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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.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada;. Electronic address: kukkonen@ego.psych.mcgill.ca.
2
Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada;; Sex and Couple Therapy Service, Department of Psychology, McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
3
Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
4
Department of Urology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

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

AIM:

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

METHODS:

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).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

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.

RESULTS:

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.

CONCLUSION:

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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