Various models have been conceptualized to explain human sexual response and sexual dysfunction. The present study used a circular model of sexual response, which distinguished between spontaneous and responsive desire, to investigate the location and number of breaks, defined as negative responses or the absence of positive responses, that occurred for women with low sexual desire. A total of 53 women who met diagnostic criteria for Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder, and who were participating in a randomized trial of psychological treatment for low sexual desire participated (mean age = 39.0 years). They were instructed to complete a sexual response cycle worksheet based on a recent sexual encounter. Conceptual content analysis was used to identify the number and location of breaks within the cycle. Women's written free responses to the different components of the sexual response cycle were also analyzed. Breaks were most often found with respect to the biological and psychological factors that impact sexual arousal. Many women also identified breaks in their sexual response cycles in the link between sexual arousal to responsive desire. Taken together, these findings provide support for the relevance and application of a circular sexual response cycle for women with low sexual desire that emphasizes the responsive nature of desire.


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pp. 123-132
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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