

Conferences Presented At:

  • (2020) Society for Personality and Social Psychology Conference (SPSP), Poster, New Orleans, LA
  • (2020) Society for the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality Conference (SSSS), Brief Communication, Virtual


Previous research has found a rather alarming gap in orgasm frequency between men and women, with women experiencing orgasm in much lower rates than men do (Frederick, St John, Garcia & Lloyd, 2018). Because female orgasms in particular are rooted partially in psychological origins (Kontula & Miettinen, 2016), some of this gap may in part be explained by sociocultural factors. Utilizing sexual satisfaction as an end measure and orgasm frequency as a mediator, we surveyed 1,043 women about a multitude of factors to determine what relationship they had on sexual satisfaction and orgasm frequency and created a pathway analysis. Because women may orgasm in a different frequency depending on context, we measured four different orgasm variables: orgasm with self (masturbation), orgasm with a familiar partner, orgasm with a new partner, and the frequency of multiple orgasms. The factors we measured were sexual factors (sexual assertiveness and sexual attitudes: permissiveness, birth control, communion and instrumentality), social factors (endorsement of the sexual double standard, traditional gender roles, both benevolent and hostile sexism, and shame, guilt and pride as it related to sexual encounters) and personal factors (sexual orientation, relationship status, religiosity and age). Overall, the variables that positively significantly correlated with sexual satisfaction were pride, sexual assertiveness, communion, hostile sexism and orgasm with a familiar partner, with age negatively correlating with sexual satisfaction. We found that although many of our sexual and sociocultural variables did not significantly have a direct effect on measured sexual satisfaction, they correlated significantly with orgasm frequency, indicating that frequency of orgasm does not necessarily predicate sexual satisfaction, and vice-versa. Although sexual and sociocultural factors may not solely correlate with sexual satisfaction, many such as sexual orientation, shame, pride, sexual attitudes (permissiveness, birth control and communion), endorsement of traditional gender roles and the sexual double standard were significantly correlated with female orgasm frequency within different contexts. Some correlations appeared counterintuitive, such as a positive correlation between hostile sexism and sexual satisfaction, as well as a positive correlation between endorsement of the sexual double standard and orgasm frequency with a new partner, which is discussed and is an interesting finding that should be further researched.


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Nini Longoria (Anna Maree)
Nini Longoria (Anna Maree)
MSc Social Psychology Student

My research interests include sexual satisfaction, sexual identities, sexual desire, gender, feminism and intimate relationships.