Subjective assessment of sexual images: Influence of hormones and content Open Access

Renfro, Kaytlin J. (2013)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/5m60qs49v?locale=en
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Abstract

The present study investigated whether plasma levels of gonadal steroids were related to men's and women's subjective ratings of sexual images that differed in the amount of contextual information provided and in the sexual act depicted. 14 men, 14 naturally cycling (NC) women, and 14 women taking oral contraceptives (OCs) rated the level of attractiveness of sexually explicit images at three different testing sessions. NC women were tested during their menstrual, periovulatory, and luteal phases, and OC women were tested at similar time points across their pill-cycles. Men were tested three times approximately 5 - 10 days apart. Blood spots were collected at each testing session and assayed for levels of testosterone in males and progesterone in females. Plasma levels of gonadal steroids at time of testing were not related to subjective ratings for NC women, OC women, or men. However, OC women's hormonal condition during their first test session predicted their ratings of sexual images on the 2nd and 3rd session, and this effect of initial hormonal condition varied with the specific content of the images. Specifically, women who had been taking OCs for three weeks when they entered the study rated images with little contextual information and images depicting female-to-male oral sex as less arousing at all testing sessions than did other women. These results corroborate previous studies in which women's initial hormonal condition was found to predict subsequent interest in sexual stimuli. OC women in the third week of their pill-packs had been exposed to the highest cumulative amount of progestins at the time of testing, as compared to all other groups of women. These results suggest gonadal steroids are related to subjective ratings of sexual stimuli only in specific conditions, where contextual elements of images cannot be used to assist in inducing arousal.


Table of Contents

I. Introduction…………………………………………………………….1

II. Method……………………………………………………………….....5

III. Results…………………………………………………………………...11

IV. Discussion……………………………………………………………….15

V. References………………………………………………………………22

VI. Appendix.……………………………………………………………....26

VII. Figure Captions……………………………………………………...28

VIII. Figures……………..…………………………………………………...31

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