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J Sex Med. 2007 Jan;4(1):93-105. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2006.00399.x.

Thermography as a physiological measure of sexual arousal in both men and women.

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Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada;. Electronic address:
Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada;; Sex and Couple Therapy Service, Department of Psychology, McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
Department of Urology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.



Current physiological measures of sexual arousal are intrusive, hard to compare between genders, and quantitatively problematic.


To investigate thermal imaging technology as a means of solving these problems.


Twenty-eight healthy men and 30 healthy women viewed a neutral film clip, after which they were randomly assigned to view one of three other video conditions: (i) neutral (N = 19); (ii) humor (N = 19); and (iii) sexually explicit (N = 20).


Genital and thigh temperatures were continuously recorded using a TSA ImagIR camera. Subjective measures of sexual arousal, humor, and relaxation were assessed using Likert-style questions prior to showing the baseline video and following each film.


Statistical (Tukey HSD) post-hoc comparisons (P < 0.05) demonstrated that both men and women viewing the sexually arousing video had significantly greater genital temperature (mean = 33.89 degrees C, SD = 1.00) than those in the humor (mean = 32.09 degrees C, SD = 0.93) or neutral (mean = 32.13 degrees C, SD = 1.24) conditions. Men and women in the erotic condition did not differ from each other in time to peak genital temperature (men mean = 664.6 seconds, SD = 164.99; women mean = 743 seconds, SD = 137.87). Furthermore, genital temperature was significantly and highly correlated with subjective ratings of sexual arousal (range r = 0.51-0.68, P < 0.001). There were no significant differences in thigh temperature between groups.


Thermal imaging is a promising technology for the assessment of physiological sexual arousal in both men and women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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