Female sexual dysfunction, disgust, electromyography, heart rate deceleration
Existing models of female sexual dysfunction (FSD) are broad and do not provide information about how to improve existing interventions. The purpose of the current study is to extend the empirical application of a disgust model of FSD (de Jong, van Overveld, & Borg, 2013) to a population of young women reporting difficulties with sexual desire and/or arousal and related distress. Sixty college-aged females participated in the study and were placed into two groups based upon their reports of sexual functioning and sexual distress: a control group (i.e., no sexual difficulties or distress) and a clinical group (i.e., difficulties with sexual desire and/or arousal and accompanying distress). Participants were attached to physiological equipment and shown images displaying neutral, positive, disgusting, and erotic content. It was hypothesized that the clinical group would show more evidence of disgust (via affective and autonomic responses) than the control group. Consistent with hypotheses, no group differences were found in any of the affective or autonomic measures during presentation of the neutral, positive, or disgust images. Group differences during presentation of the erotic images (i.e., in facial EMG, heart rate, and self-report affective ratings) and follow-up analyses provided preliminary evidence for generalizing the disgust model of female sexual dysfunction beyond disorders of sexual pain, at least among some women. Exploratory analyses implicated a relationship between a history of sexual victimization and self-report disgust ratings of erotic images. Future research should further explore these relationships in order to shed more light on how disgust-based mechanisms impact the onset and maintenance of female sexual dysfunction.
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Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Sciences
Psychology; Clinical Psychology
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
De Pesa, Natasha, "Affective and Autonomic Responses to Erotic Images among Young Women with and without Sexual Difficulties" (2015). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1336.