We used fMRI to investigate neural correlates of responses to erotic pictures and videos in heterosexual (N = 26), bisexual (N = 26), and homosexual (N = 24) women, ages 25-50. We focused on the ventral striatum, an area of the brain associated with desire, extending previous findings from the sexual psychophysiology literature in which homosexual women had greater category specificity (relative to heterosexual and bisexual women) in their responses to male and female erotic stimuli. We found that homosexual women's subjective and neural responses reflected greater bias towards female stimuli, compared with bisexual and heterosexual women, whose responses did not significantly differ. These patterns were also suggested by whole brain analyses, with homosexual women showing category-specific activations of greater extents in visual and auditory processing areas. Bisexual women tended to show more mixed patterns, with activations more responsive to female stimuli in sensory processing areas, and activations more responsive to male stimuli in areas associated with social cognition.
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