Current Sexual Health Reports

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 30–37

What Is the Best Method of Measuring the Physiology of Female Sexual Arousal?


DOI: 10.1007/s11930-013-0010-6

Cite this article as:
Kukkonen, T.M. Curr Sex Health Rep (2014) 6: 30. doi:10.1007/s11930-013-0010-6
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Current Controversies


A number of instruments have been developed for the physiological measurement of female sexual response. While vaginal photoplethysmography (VPP) remains the most widely used instrument to date, a number of alternate technologies have been examined to address the limitations in the literature on female sexual arousal. In the past 10 years, VPP, ultrasonography, temperature measurement via thermistors and thermographic cameras, magnetic resonance imaging, laser Doppler imaging, and labial and clitoral photoplethysmography have all been used to assess sexual response. To establish which method is best, one must consider the output of each device; how the data generated relate to self-reported sexual arousal; quantitative strengths and limitations and practical issues that arise in using each instrument. Based on these criteria, it appears that ultrasonography is well suited for analysis of genital structures, while temperature measurement provides the strongest evidence for use in research as a methodology for assessing female sexual response.


ThermographyPhotoplethysmographyUltrasoundLaser Doppler imagingLabial thermistorMagnetic resonance imagingMRISexual psychophysiologyPhysiologyFemale sexual arousalMeasurementInstrumentationReview

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, College of Social and Applied Human SciencesUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada