The Psychophysiology of Sex
Publication Year: 2007
Although sexual psychophysiology has made great strides over the past few decades, the progress made has not been accompanied by much effort to integrate research findings or to stimulate methodological and theoretical discussions among researchers. Yet this new research area has the potential to make substantial contributions to understanding a wide range of phenomena, including the spread of HIV/STIs, sexual "addiction" or compulsivity, the use (or nonuse) of birth-control methods, sexual infidelity, and aggressive sexual behaviors. Psychophysiological methods can assist in the exploration of the underlying psychological, physiological, and affective processes, and, perhaps more importantly, how they interact. In this volume, editor Erick Janssen brings together wide-ranging essays written by an authoritative group of researchers, representing the cutting edge of sexual psychophysiology.
Published by: Indiana University Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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This book and the meeting on which it is based were made possible by grants from the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and the Social Science Research Council (SSRC). ...
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This book is the outcome of a conference, the first of its kind, on the psychophysiology of sex. The conference was held in Bloomington, Indiana, in July 2003, and brought together a selected group of researchers in the area of sexual psychophysiology. The goal of the meeting was to present up-to-date reviews, ...
PART 1: Physiology and Neurobiology of Sexual Response
Brain Functional Imaging Studies of Sexual Desire and Arousal in Human Males
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The complex relationship between brain and mind has been the subject of philosophical and scientific debates for centuries. In the perspective presented in this paper, any mental operation—be it intellectual, emotional, or motivational—has two components that are not dissociable: the psychological and the cerebral. ...
The Human Sexual Response—Similarities and Differences in the Anatomy and Function of the Male and Female Genitalia: Are They a Trivial Pursuit or a Treasure Trove?
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There has always been a fascination to compare and contrast the human male and female genitals that at first sight appear so very different. Despite the obvious external differences, an early anatomical portrayal of the female vagina was surprisingly drawn as being like the male’s elongated penis but turned inside out. ...
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I feel privileged to be the discussant of these first two excellent papers, which are going to make a very substantial contribution to the book that will result from this meeting. There are many points raised by these papers that I would love to discuss, but I will restrict myself to just a few. Roy’s comparison of the vagina ...
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Walter Everaerd: I have two questions, Serge. What I get from your paper and comparing it with imaging and studies about emotions is that it’s quite similar and I’m curious about how you try to be specific in your task, the psychological task—the “activation” as they call it in imaging. Is the only thing you do ...
Autonomic Nervous System Influences: The Role of the Sympathetic Nervous System in Female Sexual Arousal
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The autonomic nervous system provides most of the innervation to the internal genital organs and is essential to the sexual response. It has generally been presumed that parasympathetic activity is responsible for achieving sexual arousal through localized vasocongestion, resulting in genital swelling and lubrication, ...
Neuroendocrine Processes during Sexual Arousal and Orgasm
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Despite investigation now spanning well over 30 years, little consensus has been reached regarding the endocrine control of sexual arousal in healthy humans. Historically, the approach to this question has been to measure the endocrine response to various modes of sexual stimulation. This undertaking allows ...
Female Sexual Arousal Response Using Serial Magnetic Resonance Imaging with Initial Comparisons to Vaginal Photoplethysmography: Overview and Evaluation
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Although the sexual arousal and response of women has been empirically studied over the past 4 decades, measurement methods have been minimally available. This is particularly the case in understanding the physiology and psychophysiology of female sexual dysfunction (FSD), even though problems of ...
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A problem I have with the study that Cindy has done, and she’s known this for a long time, is that she relies on vaginal pulse amplitude (VPA) as an interpretive method of saying what happens to the genital physiology. The trouble with VPA is that we really don’t know when it increases or exactly where the increase in terms of ...
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Jim Pfaus: Just a couple of comments. If there’s one thing about prolactin and sex, it’s that it is released after copulation in females. This is certainly true in rats and other primates, although its release is pulsatile. So you may actually not see it if you’re taking lengthy blood samples in females, because it is not ...
