Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 45, Issue 8, pp 1923–1931 | Cite as

On the Link Between Benevolent Sexism and Orgasm Frequency in Heterosexual Women

  • Emily Ann HarrisEmail author
  • Matthew J. Hornsey
  • Fiona Kate Barlow
Original Paper


Previous research on subclinical orgasmic difficulties among women has focused on intrapsychic and interpersonal variables, but little attention has been paid to the more distal ideological factors that might indirectly constrain sexual pleasure. We hypothesized that women’s endorsement of a benevolently sexist worldview would be negatively associated with orgasm frequency. Specifically, we predicted that benevolent sexism would be associated with increased perceptions of male sexual selfishness. This perception of men as interested in their own sexual pleasure would then predict decreased willingness to ask a partner for sexual pleasure, which in turn would be associated with less frequent orgasms. We found support for our model across two studies (Study 1: N = 339; Study 2: N = 323). We did not, however, find a direct effect of benevolent sexism on orgasm frequency. We discuss possible additional variables linking benevolent sexism with orgasm frequency, implications, and future directions.


Benevolent sexism Orgasm Sexual functioning Gender beliefs 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the University of Queensland Human Ethics Committee, the Australian National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research, and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily Ann Harris
    • 1
    Email author
  • Matthew J. Hornsey
    • 1
  • Fiona Kate Barlow
    • 2
  1. 1.School of PsychologyThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.School of Applied Psychology and Menzies Health Institute QueenslandGriffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia

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