A sex difference in the specificity of sexual arousal

Meredith L. Chivers*, Gerulf Rieger, Elizabeth Latty, J. Michael Bailey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

326 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sexual arousal is category-specific in men; heterosexual men are more aroused by female than by male sexual stimuli, whereas homosexual men show the opposite pattern. There is reason to believe that female sexual arousal is organized differently. We assessed genital and subjective sexual arousal to male and female sexual stimuli in women, men, and postoperative male-tofemale transsexuals. In contrast to men, women showed little category specificity on either the genital or the subjective measure. Both heterosexual and homosexual women experienced strong genital arousal to both male and female sexual stimuli. Transsexuals showed a category-specific pattern, demonstrating that category specificity can be detected in the neovagina using a photoplethysmographic measure of female genital sexual arousal. In a second study, we showed that our results for females are unlikely to be explained by ascertainment biases. These findings suggest that sexual arousal patterns play fundamentally different roles in male and female sexuality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)736-744
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Science
Volume15
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A sex difference in the specificity of sexual arousal'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this