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Psychol Sci. 2011 Feb;22(2):159-65. doi: 10.1177/0956797610394660. Epub 2010 Dec 28.

Prepared for anything?: an investigation of female genital arousal in response to rape cues.

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1
University of Lethbridge, Department of Psychology, 4401 University Dr., Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada T1K 3M4. martin.lalumiere@uleth.ca

Abstract

Men's genital arousal occurs in response to a limited number of sexual stimuli, whereas women's genital arousal occurs in response to a wide range of sexual stimuli, including those depicting nonpreferred cues. Researchers have hypothesized that women's nonspecific pattern of genital arousal prepares the body for sexual activity, thus functioning to protect the genital organs against injury. If this hypothesis is correct, women should show genital responses to any cues suggesting sexual activity, even unappealing cues that involve nonconsensual sex and extreme violence. Fifteen men and 15 women listened to fourteen 2-min audiotaped narratives that depicted an interaction between a man and a woman and that varied factorially according to the presence of consent, violence, and sexual activity. The results support the preparation hypothesis: Men showed the greatest genital arousal in response to narratives depicting consensual, nonviolent sex, whereas women showed similar responses to all the narratives involving sexual activities, including those describing a sexual assault.

PMID:
21189352
DOI:
10.1177/0956797610394660
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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