According To A Recent Study Mental Arousal Is Of Great Importance For Women With Low Sexual Desire

According to a recent study, mental arousal may be of great importance for women with low sexual desire and arousal difficulties.

The research “The Relationship Between Sexual Functioning and Sexual Concordance in Women“, was conducted by Kelly D. Suschinsky, Larah Maunder, Jackie S. Huberman,  Tom Hollenstein, Lori A. Brotto, and Meredith L. Chivers.

They discovered that women with lower levels of sexual desire had stronger alignment between physical and mental arousal.

64 women participated in the study. They had to watch, a sexually explicit movie and describe all feelings related to sexual arousal. In the same time, their genitals’ physiological reactions were also observed using a special device.

The point was to compare the women’s subjective arousal with the physical signs of arousal.

“We studied sexual concordance (the alignment between genital arousal and mental or subjective sexual arousal) and how this alignment is related to sexual functioning,” explained Kelly Suschinsky, a postdoctoral fellow at Queen’s University.

“New sexual response models suggest that a person’s sexual desire or interest in being sexual isn’t spontaneous, but rather that it stems from experiencing arousal. We believed that women with low sexual desire might have problems detecting their genital responses and recognizing them as sexual (or less alignment between their genital and mental responses), which could, in turn, prevent them from experiencing sexual desire.”

The women who took part in the research also had to complete a survey related to sexual functioning. The aim of the survey was to evaluate their overall levels of satisfaction, sexual desire, pain, and a few other factors.

Suschinsky and her colleagues concluded that women with lower levels of sexual desire would have higher levels of sexual concordance.

“Interestingly, women with high and low desire showed similar degrees of genital arousal and mental sexual arousal. This suggests that poor or impaired genital or mental sexual responses alone may not affect sexual functioning in our sample of women,” she told PsyPost.

“The women with low and high desire did differ in their concordance or that alignment between their genital and mental sexual arousal. Women with lower sexual desire (or interest in being sexual) actually showed a stronger alignment or connection between their genital and mental sexual arousal. This was specifically the case when mental arousal predicted changes in genital arousal in these women (i.e., when their bodies got aroused as their minds were becoming aroused).”

“So the mental experience of arousal or feeling turned on in one’s mind, may contribute one’s body getting turned on, particularly in women with low sexual desire,” Suschinsky explained.

But the study has some caveats.

“We recruited a large sample of women from the community. Although they had varying degrees of desire difficulties (some low desire, some high desire), we didn’t diagnose women with sexual dysfunction. We recommend conducting clinical interviews and assessing diagnostic criteria in future research to get a more complete understanding of the relationship between sexual concordance and sexual functioning in women,” Suschinsky said.

“We recognize that this is one study, and shouldn’t make strong claims based on a single study. These results, however, are in line with some other research showing that mental sexual arousal can influence genital responses in women with low desire, and suggest that therapy aimed at enhancing mental sexual arousal may be a way to improve women’s sexual functioning.”

The study was published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy.

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