The association between testosterone, sexual arousal, and selective attention for erotic stimuli in men
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Twenty-six, eugonadal men between the ages of 18 and 27 participated in this investigation of the relationship between sexual arousal, testosterone (T) levels, and the processing of sexual information. At each of the two test sessions, subjects gave a blood sample, listened to an erotic or neutral priming audiotape, and completed a dichotic listening task designed to assess selective attention for sexual stimuli. Subjective levels of sexual arousal to the audiotape and sexual attitudes and sexual experience were assessed by self-report measures. Contrary to our hypothesis, there was no relationship between levels of free T and the strength of the selective attention bias for sexual stimuli. However, men who were more distracted by the sexual material in the task reported higher levels of sexual arousal to erotic imagery than men who were less distracted by the sexual material in the task (P less than 0.01). Moreover, men who were more sexually aroused by the erotic audiotape made significantly less shadowing errors in the erotic prime condition then they did during the neutral prime condition (P less than 0.05). There was a negative association between T and shadowing errors in the erotic prime condition (P less than 0.05). These results suggest that lower thresholds for sexual arousal are associated with a greater bias to attend to sexual information and that T may have effects on cognitive-motivational aspects of sexual behavior by enhancing attention to relevant stimuli.
author list (cited authors)
Alexander, G. M., & Sherwin, B. B.