Gynephilic Men’s Self-Reported and Genital Sexual Responses to Relationship Context Cues
The current study examined men’s sexual responses to relationship context. Chivers and Timmers (2012) previously reported that heterosexual men’s genital and self-reported sexual arousal varied by gender but not relationship context, suggesting that gender cues are more salient determinants of sexual response than relationship context cues for men. Those analyses were, however, significantly underpowered to detect relationship context effects (n = 9). The current study utilized the same paradigm as Chivers and Timmers’ study, exposing a larger sample of heterosexual men (n = 26) to audio narratives describing sexual interactions that varied by partner gender (man, woman) and relationship context (stranger, friend, long-term relationship), and observing effects on genital and self-reported sexual response. Results indicated that men’s genital response to relationship context cues mirrored those previously reported for heterosexual women (Chivers & Timmers, 2012); heterosexual men demonstrated less genital response to the friend than to the stranger or long-term relationship conditions. No significant effect of relationship context was found for men’s self-reported sexual arousal. These data suggest that, in addition to gender cues, relationship cues may also be an important determinant of men’s genital sexual responses.
KeywordsSexual psychophysiology Sexual arousal Relationship context Gender-specificity
Many thanks to the study participants for their invaluable assistance in completing this study. This research was supported by postdoctoral fellowship grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and an Ontario Council on Graduate Studies Women’s Health Scholar Award awarded to M. L. Chivers, and an Ontario Women’s Health Scholar Award (funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care) and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Joseph Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship awarded to the first author.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
We have no potential conflicts of interest to disclose.
Study procedures were approved by the Human Research Ethics Boards at both our Toronto and Kingston sites. All procedures involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Brom, M., Both, S., Laan, E., Everaerd, W., & Spinhoven, P. (2014). The role of conditioning, learning and dopamine in sexual behavior: A narrative review of animal and human studies. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 38, 38–59. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2013.10.014.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Carvalho, J., Gomes, A. Q., Laja, P., Oliveira, C., Vilarinho, S., Janssen, E., & Nobre, P. (2013). Gender differences in sexual arousal and affective responses to erotica: The effects of type of film and fantasy instructions. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 42, 1011–1019. doi: 10.1007/s10508-013-0076-2.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Derefinko, K. J., Peters, J. R., Eisenlohr-Moul, T. A., Walsh, E. C., Adams, Z. W., & Lynam, D. R. (2014). Relations between trait impulsivity, behavioral impulsivity, physiological arousal, and risky sexual behavior among young men. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 43, 1149–1158. doi: 10.1007/s10508-014-0327-x.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Janssen, E., & Geer, J. (2000). The sexual response system. In J. T. Cacioppo, L. G. Tassinary, & G. G. Bernston (Eds.), Handbook of psychophysiology (2nd ed., pp. 315–341). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Kinsey, A. C., Pomeroy, W. B., & Martin, C. E. (1948). Sexual behavior in the human male. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
- Timmers, A. D., & Chivers, M. L. (2012). Sociosexuality and sexual arousal. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 21, 135–146.Google Scholar