Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Marta Meana

Second Committee Member

Michelle G. Paul

Third Committee Member

David Copeland

Fourth Committee Member

Jennifer Keene

Number of Pages



Research suggests the presence of a non-relational aspect of women’s sexuality wherein a focus on oneself may be linked to elevations in sexual desire/arousal. Some theorists have even asserted that women may be, in some ways, their own sexual objects. Building on a previous exploration of what is now termed Erotic Self-Focus (ESF; Fertel, 2015), the present study developed a refined measure of ESF to further assess the validity and nature of this new construct. An exploratory factor analysis revealed four factors: Arousal to Own Body, Self/Own-Gender Focus vs. Partner/Other-Gender Focus, Self-Focused Arousal – Physical, Self-Focused Arousal – Mental. Although a confirmatory factor analysis failed to strongly support these particular factors, other psychometric properties supported the validity of this construct as a whole, as hypothesized. Results corroborated previous findings with women reporting much more ESF than men, with substantial effect sizes, while both men and women perceived ESF as more characteristic of women’s sexuality relative to men’s. Correlational analyses showed ESF scores to be related to, but distinct from, corollary measures, thereby supporting the orthogonality of the construct (divergent and convergent validity). The measure also evidenced high internal consistency and test-retest reliability. Implications of results for our understanding of female sexuality are discussed.


Eroticism; Female Sexuality; Sexual Arousal; Sexual Behavior; Sexual Desire; Women's Sexuality


Clinical Psychology | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Psychology

File Format


File Size

4400 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




IN COPYRIGHT. For more information about this rights statement, please visit