Original Paper

Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 39, Issue 5, pp 1091-1104

First online:

Validation of the Sexual Excitation/Sexual Inhibition Inventory for Women and Men

  • Robin R. MilhausenAffiliated withDepartment of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, Macdonald Institute, University of Guelph Email author 
  • , Cynthia A. GrahamAffiliated withOxford Doctoral Course in Clinical Psychology, Isis Education Centre, Warneford Hospital
  • , Stephanie A. SandersAffiliated withThe Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, Indiana University
  • , William L. YarberAffiliated withDepartment of Applied Health Science, Indiana University
  • , Scott B. MaitlandAffiliated withDepartment of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, University of Guelph

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The purpose of the current investigation was to develop a scale that would assess propensity for sexual arousal in response to a broad range of stimuli and sexual situations in both men and women. In Study 1, data from a nonclinical sample of 481 male and female students (graduate and undergraduate) were submitted to exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses in order to develop the Sexual Excitation/Sexual Inhibition Inventory for Women and Men (SESII-W/M), and gender differences on the subscales were tested. In Study 2, construct validity and test–retest reliability of the SESII-W/M were assessed with a second sample of undergraduate students. The resultant measurement tool was comprised of six subscales: Inhibitory Cognitions, Relationship Importance, Arousability, Partner Characteristics and Behaviors, Setting (Unusual or Unconcealed), and Dyadic Elements of the Sexual Interaction. The measure demonstrated good test–retest reliability and discriminant and convergent validity. The SESII-W/M will likely be a useful measure in investigations in which sexual inhibition and sexual excitation must be assessed identically for men and women.


Sexual arousal Sexual inhibition Sexual excitation Test validation