Meredith L. Chivers

Meredith L. Chivers
Queen's University | QueensU · Department of Psychology

PhD CPsych

About

95
Publications
117,548
Reads
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4,249
Citations
Introduction
Thanks for your interest! I don't maintain this page so please email me meredith.chivers@queensu.ca to request an article. Cheers!
Additional affiliations
April 2009 - present
Queen's University
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
September 1997 - December 2003
Northwestern University
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (95)
Article
Men and women differ in the degree of specificity of sexual response and differences in attention to sexual cues may be a mechanism underlying these gendered patterns. The majority of previous research has examined attention using static images, which differ considerably from the dynamic videos used in studies of sexual response. To test attention...
Article
According to the Incentive Motivation Model (IMM) of sexual response, the rewarding and pleasurable aspects of a sexual act strengthen its incentive value and capacity to trigger sexual motivation. One such sexual reward is orgasm consistency, the percentage of time that orgasm is experienced during a sex act. Orgasm consistency may serve to influe...
Article
Full-text available
Forty years ago, researchers documented changes in vascular and muscular activity within the anal canal of women and men who engaged in sexual self-stimulation. Vascular changes were assessed using a photoplethysmograph that aimed to detect changes in pelvic vasocongestion. An important advantage of detecting sexual response within the anal canal i...
Article
Marked differences have been found in men’s and women’s sexual response patterns, contingent upon their sexual orientation; androphilic (attracted to men) and gynephilic (attracted to women) men demonstrate greatest genital and self-reported arousal to their preferred stimulus type (a “gender-specific” response), whereas androphilic women do not, a...
Article
Objective: Sexual interest/arousal disorder (SIAD) is the most prevalent sexual dysfunction in women. Our goal was to compare (a) group mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) plus sex education with (b) group supportive sex education and therapy (STEP) for women with SIAD. Method: Eight-session treatments were delivered weekly and participants...
Article
We examined the concordance of paraphilic interests and behaviors across 13 themes in an online sample of 1,036 men and women. Paraphilic interests were significantly and positively correlated with behaviors across all 13 themes. Associations were strongest for masochism and sadism, and weakest for pedohebephilia and frotteurism. Paraphilic interes...
Article
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Sexual concordance—the agreement between physiological (genital) and psychological (emotional) sexual arousal—is, on average, substantially lower in women than men. Following social role theory, the gender difference in sexual concordance may manifest because women and men are responding in a way that accommodates gender norms. We examined genital...
Article
Androphilic (i.e., sexually attracted to men) women’s vaginal and vulvar responses tend to be gender-nonspecific, meaning that their genital responses to male and female sexual stimuli are relatively similar. Men’s genital responses are gender-specific, in that penile responses are greater to preferred sexual stimuli than nonpreferred sexual stimul...
Article
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Sexual self-schemas are cognitive representations of the sexual self and are associated with multiple aspects of women’s sexuality, although no work has considered their organization (i.e., interconnectedness of networks of information pertaining to the self). In an online pilot study (N = 193), we investigated the validity of a novel method for as...
Article
Introduction: Although postpartum sexual concerns are common, limited data exist on postpartum sexual response. Furthermore, the physiological process of vaginal birth may negatively impact genital response compared with unlabored cesarean section (C-section), but this hypothesis has yet to be tested. Aim: To (i) compare genital and subjective s...
Article
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Sexuality research is often regarded as more intrusive than other types of research, contributing to sample self-selection biases. Researchers have consistently found that volunteers and non-volunteers for sexuality studies differ on a number of sexuality-related variables. Despite a large number of studies examining volunteer biases, relatively fe...
Article
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A number of devices have been developed to assess physiological sexual response. Some come into direct contact with the genitals (e.g., vaginal/clitoral/penile plethysmography [VPP/CPP/PPG], labial thermistors [LT]), whereas others capture images of the genitals remotely (e.g., thermal imaging [TI], laser Doppler imaging [LDI]). Researchers have sp...
Article
According to the incentive motivation model, sexual desire does not occur spontaneously but can be triggered by sexual stimuli and stems from one’s experience of sexual arousal. Until now, research into responsive sex- ual desire has been challenged by the lack of measures capturing desire that emerges following sexual arousal. The aim of this stud...
Article
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Mindfulness-based interventions are effective at improving sexual dysfunctions in women, yet the mechanisms of action are less clear. Our objective was to investigate the impact of three mindfulness exercises on women’s sexual response. Forty-nine women participated in a laboratory session involving a series of 5-minute exercises and erotic films....
