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Psychosocial predictors 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 shows a few biopsychosocial studies on sexual desire in men. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of selected psychological and social variables affecting male sexual desire such as Quality of Life (QoL), sexual function, distress, satisfaction, psychological symptoms, emotions, alexithymia, couple adjustment, sexism, cognitive schemas activated in a sexual context, sexual dysfunctional beliefs, and different classes of cognitions triggered during sexual activity about failure anticipation, erection concerns, age and body related thoughts, erotic fantasies, and attitudes towards sexuality.

Material and Method(s): A wide self-administered survey reached 450 heterosexual Italian men (age 31.36±10.73) from the general population with a snowball sampling. Thirteen questionnaires exploring psychological and social elements involved in sexual response were administrated: the “International Index of Erectile Function”, the “Short Form 36 for the QoL”, the “Symptom Check List-90-Revised”, the “Positive and Negative Affect Schedule”, the “Toronto Alexithymia Scale”, the “Premature Ejaculation Severity Index”, the “Sexual Distress Scale”, the “Sexual Satisfaction Scale”, the “Dyadic Adjustment Scale”, the “Ambivalent Sexism Inventory”, the “Sexual Modes Questionnaire”, the “Sexual Dysfunctional Belief Questionnaire”, and the “Questionnaire of Cognitive Schema Activation in Sexual Context”.

Result(s): Results showed “Orgasmic Function” (β=.258), “Lack of Erotic Thoughts” (β=-.248), “Erection Concerns Thoughts” (β=-.191), “Hostile Sexism” (β=.166), and “Positive Affect” (β=.143) as the main predictors sexual desire in this group. “Depression”, “Premature Ejaculation Severity”, “Sexual Distress”, “Sexual Conservatism” and “Helpless” showed weaker effects. Sexual Functioning (14.90%), Emotional Response (13.50%) and Negative Automatic Thoughts (11.80%) explained more variance in sexual drive.

Conclusion(s): Our findings showed that male sexual desire could be affected by many psychological and social elements. Other factors remain to be explored, in their direct and interactive effects, aiming to better explain male sexual desire functioning. Analyzed variables could represent important factors that should be considered in the assessment of desire concerns and discussed in therapy.


Work supported by industry: no.

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