ResearchBlogging.orgAccording to a study just coming out in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, “variations in emotional intelligence–the ability to identify and manage emotions of one’s self and others–are associated with orgasmic frequency during intercourse and masturbation.”

In short, the study found:

Emotional intelligence was not associated with … age and years of education, nor did we find a significant association between emotional intelligence and potential risk factors for [female orgasmic disorder] FOD such as age, body mass index, physical or sexual abuse, or menopause. We found emotional intelligence to be positively correlated with both frequency of orgasm during intercourse … and masturbation …. Women in the lowest quartile of emotional intelligence had an approximate twofold increased risk of infrequent orgasm … Low emotional intelligence seems to be a significant risk factor for low orgasmic frequency. Consideration of this behavioral risk factor may need to be incorporated into research into FOD and possible treatment approaches.

This is interesting, and probably a valid finding in that it appears to be statistically demonstrable that there is a correlation between measured emotional intelligence and orgasm frequency. The correlation is positive, modest (between 0.13 and 0.23 Spearman’s, and confirmed with logistical regression), and statistically significant.

What I find even more interesting than this finding (which is important if somewhat unsurprising) is that one can even do a study using matched pairs of twins and have a statistically significant difference in both emotional intelligence measured by standard tests and patterns of orgasm frequency.

Emotional intelligence is a brain thing and we might expect to see it vary for a number of reasons. Here we have evidence that genetics is not the only factor in this variable. I expect that among genetically typical individuals without pathologies, there would be almost no genetic effect, but the presumption of genetics is so strong that I fear most people don’t get that. Patterns of sexual behavior and physiology, which relates to orgasm frequency and distribution, may be very closely related to reproduction (though for reasons you may not expect). Again, we have measurable and (possibly) meaningful variation that is not genetic.

Burri, A., Cherkas, L., & Spector, T. (2009). Emotional Intelligence and Its Association with Orgasmic Frequency in Women Journal of Sexual Medicine DOI: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01297.x


  1. #1 Laurent
    May 12, 2009

    among genetically typical individuals

    Hum, I’m not sure if I know what is “genetically typical”… What did you mean??

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    May 12, 2009

    Sorry, I know that’s vague …

    What i mean is this: Claims are often made that a particular thing (language, intelligence, whatever), which in itself is often hard to define as a phenotype, is “genetic” because some individuals have some totally broken gene and among the many complex, system wide, cascading effects of that broken gene is some aspect of the trait in question. I don’t count that as a valid argument that a thing is genetic, though such research can kinda be sorta a clue to something, maybe.

    So what I mean is, put aside examples where someone is missing a chunk of a chromosome or is a chimera (or any other large scale structural genetic variant) or has a highly unique allele with multiple effects, or homologous non functioning gene where almost everyone else has at least one functioning gene.

    The line between genetically ‘broken’ and variation will be difficult in some cases. That, however, does not obviate the importance of not getting it wrong by overstating the meaning of certain genetic effects.

  3. #3 sailor
    May 12, 2009

    Maybe they should have thrown in measure of stress levels here. It seems probable to me if you can deal with your own and other’s emotions you will not be as stressed out as someone who cannot cope. We know there are correlations between sexual function and stress.

  4. #4 Christie
    May 12, 2009

    I still think it’s possible that the orgasms are leading to better EQ scores. After all, you can ‘improve’ EQ scores with training, therapy and other mood-boosters – why not sex?

  5. #5 Laurent
    May 12, 2009

    Okay. On the other hand, when the ultimate correlate is as broad as a fitness/reproductive measurement, then even if there are some traits with genetic variation pending (thus potentially selectable and selected for), one can come with an entirely different set of other traits completely compensating for the lack of fitting characteristic on the first one.

    The line between genetically ‘broken’ and variation will be difficult.

    Hum, that’s a major research theme. I hope someday molecular biologists will realise mutations and natural variation are not necessarily covered by those elements they study…

  6. #6 Laurent
    May 12, 2009

    though for reasons you may not expect

    Do you have some striking reason in mind?

  7. #7 fuschmu
    May 12, 2009

    I think it’s becoming more accepted that changes in the epigenome in response to the environment play a large role in generating the phenotypic differences between twins. I wrote a few pieces on epigenetics in my blog at

  8. #8 Stacy
    May 12, 2009

    Did someone say “orgasm”? 🙂

    Improving EQ scores with sex! Yay!

  9. #9 Jason Thibeault
    May 12, 2009

    So… is it emotional intelligence causing more frequent orgasms, or vice versa? Does an increase in one affect the other as a two-way street?

    I’m resisting the urge to make a comment about collecting empirical evidence with twins. I would likely be beaten to death by my ever-so-loving girlfriend.

  10. #10 Greg Laden
    May 12, 2009

    Do you have some striking reason in mind?

    I am not sure if what I have to say on this will be strikingly new or not …. it depends on what literature you’ve read.

    Inre: causality: I’m going with “orgasms in crease EQ, IQ and general health and well being” …

    … no particular reason, I’m just going with it….

  11. #11 cm
    May 12, 2009

    The correlation is positive, modest (between 0.13 and 0.23 Spearman’s, and confirmed with logistical regression), and statistically significant.

    That’s modest, alright. So modest that one has to wonder if there is really anything worth reporting. If we measured a thousand 40 year olds and regressed height vs. whether they had ever heard caught any bits of the TV show “Matlock” and we found a statistically significant correlation of 0.15 (which is a visually undetectable trend on a scatterplot), would we really conclude there is some real connection between the two?

  12. #12 Luke
    May 12, 2009

    Were all the subjects female?

  13. #13 Greg Laden
    May 12, 2009

    cm: It depends.

    luke: I think so, yes.

