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The effects of sympathetic activation via acute exercise on physiological and subjective sexual arousal… Meston, Cindy May 1992

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THE EFFECTS OF SYMPATHETIC ACTIVATION VIA ACUTE EXERCISE ON PHYSIOLOGICAL AND SUBJECTIVE SEXUAL AROUSAL IN WOMEN by CINDY MAY MESTON B.A., The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, 1991 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS THE FACULTY OF Department i n GRADUATE STUDIES o f P s y c h o l o g y We a c c e p t t h i s t h e s i s as c o n f o r m i n g t o t h e r e q u i r e d s t a n d a r d THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August 1992 © C i n d y May Meston, 1992 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writ ten permission. Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada DE-6 (2/88) ABSTRACT T h i s i n v e s t i g a t i o n was d e s i g n e d t o examine t h e e f f e c t s o f s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n on p h y s i o l o g i c a l and s u b j e c t i v e s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n women. The purpose was t o e m p i r i c a l l y t e s t t h e w i d e l y h e l d a s s u m p t i o n t h a t s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n i n h i b i t s s e x u a l a r o u s a l . I n ex p e r i m e n t I , s u b j e c t s p a r t i c i p a t e d i n two e x p e r i m e n t a l s e s s i o n s i n which t h e y v i e w e d a n e u t r a l p r e e x p o s u r e s t i m u l u s f o l l o w e d by an e r o t i c s t i m u l u s . I n one o f t h e s e s e s s i o n s , s u b j e c t s were exposed t o 20 mi n u t e s o f i n t e n s e e x e r c i s e , d e s i g n e d t o i n c r e a s e s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v i t y , p r i o r t o v i e w i n g t h e f i l m s . I n e x p e r i m e n t I I , s u b j e c t s v i e w e d two c o n s e c u t i v e n e u t r a l s t i m u l i p r e c e d e d by 20 mi n u t e s o f i n t e n s e e x e r c i s e . E x p e r i m e n t I I was d e s i g n e d p r i m a r i l y t o v e r i f y t h e r e s u l t s o f e x p e r i m e n t I . S e x u a l a r o u s a l was measured p h y s i o l o g i c a l l y w i t h a v a g i n a l p h o t o p l e t h y s m o g r a p h and s u b j e c t i v e l y w i t h a s e l f - r e p o r t r a t i n g s c a l e . A c u te e x e r c i s e i n c r e a s e d b o t h v a g i n a l p u l s e a m p l i t u d e and v a g i n a l b l o o d volume r e s p o n s e s t o e r o t i c s t i m u l i but not t o n e u t r a l s t i m u l i . S u b j e c t i v e p e r c e p t i o n s o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l were u n a l t e r e d w i t h exposure t o e x e r c i s e . The p r e s e n t f i n d i n g s have i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r t h e e n h a n c i n g e f f e c t s o f a n x i e t y upon s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n women, Wolpe's r e c i p r o c a l i n h i b i t i o n h y p o t h e s i s , desynchrony between s u b j e c t i v e and p h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n women, and t h e t r e a t m e n t o f s e x u a l d y s f u n c t i o n . TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ABSTRACT I I LIST OF TABLES V I I LIST OF FIGURES V I I I ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS IX INTRODUCTION 1 Sy m p a t h e t i c A c t i v a t i o n and P h y s i o l o g i c a l S e x u a l A r o u s a l 2 Sy m p a t h e t i c A c t i v a t i o n Enhances S e x u a l A r o u s a l 4 A n x i e t y and A v