Chapter 4: Sexual Arousal and Response
Role of senses in sexual arousal:
o Visual cues can be sexual turn-on
Penile response was greater in reaction to the slides of the more attractive women.
o Men seem to be more interested by visual erotica
o In western society, we are conditioned to find underarm or genital odours offensive and we remove or mask them with
soaps, deodorants, and perfumes.
o In some societies, genital secretions are considered aphrodisiacs any drug or other agent that is sexually arousing or
increases sexual desire.
o Pheromones Chemical substances that are secreted externally by certain animals and that convey info to, or produce
specific responses in, other members of the same species.
Odourless chemicals that in many animals are detected through a sixth sense the vomeronasal organ
People possess VNOs in the mucous lining of the nose.
Infants apparently use pheromones to recognize their mothers, and adults might respond to them in seeking a
o Menstrual Synchrony
Exposure to other womens sweat can modify a womans menstrual cycle.
o Attraction to or dislike of body odours of heterosexual males and females versus gay males and lesbians
Body odours play a role in the selection of sex partners.
Preferences for axillary (underarm) odours would be related to peoples sexual orientation
- Skin senses sex as a touching experience
o Sense of touch has the most direct effects on sexual arousal and response.
o Erogenous zones parts of the body that are especially sensitive to tactile sexual stimulation (strokes and caresses)
o Primary erogenous zones erogenous zones that are particularly sensitive because they are richly endowed with
Include genitals, inner thighs, perineum, buttocks, anus, breasts (especially nipples), ears, mouth, lips, tongue,
neck, navel, and armpits
o Secondary erogenous zones parts of the body that become erotically sensitized through experience (eg. Caressing
shoulders while making love)
o Some people are sexually aroused by the taste of genital secretions, such as vaginal secretions or seminal fluid.
o People have different preferences to the sounds made when having sex (from moans, to whispers, to dirty talk)
o Music can contribute to sexual arousal.
Can relax us and put us in the mood
- An aphrodisiac is a substance that arouses or increases ones capacity for sexual pleasure or response.
o However, the belief that a substance has sexually stimulating effects may itself inspire sexual excitement.
- Food that in some way resemble male genitals have been considered aphrodisiacs
o Oyster,s clams, bulls testicles, tomatoes, and phallic items like celery stalks, bananas, and even ground up reindeer
antlers, elephant tusks, and rhinoceros horns
Rhinoceros horns one derivation of the slang term horny
- Drugs and psychoactive substances may have certain effects on sexual arousal and response.
o Arginine amino acid extracted from the African yohimbe tree, stimulates blood flow to the genitals.
However, effects are limited and unreliable.
o Amyl nitrate (in the form of poppers or snappers)
Used mostly by gay men, but heterosexuals use it too
Believed to heighten the sensations of arousal and orgasm
poppers dilate blood vessels in the brain and genitals, producing sensations of warmth in the pelvis and
possible facilitating erection and prolonging orgasm
has legitimate medical uses, like reduce heart pain among cardiac patients
Originally developed for heart pain because it was thought that it would increase the blood flow to the heart. However, it is more effective at dilating blood vessels in the genital organs, thereby facilitating vasocongestion
and erection in the male.
Viagra is not an aphrodisiac (it facilitates erection, but it doesnt directly turn you on)
- Most potent chemical aphrodisiac may be a naturally occurring substance in the body the hormone testosterone.
o Basic fuel of sexual desire in both males and females.
- Best and safest way to increase sex drive exercise
o Regular exercise enhances general health, boosts energy, and increases sex drive in both genders.
- Routine can diminish desire
- Anaphrodisiacs drugs or other agents whose effects are antagonistic to sexual arousal or sexual desire.
- Anti-androgen drug that reduces the levels of androgens in the blood system.
- Psychoactive drugs, such as alcohol and cocaine, are widely believed to have aphrodisiac effects.
Small amounts of alcohol are stimulating, but large amounts curb sexual response.
Large amounts of alcohol can severely impair sexual performance in both men and women.
People who drink moderate amounts of alcohol may feel more sexually aroused because of their expectations
about alcohol, not because of its chemical properties.
Alcohol is a depressant, and can reduce sexual potency rather than restore it.
o Marijuana, LSD, and mescaline have been reported by some users to enhance sexual response.
These effects may reflect dosage level and user expectations, experiences, and attitudes toward the drugs, as
well as altered perceptions.
o Stimulants such as amphetamines have been reputed to heighten arousal and sensations of orgasm.
high does can give rise to irritability, restlessness, hallucinations, paranoid delusions, insomnia, and loss of
These drugs generally activate the central nervous system but are not known to have specific sexual effects.
Nevertheless, arousing the nervous system can contribute to sexual arousal.
The drugs can also elevate the mood, so sexual pleasure is perhaps heightened by general elation.