The effect of an increased awareness of erectile cues on sexual arousal


The present investigation addressed two major issues. The first issue is the effect on sexual arousal of increasing a S's self-directed genital focus during different intensities of erotic stimulation. It was found that increasing one's focus on genital cues during low-arousing stimuli decreased physiological arousal, but actually facilitated genital arousal at high-intensity stimulation. This finding brings into question the previous assumption that increased focus on erectile responding or 'spectatoring' has universally negative consequences. The second issue concerns the extent of response-system concordance for the physiological and subjective measures of sexual arousal. Two methods of measuring such agreement are proposed. These methods allow for the assessment of response-system concordance for both intensity and direction. These two parameters of concordance were then examined under different levels of arousal and under the two attentiona! focus conditions to ascertain if situational factors would affect response-system agreement. The results indicate that the two measures of concordance are differentially affected by such manipulations. Implications for the measurement of sexual arousal are discussed. © 1984.

Publication Title

Behaviour Research and Therapy