Individual Differences in the Experience of Sexual Motivation: Theory and Measurement of Dispositional Sexual Motives

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The Journal of Sex Research





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A construct consisting of eight dispositional sexual motives was proposed to expand upon and integrate earlier theory and research. The eight motives are desire for (a) feeling valued by one's partner, (b) showing value for one's partner, (c) obtaining relief from stress, (d) providing nurturance to one's partner, (e) enhancing feelings of personal power, (f) experiencing the power of one's partner, (g) experiencing pleasure, and (h) procreating. Based on this formulation, a self-report questionnaire was developed to measure stable interest in the eight incentives hypothesized to influence sexual motivation and behavior. Initial factor analyses supported the proposed model in that items clustered predominantly into the theoretically proposed dimensions. The questionnaire was revised, and two subsequent factor analyses supported the earlier factor structure. AMORE scales were moderately correlated with erotophobic versus erotophilic attitudes, attitudes about uncommitted sex, sensation-seeking tendencies, and need for attention. The Value For Partner and Nurturance scales were correlated with a personality measure of interpersonal warmth, and the Power and Partner Power scales were correlated with aggression tendencies. All AMORE scales were correlated with a measure of general sexual desire. Many AMORE scales were also correlated with self-reports of sexual behavior and contraception / protection use. The distinction among sexual motives provides a more complete understanding of sexual motivation and is likely to improve prediction of sexual behavior.

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