Self-transcendence is related to higher female sexual desire

Rui M. Costa*, Tânia F. Oliveira, José Pestana, David Costa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


One facet of self-transcendence is creative self-forgetfulness (CSF; tendency to be attentionally absorbed in mind-altering experiences). Proneness to mind-altering attentional absorption and other aspects of self-transcendence were previously related to vaginal intercourse frequency, sexual arousability, and female coital orgasm. Given that sexual responsiveness is enhanced by focused attention, it was tested whether CSF correlates with sexual responsiveness, and if maladaptive defenses, openness to experience, and testosterone explain the hypothesized relationships. One hundred thirty-nine Portuguese (98 women) provided saliva samples for testosterone determination by luminescence immunoassays before and after a romantic movie scene and reported how intensely they felt sexual desire and arousal during the movie. CSF was measured by the Temperament and Character Inventory-Revised, maladaptive defenses by the immature defenses subscale of the Defense Style Questionnaire (DSQ-40), male and female past month desire by the desire dimensions of the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF), and Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI). Female desire and arousal during the movie were independently predicted by CSF, openness to experience and testosterone, but not by immature defenses. Female past month desire was independently predicted by CSF, testosterone, and less immature defenses. Possible psychobiological processes linking self-transcendence and sexual responsiveness are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-197
Number of pages7
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Openness to experience
  • Psychological absorption
  • Psychological defense mechanisms
  • Self-transcendence
  • Sexual arousal
  • Sexual desire
  • Testosterone


Dive into the research topics of 'Self-transcendence is related to higher female sexual desire'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this