Sexual anxiety and female sexual arousal: A comparison of arousal during sexual anxiety stimuli and sexual pleasure stimuli

Vicki E. Beggs, Karen S. Calhoun, Sharlene Wolchik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations


Sexual arousal occurring during sexual anxiety stimuli was compared to sexual arousal occurring during sexual pleasure stimuli in 19 sexually functional women. Stimuli were individualized narratives based on descriptions given by each subject. Sexual arousal was measured by monitoring vaginal blood flow with a vaginal photoplethysmograph. Results showed significant increases in vaginal blood flow in response to both sexual anxiety and sexual pleasure. However, increases in the pleasure condition were significantly greater than those in the anxiety condition. Analysis of the blood flow across time showed a significant linear increasing trend in the pleasure condition and a lack of such a trend in the anxiety condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-319
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 1987



  • female sexual anxiety
  • female sexual arousal
  • vaginal blood flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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