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J Sex Marital Ther. 2016 Jan 2;42(1):4-17. Epub 2015 Jan 26.

Positive and Negative Affect During Sexual Activity: Differences Between Homosexual and Heterosexual Men and Women, With and Without Sexual Problems.

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a Faculdade de Psicologia e de Ciências da Educação da Universidade do Porto , Porto , Portugal.


Empirical research suggests that emotional response during sexual activity discriminates between sexually functional and dysfunctional heterosexual men and women, with clinics presenting lower positive and higher negative affect. However, there is no evidence about the role of emotions in gay men and lesbian women with sexual problems. The present study analyzed affective states during sexual activity in homosexual and heterosexual men and women, with and without sexual problems. Participants in this study were 156 men and 168 women. A 2 (group) × 2 (sexual orientation) multivariate analysis of variance was performed. Participants completed a web-survey assessing sexual functioning and the Positive Affect-Negative Affect Scale. Findings indicated a main effect of group, with groups with sexual problems reporting significantly more negative and lower positive affect compared with men and women without sexual problems, regardless of sexual orientation. However, findings have also shown an interaction effect in the male sample with gay men, contrary to heterosexual men, reporting similar affective responses regardless of having a sexual dysfunction or not. Overall, findings emphasize the role of affective responses during sexual activity in men and women with sexual problems, suggesting the importance of addressing emotional responses in assessment and treatment of sexual problems in individuals with different sexual orientations.

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