Sexual Arousal Differences
The research article, “A Sex Difference in the Specificity of Sexual Arousal” by Chivers, Rieger, Latty, and Bailey, attempted to address sexual arousal differences between sexes, specifically in relation to category specificity. They suggest that the non-specificity of the female sexual arousal response is among the many sex differences suggesting female and male sexuality are not opposite sides of the same coin. The functional roles of sexuality may be so different for females and males that extrapolating from one to the other makes no sense.
Sexual arousal is an emotional state instigated by processing of external (visual or tactile) or internal (fantasy) sexual stimuli. Sexual arousal is comprised …show more content…
Sexual orientation is the commonly used term to describe sexual interest, and can be defined as the degree of sexual interest one feels for same-sex persons compared to opposite-sex persons. Sexual arousal in response to preferred categories of targets is one indication of sexual attraction/interest, at least for males. ‘‘Category specificity’’ refers to sexual arousal that is highly contingent on characteristics of sexual targets or sexual activities portrayed in a category of stimuli. Sexual stimuli that depict individuals or sexual targets corresponding with a person’s observed sexual interests would be considered preferred, and stimuli depicting anything otherwise, not preferred. If there is a strong relationship between sexual preferences and sexual arousal responses to different categories of sexual stimuli, inferences about someone’s sexual interests and future sexual behavior could be made by measuring sexual arousal responses. This is commonly used in forensic science, such as the identification of pedophiles for police investigations.
For males, their sexual interests vary by the preferred category of target and by the preferred activity. Men typically show a category-specific pattern of sexual arousal, i.e., their patterns of genital and self-reported sexual arousal in response to preferred and non-preferred sexual stimuli correspond to their stated or observed sexual interests. This has been shown to be true for men’s sexual attractions to same- and opposite-sex