e r s i v e S t i m u l i Enhance S e x u a l A r o u s a l 6 C o g n i t i v e E x p l a n a t i o n s f o r t h e Enhancing E f f e c t s 8 o f A n x i e t y on S e x u a l A r o u s a l S y m p a t h e t i c A c t i v a t i o n I n h i b i t s S e x u a l A r o u s a l 10 The R e c i p r o c a l I n h i b i t i o n Theory 10 A n x i e t y I n h i b i t s S e x u a l A r o u s a l 12 Treatments f o r S e x u a l D y s f u n c t i o n 14 EXPERIMENT I 18 Method 18 S u b j e c t s 18 A p p a r a t u s and M a t e r i a l s 19 F i l m S t i m u l i 19 P h y s i o l o g i c a l Measurement 19 S u b j e c t i v e Measurement 22 D e r o g a t i s S e x u a l F u n c t i o n i n g I n v e n t o r y (DSFI) 23 F i t n e s s T e s t s 23 E x p e r i m e n t a l D e s i g n 24 Page Procedure 25 Session 1 25 Session 2 26 Session 3 27 Session 4 27 Data Sampling and Reduction 31 Vaginal Pulse Amplitude 31 Vaginal Blood Volume 31 Heart Rate 32 Results 32 Analyses of the V a l i d i t y of E r o t i c Stimuli 32 Analyses of Order E f f e c t s 33 Analyses of the Control for Fitness Levels 33 Analyses of Physiological Sexual Arousal 34 Vaginal Pulse Amplitude 34 Vaginal Blood Volume 34 Analyses of Heart Rate 34 Analyses of Subjective Measures 37 Subjective Sexual Arousal 37 Subjective Autonomic Arousal 37 A f f e c t i v e Response 38 Analyses of the Relationship Between VBV 38 and VPA Responses Analyses of the Relationship Between Physiological 38 and Subjective Responses Discussion 40 Page EXPERIMENT I I 44 Method 44 S u b j e c t s 44 App a r a t u s and M a t e r i a l s 44 E x p e r i m e n t a l D e s i g n 45 P r o c e d u r e 45 Data S a m p l i n g and R e d u c t i o n 45 R e s u l t s 45 A n a l y s e s o f P h y s i o l o g i c a l S e x u a l A r o u s a l 45 V a g i n a l P u l s e A m p l i t u d e 45 V a g i n a l B l o o d Volume 45 A n a l y s e s o f H e a r t Rate 46 A n a l y s e s o f t h e V a l i d i t y o f VPA S c o r e s 46 i n E x p e r i m e n t I A n a l y s e s o f t h e V a l i d i t y o f P h y s i o l o g i c a l 46 Measurements A n a l y s e s o f S u b j e c t i v e Measures 47 S u b j e c t i v e S e x u a l A r o u s a l 47 S u b j e c t i v e Autonomic A r o u s a l 47 A f f e c t i v e Response 48 D i s c u s s i o n 48 GENERAL DISCUSSION 50 A n x i e t y Enhances S e x u a l A r o u s a l v i a 51 S y m p a t h e t i c A c t i v a t i o n S y m p a t h e t i c A c t i v a t i o n and S e x u a l A r o u s a l a r e not 52 M u t u a l l y I n h i b i t o r y Page S u b j e c t i v e and P h y s i o l o g i c a l Components o f t h e 53 Female S e x u a l Response a r e i n Synchrony I m p l i c a t i o n s 58 BIBLIOGRAPHY 64 APPENDIX 72 LIST OF TABLES Page T a b l e I . Demographic and P s y c h o m e t r i c C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f S u b j e c t s . 20 LIST OF FIGURES Page F i g u r e 1. Mean p e r c e n t a g e change i n v a g i n a l p u l s e 35 a m p l i t u d e (mm o f pen d e f l e c t i o n ) +/- S.E.M. between s t i m u l u s p r e s e n t a t i o n s d u r i n g t h e N o - E x e r c i s e ( n e u t r a l - e r o t i c ) c o n d i t i o n i n exp e r i m e n t I , t h e E x e r c i s e ( n e u t r a l - e r o t i c ) c o n d i t i o n i n experiment I , and t h e E x e r c i s e ( n e u t r a l - n e u t r a l ) c o n d i t i o n i n exp e r i m e n t I I . F i g u r e 2. Mean v a g i n a l b l o o d volume (mV d e v i a t i o n 36 from b a s e l i n e a v e r a g e d a c r o s s 900 d a t a p o i n t s / s u b j e c t ) +/- S.E.M. d u r i n g t h e N o - E x e r c i s e ( n e u t r a l - e r o t i c ) c o n d i t i