Temporal Stability of Sexual Excitation and Sexual Inhibition in Women
The dual control model of sexual response proposes two factors, sexual excitation (SE) and sexual inhibition (SI), that aim to predict sexual behavior and response. While SE and SI are described as stable traits that influence sexuality-related outcomes such as sexual function or sexual risk taking, only a few studies have presented data on the stability of these factors. The aim of this study was to evaluate the temporal stability of SE and SI, and to investigate whether changes in sexual function or partnership status influence SE and SI in a longitudinal sample of women. To address these research questions, the Sexual Excitation/Sexual Inhibition Inventory for Women (SESII-W) was administered five times over the course of 4 years. The SESII-W includes two main scales of SE and SI which consist of five (Arousability, Partner characteristics, Sexual power dynamics, Smell, and Setting) and three subscales (Concerns about sexual function, Arousal contingency, Relationship importance), respectively. Data from 553 women (Mage = 31.38 years, SD = 10.25, range = 18–67) who participated in at least two assessment points were included in this study. Bivariate correlations between baseline and the fifth follow-up assessment indicated a high temporal stability of SE and SI in women (.47 < r < .71). A series of generalized linear models were conducted to investigate the impact of time, changes in sexual function, partnership status, and changes in partnership status on SE and SI. Partner characteristics (SE) that showed small increases over time. Across different subscales, improvements in sexual function were associated with higher SE and lower SI. Changes in partnership status and partnership status itself were predictors of one SE- and three SI-related scales. This study suggests a relatively high temporal stability of SE and SI in women and supports the dual control model’s assertion that both factors are stable individual traits. Certain life events such as a new partnership or sexual difficulties may, however, impact time stability of both factors.
KeywordsDual control model of sexual response Sexual excitation Sexual inhibition Sexual function
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Conflict of interest
All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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