Public Release: 

New measure of sexual arousal found for both men and women

Temperature changes measured by thermography during sexual arousal demonstrate similar patterns of temperature increases specific to the genital regions

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Montreal - February 22, 2007 - According to a new study published in the latest issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine and conducted in the Department of Psychology of McGill University, thermography shows great promise as a diagnostic method of measuring sexual arousal. It is less intrusive than currently utilized methods, and is the only available test that requires no physical contact with participants. Thermography is currently the only method that can be used to diagnose sexual health problems in both women and men. In fact, women and men demonstrated similar patterns of temperature change during sexual arousal with no significant differences between genders in the time needed to reach peak temperature.

"Using thermography, we also found that women's subjective experience of sexual arousal corresponded with their physiological genital response; this challenges the common notion that women don't know their bodies," says Tuuli Kukkonen, a Ph.D. candidate in psychology at McGill University and lead author of the study.

"I predict that the major physiological measure of sexual arousal for most future clinical trials of female sexual arousal disorder will be genital temperature as measured by thermography," according to Dr. Yitzchak Binik, senior author of the research and Professor of Psychology at McGill and Director of the Sex and Couple Therapy Service of the McGill University Health Center (www.sexandcoupletherapy.com).

"This is a huge breakthrough in the assessment of genital blood flow research in women's sexual health," observed Irwin Goldstein, Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Sexual Medicine. "Previous testing was invasive and involved placement of measuring instruments in various locations in the genital region and this interfered with the arousal itself. Thermography does not have any such requirements and is very user-friendly. This may be the first test to diagnose blood vessel blockage as a cause of sexual dysfunction in women, and may help identify those patients who may be helped by vasoactive drugs similar to those prescribed for men with erectile dysfunction from narrowed blood vessels."

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This study is published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact medicalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.net.

Yitzchak Binik is a Professor of Psychology at McGill University and Director of the Sex and Couple Therapy Service of the McGill University Health Center. This year he will be receiving the Masters and Johnson Award from the Society for Sex Therapy and Research for lifetime achievement in sex research and therapy. He can be reached for questions at binik@ego.psych.mcgill.ca

Tuuli Kukkonen is a Ph.D. candidate in Clinical Psychology at McGill University. He can be reached for questions at kukkonen@ego.psych.mcgill.ca

The Journal of Sexual Medicine is the official publication of the International Society for Sexual Medicine and the International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health. Publishing original research in both basic science and clinical investigations, The Journal of Sexual Medicine also features review articles, educational papers, editorials highlighting original research, and meeting information. For more information, please visit www.blackwellpublishing.com/jsm.

Blackwell Publishing is the world's leading society publisher, partnering with 665 medical, academic, and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 800 journals and has over 6,000 books in print. The company employs over 1,000 staff members in offices in the US, UK, Australia, China, Singapore, Denmark, Germany, and Japan and officially merged with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.'s Scientific, Technical, and Medical business in February 2007. Blackwell's mission as an expert publisher is to create long-term partnerships with our clients that enhance learning, disseminate research, and improve the quality of professional practice. For more information on Blackwell Publishing, please visit www.blackwellpublishing.com or www.blackwell-synergy.com.

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