January 20, 2018 | Posted in Editorial Features by
A new study from the Journal of Sexual Medicine challenges an enduring idea: that men are more visually stimulated than women are.
Experts from McGill University used fMRI techniques to scan brain actively and thermal imaging cameras to gauge genital reactions while a group of 40 men and women watched porn. (The control was hilarious Modern Family.) This, friends, is what they found:
"Activation in women appeared to be more extensive than in men, including the anterior and posterior cingulate cortex, right cerebellum, insula, frontal operculum, and paracingulate gyrus. Examination of the strength of the correlation between BOLD response and genital temperature showed that women had a stronger brain-genital relation compared with men in a number of regions. There were no brain regions in men with stronger brain-genital correlations than in women."
The study was particularly interesting because it was based on visual stimuli, which is generally considered to be the wheelhouse of male sexuality, while women have long been considered to be more stimulated by fantasy and erotic literature. That's not to say that men are not profoundly impacted by sexy time on the boob tube, or that there isn't a difference between male and female sexuality; it would simply seem that the difference isn't as simple as we thought.
I personally have long been a fan of Emily Nagoski's theory: That our arousal is a product of sexual brakes (stress, fear, pregnancy potential, etc.) and accelerators (sexy content!!!), a model that sees arousal impacted by context.
There is so much to learn about sex, dear Fleshlings.
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