Article

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.

Full-text

Available from: Robin Milhausen, Feb 10, 2014
0 Followers
 · 
109 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The goal of this study was to improve our understanding of men's sexual response and its components as well as the factors or types of situations that men describe as facilitating or interfering with sexual arousal. Six focus groups, involving 50 mostly white, heterosexual men (M age = 35.2 years; range, 18-70), were conducted. As it was previously found in women (Graham, Sanders, Milhausen, & McBride, Archives of Sexual Behavior, 33, 527-538, 2004), men described a wide range of physical (genital as well as nongenital) and cognitive/affective cues for sexual arousal. Also, men described the relationship between sexual desire and arousal as being variable and complex, presented a wide range of factors that increased or decreased sexual arousal, and showed substantial variability in both the importance and direction of their effects. The findings may help further development of models of sexual response and inform discussions about gender differences in sexual desire and arousal.
    Archives of Sexual Behavior 05/2008; 37(2):252-65. DOI:10.1007/s10508-007-9245-5 · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: How do physical affection, sexual activity, mood, and stress influence one another in the daily lives of mid-aged women? Fifty-eight women (M age, 47.6 yrs) recorded physical affection, several different sexual behaviors, stressful events, and mood ratings every morning for 36 weeks. Using multilevel modeling, we determined that physical affection or sexual behavior with a partner on one day significantly predicted lower negative mood and stress and higher positive mood on the following day. The relation did not hold for orgasm without a partner. Additionally, positive mood on one day predicted more physical affection and sexual activity with a partner, but fewer solo orgasms the following day. Negative mood was mostly unrelated to next-day sexual activity or physical affection. Sexual orientation, living with a partner, and duration of relationship moderated some of these effects. Results support a bidirectional causal model in which dyadic sexual interaction and physical affection improve mood and reduce stress, with improved mood and reduced stress in turn increasing the likelihood of future sex and physical affection.
    Archives of Sexual Behavior 07/2007; 36(3):357-68. DOI:10.1007/s10508-006-9071-1 · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Negative mood states, such as depression and anxiety, are typically associated with decreased sexual interest and arousal. However, there is also some evidence that depressed or anxious mood may increase sexual interest or arousal in some individuals. In this study, 663 female college students (mean age = 18.9 years, SD = 1.21) answered questions regarding the effects of anxious and depressed mood on sexual interest and arousal and completed trait measures of sexual excitation and inhibition, anxiety, and depression. The majority of women reported decreased sexual interest and response when feeling depressed or anxious; a minority (about 10%) of women, however, reported increased sexual interest/response during anxious and depressed mood. This sample of women was compared to a sample of 399 college-aged men. In general, men were more likely than women to report increased sexual interest during negative mood states. Of the variables explored, propensity for sexual excitation was the strongest predictor of the relationship between negative mood and sexuality in women. Individual differences in the effects of negative mood may prove relevant to our understanding of a variety of topics, including risky and compulsive sexual behavior and sexual dysfunction.
    The Journal of Sex Research 06/2006; 43(2):136-43. DOI:10.1080/00224490609552308 · 2.53 Impact Factor