Can a woman be aroused and not know it?

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2009
Can a woman be aroused and not know it?
2
Wed, 03-03-2010 - 11:47am
"When it comes to sexual arousal, a woman's mind and body are less in sync than a man's, a review of research finds.



"Men who reported feeling turned on tended to also sport an erection, while a matchup between the mind and body wasn't so consistent for women, according to the review published online Jan. 4 in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.



"'We wanted to discover how closely people's subjective experience of sexual arousal mirrors their physiological genital response — and whether this differs between men and women,' said researcher Meredith Chivers, a psychology professor at Queen's University in Canada.



"Men's subjective ratings of arousal were in agreement with their body's level of sexual arousal about 66 percent of the time, while women's were in line only about 26 percent of the time.



"'The general pattern that I have seen in my laboratory is that women experience a genital response but do not report feeling sexually aroused,' Chivers said."



Read the full article



By my way of thinking, a woman is sexually aroused only when she perceives herself to be sexually aroused. Separating mental and physiological arousal veers a little too close to "you may be saying no, but your body is saying yes" territory for my liking.



What are your thoughts about this study and the potential implications of it?



Siggy

Community Leader of Women's Health



• Pull Up a Chair At the Kitchen Table â€¢









iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2006
Thu, 03-04-2010 - 11:34am
Well, I'm not sure where to begin, but the review of the study is misleading, it seems to me. The article linked here focuses (once again), on assuming that the male sexual response is the correct one to go by, and that women by definition should be reacting as men do, and that when they don't, that they are defective. I know it doesn't say that, but I felt the implication was there.

It would seem that the study being referred to is based on 130 studies done between 1969 and 2007. That in itself makes me wonder whether the degree of sexual awareness in women has increased during those nearly forty years, or if it has remained as it was during the 60s and before that. Are the results consistent for all the studies, regardless of when they were done? That is just one thing going through my mind.

I clicked on a link high-lighted in that article, and it took me to this one. Focusing on Sexual Desire Can Ruin It. In that article, the journalist quoted a researcher:

"Women can experience little subjective arousal, but still have a genital response, meaning vaginal engorgement and lubrication," Millheiser said. "The reason behind this phenomenon is not well understood. There is a popular theory that women could have developed this response during the evolutionary process to protect the pelvic floor during forced sexual acts for procreation or childbirth."

This does more to explain why there is a vaginal reaction, but the women tested do not necessarily report being sexually aroused at the same time. I wonder if any studies have ever been done on the effect of the release of adrenalin due to being frightened or stressed, for example, in order to find out if there is a vaginal response then. In my mind, and yes, my experience, that can happen, yet the sitution involved was not a sexual one. The same thing goes for sports and whether or not a female athlete is experiencing vaginal symptoms of arousal. Cycling comes to mind as one sport that could cause vaginal sypmtoms of arousal, yet again, the cyclist might not perceive herself as being sexually aroused.

That leaves more questions than answers, doesn't it?




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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2009
Mon, 03-08-2010 - 7:51pm
I agree, the review seemed flawed to me for a number of reasons.


If I might be blunt, it is fairly simple and straightforward for a man to recognize when he is physically aroused. Whether consciously or subconsciously, some of the men might have reported subjective ratings of mental arousal corresponding to their level of physical arousal. It's not so easy for a woman to know what her body is doing.


Also, since so many studies were included in the review, I had to wonder if all of the original studies used the same criteria and methods for measuring arousal. It seems highly unlikely that they did, and in that case it is a classic example of comparing apples and oranges.


I also agree with your assessment that the article -- and the review itself, I suspect -- strongly imply that the subjective male response is correct, whereas the subjective female response is wrong. Personally, I believe that mental arousal is what should count.



Siggy

Community Leader of Women's Health






iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2006
Tue, 03-09-2010 - 6:11am
You can always be blunt here, I find that it helps to speak clearly about matters of this kind.



I also agree with your assessment that the article -- and the review itself, I suspect -- strongly imply that the subjective male response is correct, whereas the subjective female response is wrong. Personally, I believe that mental arousal is what should count.




I agree there, as well. After I replied to you, I realised I was getting at but not stating that there is a difference between sexual arousal and desire. I think that men as well as women differentiate between the two, but if the questions are asked in such a way that they are grouped together, or that desire itself isn't even taken into consideration, then the physiological signs of arousal are taken to be the only valid criteria.




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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2009
Tue, 03-09-2010 - 10:17pm
"...I realised I was getting at but not stating that there is a difference between sexual arousal and desire."


Yes, exactly! Thank you for stating it so well.



Siggy

Community Leader of Women's Health






iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2006
Mon, 09-20-2010 - 8:04am




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Registered: 08-01-2006
Tue, 09-21-2010 - 8:32am



28999825.jpg picture by nhgal2006

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Registered: 01-19-2006
Wed, 11-03-2010 - 6:15am

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2009
Sun, 01-15-2012 - 2:56am
I found this discussion while I was meandering through here and thought it deserved a bump up.