o n i n e x p e r i m e n t I , t h e E x e r c i s e ( n e u t r a l - e r o t i c ) c o n d i t i o n i n e x p e r i m e n t I , and t h e E x e r c i s e ( n e u t r a l - n e u t r a l ) c o n d i t i o n i n exp e r i m e n t I I . F i g u r e 3. Mean s u b j e c t i v e r a t i n g s +/- S.E.M. o f 39 s e x u a l a r o u s a l , autonomic a r o u s a l , p o s i t i v e a f f e c t , and n e g a t i v e a f f e c t d u r i n g t h e N o - E x e r c i s e ( n e u t r a l -e r o t i c ) c o n d i t i o n i n e x p e r i m e n t I , t h e E x e r c i s e ( n e u t r a l -e r o t i c ) c o n d i t i o n i n e x p e r i m e n t I , and t h e E x e r c i s e ( n e u t r a l - n e u t r a l ) c o n d i t i o n i n exp e r i m e n t I I . ACKNOWLEDGEMENT S To b e g i n , I would l i k e t o thank my s u p e r v i s o r . Dr. B o r i s G o r z a l k a , who, i n P s y c h o l o g y 100, 1986, i n s p i r e d me t o e n t e r i n t o t h e f i e l d o f p s y c h o l o g y . I w i l l f o r e v e r be g r a t e f u l not o n l y f o r t h e many o p p o r t u n i t i e s he has p r o v i d e d me w i t h , but f o r t h e s t r e n g t h , encouragement, and c o n f i d e n c e he gave me t h r o u g h o u t my un d e r g r a d u a t e y e a r s . I am t h a n k f u l f o r h i s a d v i s e and d i r e c t i o n i n p r e p a r i n g t h i s t h e s i s , and f o r h i s courage t o c o l l a b o r a t e i n r e s e a r c h i n g an u n e x p l o r e d a r e a o f female s e x u a l i t y . I would a l s o l i k e t o thank my o t h e r committee members. F i r s t , Dr. D i m i t r i P a p a g e o r g i s f o r h i s i n s i g h t , and f o r b e i n g a "Greek p i l l a r o f s t r e n g t h " t h r o u g h o u t t h e t e r r o r s o f my f i r s t y e a r o f g r a d u a t e s c h o o l . Whenever I became d i s c o u r a g e d , D i m i t r i was t h e r e w i t h numerous r e a s o n s why I s h o u l d q u i t g r a d u a t e s c h o o l and go back t o b u s i n e s s . Whenever I f e l t g u i l t y about n e g l e c t i n g f r i e n d s , D i m i t r i was t h e r e t o remin d me o f my "poor, l o n e l y , a g i n g p a r e n t s " , and whenever I was down, D i m i t r i was t h e r e w i t h an e n d l e s s l i s t o f ways I might end my l i f e ! Second, I thank Dr. Angelo B e l c a s t r o f o r h i s i n s i g h t i n t o t h e e x e r c i s e a s p e c t o f t h i s r e s e a r c h , f o r h i s a s s i s t a n c e w i t h t h e f i t n e s s t e s t i n g , and f o r c a r r y i n g e x e r c i s e b i c y c l e s a c r o s s campus f o r me. Dr. B e l c a s t r o has been more t h a n generous i n o f f e r i n g me u n l i m i t e d t i m e and a s s i s t a n c e . I would l i k e t o thank t h e man who has won my g r e a t e s t a d m i r a t i o n . Dr. J a c k Rachman, f o r h i s i n s i g h t i n p r e p a r i n g t h i s t h e s i s and f o r t h e f r i e n d s h i p he has p r o v i d e d me t h i s p a s t y e a r . Dr. Rachman i s not o n l y a p e r f e c t model o f b r i l l i a n c e and s u c c e s s , but o f hon e s t y , c a r i n g , and compassion. L a s t l y , and most i m p o r t a n t l y , I would l i k e t o thank my s c h o o l f r i e n d s T e r r i B u l l e r , S h e i l a C o l w i l l , Laureen M i k i , and Lee Ryan f o r t h e i r f r i e n d s h i p and l o y a l t y , t h e i r e n d l e s s s u p p o r t and encouragement, and f o r b e l i e v i n g i n me-at t i m e s , more t h a n I . T h i s t h e s i s i s d e d i c a t e d t o t h e i r u n d y i n g f r i e n d s h i p . The E f f e c t s of Sympathetic A c t i v