The Role of Affect and Trait Sexual Desire in Sexual Response among Women with and without Symptoms of Sexual Interest and Arousal Disorder

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Date
Authors
Micanovic, Nina
Keyword
sexual psychophysiology , trait sexual desire , affect , Sexual Interest and Arousal Disorder , SIAD , women's sexuality
Abstract
According to the Incentive Motivation Model, sexual cue processing is influenced by both responses to the content of sexual cues, and by individual psychological factors, both of which may result in differences in sexual response. Affect to sexual cues has been shown to affect sexual response in women with sexual dysfunctions, who have greater negative affect to sexual cues. The aim of the current study was (1) to examine the moderating role of trait sexual desire on the relationship between affect and sexual response, and (2) examine the differences between SIAD and unaffected women’s relationship between affect and sexual response. The current sample included 113 women, 31 of whom met SIAD criteria, and was comprised of data from two studies. In both studies, we measured self-reported sexual arousal (both continuous and discrete), self-reported state sexual desire, and self-reported affect. However, Study One used vaginal photoplethysmography to measure genital arousal, while Study Two used thermography. Thus, Study One and Study Two genital data was meta-analyzed. Contrary to hypotheses, there was no relationship between affect and genital arousal. There were, however, positive relationships between greater levels of positive affect and self-reported sexual arousal, as well as state sexual desire. There was no significant moderation of the relationship between affect and sexual response (either genital arousal or self-reported sexual response) by trait sexual desire. When presence of SIAD symptoms was included as a moderator, differences emerged between SIAD and unaffected women’s relationships between affect and sexual response. Namely, SIAD women did not have a significant relationship between affect and sexual response (self-reported arousal and state sexual desire), while unaffected women did. Overall, this thesis provides evidence for the importance in positive affect to sexual cues in SIAD women, which has treatment implications.
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