Sexual and Relationship Therapy

21:4, 393-403, DOI: 10.1080/14681990600891427
Stuart Brody Professor of Psychology PhD Division of Psychology , School of Social Sciences, University of Paisley , Paisley, PA1 2BE, UK Correspondence[email protected]

It has often been asserted that all sexual behaviours are equal. However, empirical research demonstrates that different sexual behaviours differ in many physiological and psychological domains. These differences are remarkably consistent in revealing an association between specifically penile-vaginal intercourse and indices of better physiological and psychological function. Other sexual behaviours (masturbation, partner masturbation, oral sex, anal sex, or any other sex that excludes penile-vaginal intercourse) are either unrelated or occasionally negatively related to indices of physiological and psychological function. Recent research also indicates that vaginal orgasm differs physiologically and psychologically from clitoral orgasm, and that vaginal orgasm is related to better psychological health. Several examples of other research findings are summarised. The consistency of the results with both physiology and evolutionary and psychoanalytic theories is discussed. The ethical practice of sex therapy, education and research requires the elimination of prevailing sexological prejudices.