Turning on and turning off: a focus group study of the factors that affect women's sexual arousal.

Department of Gender Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana 47404-2501, USA.
Archives of Sexual Behavior (Impact Factor: 3.53). 01/2005; 33(6):527-38. DOI: 10.1023/B:ASEB.0000044737.62561.fd
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The aim of this study was to inform the development of a questionnaire to assess a woman's tendency to respond with sexual excitation/inhibition in different situations. Nine focus groups, involving 80 women (M age = 34.3 years; range, 18-84), were conducted. Women described a wide range of physical (genital and nongenital), cognitive/emotional, and behavioral cues to arousal. The relationship between sexual interest (desire) and sexual arousal was complex; sexual interest was reported as sometimes preceding arousal, but at other times following it. Many women did not clearly differentiate between arousal and interest. Qualitative data on the factors that women perceived as "enhancers" and "inhibitors" of sexual arousal are presented, with a focus on the following themes: feelings about one's body; concern about reputation; unwanted pregnancy/contraception; feeling desired versus feeling used by a partner; feeling accepted by a partner; style of approach/initiation; and negative mood. The findings can help inform conceptualizations of sexual arousal in women.

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    ABSTRACT: In a recent review article, Bogaert and Brotto (2014) discussed "object of desire self-consciousness," a perception that one is romantically and sexually desirable in another's eyes. They argued that this perception is more relevant to women's sociosexual functioning than it is to men's. In the present study, we attempted to find direct evidence that object of desire themes are linked more to women's sexual desire and arousal than they are to men's by examining the differences in content between men's and women's sexual fantasies. A total of 198 men and women reported on arousing themes in sexual fantasies using three methodologies: endorsement of items on a sexual fantasy questionnaire, sentence completion of sexually-charged scenarios, and open-ended sexual fantasies. The men and women also rated their attractiveness and were rated for attractiveness by two female experimenters. On all three fantasy composites, women endorsed more object of desire themes than did men, and these effects occurred independent of the subjective and observer-rated attractiveness measures. The results were discussed in relation to theorizing that object of desire self-consciousness can function as part of many women's self-schemata or scripts related to romance and sexuality.
    Archives of Sexual Behavior 01/2015; · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Time spent viewing sexual stimuli (VSS) has the potential to habituate the sexual response and generalize to the partner context. Aim: Examine whether the time spent viewing VSS is related to sexual responsiveness felt in the laboratory or with a sexual partner. Methods: Non-treatment seeking men (N=280) reported their weekly average VSS viewing in hours. VSS hours were examined in relation to the sexual arousal experienced while viewing a standardized sexual film in the laboratory and erectile problems experienced with a sexual partner. Main outcome measures: Self-reported sexual arousal in response to sexual films and erectile problems on the International Index of Erectile Function. Results: More hours viewing VSS was related to stronger experienced sexual responses to VSS in the laboratory, unrelated to erectile functioning with a partner, and stronger desire for sex with a partner. Conclusions: VSS use within the range of hours tested is unlikely to negatively impact sexual functioning, given that responses actually were stronger in those who viewed more VSS.
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