The Arizona Sexual Experiences Scale (ASEX) is a questionnaire commonly used in clinical trials to assess sexual functioning.
The ASEX has 5 questions pertaining to different aspects of sexual functioning. These are:
- Desire: “How strong is your sex drive?”
- Arousal: “How easily are you sexually aroused (turned on)?”
- Penile erection or vaginal lubrication: “Can you easily get and keep an erection?” or “How easily does your vagina become moist or wet during sex?”
- Orgasm: “How easily can you reach an orgasm?”
- Satisfaction: “Are your orgasms satisfying?”
Each item is scored from 1 to 6 with each score having a brief, simple anchor.
For example, the first item has the following anchor points for scoring: 1 “extremely strong,” 2 “very strong,” 3 “somewhat strong,” 4 “somewhat weak,” 5 “very weak,” 6 “no sex drive.”
Item 2 has the following anchor points: 1 “extremely easily,” 2 “very easily,” 3 “somewhat easily,” 4 “somewhat difficult,” 5 “very difficult,” 6 “never aroused.”
The instructions simply state: “For each item, please indicate your OVERALL level during the PAST WEEK, including TODAY.”
Administration and Scoring
The advantage of the ASEX is that it is simple to administer and easy to score. It can be completed by the subject on his or her own, or the questions can be asked by the clinician.
Since there are 5 questions and each is scored from 1 to 6, the total score is from 5 to 30. Notice that it is not from zero to 30.
Sexual dysfunction is defined as:
Total 19 or more, OR
5 or more on any item, OR
4 or more on three items
Dr. Cynthia McGahuey, the first author for this scale, reminds us that low scores represent normal sexual function and high scores represent the presence of sexual dysfunction (personal communication). A few articles have incorrectly stated the opposite about the ASEX scale in terms of what the scores mean.
She pointed out that extremely low scores could also represent sexual dysfunction (i.e., hyperfunction), examples of which are premature ejaculation or spontaneous orgasm.
Importantly, she asks us to remember that the ASEX was designed to determine whether sexual dysfunction was present and to what degree, not the etiology of it.
The ASEX scale has been translated into over a dozen languages other than English.
Note: The scale is copyrighted by the Arizona Board of Regents and all rights are reserved by them.
McGahuey CA, Gelenberg AJ, Laukes CA, Moreno FA, Delgado PL, McKnight KM, Manber R. The Arizona Sexual Experience Scale (ASEX): reliability and validity. J Sex Marital Ther. 2000 Jan-Mar;26(1):25-40. PubMed PMID: 10693114.
Copyright 2016, Rajnish Mago, MD. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced in any form without express written permission.
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