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ORIGINAL RESEARCH—PSYCHOLOGY: Cues Resulting in Desire for Sexual Activity in Women


Katie McCall, MA, University of Texas at Austin—Clinical Psychology, 1 University Station Campus Mail Code: A8000 Austin TX 78712, USA. Tel: (512) 232-4805; Fax: (512) 471-5935; E-mail:


Introduction.  A number of questionnaires have been created to assess levels of sexual desire in women, but to our knowledge, there are currently no validated measures for assessing cues that result in sexual desire. A questionnaire of this nature could be useful for both clinicians and researchers, because it considers the contextual nature of sexual desire and it draws attention to individual differences in factors that can contribute to sexual desire.

Aim.  The aim of the present study was to create a multidimensional assessment tool of cues for sexual desire in women that is validated in women with and without hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD).

Methods.  Factor analyses conducted on both an initial sample (N = 874) and a community sample (N = 138) resulted in the Cues for Sexual Desire Scale (CSDS) which included four factors: (i) Emotional Bonding Cues; (ii) Erotic/Explicit Cues; (iii) Visual/Proximity Cues; and (iv) Implicit/Romantic Cues.

Main Outcome Measures.  Scale construction of cues associated with sexual desire and differences between women with and without sexual dysfunction.

Results.  The CSDS demonstrated good reliability and validity and was able to detect significant differences between women with and without HSDD. Results from regression analyses indicated that both marital status and level of sexual functioning predicted scores on the CSDS. The CSDS provided predictive validity for the Female Sexual Function Index desire and arousal domain scores, and increased cues were related to a higher reported frequency of sexual activity in women.

Conclusions.  The findings from the present study provide valuable information regarding both internal and external triggers that can result in sexual desire for women. We believe that the CSDS could be beneficial in therapeutic settings to help identify cues that do and do not facilitate sexual desire in women with clinically diagnosed desire difficulties. McCall K, and Meston C. Cues resulting in desire for sexual activity in women. J Sex Med 2006;3:838–852.