British twins in emotional sex shocker

Photo by Flickr user Ben Scicluna. Click for sourceIf 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.

Link to Dr Petra on ‘Do high EQ women have better sex?’
Link to study.
Link to DOI entry for same.

8 thoughts on “British twins in emotional sex shocker”

  1. Its not that I am sticking up for this study but…
    “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.”
    To ask for what you want, you first have to know what you want.
    Its not like people are born already knowing all their buttons. Some self experimentation is necessary. Women who have success at self experimentation can surely carry this skill on to shared experimentation. A high EQ is good for both these things.

  2. It makes good press. It’s an attention grabber. And it links female orgasm with emotion(al intelligence). So in that way it appeals to social views of women by linking sex and emotion. Whether it is good science is another question. Thanks for explaining the stats.

  3. Not only are the correlations low, but they don’t even mention that there’s no causation in their methods: in short, EQ could be raised by frequent orgasms. I talked about that side of it in my post about it.

  4. “To ask for what you want,you first have to know what you want”?! The author of this post seems to suggest that women are incapable of adequately expressing their needs, wants and desires to their partner. Not only is that a sexist viewpoint, but it conveniently absolves the woman’s partner from any responsibility. If the partner isn’t interested in the other’s experience, but only in their own gratification, the woman could draw detailed illustrations, present a slideshow, and do lots of “show and tell” and all that effort would still come to naught. Sexual pleasure is best when it’s mutual. If your partner isn’t interested in what you want, it doesn’t matter how “emotionally intelligent” you are, because (duh) you’ll always be better off masturbating. I tell my husband to do A, so he does B, then tells me with some surprise he thought I’d like B better. That’s not a lack of “emotional intelligence” on my part. That’s my husband’s willful disregard of what I enjoy.

  5. One more point. Correlational studies aren’t of much value because you can never completely account for every single variable. Correlational studies can always be skewed to try to show the result the experimenter hoped for, as opposed to a result that actually has merit or statistical significance.

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