a t i o n v i a Acute Exercise on P h y s i o l o g i c a l and Siibjective Sexual Arousal i n Women I t i s commonly assumed t h a t i n c r e a s e s i n s y m p a t h e t i c nervous system a c t i v i t y , as i n t h e case o f a n x i e t y , i n h i b i t s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n b o t h men and women (Kaplan, 1974). F u r t h e r m o r e , i t i s b e l i e v e d t h a t female s e x u a l a r o u s a l i s p r i m a r i l y under t h e i n f l u e n c e o f t h e p a r a s y m p a t h e t i c nervous system (Heiman & Hat c h , 1981). Based on t h e s e a s s e r t i o n s , t r e a t m e n t s f o r s e x u a l l y d y s f u n c t i o n a l men and women, such as s e n s a t e f o c u s , a r e l a r g e l y a n x i e t y - r e d u c t i o n t e c h n i q u e s d e s i g n e d t o d e c r e a s e s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v i t y . However, t h e s e e t i o l o g i c a l a s s u m p t i o n s o f over 30 y e a r s a r e based, i n l a r g e , on c l i n i c a l r e p o r t s w h i c h i n d i c a t e performance a n x i e t y causes e r e c t i l e d i f f i c u l t i e s i n men, and on Wolpe's (1958) t h e o r y t h a t a n x i e t y and s e x u a l a r o u s a l a r e m u t u a l l y i n h i b i t o r y . E m p i r i c a l e v i d e n c e s u p p o r t i n g t h e s e a s s e r t i o n s has not been o f f e r e d . Hence, t h e autonomic pathways and p r o c e s s e s by w h i c h s e x u a l a r o u s a l i s i n i t i a t e d and h e i g h t e n e d remain a m a t t e r o f c o n j e c t u r e (Schnieden & Rees, 1985). D e s p i t e t h e w i d e l y h e l d a s s u m p t i o n t h a t s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n i n h i b i t s s e x u a l a r o u s a l , r e s e a r c h conducted i n b o t h a n i m a l s and humans i n d i c a t e s t h a t i n c r e a s e d s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v i t y may a c t u a l l y f a c i l i t a t e s e x u a l a r o u s a l . F o r example, r e c e n t r e s e a r c h c o n d u c t e d i n b o t h men and women has shown t h a t , under c e r t a i n c o n d i t i o n s , a n x i e t y can h e i g h t e n s e x u a l a r o u s a l . U n f o r t u n a t e l y , i t i s d i f f i c u l t t o a s c e r t a i n whether t h e i n c r e a s e s i n s e x u a l a r o u s a l r e p o r t e d i n t h e s e s t u d i e s a r e a t t r i b u t a b l e t o i n c r e a s e d s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v i t y r e s u l t i n g from a n x i e t y e x p o s u r e , o r whether t h e y a re t h e r e s u l t o f c o g n i t i v e f a c t o r s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h t h e a n x i e t y s t i m u l i . The p r e s e n t s t u d y i s t h e f i r s t e x a m i n a t i o n o f t h e e f f e c t o f s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n v i a a c u t e e x e r c i s e on s u b j e c t i v e and p h y s i o l o g i c a l measures o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n women. I f s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n i s shown t o enhance s e x u a l a r o u s a l , t h e n t h e f i n d i n g s from t h i s s t u d y w i l l p r o v i d e a p o s s i b l e e x p l a n a t i o n f o r t h e r e c e n t r e p o r t s o f a f a c i l i t a t o r y e f f e c t o f a n x i e t y on s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n women. On t h e o t h e r hand, i f s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n f a i l s t o enhance s e x u a l a r o u s a l , t h e n t h e a s s e r t i o n t h a t a n x i e t y enhances