Correlational and experimental analyses of the relation between disgust and sexual arousal

Arthur R. Andrews, Travis Crone, Cecilia B. Cholka, Theodore V. Cooper, Ana J. Bridges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Theoretical work has proposed an inhibitory effect of disgust on sexual arousal, but this effect has yet to be examined experimentally. In order to experimentally examine the effect of disgust on sexual arousal, a sample of 306 adults recruited from two southwestern universities was randomly assigned to one of two conditions. Participants in the experimental condition viewed disgust priming images and subsequently viewed sexually explicit images. Participants in the control condition viewed neutral primes and sexually explicit images. In both conditions, participants were asked to provide ratings of sexual arousal, and were timed for the length of time they viewed the sexual images. Participants also completed the Three Domain Disgust Scale and a demographic questionnaire. Two hierarchical linear models—one per each dependent variable—were conducted with image observations nested within individuals. Sexual arousal was lower in the disgust condition compared to the neutral condition, and lower for women compared to men. With additional pairings of disgust and sexual stimuli, the effect of disgust on sexual arousal became larger for women and smaller for men. Data support the inhibitory effect of disgust on sexual arousal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)766-779
Number of pages14
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Volume39
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 15 2015

Keywords

  • Disgust
  • Emotions and sex
  • Sexual arousal
  • Sexual dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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