Health Care Professionals
Sexual Arousal - NewScientist - Oct 2006
Women become sexually aroused as quickly as men
18:08 02 October 2006
NewScientist.com news service
Women may have a reputation for demanding lengthy foreplay, but they become sexually aroused as quickly as men, according to a new study that used thermal imaging to measure increased blood flow to genital regions. While watching pornography, both sexes reach peak arousal within 10 minutes, on average, researchers report.
Earlier attempts to record sexual arousal have involved invasive probes and electrodes, according to Tuuli Kukkonen, who helped conduct the study led by Irv Binik at McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, Canada.
For women participating in previous studies, this sometimes meant the use of an uncomfortable probe similar to a tampon, inserted into the vagina. Such invasive methods “made studying sexual arousal very difficult” and comparing sexual response between men and women even more challenging, says Kukkonen, as the
measurement techniques differed between the sexes.
For this reason, Kukkonen and her colleagues used thermal imaging to record raised
temperatures in subjects’ genital areas. The thermal imaging camera can measure
temperature changes from a distance and relay the information to a computer for analysis.
More heat indicates greater blood flow to the genital area, a tell-tale sign of sexual arousal. Kukkonen says that modern thermal imaging technology is much more sophisticated than earlier versions, and can now accurately measure temperature changes of 0.001°C within a few square millimetres.
In the new study, 28 men and 30 women first watched a video of the Canadian countryside in a room on their own, so that researchers could establish each individual’s baseline temperatures.
Subjects were naked from the waist down and positioned themselves such that their genital area was exposed and readable by the thermal imaging device. The participants next watched another video with the same subject matter, or one featuring pornography, horror or comedic clips from the Best Bits of Mr Bean.
The computer only registered a spike in genital temperatures while subjects watched pornography, and not the other films. In those viewing porn, these temperatures increased by about 2°C, on average. Moreover, men reached peak sexual arousal in 665 seconds – about 10 minutes – while women arrived at maximal arousal in 743 seconds. The difference between the times was not statistically significant, the researchers point out.
The findings, which were presented on 30 September at the Canadian Sex Research Forum conference in Ottawa, go against the common assumption that women take longer to become aroused, says Kukkonen. She adds that the more accurate thermal imaging technology now available may hold promise as a diagnostic tool for sexual dysfunction in both sexes.
Creation date : 10/04/2006 @ 06:45