Altered states of consciousness are related to higher sexual responsiveness

Conscious Cogn. 2016 May;42:135-141. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2016.03.013. Epub 2016 Mar 19.


Altered states of consciousness lead to profound changes in the sense of self, time and space. We assessed how these changes were related to sexual responsiveness during sex. 116 subjects reported (a) intensity of awareness concerning body, space and time, and (b) satisfaction, desire, arousal, and orgasm occurrence. We differentiated vaginal intercourse orgasm from noncoital orgasm. Female vaginal intercourse orgasm was further differentiated as with or without concurrent clitoral masturbation. Overall, sexual responsiveness was related to greater body awareness and lesser time and space awareness. Satisfaction, desire, and arousal were especially associated with less time awareness in women. Female orgasms during vaginal intercourse were related to greater body awareness and lesser time awareness, but noncoital orgasms were unrelated. Our findings provide empirical support for the hypotheses that altered states of consciousness with attentional absorption are strongly related to sexual responsiveness in women, and to a lesser extent in men.

Keywords: Altered states of consciousness; Orgasm; Psychological absorption; Sexual responsiveness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Awareness / physiology*
  • Consciousness / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Orgasm / physiology*
  • Sexual Behavior / physiology*
  • Young Adult