Study Reveals How Men and Women Define Sexual Satisfaction

C. Price

Written by: C. Price

C. Price

C. Price is part of's content team. She writes advice articles, how-to guides, and studies — all relating to dating, relationships, love, sex, and more.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Sexual satisfaction can be a difficult thing to define, both for individual couples and those who study sexuality as a profession.

In an effort to understand how people identify their own level of satisfaction in bed, experts surveyed 311 men and 449 women in monogamous relationships, asking simply, “How do you define sexual satisfaction?”

The study was limited to heterosexual couples and appeared in the September issue of The Journal of Sex Research.

Two themes were quickly identified among the responses, both the actual physical interaction between partners and that of personal well-being.

Studies have shown many people directly associate sexual satisfaction with the overall quality of their relationship and even their own personal level of happiness.

In written responses, the participants were allowed to broadly define sexual satisfaction from their own viewpoint and language.

“The word ‘mutuality’ appeared frequently,

suggesting emphasis is placed on mutual satisfaction.”

The most common word seen was “pleasure,” though not always related directly to orgasm. Rather than strictly indicating an actual climax or release, pleasure was often used in a more general sense.

Few participants were found to use the actual language of the Masters and Johnson sexual response cycle, including terms like “arousal,” “desire” or “orgasm.”

One term that did appear frequently was “mutuality,” suggesting an emphasis is placed on mutual satisfaction and pleasure.

Among both genders, mutual pleasure was cited as playing a large role in the health of the relationship, and in nearly unanimous responses, a partner’s satisfaction was seen as highly important, if not crucial.

Source: Journal of Sex Research.

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