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Self-Confidence, Empathy May Make for Better Sex
Date:6/10/2011

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- Could a healthy psychological outlook be tied to better sex?

That's the finding from a new study comparing the psychological profiles of young adults against their reports of satisfaction in the bedroom.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, studied data from more than 3,200 men and women ages 18 to 26, analyzing the association between self-esteem, autonomy and empathy and three measures of sexual pleasure among those in established heterosexual relationships of longer than three months.

The three measures of sexual enjoyment evaluated included orgasm regularity and the enjoyment of receiving and giving oral sex.

Empathy -- defined as the ability to "take [the] other's perspective" -- was tied to sexual pleasure for both young men and women.

For women, empathy, autonomy ("having the strength to follow personal convictions") and self-esteem all seemed to contribute to pleasure.

"I think the most important point is the association between empathy and sexual enjoyment and that it was consistent across the board between men and women," said study co-author Adena Galinsky, a doctoral student at Bloomberg School's Center for Adolescent Health.

Men and women differed in their level of sexual enjoyment. Young men reported the highest level of all three types of sexual enjoyment, with nearly nine of 10 saying they achieved orgasm most or all of the time, compared to fewer than half of young women.

Galinsky said she wasn't surprised by that result, but did find it interesting that young men were more likely than young women to say they enjoyed giving oral sex to their partners, which breaks the stereotype that males are more concerned with their own sexual pleasure.

Due to a computer programming error, the researchers didn't have access to full data on the enjoym
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