URC

Personality Traits and Sexuality Among Female University Students

Doris A. Dorlac
William E. Snell, Jr.*
Southeast Missouri State University


KEYWORDS: personality, sexuality, perfectionism, affect, Big-5
Abstract

Considerable research has been conducted on human sexuality among university students. The present investigation examined the impact of the Big-5 personality traits on university students’ sexual relationships. It was expected the results would reveal that particular aspects of the Big-5 personality traits would be significantly associated with different aspects of people’s sexual relationships. The results indicated that both conscientiousness and neuroticism were directly related to some aspects of sexual perfectionism and sexual affect.


Personality Traits and Sexuality Among Female University Students

Over the past several decades, considerable research interest has focused on personality traits. Personality, as defined by McCrae and Costa (1987), is the systematic description of relatively stable, enduring patterns of behavior. Many approaches have been used over the years to describe, assess, and classify personality characteristics (Eysenck & Eysenck, 1968; Spence & Helmreich, 1978). However, one of these approaches has begun to receive widespread acceptance among psychologists—The Big Five Factor Model.

One of the most significant individuals to use empirical procedures as a way to develop a personality taxonomy was Raymond B. Cattell. Cattell (1943) used a list of approximately 4,500 terms--first constructed by Allport and Odbert (1936)--as a starting point for his research. After much empirical analysis, Cattell (1945) identified 16 personality factors whose pattern always seemed to constantly emerge. However, when others tried to repeat Cattell’s methods, only five factors proved to be replicable across observers and participants (e.g., Digman & Takemoto-Chock, 1981; Fiske, 1949; Norman, 1963; Tupes & Christal, 1961). These five personality factors have become known as the Big 5.

The Big Five Personality Traits

The Big 5 factors have been traditionally labeled as follows: (I) extraversion (versus surgency), (II) agreeableness (versus antagonism), (III) conscientiousness (or dependability versus undirectedness), (IV) neuroticism (or emotional stability), and (V) openness to experience. Extraversion is generally regarded as being sociable, fun-loving, affectionate, friendly, and talkative. Some other adjectives that are used to describe extraversion on Goldberg’s measures of the Big-5 personality factors (1990) are: playful, expressive, spontaneous, courageous, optimistic, humorous, and ambitious. Surgency is typically described as being the opposite of extraversion. Some adjectives that Goldberg (1990) used to define surgency are: unsociable, withdrawn, quiet, secretive, shy, inhibited, unaggressive, uncompetitive, submissive, sluggish, and pessimistic.

Agreeableness is a personality factor that is commonly thought to be found in people who are cooperative, accommodating, helpful, patient, peaceful, pleasant, undemanding, considerate, generous, flexible, modest, honest, affectionate, down-to-earth, and easy-going or relaxed (Goldberg, 1990). Antagonistic, or disagreeable, people are generally argumentative, overly critical, demanding, rude and disrespectful, cruel, irritable, vain, stubborn, suspicious, selfish, insensitive, manipulative, and prejudiced (Goldberg, 1990). McCrae and Costa (1987) argued that antagonistic types of people seem to have a defective sense of bonding or attachment with their fellow human beings and that, in extreme cases, antagonism resembles sociopathy.

By contrast, conscientiousness, the third of the Big 5 traits, denotes a person who is hardworking, ambitious, energetic, persevering, organized, dependable, efficient, punctual, and decisive (Goldberg, 1990). McCrae and Costa (1987) described those with low conscientiousness as being undirected and lazy. Some of Goldberg’s (1990) adjectives to describe the lack of conscientiousness include: disorganized, negligent, inconsistent, forgetful, reckless, unambitious, indecisive, and rebellious.

The fourth trait of the Big 5 is neuroticism. Individuals high in neuroticism have a tendency to be worriers, insecure, self-conscious, and temperamental (McCrae & Costa, 1987). Impulsive behaviors (e. g., overeating, smoking, and drinking excessively) have also been found to be a component of neuroticism (McCrae & Costa, 1980). Others have connected neuroticism to irrational beliefs (Teasdale & Rachman, 1983; Vestre, 1984) and poor coping strategies (McCrae & Costa, 1986). These behaviors seem to have a common origin in negative affect. For example, individuals high in neuroticism often have more trouble when quitting smoking because they feel more intense distress from abstinence (McCrae & Costa, 1987). The maladaptive coping strategies of hostile reactions and wishful thinking are often used by those high in neuroticism because of the disruptive emotions they are feeling. Such individuals may also adopt irrational beliefs (e. g., self-blame) because these beliefs seem to be cognitively consistent with the negative feelings that they often experience (McCrae & Costa, 1987). Goldberg (1990) argued that neurotic individuals are challenged by insecurity, fear, emotionality, jealousy, naivety, and intrusive thoughts. By comparison, people who are emotionally stable, as described by Goldberg (1990), are those who are placid (unemotional or unexcitable) and independent (autonomous and individualistic).

