Current Sexual Health Reports

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 73–75 | Cite as

Desynchrony Between Subjective and Genital Sexual Arousal in Women: Theoretically Interesting but Clinically Irrelevant

  • Cindy M. Meston
  • Amelia M. Stanton
Invited Commentary

Due in part to Chivers and colleagues’ [1] comprehensive meta-analysis on the topic, a great deal of attention has been paid to the relationship between genital and subjective sexual arousal. The Chivers et al. paper analyzed the results of laboratory studies that quantified levels of concordance, or the relative agreement between genital and subjective arousal, in both men and women. One of the major findings was a striking gender difference; the agreement between these two types of arousal is much higher in men (r = .66) than in women (r = .26).

To understand the nuances of this gender difference, it is important to address the ways in which arousal and concordance are measured. Genital sexual arousal in the laboratory is most often assessed with a vaginal photoplethysmograph [2], which is an acrylic, tampon-shaped device that contains a light source and a photosensitive light detector. When the device is inserted in the vagina, the amount of back-scattered light directly relates to...


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Cindy M. Meston and Amelia M. Stanton declare no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights Statement

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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