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Asexuality can be defined as a lifelong lack of sexual attraction. Empirical research on asexuality reveals significantly lower self-reported sexual desire and arousal and lower rates of sexual activity; however, the speculation that there may also be an impaired psychophysiological sexual arousal response has never been tested. The aim of this study was to compare genital (vaginal pulse amplitude; VPA) and subjective sexual arousal in asexual and non-asexual women. Thirty-eight women between the ages of 19 and 55 years (10 heterosexual, 10 bisexual, 11 homosexual, and 7 asexual) viewed neutral and erotic audiovisual stimuli while VPA and self-reported sexual arousal and affect were measured. There were no significant group differences in the increased VPA and self-reported sexual arousal response to the erotic film between the groups. Asexuals showed significantly less positive affect, sensuality-sexual attraction, and self-reported autonomic arousal to the erotic film compared to the other groups; however, there were no group differences in negative affect or anxiety. Genital-subjective sexual arousal concordance was significantly positive for the asexual women and non-significant for the other three groups, suggesting higher levels of interoceptive awareness among asexuals. Taken together, the findings suggest normal subjective and physiological sexual arousal capacity in asexual women and challenge the view that asexuality should be characterized as a sexual dysfunction.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada, firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Archives of sexual behavior
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Physiological disturbances in normal sexual performance in either the male or the female.
The processes of anatomical and physiological changes related to sexual or reproductive functions during the life span of a human or an animal, from FERTILIZATION to DEATH. These processes include SEX DIFFERENTIATION; SEXUAL MATURATION; and changes during AGING.
A species of parasitic protozoa that infects humans and most domestic mammals. Its oocysts measure five microns in diameter. These organisms exhibit alternating cycles of sexual and asexual reproduction.
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