Openness to experience, the fifth Big 5 trait dimension, is best characterized by individuals who are original and imaginative, have a broad range of interests, and are daring (McCrae & Costa, 1987). McCrae and Costa (1987, 1980) also found in their research studies that openness can also be observed through people’s fantasies, aesthetic interests, feelings, actions, ideas, and values. Goldberg (1990) used some of the following adjectives in his instrument to assess openness: intellectual, complex, insightful, intelligent, inventive, inquisitive, and sophisticated; and he used the following types of adjectives to assess a lack of open-mindedness: shallow, unreflective, unimaginative, unobservant, dull, and ignorant.

The current research was designed to examine the impact of the Big 5 personality traits on the sexual relationships of university students. More specifically, this research was designed to determine the impact of the Big 5 personality traits of conscientiousness and neuroticism on sexual perfectionism and the sexual affect of female undergraduate students.

Perfectionism

Perfectionism has been described in people who set extremely rigid and unrelenting expectations for themselves (Frost & Marten, 1990) and who are overly critical about their abilities and actions (Hamachek, 1978). Flett, Hewitt, Blankenstein, and Koledin (1991) observed that most researchers have found perfectionism to be directly associated with high self-expectations and dysfunctional, perfectionistic attitudes about one’s performance. Perfectionism has been found to be related to stress (Hewitt & Dyck, 1986), various personality disorders (Broday, 1988), suicide (Delisle, 1986), depression (Hewitt, Mittelstaedt, & Flett, 1990), sexual dysfunction (Quadland, 1980), and other health related complaints (Spence & Robbins, 1992). Hewitt and Flett (1991) also found perfectionism to be associated with a fear of negative evaluation from others.

Sexual Perfectionism

One of the goals of the present research was to examine the impact of the two personality traits--neuroticism and conscientiousness--on the sexual perfectionism of university students. The research on perfectionism has identified three distinct aspects of perfectionism (Hewitt & Flett, 1990). The first is self-oriented perfectionism, which Hewitt and Flett (1990) defined as involving high self-standards, increased motivation, and compulsive strivings for self-enhancement, as reflected by the pursuit of perfect performance across a variety of life domains. The second type of perfectionism is socially prescribed perfectionism, which Hewitt and Flett (1990) defined as the perception that others have unrealistic expectations for oneself to be perfect. Some have argued that this type of perception may develop in response to harsh parental expectations and criticisms (Frost et al., 1990). Socially prescribed perfectionism is also associated with a strong need for social approval and a sense of lack of control or learned helplessness due to the perceived inconsistencies between expectations and outcomes (Flett, Hewitt, Blankstein, & O’Brien, 1991). The third type of perfectionism is called other-oriented perfectionism and is defined as the tendency to direct rigid and unrealistic standards of personal conduct outward toward others and to expect perfection from significant others (Flett, Hewitt, Blankstein, & Mosher, 1991). Other-oriented perfectionists tend to be domineering and authoritarian in their relationships, and they often engage in other-directed blame. This type of perfectionism is believed to be associated with difficult interpersonal relationships (Hewitt & Flett, 1989).

Sexual perfectionism involves the application of the concept of perfectionism to the sexual aspects of people's lives. Snell and Rigdon (1995) have identified numerous aspects of sexual perfectionism, including: extremely high self-standards for oneself as a sexual partner, an excessive motivation to be a perfect sexual partner, the belief that society expects one to be a perfect sexual partner, the belief that his/her sexual partner sets extremely and excessively high self-standards for himself/herself as a sexual partner, a belief that one’s sexual partner expects one to be a perfect sexual partner for him/her, and an individual’s unrealistic and perfectionistic sexual expectations for her/his sexual partner.

More recently, Snell (2001) expanded the concept of sexual perfectionism to include the following components: concern over sexual mistakes, personal sexual standards, partner’s expected sexual standards, partner’s sexual criticism, doubts about one’s sexual capacity, and sexual organization. To measure these aspects of sexual perfectionism, Snell (2001) developed the Multidimensional Sexual Perfectionism Questionnaire (MSPQ).