Article
Consistent with men's gender-specific patterns of sexual arousal, men tend to look longer at their preferred gender when viewing mixed-sex sexual stimuli. But gynephilic men do attend to males featured in sexual stimuli, and individual differences in negative affect may explain some variability in their sustained attention toward male targets. We e...
Article
Models of sexual response propose that attentional processing of sexual cues is requisite for the initiation and regulation of sexual response. Previous research has established marked gender effects in the stimulus features (e.g., gender cues) that capture and sustain attention, dependent on the stage of attentional processing assessed (initial ve...
Article
Previous research using clinical samples has shown a positive relationship between women’s sexual functioning and sexual concordance (i.e., agreement between genital and subjective sexual arousal). We further examined this relationship using concurrent measures of vaginal, clitoral, and subjective sexual responses in a community sample of women (N...
Article
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Women’s susceptibility to infection has been found to vary across the menstrual cycle. During the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, when progesterone levels are at their peak, women experience a downregulation in inflammatory immune responses to tolerate the presence of foreign paternal genetic material. The prophylaxis hypothesis holds that, du...
Article
A robust body of research has demonstrated shifts in women's sexual desire and arousal across the menstrual cycle, with heightened desire and arousal coincident with heightened probability of conception (POC), and it is likely that ovarian hormones modulate these shifts. However, studies in which women are exposed to audiovisual sexual stimuli (AVS...
Article
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Models of sexual response posit that attentional processing of sexual cues is requisite for sexual responding. Despite hypothesized similarities in the underlying processes resulting in sexual response, gender differences in sexual arousal patterns are abundant. One such gender difference relates to the stimulus features (e.g. gender cues, sexual a...
Article
Sexual desire may be “responsive,” emerging from sexual arousal to sexually competent cues. Cues that elicit sexual arousal and desire differ, however, by gender and direction of sexual attractions. Further, relationship context cues are thought to be important for responsive desire, but this has not been tested directly. The current study examined...
Article
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Women show a substantial variability in their genital and subjective responses to sexual stimuli. The level of agreement between these two aspects of response is termed sexual concordance and has been increasingly investigated because of its implications for understanding models of sexual response and as a potential endpoint in clinical trials of t...
Article
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The current study examined men’s sexual responses to relationship context. Chivers and Timmers (2012) previously reported that heterosexual men’s genital and self-reported sexual arousal varied by gender but not relationship context, suggesting that gender cues are more salient determinants of sexual response than relationship context cues for men....
Article
Sexual concordance (the relationship between genital and self-reported sexual responses) may be associated with orgasm consistency (OC; the proportion of sexual acts leading to orgasm) during penile–vaginal intercourse (PVI) in women. We investigated the relationship between women’s sexual concordance (assessed using different stimulus modalities a...
Article
Full-text available
Mindfulness-based interventions are effective at improving symptoms of sexual dysfunction in women. The mechanisms by which mindfulness improves sexual function are less clear. The main objective of our study was to investigate the impact of a mindfulness task on sexual response in women. Forty-one women (mean age = 27.2, SD = 5.6) participated in...
Article
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Sexual response is a dynamic process, though there is limited knowledge of the time course and relationships among its psychological and physiological components. To address this gap, we concurrently assessed self-reported sexual arousal, genital temperature (with thermography), and genital vasocongestion (with vaginal photoplethysmography [VPP] or...
Article
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Category-specific sexual response describes a pattern wherein the individual shows significantly greater responses to preferred versus nonpreferred categories of sexual stimuli; this pattern is described as gender specific for sexual orientation to gender, or gender nonspecific if lacking response differentiation by gender cues. Research on the gen...
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Article
Investigations of sexual concordance suggest that, on average, women exhibit a low, positive correlation between their subjective sexual arousal and genital response. However, this relationship appears to be stronger, on average, when genital response is measured via the external tissues of the vulva than within the vagina walls. Given the methodol...
Article
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Women who report exclusive sexual attractions to men (i.e., androphilia) exhibit gender-nonspecific patterns of sexual response—similar magnitude of genital response to both male and female targets. Interestingly, women reporting any degree of attraction to women (i.e., gynephilia) show significantly greater sexual responses to stimuli depicting fe...
Article
Full-text available
On average, there is a gender difference in sexual concordance, with men exhibiting greater agreement between genital and self-reported sexual arousal, relative to women. Much less is known about the substantial variation in women's sexual concordance; women's genital and self-reported sexual responses may correlate strongly and positively, not at...
