Skip to navigation Skip to content

Sexual Satisfaction Scale (SSS)



The SSS is based on the Sexual History Form. (Nowinski and LoPiccolo, 1979) Four items from the Sexual History Form were selected to provide an indicator of overall sexual adjustment. These items address the degree of satisfaction with physically expressing affection; the variety of sexual activities engaged in; and with the sexual relationship in general. The fourth item addresses the perceived level of satisfaction experienced by the partner within the relationship. This four-item scale is one of the components of the MSQLI.

Administration Time

Administration time is approximately 2-3 minutes.

Administration Method

The SSS is a structured, self-report questionnaire that the patient can generally complete with little or no intervention from an interviewer. However, patients with visual or upper extremity impairments may need to have the SSS administered as an interview. Interviewers should be trained in basic interviewing skills and in the use of this instrument. Owing to the sensitive nature of the questions composing the SSS, respondents may avoid answering one or more items. Users of the scale may therefore want to check for missing items while the respondent is still present and ascertain whether these missing items can be completed.


The total score for the SSS is the sum of the scores for the 4 items.

Download the MSQLI: A User’s Manual (PDF)

General Comments

The SSS is easy to administer and focuses on fairly general themes concerning sexuality. It does not go into detail concerning the specifics of sexual activities or problems. However, owing to the sensitive nature of this topic, patients may need reassurance of the confidential way in which this information will be handled. This scale was designed to provide a very brief assessment of sexual satisfaction within the context of a comprehensive quality of life inventory. As such, the SSS is not really suitable for use in studies that are specifically focused on sexuality and intimacy.

Psychometric Properties

The SSS has a Cronbach's alpha of .91. The straightforward nature of the items making up the SSS give it good face validity. Other evidence for the validity of the SSS is limited. In the original field testing of the MSQLI of which it is a part, the SSS showed only weak correlations with variables such as social support, social functioning, and social interaction.


© 2024 The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is a tax exempt 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Its Identification Number (EIN) is 13-5661935.