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Determinants of Sexual Satisfaction in a Sample of German Women


Uwe Hartmann, PhD, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Klinik für Psychiatrie, Sozialpsychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Arbeitsbereich Klinische Psychologie, Carl-Neuberg-Str. 1, 30625 Hannover, Germany. Tel: +49-511-532-2488; Fax: +49-511-532-8407; E-mail:


Introduction.  The literature provides little information about the meaning of sexual satisfaction in women despite debates on new concepts of female sexual experience and on modifications in the classification systems of female sexual dysfunction. Often, not even a differentiation is made between satisfaction with one's sex life or sexual relationship in general and sexual satisfaction related to a specific sexual activity.

Aim.  To differentiate between satisfaction with sex life in general and sexual satisfaction from sexual intercourse, petting, or masturbation. To gain a deeper understanding of the meaning and experience of sexual satisfaction derived from these specific sexual activities.

Methods.  A self-administered questionnaire was completed by 102 German women of different age groups (median age group: 31–35) and education levels.

Main Outcome Measures.  A multidimensional questionnaire addressing the subjective feelings that constitute sexual satisfaction in women.

Results.  The analysis of sexual satisfaction from sexual intercourse yielded two dimensions: (i) feeling close to one's partner; and (ii) positive bodily and emotional experiences. Regarding satisfaction with one's sex life in general, 70% of the variance could be explained by sexual satisfaction through sexual intercourse and frequency of sexual intercourse. Sexual satisfaction and orgasm frequency proved to be interdependent but not identical.

Conclusions.  As a contribution to a better understanding of the complex nature of female sexual satisfaction, our results indicate that sexual intercourse is a far more important activity and source of satisfaction in female sexual life than petting or masturbation. Philippsohn S, and Hartmann U. Determinants of sexual satisfaction in a sample of German women. J Sex Med **;**:**–**.