PART 2: Theoretical Perspectives and Models
Cognitive-Affective Processes in Sexual Arousal and Sexual Dysfunction
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In 1986, Barlow published his model of sexual dysfunction. Cranston-Cuebas and Barlow (1990) summarized the early empirical work supporting this model. The present paper briefly reviews the original model and details the empirical and theoretical work since 1990, after which an updated version of the model ...
The Sexual Unconscious
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Unconscious processes set up sexual responding. To acquire knowledge about the activation of a sexual response, one has to focus on unconscious mechanisms. We propose that (i) sexual features are preattentively processed, (ii) sexually competent stimuli elicit physiological arousal before and independent of conscious evaluation, ...
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I want to thank our presenters for sharing their interesting models with us. There’s no question, I think, that any field will progress to the extent that good theory is available to work with, and both of the presenters have taken important steps in terms of trying to develop theory and to make us think about some of ...
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Julia Heiman: I just wanted to pick up on something. I think, at least for most of us, until the last decade, we weren’t talking at all about implicit memories in sex research. Just before I left Seattle, Tony Greenwald, who is a well-known cognitive psychologist, published a study on implicit attitudes toward race. ...
The Dual Control Model: The Role of Sexual Inhibition and Excitation in Sexual Arousal and Behavior
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Psychophysiological studies of sexuality have largely, if not completely, ignored issues of individual variability in responsiveness. Most of the research published in this area involves the comparison of subject groups, experimental conditions, or treatments. The few attempts to evaluate individual variability ...
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The starting point of the dual control model, the DCM, is the proposition that in studying sexual arousal we may have to discern both excitatory and inhibitory influences. This proposition really sets the stage for research on the regulation of sexual arousal. I think it’s a heuristic proposition within which research ...
Interactive Processes in Ejaculatory Disorders: Psychophysiological Considerations
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Ejaculatory response is the efferent (motor) component of a spinal reflex that typically begins with sensory stimulation to the glans penis (Kedia, 1983; McKenna, 1999). This reflex actually consists of two distinct efferent phases: an emission phase involving sympathetically controlled bladder neck closure and seminal ...
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When David and I were talking last night, he suggested that I could limit my comments to simply saying, “This work represents the gold standard in the area, we really don’t need much, if any, discussion.” As much as I’d like to do that . . . Much of the data that David talks about in his full paper comes from work ...
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John Bancroft: David Rowland raised the question of the erectile responsiveness of men with premature ejaculation (PE). We now have fairly large nonclinical samples of men where we’ve used our Sexual Inhibition Scales/Sexual Excitation Scales (SIS/SES) questionnaire, and asked them whether they have ...
PART 3: Learning Processes, Subjective Experience, and Genital Response
The Role of Classical Conditioning in Sexual Arousal
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Conditioning models hold intuitive appeal for explaining the etiology of atypical sexual arousal. The majority of treatments for sexual disorders are based on such models (Plaud & Martini, 1999), and numerous case studies attest to the effectiveness of behavior or response modification techniques in dealing with paraphilias ...
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I’d like to commend Heather for putting the human literature into a very interesting perspective. I think it offers some very important insights to things that were hinted at yesterday with regard to cognitive models and individual differences. I was impressed with how brave it is to actually start doing sexual conditioning ...
How Do Men and Women Feel? Determinants of Subjective Experience of Sexual Arousal
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According to one of the founding fathers of psychology, William James, bodily responses and emotional experience are two sides of the same coin (James, 1884). In James’s theory, bodily (visceral) changes follow directly the perception of the emotional stimulus, and “our feeling of the same changes as they occur ...
The Voluntary Control of Genital Response, Arousal, and Orgasm
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It is unlikely that the issue of control of sexual arousal represents much of a problem for any organism other than humans. Getting aroused too quickly or to the “wrong” targets probably does not represent a common challenge for most other species. For most organisms, sexual arousal (including the physiological ...
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First, I have a few remarks about your paper, Don, because it’s a beautiful paper, and it poses problems in connection with your work too, Dave. I wondered what you know about the processing aspects? In one of your slides there is a very steep increase in heart rate in some of your subjects and the others showed ...
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John Bancroft: It’s been a fascinating morning as far as I’m concerned. What has always fascinated me about sexual development are some old data that I don’t think have ever been replicated because it’s difficult to do so. Glen Ramsey was a teacher who interviewed boys about their sexual development, around puberty ...
