Original Paper

Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 252-265

First online:

Factors that Influence Sexual Arousal in Men: A Focus Group Study

  • Erick JanssenAffiliated withThe Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, Indiana University Email author 
  • , Kimberly R. McBrideAffiliated withDepartment of Pediatrics, Section of Adolescent Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine
  • , William YarberAffiliated withDepartment of Applied Health Science, Indiana University
  • , Brandon J. HillAffiliated withDepartment of Gender Studies, Indiana University
  • , Scott M. ButlerAffiliated withDepartment of Kinesiology, Georgia College and State University

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The goal of this study was to improve our understanding of men’s sexual response and its components as well as the factors or types of situations that men describe as facilitating or interfering with sexual arousal. Six focus groups, involving 50 mostly white, heterosexual men (M age = 35.2 years; range, 18–70), were conducted. As it was previously found in women (Graham, Sanders, Milhausen, & McBride, Archives of Sexual Behavior, 33, 527–538, 2004), men described a wide range of physical (genital as well as nongenital) and cognitive/affective cues for sexual arousal. Also, men described the relationship between sexual desire and arousal as being variable and complex, presented a wide range of factors that increased or decreased sexual arousal, and showed substantial variability in both the importance and direction of their effects. The findings may help further development of models of sexual response and inform discussions about gender differences in sexual desire and arousal.


Sexual arousal Sexual desire Sexual response models Gender Men