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Investigating Female Sexual Concordance: Do Sexual Excitation and Sexual Inhibition Moderate the Agreement of Genital and Subjective Sexual Arousal in Women?

Abstract

The agreement of subjective and genital sexual response, also referred to as sexual concordance, shows substantial variability between women. Identifying predictors of sexual arousal and sexual concordance is important to improve our understanding of female sexual response and its relationship to sexual function or dysfunction. The aim of this study was to assess the relevance of sexual excitation and sexual inhibition as predictors of subjective sexual arousal, genital arousal, and sexual concordance. In a laboratory setting, sexual arousal was induced by erotic video stimuli. Subjective sexual arousal was assessed continuously during stimulus presentation and genital arousal was measured with vaginal photoplethysmography. Data of 58 women (M age = 24.95, SD = 4.65) were analyzed using multilevel analyses (HLM). This data analytic technique estimates the within-subject associations of subjective and genital arousal, by controlling for between-subject differences. An interaction term of sexual excitation and sexual inhibition significantly predicted genital sexual arousal. In exploratory analyses, two lower order factors of sexual inhibition (Concerns about Sexual Function and Arousal Contingency) were predictive of sexual concordance. Further examination of these associations might increase our knowledge of female sexual function and deepen our understanding of how sexual excitation and sexual inhibition affect sexual arousal and consequently, impact sexual behaviors, in women.

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Correspondence to Julia Velten.

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Velten, J., Scholten, S., Graham, C.A. et al. Investigating Female Sexual Concordance: Do Sexual Excitation and Sexual Inhibition Moderate the Agreement of Genital and Subjective Sexual Arousal in Women?. Arch Sex Behav 45, 1957–1971 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-016-0774-7

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Keywords

  • Sexual excitation
  • Sexual inhibition
  • Sexual arousal
  • Sexual response
  • Multilevel analysis
  • Women