Sexual Affect

A final goal of the present research was to examine the impact of neurotic and conscientious personality traits on the sexual affect of university students. Sexual affect is a global term that refers to a variety of affective reactions that people may feel about their sexuality, including more specific tendencies such as sexual satisfaction, sexual depression, sexual anxiety, and sexual motivation.

According to previous research (Cupach & Comstock, 1990; Lawrence & Byers, 1995), sexual satisfaction involves the tendency to feel positive affective responses arising from a subjective evaluation of the sexual aspects of oneself. Sexual depression, as defined by Snell and Papini (1989), is the experience of feelings of sadness, unhappiness, and depression regarding one’s sex life. Sexual anxiety has been defined by previous researchers (Janda & O’Grady, 1980; Leary & Dobbins, 1983) as being the tendency to feel tension, discomfort, and anxiety about the sexual aspects of one’s life. Lastly, sexual motivation has been defined as the motivation and desire to be involved in a sexual relationship (Carroll, Volk, & Hyde, 1985).

Summary

The present study involved an examination of whether the Big 5 personality traits would be associated with various aspects of people's sexual feelings and emotions and also whether the Big 5 personality traits would be associated with sexual perfectionism. More specifically, the current investigation was conducted to examine (a) the relationship between the Big 5 personality traits (e. g., neuroticism and conscientiousness) and sexual perfectionism and (b) the association between neuroticism and conscientiousness and college women’s feelings of sexual satisfaction, sexual anxiety, sexual depression, and sexual motivation. Previous research indicated that sexual perfectionism is associated with sexual feelings (Snell, 1995), and research has demonstrated that sexual perfectionism can be measured through the use of questionnaire techniques (Snell & Rigdon, 1995). Sexual perfectionism was assessed in the present investigation through the use of the Multidimensional Sexual Perfectionism Questionnaire (Snell & Rigdon, 1995; Snell, 2001). Sexual satisfaction, sexual depression, sexual anxiety, and sexual motivation were assessed through the use of the Multidimensional Sexual Self-Concept Questionnaire (Snell, 2002), and the Big 5 personality traits were assessed through the use of the Goldberg’s (1992) measure of the Big 5 personality dimensions.

Hypotheses

Based on previous research, the specific personality traits of conscientiousness and neuroticism were chosen for observation (Flett, Hewitt, Blankstein, & Mosher, 1995; Flett, Hewitt, & DeRosa, 1996; Flett, Hewitt, & Dyck, 1989; Flett, Hewitt, Shapiro, & Rayman, 2001-2002). It was anticipated that the personality traits of conscientiousness and neuroticism would be associated with (a) greater sexual perfectionism, (b) greater sexual anxiety and sexual depression, and (c) less sexual satisfaction and sexual motivation. More specifically, it was predicted that those individuals who report (a) greater conscientiousness or neuroticism would be more likely to experience higher scores on the MSPQ measure of sexual perfectionism (i.e., those with greater sexual perfectionism), (b) less sexual satisfaction and sexual motivation, and (c) greater sexual anxiety and sexual depression, as measured by the Multidimensional Sexual Self-Concept Questionnaire (Snell, 2002). These predictions were based on previous research on perfectionism (Burns, 1980; Juster et al., 1996; Wiebe & McCabe, 2002). Hewitt, Flett, and their colleagues have conducted a number of investigations showing that various aspects of perfectionism are related to personal satisfaction, human motivation, depression, and anxiety (Flett, Hewitt, Blankstein, & Mosher, 1995; Flett, Hewitt, & DeRosa, 1996; Flett, Hewitt, & Dyck, 1989; Flett, Hewitt, Shapiro, & Rayman, 2001-2002). The personality trait of conscientiousness would seem to be conceptually related to perfectionism, in that conscientious individuals often try to do their best and to minimize their mistakes. Thus, it seemed reasonable to anticipate that conscientiousness would be directly related to greater sexual perfectionism, greater sexual anxiety and sexual depression, and less sexual satisfaction and sexual motivation. The personality trait of neuroticism would also seem to be conceptually related to the subscales of sexual affect. Individuals high in neuroticism are very emotional, jealous, fearful, and insecure. It seemed logical to assume that these individuals would experience greater sexual depression and anxiety and less sexual satisfaction and motivation.

