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J Psychosom Res. 1991;35(4-5):609-19.

Self-reported and genital arousal changes in sexually dysfunctional men following a sex therapy program.

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Department of Psychology, Valparaiso University, IN 46383.


This investigation examined the question of whether differences in psychophysiological and self-reported sexual response between sexually dysfunctional men and sexually functional men are reduced following treatment in a sex therapy program. Patterns of sexual responding before and after treatment in nine men with erectile difficulties and/or low sexual desire were compared with those of nine age-matched controls tested at the same intervals. Results indicated: (1) increased genital and self-reported response during the post-test in dysfunctional men but not in controls; (2) conditions eliciting performance demand produced less inhibition during the post-test in dysfunctional men; and (3) moderate correlations in dysfunctional men between clinically-assessed improvement in sexual functioning and actual changes in penile and self-reported arousal from the first to the second laboratory session. The implications of these data for the understanding of variables responsible for improved sexual functioning, and therefore, to clinical assessment and therapy, are discussed. Possible cognitive strategies are provided to account for discrepancies in self-reported and physical sexual arousal in dysfunctional subjects, and the efficacy and limitations of using psychophysiological methods in studying sexual response in dysfunctional men are suggested.

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