If you’re all aflutter over the recent news reports that ‘emotionally intelligent women have more orgasms’ you may be interested to know that these sexual adventures have been exaggerated in the re-telling.
I really recommend Petra Boyton’s analysis of the study which picks up on what was actually done and where its drawbacks were. As it turns out it was a postal survey of over 2,000 female twins, with a fairly low response rate and not particularly well-pitched questions on sexual experiences.
It also included an emotional intelligence measure, and found a small but statistically reliable link between ‘EQ’ and orgasm frequency during masturbation and sex.
And this is where it gets a bit over-the-top. The authors suggest, rather cautiously in the research article and, rather more strongly in the press reports, that higher emotional intelligence may help women communicate what they want in the bedroom and hence lead to more orgasms.
I shall now present the correlations between EQ and orgasm frequency as reported in the study:
EQ and frequency of orgasm during intercourse 0.13
EQ and frequency of orgasm during masturbation 0.23
If you’re familiar with how to read correlations, you’ll notice that the link is very small.
The correlation was done using a Spearman correlation that ranks everyone by EQ and then ranks everyone by orgasm frequency, and then sees how the rankings match.
A result of 1 mean the rankings are identical, a result of -1 means that one ranking is in exactly the opposite order to the other, and a result of 0 means there is no link at all between the two rankings. So in this case, the relationship is very minor.
And here’s a neat trick you can do with the results of correlations. If you square them, you get the amount of variability or change in one value accounted for by change in the other as a percentage.
This means EQ accounts for 1.7% of self-estimated intercourse orgasm frequency and 5.3% of self-estimated masturbation orgasm frequency.
It’s also worth noting that the relationship is stronger for masturbation than orgasm during intercourse, which kinda pours cold water on the ‘asking for what you want in bed’ angle.
Interesting, these results are statistically reliable, and the small but reliable effect was confirmed by a regression analysis, meaning that they are reasonably unlikely to have occurred by chance.
As Petra notes, it’s an interesting preliminary study that merits further investigation, but even if we could be completely confident in the methods, the effect is nothing to shout about.