The effects of anxiety and attentional focus on sexual responding-II. Cognitive and affective patterns in erectile dysfunction


The present report reviews several cognitive and affective dimensions of responding during an anxiety-producing performance demand and two forms of attentional focus in sexually dysfunctional and functional men. Measures of focused attention, thought content, affective state, perceptions of concordance between tumescence and subjective states of arousal and a personality measure of self-consciousness were administered in conjunction with the four experimental conditions described in the previous report. The results indicate several dimensions of difference between the sexually dysfunctional and functional samples. Dysfunctional Ss were more likely to report diminished affective involvement, more attention to internal thoughts, sensations and feelings, a perception that physiological and subjective measures of arousal were poorly correlated and to score lower on public self-consciousness, relative to functional controls. The results are discussed in the context of defining relevant 'anxiety' and distraction processes occurring in sexual dysfunction and implications for treatment are proposed. © 1986.

Publication Title

Behaviour Research and Therapy