What Is “Sexual Satisfaction”?


A recent Journal of Sex Research study asked men and women in committed relationships, “How do you define sexual satisfaction?”:

About half of the 760 responses included “pleasure” in their definition, but not all were referring to pleasure as an orgasm necessarily. Pleasure had a much more fluid connotation, apart from ejaculation or a physical climax in light of satisfaction. “Satisfaction with one’s sexual life as a whole. It does not imply necessarily to reach orgasm, but it means to have as much pleasure as possible,” said one respondent.

For respondents who skewed on the more personal/selfish side of answers, only a few participants in the study mentioned “desire”, “arousal”, or “orgasm” in their definitions of sexual satisfaction—you know, actual stages of the Masters and Johnson sexual response cycle. On the “shared experience” side of the spectrum, “mutuality” was the buzzword in most responses, with a partner’s pleasure being just as key in one’s own pleasure—take that, orgasm gap.

(Image: A word-cloud created from the 760 definitions for sexual satisfaction.)