Method

Participants

The participants in the present research came from a sample drawn from several lower division psychology courses at a regional public university of about 10,000 students. The sample consisted of 115 female participants who were assessed during the Fall of 2006 and Spring of 2007. The participants volunteered to participate in the research project as one way to partially fulfill requirements in their course. Most of the participants were freshmen or sophomores (76.5%), and the others were juniors (n = 13) and seniors (n = 13). The vast majority of the participants were 25 years of age and younger (94.8%), and the others were older (n = 6). About 83.5% of the participants were European-American (n = 96), and the others were African-American (n = 15), Hispanic American (n = 1), or some other ethnic group (n = 3). About 87.8% of the sample (n = 101) reported that they had never been married, and the other participants were either currently in their first marriage (n = 9), divorced (n = 3), or remarried (n = 2). About 54.8% of the sample (n = 63) reported that they were dating one person exclusively, and the others reported that they were not in an exclusive relationship (n = 52). About 37% of the sample (n = 42) reported a family income of over $50,000, and others reported their income being less than $15,000 (n = 29), and the others reported a family income of between these two extremes (n = 44).

Measures

Demographics. The following demographic items were included in this research: academic classification, marital status, gender, age, income, and ethnic heritage. The participants also responded to six romantic relationship questions: (1) What type of relationship are you currently involved in? [none (1) vs. cohabiting/married (5)]; (2) Are you in love now? [yes (1) vs. no (2)]; (3) Have you ever seen a therapist about relationship issues/problems? [yes (1) vs. no (2)]; (4) Are you currently dating someone exclusively? [yes (1) vs. no (2)]; (5) Do your romantic partners sometimes prove to be inadequate partners? [yes (1) vs. no (2)]; and (6) Have you dated quite a bit since you first started dating others? [yes (1) vs. no (2)].

Goldberg’s Measure of the Big-Five Personality Dimensions. The Goldberg Measure of the Big-Five personality dimensions (Goldberg, 1992) includes five scales, each with ten items: extraversion-introversion measured by words such as forcefulness, spontaneity, and sociability; agreeableness/pleasantness measured by words such as politeness, cooperation, and flexibility; conscientiousness measured by words such as reliability, responsibility, and organization; emotional stability-neuroticism measured by words such as security, contentedness, and stability; and openness to experience which is measured by words such as reflectiveness, curiosity, and perceptiveness. Responses to the items were provided on computer scan sheets using a five-point bipolar continuum; the items themselves were scored from -2 to 2 and summed to create subscale scores (ranging from -20 to 20). Higher scores corresponded to greater extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness to experience.

Multidimensional Sexual Perfectionism Questionnaire-II . The Multidimensional Sexual Perfectionism Questionnaire-II (MSPQ; Snell, 2001) is a self-report measure designed to measure several aspects of the construct of sexual perfectionism. The 65 items that comprise this instrument were written in accord with the extant perfectionism literature (cf. Frost et al., 1990; Hewitt & Flett, 1989), and included items related to such perfectionistic-related concepts as: (1) self-oriented sexual perfectionism (which involves extremely high self-standards for oneself as a sexual partner and an excessive motivation to be a perfect sexual partner); (2) societal prescribed sexual perfectionism (which involves the belief that society in general expects one to be a perfect sexual partner); (3) actual partner sexual perfectionism (which involves the belief that the partner sets extremely and excessively high standards for herself/himself as a sexual partner); (4) partner’s expectations for perfect sexual partner (which involves a respondent’s belief that the partner expects the respondent to be a perfect sexual partner); (5) desired sexual partner perfectionism (which involves the respondent’s unrealistic and perfectionistic sexual expectations for the partner); (6) concern over sexual mistakes (defined as being overly self critical about one’s sexual abilities); (7) personal sexual standards (defined as the setting of excessively high standards of sexual conduct); (8) partner's expected sexual standards (defined as the partner's tendency to have perfectionistic standards for the respondent's sexual behavior); (9) partner’s sexual criticism (defined as the partner’s critical evaluations and expectations for one’s own sexual behaviors and abilities); (10) doubts about one’s sexual capacity (defined as a general dissatisfaction with or uncertainty about the quality of one’s sexual behaviors and abilities); and (11) sexual organization (defined as a person’s tendency to emphasize orderliness and precision in the day-to-day activities of being a sexual partner).

Response to the MSPQ items were measured on a 5-point Likert scale: not at all characteristic of me (0), slightly characteristic of me (1), somewhat characteristic of me (2), moderately characteristic of me (3), and very characteristic of me (4). MSPQ subscale scores were computed by summing the responses to the items assigned to each subscale. For all 7 subscales on the MSPQ, higher scores corresponded to greater amounts of each respective perfectionistic sexual tendency.

