A sex difference in features that elicit genital response.

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Biological Psychology (Impact Factor: 3.4). 11/2005; 70(2):115-20. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2004.12.002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Previous research suggests that women's genital arousal is an automatic response to sexual stimuli, whereas men's genital arousal is dependent upon stimulus features specific to their sexual interests. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that a nonhuman sexual stimulus would elicit a genital response in women but not in men. Eighteen heterosexual women and 18 heterosexual men viewed seven sexual film stimuli, six human films and one nonhuman primate film, while measurements of genital and subjective sexual arousal were recorded. Women showed small increases in genital arousal to the nonhuman stimulus and large increases in genital arousal to both human male and female stimuli. Men did not show any genital arousal to the nonhuman stimulus and demonstrated a category-specific pattern of arousal to the human stimuli that corresponded to their stated sexual orientation. These results suggest that stimulus features necessary to evoke genital arousal are much less specific in women than in men.

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    ABSTRACT: Reproductive-aged women show increased interest in sexual activity during the fertile phase of the menstrual cycle that can motivate sexual behavior and thereby increase the likelihood of conception. We examined whether women demonstrated greater sexual responses (subjective and genital sexual arousal) to penetrative versus oral sexual activities during the fertile versus non-fertile phases of their cycles, and whether women's arousal responses were influenced by the phase during which they were first exposed to these sexual stimuli (e.g., Slob et al., 1991; Wallen & Rupp, 2010). Twenty-two androphilic women completed two identical sexual arousal assessments in which genital responses were measured with a vaginal photoplethysmograph and their feelings of sexual arousal were recorded. Women viewed an array of 90s films varying by couple type (female-female, male-male, female-male) and sexual activity type (oral or penetrative), during the fertile (follicular) and non-fertile (luteal) phases of their menstrual cycle, with the order of cycle phase at the first testing session counter-balanced. Women tested first in the fertile phase showed significantly greater genital arousal to female-male penetrative versus oral sex in both testing sessions, whereas self-reports of sexual arousal were not affected by cycle phase or testing order. These results contribute to a growing body of research suggesting that fertility status at first exposure to sexual stimuli has a significant effect on subsequent sexual responses to sexual stimuli, and that this effect may differ for subjective versus genital sexual arousal.
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    ABSTRACT: Incentive motivation theory proposes that sexual desire emerges from sexual arousal, and is triggered by sexually competent stimuli. Research demonstrates gender and sexual orientation differences in the features that contribute to the competency of sexual stimuli. Men's and gynephilic women's genital arousal tends to be gender-specific with preferred gender eliciting significantly greater genital arousal than nonpreferred gender. In contrast, stimuli depicting preferred and nonpreferred gender elicit similar degrees of genital arousal among androphilic women, termed a gender-nonspecific pattern. Given these differences in the features that elicit a sexual response, and that sexual desire is proposed to emerge from sexual arousal, the question remains as to whether sexual desire would emerge only through exposure to preferred stimuli or whether patterns of responsive desire would parallel those observed for genital arousal. The study aims to examine patterns of dyadic and solitary sexual desire in response to stimuli differing in incentive value. Thirty androphilic women, 21 gynephilic women, 21 gynephilic men, and 16 androphilic men participated in a sexual psychophysiological session. Participants viewed sexual stimuli that varied the gender of the actors and the intensity of sexual activities depicted. Participants reported their degree of desire for sex with a partner (dyadic desire) and desire to masturbate (solitary desire), before and after each film. Men and gynephilic women exhibited gender-specific patterns of sexual desire. Androphilic women's dyadic desire showed significantly less differentiation between genders, and their solitary desire did not differentiate at all. No gender difference was observed for either type of desire. All groups reported greater desire as stimulus intensity increased. Gender-nonspecific sexual response is not limited to the sexual arousal patterns of androphilic women, but extends to include responsive sexual desire. Men and gynephilic women, however, show gender-specific responsive sexual desire that parallels their sexual arousal patterns. Dawson SJ and Chivers ML. Gender specificity of solitary and dyadic sexual desire among gynephilic and androphilic women and men. J Sex Med **;**:**-**.
    Journal of Sexual Medicine 01/2014; · 3.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: IntroductionThe specific cognitive–affective mechanisms involved in the activation and regulation of the subjective and genital components of sexual arousal are not fully understood yet.AimThe aim of the present study was to investigate the contribution of self-reported thoughts and affect to the prediction of women's subjective and genital responses to erotica.Methods Twenty-eight sexually functional women (mean age = 32, SD = 6.29) were presented with sexually explicit and nonexplicit romantic films. Genital responses, subjective sexual arousal, state affect, and self-reported thoughts were assessed.Main Outcome MeasuresVaginal pulse amplitude was measured using a vaginal photoplethysmograph. Subjective sexual arousal, thoughts, and affective responses were assessed through self-report scales.ResultsCorrelations between subjective and physiological sexual arousal were low (r = −0.05, P > 0.05). Self-reported thoughts and affect were significant predictors of subjective sexual arousal. The strongest single predictor of subjective arousal was sexual arousal thoughts (e.g., “I'm getting excited”) (β = 0.63, P < 0.01). None of the cognitive or affective variables predicted women's genital responses.Conclusions Overall, results support the role of cognitive (self-reported thoughts) and affective dimensions in women's subjective sexual arousal to erotica and, consistent with previous findings, suggest that subjective and physiological sexual arousal may be impacted by different processes. Vilarinho S, Laja P, Carvalho J, Quinta-Gomes AL, Oliveira C, Janssen E, and Nobre PJ. Affective and cognitive determinants of women's sexual response to erotica. J Sex Med **;**:**–**.
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