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Testing a psychosocial model of male sexual desire

Nimbi, FM1; Tripodi, F2; Rossi, R2; Simonelli, C1

1: Sapienza University of Rome, Italy; 2: Institute of Clinical Sexology, Rome, Italy

Objectives: The literature lacks studies of male sexual desire under the umbrella of the Biopsychosocial approach. The aim of this study was to evaluate and test in a general conceptual model the role of selected psychological and social variables affecting male sexual desire such as sexual function, sexism, and cognitive-emotional factors.

Material and Method(s): Psychosocial variables were selected from a previous study on the best predictors of male sexual desire in a group of 450 heterosexual Italian men (age 31.36±10.73). According to the Biopsychosocial approach, a Path Diagram was built including “Orgasmic Function”, “Lack of Erotic Thoughts (LET)”, “Erection Concerns Thoughts (ECT)”, “Hostile Sexism”, and “Positive Affect” as predictors of sexual desire. The model was designed as a “partial mediation model” from automatic thoughts to desire. ECT and LET were put as main predictors, with direct paths going from ECT to Positive Affect and Sexual Desire, and from LET to Positive Affect, Orgasmic Function and Sexual Desire. Direct paths were also drawn from emotions and orgasm to Sexual Desire. In this model, part of ECT and LET effect is mediated by emotions and orgasm, and part directly influences Sexual Desire. Hostile Sexism and Socio-demographic variables were considered outside (exogenously), as external variables influencing Sexual Desire. Path Analysis was performed through Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) approach.

Result(s): Results showed a satisfactory fit to the data (χ2=35.312, df=34, p=.406; GFI=.987; NFI=.945; CFI=.998; RMSEA=.009 [95% CI: .000 - .036]). All the endogenous paths and Hostile Sexism were found to be significant. None of the Socio-demographic variables was significant, even if it was important to have them included in this model in order to control their possible confounding effects highlighted by previous studies.

Conclusion(s): Our findings suggest that cognitive, emotive, sexual functioning and cultural variables play a very important role on men’s sexual interest. Clinical implications of the model are addressed: it explains the need to operate under an integrated approach, considering cognitive, emotional and sexual aspect all together in order to elicit an effective arise of sexual desire.


Work supported by industry: no.

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