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Exploring the frequency, diversity, and content of university students' positive and negative sexual cognitions

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Despite the fact that some individuals appraise their sexual cognitions negatively and/or experience negative affect in association with their sexual fantasies, sexuality researchers have not differentiated between positively and negatively experienced sexual cognitions. As part of a larger study, we investigated the frequency, diversity, and content of positive and negative sexual cognitions. Two-hundred and ninety-two (148 women and 144 men) heterosexual undergraduate students completed a sexual cognition checklist requiring them to report the frequency with which they experienced each of 56 sexual cognitions as positive and as negative. Results revealed that overall, respondents reported more frequent and more diverse positive sexual cognitions than negative sexual cognitions. However, men reported both more frequent and more diverse positive and negative sexual cognitions than did women. Although there was a significant relationship between the contents of positive and negative sexual cognitions, the most commonly reported positive sexual cognitions differed from the most commonly reported negative sexual cognitions. Men and women also differed in the frequencies with which they reported specific positive and negative sexual cognitions. These results are discussed within the context of the utility of differentiating between positive and negative sexual cognitions.
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Exploring the frequency, diversity, and content of university students' posit...
Cheryl A Renaud; E Sandra Byers
The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality; Spring 1999; 8, 1; ProQuest Nursing Journals
pg. 17
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Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
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... Historically, the literature lacked a consistent definition of sexual fantasy. Either no definition was provided, or they varied from study to study (Renaud & Byers, 1999). For example, Purifoy, Grodsky, and Giambra (1992) stated that "the content of sexual fantasies is always fantastic or unreal" (p. ...
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Sexual interest and sexual fantasy are intricately linked. The target of someone’s sexual interest (whether a person, object, or behaviour) is typically represented within the content of their sexual fantasies (Noorishad, Levaque, Byers, & Shaughnessy, 2019). As such, sexual fantasies provide a source of sexual arousal (Gee, Ward, & Eccleston, 2003). In addition, conditioning-based theories propose that the repeated pairing of sexual arousal (via masturbation) with a sexual fantasy can produce a sexual interest (Laws & Marshall, 1990; McGuire, Carlisle, & Young, 1964; Storms, 1981). While this is unlikely to be the case for broad categories of sexual orientation, it is conceivable that specific targets/behaviours can acquire erotic value via conditioning processes, especially considering the range of sexual interests, fetishes, and kinks that people report (Imhoff, Banse, & Schmidt, 2017; Smid & Wever, 2019). It is crucial, therefore, to have a clear understanding of sexual fantasy. However, there is little to no theoretical work on the topic. Fortunately, a plethora of research exists, covering the content (Arndt, Foehl, & Good, 1985; Rokach, 1990), frequency (Harvey & Jeglic, 2020; Joyal, Cossette, & Lapierre, 2015), function (Davidson & Hoffman, 1986; Gee et al., 2003), and appraisal of sexual fantasies (Renaud & Byers, 2001), along with its link to other factors, such as personality (Baughman, Jonason, Veselka, & Vernon, 2014), attachment (Birnbaum, 2007), attitudes/beliefs (Zurbriggen & Yost, 2004), and corresponding behaviour (Bouchard, Dawson, & Lalumière, 2017; Noorishad et al., 2019). In addition, there is a vast literature base on mental imagery and episodic simulation that provides valuable insight into human thought. Synthesising key aspects of this literature, we recently developed a theoretical account of sexual thoughts and fantasising termed the Dual-Process Model of Sexual Thinking (DPM-ST). This theory was first presented at professional conferences (Bartels, Beech, & Harkins, 2014), before being outlined in a book chapter on theories of deviant sexual fantasy (Bartels & Beech, 2016). In the present chapter, we provide a more focused and updated account of the DPM-ST.
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