Associations of Affect, Action Readiness, and Sexual Functioning

Marcus J. M. J. Henckens, Peter de Vries, Erick Janssen, Thomas de Sutter, Anja van den Hout, S.A.H. van Hooren, J.J.D.M. van Lankveld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Emotions are theorized to contain the components of affect and action readiness. Affect guides behavior by causing an approach or withdrawal orientation. Action readiness is the individual's degree of willingness to interact with the environment. Emotions contribute to changes in behavior and physiological responses.

AIM: The present study applied these notions to sexuality and examined the associations between affect, action readiness, and sexual functioning.

METHODS: Participants were male patients with urologic condition (N = 70) with and without sexual problems.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Affect and action readiness were jointly assessed using the latent factor of affective polarity of the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule. Trait affective polarity was assessed questioning generally experienced feelings. State affective polarity was assessed after exposure to an erotic stimulus and questioning momentaneously experienced feelings. Sexual functioning was assessed using the International Index of Erectile Functioning questionnaire.

RESULTS: A significant increase of approach-oriented action readiness was found after erotic stimulation, relative to trait levels. In addition, significant associations were found between state approach-oriented action readiness and various aspects of sexual functioning. Interventions based on principles of positive psychology might be developed to reinforce action readiness in men with erectile dysfunction. The strength of the current research concerns the introduction of action readiness as a potential psychological factor implied in sexual functioning. Limitations pertain to the use of the algorithm used to calculate state approach-oriented action readiness and the use of the current sample of patients with urological conditions, limiting generalizability of findings.

CONCLUSION: Action readiness was found to correlate positively with all aspects of sexual functioning. Further research into the role of action readiness in sexuality is recommended. Henckens MJMJ, de Vries P, Janssen E, et al. Associations of Affect, Action Readiness, and Sexual Functioning. Sex Med 2020;8:691-698.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)691-698
Number of pages8
JournalSexual Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • Action Readiness
  • Affect
  • Affective Polarity
  • MEN
  • MOOD
  • Male Sexual Functioning
  • Trait and State Measurements


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