Cerebral activation associated with sexual arousal in response to a pornographic clip: A 15O-H2O PET study in heterosexual men.

Research paper by M M Bocher, R R Chisin, Y Y Parag, N N Freedman, Y Y Meir Weil, H H Lester, E E Mishani, O O Bonne

Indexed on: 30 Aug '01Published on: 30 Aug '01Published in: NeuroImage


This study attempted to use PET and 15O-H2O to measure changes in regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) during sexual arousal evoked in 10 young heterosexual males while they watched a pornographic video clip, featuring heterosexual intercourse. This condition was compared with other mental setups evoked by noisy, nature, and talkshow audiovisual clips. Immediately after each clip, the participants answered three questions pertaining to what extent they thought about sex, felt aroused, and sensed an erection. They scored their answers using a 1 to 10 scale. SPM was used for data analysis. Sexual arousal was mainly associated with activation of bilateral, predominantly right, inferoposterior extrastriate cortices, of the right inferolateral prefrontal cortex and of the midbrain. The significance of those findings is discussed in the light of current theories concerning selective attention, "mind reading" and mirroring, reinforcement of pleasurable stimuli, and penile erection.