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J Sex Marital Ther. 2005 Jul-Sep;31(4):303-17.

Dopamine and norepinephrine responses to film-induced sexual arousal in sexually functional and sexually dysfunctional women.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Texas, Austin, Texas 78712, USA.


This study was designed to assess potential differences between sexually functional and dysfunctional women in dopamine (DA) and norepinephrine (NE) responses to erotic stimuli. Blood levels of homovanillic acid (HVA; the major metabolite of DA) and NE were taken during the showing of a nonsexual and a sexual film from 9 women with female sexual arousal disorder and hypoactive sexual desire disorder and from 13 sexually functional women. We assessed sexual arousal subjectively using a self-report scale and physiologically using a vaginal photoplethysmograph. HVA levels significantly decreased in sexually functional and dysfunctional women during the erotic versus during the neutral film. NE levels were not significantly different for either group of women during the neutral and erotic films. Sexually dysfunctional women had significantly higher levels of NE during both the neutral and erotic films compared with functional women. Subjective or physiological arousal differences between neutral and erotic films were not significantly different between functional and dysfunctional women.

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