226703 Predictors of sexual satisfaction among young adults in the U.S

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 5:30 PM - 5:50 PM

Jenny Higgins, PhD, MPH , Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY
Margo Mullinax , Heilbrunn Dept of Population & Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY
James Trussell, PhD , Office of Population Research, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
J. Kenneth Davidson, PhD , University of Wisconsin -- Eau Claire, Round Rock, TX
Nelwyn B. Moore, PhD , Texas State University -- San Marcos, San Marcos, TX
Context: The WHO defines sexual health as "a state of physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction, or infirmity." Yet virtually no public health research examines factors associated with sexual well-being outcomes, including sexual satisfaction.

Methods: Data derive from a cross-sectional survey of 2,186 heterosexually active, 18-25 year-olds from four university campuses. Respondents were asked to rate their physiological and psychological satisfaction with their current sexual lives. Multivariate logistical regression gauged associations between extreme satisfaction and wide variety of covariates.

Results: The overwhelming majority of respondents reported that they were "satisfied"(52% physiological, 47% psychological) or "extremely satisfied" (32% physiological, 32% psychological) with their current sexual lives. Fewer than 5% and 9%, respectively, reported any physiological or psychological dissatisfaction. In multivariate analyses, significant predictors (p<.01) of both extreme psychological and physical satisfaction included: longer term relationship status, greater sexual self comfort and lower sexual guilt, being male, and more frequent sexual activity and orgasm. Additional predictors of extreme psychological satisfaction were higher levels of self esteem, self respect, and higher frequency of setting goals for oneself. Non-significant factors included age, years of sexual activity, perceived adequacy of sexuality education, number of partners in the last year, race/ethnicity, and frequency of contraceptive use.

Conclusion: Young adults report high levels of both types of sexual satisfaction in their current sexual lives and relationships. To enhance sexual satisfaction, public health practitioners should continue working to improve sexual self comfort, alleviate sexual guilt, and promote longer-term, more trusting relationships.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
At the conclusion of this session, participants will be able to: 1) Understand the importance of sexual satisfaction and other indicators of sexual well-being to overall sexual health; 2) Report the prevalence of both physiological and psychological satisfaction in a sample of approximately 2200 18-25 year-olds; 3) Articulate the factors most predictive of both types of satisfaction; 4) Identify how public health practitioners can help enhance sexual well-being among youth, including increasing sexual self comfort and reducing sexual guilt.

Keywords: Sexuality, Sex

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I conduct sexual health research and advocacy.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 4379.0: Sexual health and sexuality