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Repeated exposure to sexually explicit stimuli: Novelty, sex, and sexual attitudes

Abstract

The effects of a new stimulus following repeated exposure to a familiar, sexually explicit stimulus were studied. Female and male subjects (N =56) viewed an explicitly heterosexual film daily for 4 days and then were exposed to either (i) a film showing the same actors engaging in different sexual acts or (ii) one with different actors engaging in the same activities shown in the original film. Analyses of self-rated responses showed that negative affect significantly increased with film repetition and returned to original levels with the introduction of novelty. Erotophobia was associated with negative affect. Results for self-reported sexual arousal and concern ratings revealed sex differences, with males becoming more aroused and concerned by novelty consisting of different actors, and females becoming more aroused and concerned by the same actors performing different acts. Affective and cognitive theories of human sexual responding provided possible explanations for these results.

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Correspondence to Kathryn Kelley.

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Kelley, K., Musialowski, D. Repeated exposure to sexually explicit stimuli: Novelty, sex, and sexual attitudes. Arch Sex Behav 15, 487–498 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01542313

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Key words

  • sexually explicit stimuli
  • erotica
  • novel stimulus
  • sex difference
  • sexual attitudes