Article
The past three decades have seen an unprecedented increase in empirical research on women?s sexual response. In this review, we critically examine current controversies and assumptions associated with the nature of women?s sexual arousal and desire. We focus specifically on four assumptions: (1) the assumption that women should be aroused by stimul...
Article
We were grateful to receive responses from Leonore Tiefer, Anita Clayton and Robert Pyke, and Richard Balon and Robert Segraves, to our commentary (Brotto et al., 2016) on Pyke and Clayton (2015). These commentaries raise a number of substantive statistical and epistemological issues relating to the evaluation of treatment efficacy in pharmaceutica...
Article
Full-text available
There is emerging evidence for the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions for improving women's sexual functioning. To date, this literature has been limited to self-reports of sexual response and distress. Sexual arousal concordance-the degree of agreement between self-reported sexual arousal and psychophysiological sexual response-has been o...
Article
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Research across groups and methods consistently finds a gender difference in patterns of specificity of genital response; however, empirically supported mechanisms to explain this difference are lacking. The information-processing model of sexual arousal posits that automatic and controlled cognitive processes are requisite for the generation of se...
Article
Introduction: The clitoral photoplethysmograph (CPP) is a relatively new device used to measure changes in clitoral blood volume (CBV); however, its construct validity has not yet been evaluated. Aim: To evaluate the discriminant and convergent validity of the CPP. For discriminant validity, CBV responses should differ between sexual and nonsexu...
Article
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Gender differences in the specificity of sexual response have been a primary focus in sexual psychophysiology research, however, within-gender variability suggests sexual orientation moderates category-specific responding among women; only heterosexual women show gender-nonspecific genital responses to sexual stimuli depicting men and women. But he...
Article
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Studies with volunteers in sexual arousal experiments suggest that women are, on average, physiologically sexually aroused to both male and female sexual stimuli. Lesbians are the exception because they tend to be more aroused to their preferred sex than the other sex, a pattern typically seen in men. A separate research line suggests that lesbians...
Research
Full-text available
Abbreviated slides from my 2015 ATSA keynote "What Turns Us On?"
Conference Paper
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Reported gender differences in genital response to preferred and nonpreferred sexual stimuli may be confounded by the fact that frequently used measures differ for men and women. Moreover, women’s non-specificity in their sexual responses is less common in homosexual women; similar to men, they can be specific in their sexual response to preferred...
Article
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Objective: To demonstrate the efficacy of a 12-week, professionally-facilitated, Internet-based support group for women who are sexually distressed due to gynaecologic cancer and its treatment. Methods: The participants are women who received treatment for gynaecologic cancer, were diagnosed within the previous five years and who currently have no...
Article
Full-text available
Men’s genital responses are significantly greater to sexual stimuli of their preferred gender compared to their nonpreferred gender (gender-specific), whereas androphilic (i.e., sexually attracted to men) women’s genital responses are similar to sexual stimuli depicting either women or men (gender-nonspecific). This gendered pattern of genital resp...
Article
Full-text available
Gender-specific sexual arousal has been examined in women with sexual attractions toward predominantly women or men, but not in women reporting sexual attractions to both genders. In this study, women who endorsed one or more facets of bisexuality—sexual orientation, sexual identity, romantic attraction, sexual fantasy, sexual behavior—listened to...
Article
Literature examining gender-specificity of sexual response has not investigated the sexual arousal patterns of women with mixed-gender sexual interests. This study examined the genital and self-reported sexual response of women endorsing one or more dimensions of bisexuality (i.e., sexual identity, sexual attractions, romantic attractions, sexual f...
Article
Full-text available
Sexual desire can be operationalized as the motivation to seek out solitary or partnered sexual experiences. A large body of evidence suggests that men experience sexual desire more strongly and more frequently than do women; however, it is not clear whether sexual desire is truly gendered or if gender differences are influenced by how sexual desir...
Article
Heterosexual women respond genitally to stimuli featuring both their preferred and nonpreferred genders, whereas men's genital responses are gender-specific, suggesting that gender cues are less relevant to women's sexual response. Instead, prepotent sexual features (exposed and sexually-aroused genitals), ubiquitous in audiovisual sexual stimuli,...
Article
Full-text available
Men's sexual arousal is largely dependent on the actor's gender in a sexual stimulus (gender-specific), whereas for women, particularly androphilic women, arousal is less dependent on gender (gender-nonspecific). According to information-processing models of sexual response, sexual arousal requires that attention be directed toward sexual cues. We...
Article
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 d...
