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Sexual and emotional variables influencing sexual response to erotica: a psychophysiological investigation
journal contributionposted on 01.08.2001, 00:00 authored by Eric KoukounasEric Koukounas, M McCabe
The relative contribution of attentional and emotional factors to the physiological and subjective sexual arousal elicited by erotic film was evaluated. Sexual arousal, attentional, and emotional responses were measured while 30 men were presented with a series of erotic film segments. Levels of physiological and subjective sexual arousal were higher when subjects became absorbed in the activities portrayed in the film and when they experienced the depicted erotic encounters as appetitive, than when they were distracted and perceived the encounters as aversive. The erotic film elicited a diminished startle response to a sudden burst of white noise presented during stimulation relative to the nature film, suggesting that at a physiological level the erotic segments of film were processed as more appetitive in valence. The level of sexual arousal elicited by the erotic segments was related to the extent to which subjects were entertained by the film, even though there was considerable anxiety generated by the portrayed sexual scenarios. Sexual response was not significantly correlated with trait measures of absorption (as indexed by the Tellegen Absorption Scale) nor with vividness of imagery (as assessed by the Betts Questionnaire upon Mental Imagery). Arousal was related to state-assessed attentional and emotional variables, and physiological measures of emotional response, demonstrating the multidimensional nature of the sexual response Future directions for comparing male sexual response patterns with female response patterns are suggested.