Sexual behavior and responsiveness to sexual stimuli following laboratory-induced sexual arousal

J Sex Res. 2004 Aug;41(3):242-58. doi: 10.1080/00224490409552232.


Sexual excitement can be seen as an action disposition. In this study sexual arousal was expected to generate sexual action and to increase interest and responsiveness to sexual stimuli. In two experiments, male and female participants were exposed to a neutral or a sexual film. We measured genital and subjective responses to the film, and sexual behavior following the laboratory visit. In Experiment 2, film exposure was followed by a task in which participants rated the sexual arousability of neutral and sexual pictures. Rating time of the sexual pictures served as an index for sexual interest. Responsiveness to the sexual pictures was measured by modulation of spinal tendinous (T) reflexes. Sexual activity, but not sexual desire, was higher for participants in the sexual film condition than for participants in the neutral condition. Sexual interest and responsiveness to still pictures were not higher for participants in the sexual film condition than for those in the neutral film condition. In addition, men who saw the neutral film showed a greater responsiveness to still pictures than men who saw the sexual film. The results support the view of sexual arousal as an emotional state generating action tendencies and actual sexual behavior.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arousal*
  • Conditioning, Classical
  • Erotica*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Libido*
  • Male
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Behavior* / psychology
  • Time Factors