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Partner Sexuality Survey. Dr. Stefanie Carnes, LMFT, CSAT-S AAMFT Approved Supervisor. Agenda. Introduction/ History of the tool Administration Overview of scales Statistics/ Research Findings Clinical Use/ Interpretations Other Interventions. Introduction.

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partner sexuality survey

Partner Sexuality Survey

Dr. Stefanie Carnes, LMFT, CSAT-S

AAMFT Approved Supervisor

  • Introduction/ History of the tool
  • Administration
  • Overview of scales
  • Statistics/ Research Findings
  • Clinical Use/ Interpretations
  • Other Interventions
  • Survey development inspired by qualitative study conducted by Omar Minwalla – published in Chapter 6 of Mending A Shattered Heart
  • Conclusions of study:
    • Partners sexuality was wounded by the addict’s acting out
    • Symptoms similar to sexual trauma victims
  • Quantitative instrument developed from this theory for easy clinical assessment
pss development
PSS development
  • Original version developed in 2007
  • Researchers at USM factor analyzed – original version had 10 scales
  • Items added, more data collected, re-factor analyzed
  • Over 20,000 people have taken survey
  • Version 2 developed
administration 4 routes
Administration – 4 routes
  • Internet based Administration:
    • Self-administration
    • Token administration
  • Paper Versions:
    • Facing Heartbreak – Chapter 7
    • Paper version
paper versions
Paper versions
  • See Handouts
overview of scales
Overview of scales
  • Relational Sexual Difficulties
  • Sex Addiction
  • Sexual Aversion
  • Sexual Shame
  • Body Image Issues
  • Risk of Abuse or Injury
  • Desire for Retribution
  • Sexual Secrets
  • Obligatory Sex
  • Broken Trust
  • Fear of Health Consequences
subscale description rsd
Subscale description: RSD
  • This subscale indicates the presence of sexual dysfunction in your relationship. This can include decreased feelings of sexual desire, and disruption in sexual functioning. This scale could also be impacted by biological issues or other psychological issues, such as sexual trauma history.
  • “I find it difficult to trust him, even on un(sex)related issues.” “… disgusted with thought of being touched.”
subscale description sa
Subscale Description: SA
  • Elevations on this subscale indicate that you may also be struggling with symptoms of sexual addiction, such as experiencing feelings of being out of control, being preoccupied, and having consequences for your sexual behaviors.
  • “I experience sexually compulsive behavior.”
subscale description sav
Subscale Description: SAv
  • High scores on the sexual aversion subscale indicate a decrease in sexual desire, a general decrease in libido. This could be impacted by biological issues, as well as other psychological issues, such as sexual trauma history.
  • “I have not had sex for 3 years”
subscale description ssh
Subscale Description: SSh
  • Elevations on this subscale indicate feelings of over-responsibility for the addict’s sexual behavior, including self-blame, self-criticism, and feelings of inadequacy.
  • “Began to internalize and took the blame for his inability to have a physical relationship with a woman. Thought it was something wrong with me.”
subscale description bii
Subscale Description: BII
  • Elevations on this subscale indicate feelings of insecurity about your body, such as feelings of inferiority when being compared with others, and a desire to change your body.
  • “Stress, anxiety, distrust, low self esteem, emotional grief and marital problems/fights”
subscale description rai
Subscale Description: RAI
  • Elevations on this subscale indicate profound feelings of fear from the addict’s behavior toward you. This may include physical and sexual abuse. High scores in this category should be a priority over all other scales. Physical safety must be established before moving forward with other areas of recovery.
  • “I’m to stay because of the things he makes me do, but he’s threatened me if I try to leave.”
subscale description dr
Subscale Description: DR
  • Elevations on this subscale indicate profound feelings of anger and resentment and a possible desire to retaliate in reaction to the addict’s behavior. This may include anger that manifests in your sexual relationship.
  • “I hate her. I hope she gets gonorrhea.”
subscale description ssc
Subscale Description: SSc
  • High scores on this subscale indicate that you may have secrets about your own sexual past that the addicted partner does not know about currently. There is shame over past sexual behaviors.
  • “Given my past, I don’t have room to be mad, but I am”
subscale description os
Subscale Description: OS
  • High scores on this subscale indicate that you may be experiencing feelings that you “owe” it to the addict to be sexual with him or her.
  • “He’s been in treatment for a year and we’re trying to hold it together, but I hate having sex with him now. I feel cheap and dirty. Will this ever go away?”
subscale description bt
Subscale Description: BT
  • Elevations on this subscale indicate that the sexual acting out of the addict has profoundly interrupted the feelings of closeness and connection in your relationship and may indicate feelings of ambivalence about even being involved in this relationship.
  • “I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD” “…recreation-it's difficult to go anywhere or do anything that used to be fun cuz now I see sex everywhere.”
subscale description fhc
Subscale Description: FHC
  • Elevations on this subscale may indicate a lack of feelings of safety in your relationship. This may include feelings of physical or sexual safety as well as fears about catching sexually transmitted diseases.
  • “I keep getting tested for STDs even though the past ones have been negative.”
correlations of note

Correlations of note . . .

Relational Sexual Difficulties with Sexual Aversion (.67), Broken Trust (.60), and Risk for Abuse or Injury (.40)

Sex Addiction with Sexual Secrets (.58)

Sexual Aversion with Broken Trust (.40)

Sexual Shame with Body Image Issues (.54) and Obligatory Sex (.42)

Desire for Retribution with Broken Trust (.41)



Only subjects with complete data for the Partner Sexuality Survey were retained (n=8,667)

Multiple Regression was used with the demographics as independent variables (predictors) and each scale score as the dependent variable (criterion).

Because the sample is so large, there would be a lot of ‘statistical’ significance, though not practical significance.

Significance level for independent variables set to p<.001

Only examined regression models where the variability explained in the scale score (R-square) was above 10%