  14. #14 El.Guerrero del Interfaz
    May 12, 2009

    Seems logical.

    Because of the mirror neurons thingy I guess.

    I cannot speak for others but what I enjoy most in sex is my partner’s orgasms. So it’s logical that people with more emotional intelligence, thus empathy, enjoy more.

    It’s also consistent with women’s “superiority” 😉 in this area.

  15. #15 Kelli
    May 13, 2009

    Yes, I have found this to be true based on my own…personal studies.

    The more I was able to identify my emotions and express them, the easier it was to orgasm.

    Still have yet to test this with another Emotionally Intelligent person, but I hypothosize that doing so would be “mind blowing.” Never have I wanted to conduct an experiment more. Talk about a passion for science.

  16. #16 Jeff Turner
    May 15, 2009

    Women took edge for this thing, so now women will have better sex for their emotional intelligence.

  17. #17 Johnny Baker
    May 17, 2009

    Somewhat surprised the obvious corollary wasn’t noted here or in the paper: men clearly have higher EQ than women since they all pretty much always have orgasms….ow, eek, splat!

    More seriously, I’d have liked to have seen a much wider assessment of things like satisfaction, happiness with the relationship and so on. Other studies have shown that orgasm counting may not be a good assessment of female desire or satisfaction.

  18. #18 Biotunes
    May 20, 2009

    You have to be careful drawing conclusions from twin studies about what is or is not genetic. I have not seen the study in question, but there are several ways in which most twin studies are flawed.

    Also, if they threw a whole bunch of variables in there and looked for “statistically significant” correlations, there’s a good chance of finding a spurious, non-biologically significant correlation if no Bonferroni correction was performed.

    The danger with spurious correlations is that we can always turn ourselves in knots coming up with reasons for them. Those reasons aren’t any less made-up for all the effort.

  19. #19 Greg Laden
    May 20, 2009

    Biotunes: I agree with you,but this study does not do what any of those other twin studies does. Rather the opposite. As far as I can tell, twins are chosen simply to have the best possible set of matched pairs. That’s actually not a bad methodology. Genetic vs. non-genetic is not being looked at here.

  20. #20 Ballon lover
    August 20, 2009

    So difficult information

  21. #21 mike
    October 13, 2009

    To many what ifs in the scenario above.

  22. #22 rx
    October 26, 2009

    I always thought that emotional intelligence is an ability or even skill to identify and manage my or other’s emotions..

  23. #23 ED
    November 3, 2009

    rx, I don’t think that emotional intelligence has anything to do with any abilities or skills to manage others’ emotions.

    It’s just the demonstration of one’s temperament.

  24. #24 Anna K.
    November 3, 2009

    I’m simply panting to see if better lovers = more orgasms = higher EQ . . .

  25. #25 Rezultate
    December 3, 2009

    Well worth the read. Thanks for sharing this information. I got a chance to know about this.

  26. #26 Kamagra
    February 23, 2010

    hey now i realized why majority of women have intense orgasm, as they are emotional intelligent. Is this the real reason behind this. Good to know that.

  27. #27 Xenical
    February 14, 2011

    Emotional intelligence seems to have a direct impact on women’s sexual functioning by influencing her ability to communicate her sexual expectations and desires to her partner,” lead author Andrea Burri said.

  28. #28 meskon
    July 8, 2011

    i knew so little before lol:) thanks for share.

  29. #29 kamagra
    November 3, 2011

    Somewhat surprised the obvious corollary wasn’t noted here or in the paper: men clearly have higher EQ than women since they all pretty much always have orgasms….ow, eek, splat!

    More seriously, I’d have liked to have seen a much wider assessment of things like satisfaction, happiness with the relationship and so on. Other studies have shown that orgasm counting may not be a good assessment of female desire or satisfaction.

  30. #30 clumsygirl
    December 8, 2011

    Low sex drive in women can be explained by Pavlov’s Classical Conditioning and Skinner’s Operant Conditioning

    A New Female Sexual Response Model

  31. #31
    New York
    February 5, 2016

    Great article Greg! It is worth the time. As a matter of fact i am looking forward to reading more of your posts.

    Its very true. Emotional intelligence is always associated with orgasm. But for men with Erectile Dysfunctionissues, will have to get associated with biological intelligence.

  32. #32 lucy lily
    May 14, 2016

    Medical costs are nowadays sky rocketing, So all-encompassing medicines accept appear in the bazaar as savior for accepted man and even allowance companies are insisting its use nowadays. In account of superior and capability of all-encompassing Viagra, we can assure that there is no aberration amid patented and generic Viagra, both are bogus with the aforementioned conception and superior control. So you can buy generic Viagra, use it and you will be abiding that this will accord you the joy of animal action as abundant as you can get through patented Viagra. However, I will admonish that you can buy generic Viagra onlone from:

  33. #33 Anna Weber
    L A
    June 8, 2016

    Emotional Intelligence the term introduced twenty year back has started gaining its due importance nowadays. EQ has emerged as major job skill which many companies are looking for in their employees while hiring rather than IQ. According to a research people with low EQ doesn’t realize what important skills they lack. The people with high EQ are emotionally strong and work while keeping their emotions aside. There are many benefits of working with people high EQ rather than with low EQ, as people people with high EQ can handle pressure in a healthy way , understands to cooperate with others, are the good listeners, are Empathic, set examples for others to follow, make more thoughtful and thorough decision. Working with people with less EQ is generally less rewarding sometimes becomes difficult to work with them. Certain ways have to be followed while handling people with Low EQ. Alan Garvornic who is a successful business leader, innovator and entrepreneur with over 32 years of real life, hands on experience in achieving results has provided evidence-based recommendations for managing that situation when you are working with people having Low EQ.