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Normal Variations in Personality are Associated with Coital Orgasmic Infrequency in Heterosexual Women: A Population-Based Study


  • [Correction added after online publication 4-Mar-2008: order of authors has been updated.]

Juliette M Harris, PhD, Twin Research & Genetic Epidemiology Unit, King's College London, 1st Floor South Wing, St. Thomas' Hospital Campus, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7EH, UK, Tel: +44 207 188 6765, Fax: +44 207 188 6761; E-mail:


Introduction.  As many as 20–30% of women report an inability to orgasm during sexual intercourse. Some female sexual problems have been reported to cluster with psychological and social problems. Underlying personality type may play a role in the development or maintenance of such problems.

Aim.  The aim of this study was to investigate whether certain domains of personality are associated with female coital orgasmic infrequency. To our knowledge this is the first such study in a large unselected population.

Methods.  A total of 2632 women (mean age 51) from the TwinsUK registry completed questionnaires relating to personality and sexual behavior. Personality domains were assessed using the validated Ten-Item Personality Index (TIPI). Coital orgasmic frequency was measured using a seven-point Likert scale.

Main Outcome Measures.  Using logistic regression, we investigated whether variations in five domains of personality are associated with female coital orgasmic infrequency. Discordant twin analysis was used to verify findings.

Results.  Introversion (odds ratio [OR] 2.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.7–3.7), emotional instability (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.3–3.1), and not being open to new experience (OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.6–3.6) were significantly associated with orgasmic infrequency, whereas indices of agreeableness and conscientiousness were not significantly associated with orgasm frequency.

Conclusion.  Specific personality subtypes appear to be significant risk factors for orgasmic infrequency. Consideration of these behavioral risk factors may need to be incorporated into research into female orgasmic disorder, and possible approaches to its treatment. Harris JM, Cherkas LF, Kato BS, Heiman JR, and Spector TD. Normal variations in personality are associated with coital orgasmic infrequency in heterosexual women: A population-based study. J Sex Med 2008;5:1177–1183.