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Biol Psychol. 2014 Oct;102:1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2014.07.008. Epub 2014 Jul 21.

Gender-specific genital and subjective sexual arousal to prepotent sexual features in heterosexual women and men.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Queen's University, 354 Humphrey Hall, 62 Arch Street, Kingston, ON, Canada K7L 3N6.
2
Section of Sexual Medicine, Medical School, Christian Albrechts University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany.
3
Department of Psychology, Queen's University, 354 Humphrey Hall, 62 Arch Street, Kingston, ON, Canada K7L 3N6. Electronic address: meredith.chivers@queensu.ca.

Abstract

Heterosexual women respond genitally to stimuli featuring both their preferred and nonpreferred genders, whereas men's genital responses are gender-specific, suggesting that gender cues are less relevant to women's sexual response. Instead, prepotent sexual features (exposed and sexually aroused genitals), ubiquitous in audiovisual sexual stimuli, may elicit automatic genital responses, thereby leading to a nonspecific sexual arousal pattern in women. To examine the role of stimulus potency in women's sexual response, we assessed heterosexual women's and men's genital and subjective sexual arousal to slideshows of prepotent stimuli (erect penises and aroused vulvas), non-prepotent stimuli (flaccid penises and female pubic triangles), and sexually neutral stimuli. Contrary to our hypotheses, both women and men demonstrated gender-specific genital and subjective sexual arousal, such that sexual arousal was greatest to prepotent male and female stimuli, respectively. This is the first study to demonstrate gender-specific genital responding in heterosexual women.

KEYWORDS:

Female; Gender; Genital sexual arousal; Heterosexual; Male; Psychophysiology; Sexual arousal; Sexual response; Specificity of sexual arousal; Subjective sexual arousal

PMID:
25058196
DOI:
10.1016/j.biopsycho.2014.07.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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