Article
Introduction: 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-speci...
Article
Full-text available
Unlike men, heterosexual women's genital arousal is gender nonspecific, such that heterosexual women show relatively similar genital arousal to sexual stimuli depicting men and women but typically report greater subjective arousal to male stimuli. Based on the ovulatory-shift hypothesis-that women show a mid-cycle shift in preferences towards more...
Article
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Prior studies consistently report that men's genital responses correspond to their sexual activity interests (consenting vs. coercive sex) whereas women's responses do not. For women, however, these results may be confounded by the sexual activities studied and lack of suitable controls. We examined the subjective and genital arousal responses of m...
Article
Given that social messages encourage women to inhibit sexual responses, and that measures of women’s genital arousal are not always consistent with self-reported sexual arousal, we evaluated the relationship between impression management (IM) and 3 methods of assessing self-reported sexual arousal: continuously rated arousal, pre- and poststimulus...
Article
The psychosexual concerns of gynecologic cancer patients are often unaddressed and there are limited resources available for women to deal with this highly sensitive topic. This feasibility study examines the participation rates and preliminary outcomes for an online support group designed specifically for women who are sexually distressed subseque...
Article
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Observational stance refers to the perspective a person takes while viewing a sexual stimulus, either as a passive observer (observer stance) or an active participant (participant stance). The objective of the current study was to examine the relationship between observational stance and sexual arousal (subjective and genital) across a range of sex...
Article
Introduction: Among other causes, low sexual desire in women may result from dysfunctional activation of sexual inhibition mechanisms during exposure to sex. Administration of sublingual 0.5 mg testosterone (T) increases the sensitivity of the brain to sexual cues, which might amplify sexual inhibitory mechanisms further in women already prone to...
Article
Introduction: Low sexual desire in women may result from a relative insensitivity of the brain for sexual cues. Administration of sublingual 0.5 mg testosterone (T) increases the sensitivity of the brain to sexual cues. Sexual stimulation in the brain is necessary for phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor (PDE5i)-mediated increase in genital sexual r...
Article
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In three related manuscripts we describe our drug development program for the treatment of Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD). In this first theoretical article we will defend the hypothesis that different causal mechanisms are responsible for the emergence of HSDD: low sexual desire in women (with HSDD) could be due to either a relative inse...
Article
On average, rapists show greater relative genital responses to rape stories than do nonrapists in the laboratory. It has been suggested that this robust group difference is explained by the fact that many rapists are sexually sadistic. It is not clear, however, what the critical cues underlying rapists' genital responses are, because rape stories u...
Article
Previous research suggests that heterosexual women's sexual arousal patterns are nonspecific; heterosexual women demonstrate genital arousal to both preferred and nonpreferred sexual stimuli. These patterns may, however, be related to the intense and impersonal nature of the audiovisual stimuli used. The current study investigated the gender specif...
Article
Internet-based support groups for cancer patients have been studied extensively; very few have focused on gynecologic cancer. We pilot-tested a web-based support group for gynecologic cancer patients and assessed women's perceptions of the intervention. Twenty-seven gynecologic cancer patients were randomized to an immediate intervention or a waitl...
Article
Introduction: Previous research on postpartum sexuality has primarily focused on the impact of physical factors on the resumption and frequency of sexual intercourse; fewer studies have focused on the impact of psychological factors on women's sexual functioning. Aim: The aim of this study is to assess current sexual functioning and sexual behav...
Article
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In this article I review research on specificity of sexual arousal conducted since 2005. Three lines of investigation – sexual psychophysiology, visual attention and brain response – demonstrate convergence; women's response is non-specific whereas men's is specific to preferred sexual stimuli. The implications of these findings, with respect to th...
Article
Introduction: Phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5), such as sildenafil, tadalafil, and vardenafil, have revolutionized the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Few successes, in contrast, have been reported for the use of these agents in treatment of sexual arousal problems in women. Aim: To review research examining efficacy of PDE5 in wome...
Article
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The assessment of sexual arousal in men and women informs theoretical studies of human sexuality and provides a method to assess and evaluate the treatment of sexual dysfunctions and paraphilias. Understanding measures of arousal is, therefore, paramount to further theoretical and practical advances in the study of human sexuality. In this meta-ana...
Article
Data concerning the physiology of female sexual functioning are still obtained from animal studies, but an increasing amount of novel evidence comes from human studies. To gain knowledge of psychological and biologic physiology of women's sexual functioning, mainly addressing sexual arousal and orgasm. A broad-based literature review of current kno...