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Personality and Sexual Adjustment

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 January 2018

H. J. Eysenck*
Affiliation:
Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London, S.E.5

Extract

In view of the considerable importance attached to sexual adjustment by many psychologists and psychiatrists, it is disappointing that very little work seems in fact to have been done in this field. There are, it is true, surveys of ‘normal’ sexual behaviour, such as those associated with Kinsey, but these are characterized on the whole by the serious limitation of using entirely descriptive statistics; these are useful in a limited sense, but are not very informative. The value of a mean of 2 · 34 for the number of times that members of a given sample indulge in intercourse during the week is doubtful when it is realized that some members of the sample have intercourse once or twice a year, while others have it several times a night; even if one could take the unaided recall of such events very seriously, and even if the rate for a given person were less fluctuating than it probably is, nevertheless when variances are as large as these means have little meaning or relevance. Clearly the important question centres on quite a different problem, namely that of personality traits and other factors giving rise to these very marked individual differences in sexual behaviour and adjustment. Kinsey and his followers have concentrated on the factors of social class and age, perhaps because these are relatively easy to ascertain; it is not so easy to ascertain the psychological factors involved, as many critics of Kinsey's work have pointed out. Nor have psychiatrists, in spite of their professional interest in this field, been more forthcoming; apart from isolated statements about the lower fertility of psychotics, the loss of libido in depression, its excess in manic states, and the widespread sexual troubles of neurotics, little serious and detailed work appears to have been done to relate personality traits, or even descriptive diagnostic labels, to specific types of sexual behaviour. Psychologists have been equally remiss; apart from a few undistinguished and not very meaningful studies reviewed by the writer (Eysenck, 1971) little use has been made of the well-established research methodologies and psychometric tests available to them for use in such a situation.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Royal College of Psychiatrists, 1971 

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References

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