• Orgasm;
  • Tactile Sensitivity;
  • Sexual Intercourse;
  • Masturbation;
  • Psychological Immaturity


Introduction.  Previous research has suggested that diminished tactile sensitivity might be associated with reduced sexual activity and function. Research has also demonstrated significant physiological and psychological differences between sexual behaviors, including immature psychological defense mechanisms (associated with various psychopathologies) impairing specifically women's orgasm from penile-vaginal intercourse (PVI).

Aims.  To examine the extent to which orgasm triggered by PVI (distinguished from other sexual activities) is associated with both greater tactile sensitivity and lesser use of immature psychological defenses.

Methods.  Seventy French-Canadian female university students (aged 18–30) had their finger sensitivity measured with von Frey type microfilaments, completed the Defense Style Questionnaire and a short form of the Marlowe-Crowne social desirability scale, and provided details of the 1 month (and ever) frequencies of engaging in, and having an orgasm from, PVI, masturbation, anal intercourse, partner masturbation, and cunnilingus.

Main Outcome Measures.  Logistic and linear regression prediction of orgasm triggered by PVI from tactile sensitivity, age, social desirability responding, and immature psychological defenses.

Results.  Having a PVI orgasm in the past month was associated with greater tactile sensitivity (odds ratio = 4.0 for each filament point) and less use of immature defense mechanisms (odds ratio = 5.1 for each scale point). Lifetime PVI orgasm was associated only with less use of immature defense mechanisms (and lower social desirability responding score). Orgasms triggered by other activities were not associated with either tactile sensitivity or immature defense mechanisms. Tactile sensitivity was also associated with greater past month PVI frequency (inclusion of PVI frequency in a logistic regression model displaced tactile sensitivity), and lesser use of immature defenses was associated with greater past month PVI and PVI orgasm frequencies.

Conclusions.  Both diminished physical sensitivity and the presence of specific psychological impairments might decrease the likelihood of women's orgasm from specifically PVI, but not other sexual activities. Brody S, Houde S, and Hess U. Greater tactile sensitivity and less use of immature psychological defense mechanisms predict women's penile-vaginal intercourse orgasm. J Sex Med 2010;7:3057–3065.