Snell and Rigdon (2001) provided strong preliminary evidence for the reliability of the MSPQ subscales in a university group of participants. In addition, strong evidence for the validity of the MSPQ subscales was also reported in Snell (2001).

Multidimensional Sexual Self-Concept Questionnaire . The Multidimensional Sexual Self-Concept Questionnaire (MSSCQ; Snell, 2002) was an objective self-report instrument designed to measure 20 aspects of the sexual self-concept: (1) sexual-anxiety; (2) sexual self-efficacy; (3) sexual self-consciousness; (4) motivation to avoid risky sex; (5) chance/luck sexual control; (6) sexual-preoccupation; (7) sexual self-assertiveness; (8) sexual-optimism; (9) sexual problem self-blame; (10) sexual self-monitoring; (11) sexual-motivation; (12) sexual problem self-management; (13) sexual self-esteem; (14) sexual-satisfaction; (15) powerful-other sexual control; (16) sexual self-schema; (17) sexual fear/apprehension; (18) sexual problem self-prevention; (19) sexual-depression; and (20) personal-sexual-control. Only the measures of sexual anxiety, sexual depression, sexual satisfaction, and sexual motivation were used in the present research.

The MSSCQ items were arranged in a format where respondents indicated on a 5-point Likert scale how characteristic of them each statement was: not at all characteristic of me (0), slightly characteristic of me (1), somewhat characteristic of me (2), moderately characteristic of me (3), and very characteristic of me (4). In order to create subscale scores, the items on each subscale were averaged. Higher scores corresponded to greater amounts of each tendency measured by the MSSCQ. In the current research, the participants received four separate scores measuring sexual satisfaction, sexual motivation, sexual anxiety, and sexual depression.

Procedure

When the participants arrived at the testing room, the purpose of the study was briefly described to them and they were asked to read and sign an informed consent form. They were guaranteed complete anonymity and were assured that their responses would be kept in complete confidentiality. All participants who entered the research agreed to participate. Each participant then received a questionnaire booklet containing the various measures. The presentation order was as shown above. Following the completion of the measures, the participants received a written debriefing form that explained the purpose of the study. The completion of the questionnaire booklet required approximately 20-40 minutes. Small groups of up to 14 participants were tested during each of the 11 separate sessions.

Results

The correlations between the Goldberg (1992) measure of personality traits and both the MSPQ subscales and the sexual affect subscales are presented in Table 1.

Results for Sexual Perfectionism

An inspection of the results in Table 1 indicates that the Goldberg Big 5 measure of conscientiousness was found to be positively correlated with the following aspect of sexual perfectionism: sexual organization (r = .22, p < .018). By contrast, extroversion was found to be negatively correlated with sexual organization (r = -.20, p < .036).

 

Table 1

Correlations Between the Goldberg Measure of the Big-5 Personality Traits and the Multidimensional Sexual Perfectionism Questionnaire (MSPQ) and Measures of Sexual Affect

   
Sexuality Measures
Goldberg Big-5 Subscales
 
N
E
O
A
C
 
Sexual Perfectionism:
1. self-oriented sexual perfectionism
.00
.06
.16
.14
.06
2. societal prescribed sexual perfectionism
-.12
.08
.16
.08
-.12
3. actual partner sexual perfectionism
-.11
-.39
.06
.03
.10
4. partner’s expectations for perfect sexual partner
.12
.06
.22a
.12
.00
5. desired sexual partner perfectionism
.06
.02
.16
.12
-.03
6. concern over sexual mistakes
-.10
-.08
.03
.04
-.15
7. personal sexual standards
-.12
-.09
.13
.07
.00
8. partner's expected sexual standards
.13
.01
.15
.12
.15
9. partner’s sexual criticism
-.04
-.13
-.01
-.02
.00
10. doubts about one’s sexual capacity
.07
-.15
-.07
.09
.08
11. sexual organization
.20
-.20a
-.06
.10
.22a
 
Sexual Affect:
Sexual Satisfaction
.00
.06
-.05
-.20
.08
Sexual Anxiety
.22a
-.11
.04
.03
.00
Sexual Motivation
.24a
.09
.04
-.06
-.11
Sexual Depression
.19a
-.15
-.05
.05
-.06
 

Note . N = 114-115. N = neuroticism; E = extraversion; O = openmindedness; A = agreeableness; C = conscientiousness. Higher scores on the Goldberg Big-5 measure correspond to greater amounts of each personality trait. Higher scores on the MSPQ correspond to greater sexual perfectionism associated with each of the respective MSPQ subscales. Higher scores on the sexual affect measures correspond to greater sexual-affect.

ap < .05. bp < .01. cp < .005. dp < .001.

