Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 651–660 | Cite as

Does Repeated Testing Impact Concordance Between Genital and Self-Reported Sexual Arousal in Women?

  • Julia Velten
  • Meredith L. Chivers
  • Lori A. BrottoEmail author
Original Paper


Women show a substantial variability in their genital and subjective responses to sexual stimuli. The level of agreement between these two aspects of response is termed sexual concordance and has been increasingly investigated because of its implications for understanding models of sexual response and as a potential endpoint in clinical trials of treatments to improve women’s sexual dysfunction. However, interpreting changes in sexual concordance may be problematic because, to date, it still is unclear how repeated testing itself influences sexual concordance in women. We are aware of only one study that evaluated temporal stability of concordance in women, and it found no evidence of stability. However, time stability would be necessary for arguing that concordance is a stable individual difference. The main goal of this study was to investigate the test–retest reliability of sexual concordance in a sample of 30 women with sexual difficulties. Using hierarchical linear modeling, we found that sexual concordance was not influenced by repeated testing 12 weeks later, but showed test–retest reliability suggesting temporal stability. Our findings support the hypothesis that sexual concordance is a relatively stable individual difference and that changes in sexual concordance after treatment or experimental conditions could, therefore, be attributed to effects of those conditions.


Sexual concordance Sexual response Test–retest reliability Low sexual desire Vaginal photoplethysmography 



Funding was provided by Women and Children’s Health Research Institute (CA) and Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julia Velten
    • 1
  • Meredith L. Chivers
    • 2
  • Lori A. Brotto
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Mental Health Research and Treatment CenterRuhr-Universität BochumBochumGermany
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada
  3. 3.Department of Obstetrics and GynaecologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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