PART 4: Sexual Motivation and Arousal
Desire Emerges from Excitement: A Psychophysiological Perspective on Sexual Motivation
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In the dominant model of human sexual response, sexual desire, excitement, and orgasm are distinguished as consecutive phases (American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 2000). The model is based on the psychophysiological research of Masters and Johnson (1966) ...
Models of Sexual Motivation
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Sexual motivation is the energizing force that generates our level of sexual interest at any given time. It drives our sexual fantasies; compels us to seek out, attend to, and evaluate sexual incentives; regulates our levels of sexual arousal and desire; and enables us to masturbate, copulate, or engage in other forms of sex play. ...
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Aristotle said that all human actions have one or more of the following seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, passion, or desire. I think that sums it up quite nicely. And it illustrates the seemingly all-inclusive nature of this thing we call motivation. Most introductory psychology books define ...
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Roy Levin: Could I just come in about the distinction between sexual arousal and desire? You can certainly have sexual arousal without desire. There’s no question about that. I can give you one instance where you can have sexual arousal, whether you mean on the brain or in the genitals; of course, then you would ...
PART 5: Sexual Function and Dysfunction
Sexual Dysfunction, Sexual Psychophysiology, and Psychopharmacology: Laboratory Studies in Men and Women
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Pharmacological treatment of sexual problems, a long-standing topic of interest in sex research and therapy, has increased dramatically in importance since the discovery in the mid-1990s of phosphodiesterase type-5 (PDE5) inhibitors and other potent prosexual drugs (Rosen & McKenna, 2002). ...
Disabilities, Psychophysiology, and Sexual Functioning
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The study of sexual function is a complicated process. In most research involving human illness, the use of animal models is considered paramount in developing an understanding of physiologic responses. However, when we study sexual responses, the use of animal models does not allow us to communicate and truly ...
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This morning focuses on clinical populations and clinical problems. Several issues are highlighted. One is measurement, a continuing theme of this meeting, which increases in importance when describing clinical populations and treatment effects. A second issue involves the definition of change. ...
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Marca Sipski: We are planning to do a number of clinical trials. Right now, we’re doing a clinical trial in which we’re starting to use vibratory stimulation in men, to see if vibratory stimulation, which has been traditionally used for fertility purposes, would actually decrease spasticity, which is totally out of ...
PART 6: Gender, Sexual Orientation, and Paraphilic Sexual Interests
Cognitive Processes and Gender Differences in Sexuality
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A momentary digression to insert a historical note concerning how the senior author became enmeshed in cognitive research: I (Geer) had to be hit on the head several times before it became obvious that cognitive factors influenced genital responding. In the context of the times (prior to 1975), cognitive was ...
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It’s an honor to be serving as discussant on this paper for many reasons, not the least of which is the mentorship that I received from Jim throughout my career. Jim and Walter have developed this area of research into one of the most intriguing and challenging aspects of sexual psychophysiology. ...
The Sexual Psychophysiology of Sexual Orientation
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Psychophysiological assessment of sexual orientation was initially developed in the 1950s for the purpose of objectively detecting atypical sexual interests. The Czechoslovakian army, wishing to prevent gay men from enlisting, hired Dr. Kurt Freund to develop an objective method to assess the sexual orientation ...
Psychophysiological Assessment of Paraphilic Sexual Interests
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The paraphilias, from the Greek words for love (philia) beyond the usual (para), are atypical sexual interests. Atypical sexual interests, by definition, are rare in the general population. Conceptually, they can be divided into two categories, atypical target interests and atypical activity interests ...
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I want to preface my response with three points: First, a note of appreciation to the authors who provided very interesting and thought-provoking papers. Second, this is not my area of expertise and therefore my comments are those of an outsider, so I hope I do justice to these papers and other participants will ...
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Kevin McKenna: I have a general comment for both Meredith and Michael, especially since both of them were interested in the idea of the specificity of what is arousing about the images. It seems like there is another psychophysiological measure that would be really helpful and that’s eye movement. ...
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Page Count: 552
Illustrations: 44 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2007