Annals of sex research

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 319–328 | Cite as

Hormonal correlates of human sexual arousal

  • P. Wright
  • R. Dickey


Measures of sexual arousal and activity were correlated with levels of androstenedione, cortisol, DHEA-S, estradiol, FSH, LH, prolactin, testosterone, and SHBG, as well as a measure of free testosterone in 12 healthy men. Blood samples were drawn 40 minutes apart. In the interim, participants viewed a series of erotic and sexually neutral videotapes. Self report of arousal correlated with a number of baseline hormones. However, a drop in estradiol level was the only consistent significant correlate with self reported levels of arousal. Baseline estradiol level was the only hormonal measure which correlated significantly with penile responsiveness. In addition, reduction in estradiol level, from pre- to post-viewing of erotica, was correlated with penile responsiveness. The reported number of orgasms per week correlated with prolactin, estradiol, LH, FSH and testosterone but the last correlation was negative. Diversity of sexual behavior did not correlate with any hormonal measure. The relationship between sexual arousal and hormone levels appears to be more complex than a simple function of testosterone.


Blood Sample Cortisol Testosterone Estradiol Sexual Behavior 
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Copyright information

© Juniper Press 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Wright
    • 1
  • R. Dickey
    • 1
  1. 1.Clarke Institute of PsychiatryTorontoCanada

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