In addition, the Big 5 measure of openmindedness was found to be positively correlated with the respondents’ beliefs that their partners held sexual perfectionistic standards of conduct for them (r = .22, p < .020).

Results for Sexual Affect

An inspection of the results in Table 1 indicated that the Goldberg Big 5 measure of neuroticism was found to be positively associated with a variety of measures of sexual affect: sexual anxiety (r = .22, p < .021), sexual depression (r = .19, p < .043), and sexual motivation (r = .24, p < .011).

Discussion

The present research study was conducted in order to examine the influences of the Big 5 personality traits on various aspects of people’s sexual feelings and emotions. In addition, this research focused on whether the Big 5 personality traits would be associated with sexual perfectionism. It was hypothesized that conscientiousness and neuroticism would be related to greater sexual anxiety and sexual depression, greater amounts of sexual perfectionism, as well as lower levels of sexual satisfaction and sexual motivation. Support for these hypotheses were provided in the present research in that conscientiousness was found to be directly related to the sexual organization aspect of sexual perfectionism. In addition, the personality trait of neuroticism was found to be directly related to several dimensions of sexual affect: sexual anxiety, sexual depression, and sexual motivation.

In short, these results revealed that individuals who are conscientious, or hardworking, ambitious, dependable, and efficient, are likely to behave in a sexual perfectionistic manner, especially with regard to sexual organization. These results were expected because research showed that people who are perfectionists prefer everything to be arranged in a specific way and thus they are very organized as a way to accomplish this goal. The results also revealed that people who are high in neuroticism, (i. e., emotional instability) were found to report greater sexual anxiety, sexual depression, and sexual motivation. It was expected that individuals high in neuroticism would have more sexually anxiety as well as more sexual depression. These results were anticipated because those who describe themselves as being more neurotic are very emotional and feel their emotions in a more intense manner than emotionally stable individuals. It could be expected that these stronger feelings could lead to more anxiety and depression about sexual activity. Although it was not expected that highly neurotic individuals would report more sexual motivation, one explanation of these unanticipated results could be that neurotic individuals, who are very insecure (Goldberg, 1990), may be more anxious to please their partner as a way not only to keep them satisfied with the relationship but also to try and make sure they will stay in the relationship.

The results reported in the present study can also be compared and contrasted with previous research on personality and sexuality. A study by Costa, Fagan, Piedmont, Ponticas, and Wise (1992) correlated sexuality in women with personality characteristics. Their research found that women who scored high on scales of neuroticism (particularly subscales endorsing higher anxiety or depression and self-consciousness) reported lower levels of sexual information and poorer body image. Conversely, those women who scored higher on openness reported higher levels of sexual information, higher levels of sexual activity, and a more positive body image. In their findings, no other significant correlations were found in the personality scales of extraversion, agreeableness, or conscientiousness and the sexuality scales of sexual experience and sexual satisfaction. In the present study, sexual satisfaction was found to be positively correlated with neuroticism.

Considering present findings, there are some direct implications for college programs that address sexuality. Students attending college sometimes engage in sexual experimentation and become more sexually active than before. The present results suggest that extraverted college females—those who are socially outgoing and who enjoy socializing with others—are especially prone to be disorganized in the sexual aspects of their lives. Such females thus may be at risk for exposure to sexually transmitted diseases and/or unplanned pregnancies because they may not be prepared to use protection during their sexual activity.

The present findings should be considered in light of several limitations. The present study included mostly participants who were relatively young and unmarried undergraduate students. Another important limitation of the present research was that all of the participants were female. Further research would need to address these considerations. For example, a sample that includes a wider variety of adults, with both college and non-college students, as well as both married and unmarried individuals, should be included in future research on this topic.

Research on personality and sexuality will no doubt be conducted in the future. An interesting future research study might focus solely on correlating different aspects of sexual perfectionism with sexual anxiety, sexual motivation, sexual satisfaction, and sexual depression among married women and men. In such a study, both the Multidimensional Sexual Perfectionism Questionnaire-II (MSPQ; Snell, 2001) and the Multidimensional Sexual Self-Concept Questionnaire (MSSCQ; Snell, 2002) could be used to examine whether sexual perfectionism might be more likely to influence the affective qualities of married relationships, earlier versus later in the marriage.


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