Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 181-199

First online:

Responses to reading erotic stories: Male-female differences

  • Gunter SchmidtAffiliated withInstitut für Sexualforschung, University of Hamburg
  • , Volkmar SiguschAffiliated withInstitut für Sexualforschung, University of Hamburg
  • , Siegrid SchäferAffiliated withInstitut für Sexualforschung, University of Hamburg

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In individual sessions, 120 female and 120 male students read one of two stories in which the sexual experience of a young couple was described. The stories differed in the degree to which affection was expressed. The results were as follows: (1) On the average, the stories were rated as “moderately sexually arousing.” (2) The emotional reactions during and to a lesser degree in the 24 hr after the experiment may be described as general activation, an increase of emotional instability, and avoidance reactions. (3) Most of the subjects registered sexual-physiological reactions in the genital region during the experiment. (4) In the 24 hr period following the experiment, there was a slight to moderate activation of sexual behavior, sexual fantasy, and sexual drive. (5) With reference to all measured responses, only slight sex differences were found. Compared to men, women displayed significantly less emotional activation and significantly greater emotional instability and avoidance. Coital activity and sexual drive were significantly more increased among women than among men during the 24 hr following the experiment. (6) The type of story has only a very slight influence on the measured responses. This is true for both men and women.