s e x u a l a r o u s a l v i a c o g n i t i v e f a c t o r s w i l l be s t r e n g t h e n e d . F u r t h e r m o r e , i d e n t i f i c a t i o n o f t h e e f f e c t s o f s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n on female s e x u a l a r o u s a l has major i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r d e r i v i n g an e t i o l o g i c a l t h e o r y o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l , and f o r d e v e l o p i n g e f f e c t i v e t r e a t m e n t s f o r t h e a l l e v i a t i o n o f s e x u a l d y s f u n c t i o n i n women. S y m p a t h e t i c A c t i v a t i o n and P h y s i o l o g i c a l S e x u a l A r o u s a l B o t h male and female sex organs r e c e i v e i n n e r v a t i o n from t h e s a c r a l p a r a s y m p a t h e t i c and t h o r a c o l u m b a r s y m p a t h e t i c n e r v e s . I n t h e male, a c t i v a t i o n o f t h e p a r a s y m p a t h e t i c pathways e l i c i t s e r e c t i o n . The p a r a s y m p a t h e t i c s i g n a l a c t i v a t e s p e n i l e n e r v e s which cause d i l a t i o n o f t h e p e n i l e a r t e r i e s and r e l a x a t i o n o f muscles i n t h e w a l l s o f t h e s i n u s o i d s and a r t e r i o l e s t h a t s u p p l y e r e c t i l e t i s s u e . As a r e s u l t , b l o o d f l o w i n e r e c t i l e t i s s u e i n c r e a s e s w h i c h l e a d s t o a r i s e i n i n t r a c a v e r n o u s p r e s s u r e and e x p a n s i o n o f t h e cavernous spaces t o produce e x t e n s i o n and r i g i d i t y o f t h e p e n i s (deGroat & S t e e r s , 1990). S y m p a t h e t i c f i b e r s may a l s o a l t e r b l o o d f l o w t o t h e e r e c t i l e t i s s u e (deGroat & S t e e r s , 1990). R e s e a r c h conducted on male s p i n a l c o r d i n j u r y p a t i e n t s i n d i c a t e s t h a t t h e s y m p a t h e t i c pathway a l o n e may be s u f f i c i e n t t o e l i c i t e r e c t i o n . F o r example, Comarr (1970) d e s c r i b e d s e v e r a l p a t i e n t s w i t h l e s i o n s a t t h e s a c r a l segment o f t h e s p i n a l c o r d who were s t i l l a b l e t o e x p e r i e n c e e r e c t i o n s . W h i l e p e n i l e e r e c t i o n i s p r i m a r i l y under s a c r a l p a r a s y m p a t h e t i c c o n t r o l , e j a c u l a t i o n i s p r i m a r i l y under s y m p a t h e t i c c o n t r o l . A c t i v a t i o n o f t h e s y m p a t h e t i c pathways p r o v i d e s an e x c i t a t o r y i n p u t t o t h e vas d e f e r e n s , s e m i n a l v e s i c l e s , p r o s t a t e g l a n d , and i n t e r n a l u r i n a r y s p h i n c t e r (deGroat & S t e e r s , 1990). D u r i n g e m i s s i o n , t h e s y m p a t h e t i c n e r v e s w h i c h i n n e r v a t e each o f t h e s e organs are a c t i v a t e d so t h a t semen i s t r a n s m i t t e d i n t o t h e p o s t e r i o r u r e t h r a , and t h e i n t e r n a l u r i n a r y s p h i n c t e r i s c l o s e d t o p r e v e n t r e t r o g r a d e e j a c u l a t i o n i n t o t h e b l a d d e r (deGroat & S t e e r s , 1990). The mechanisms by w h i c h t h e autonomic nervous system i n f l u e n c e s female s e x u a l b e h a v i o r a r e l e s s u n d e r s t o o d . The m a j o r i t y o f r e s e a r c h has f o c u s e d on r e p r o d u c t i v e f u n c t i o n i n g and b r o a d a s s u m p t i o n s have been made t h a t t h e c o n t r o l o f a r o u s a l and orgasm i n women i s d i r e c t l y comparable t o e r e c t i o n and e j a c u l a t i o n i n men. These assumptions a r e not e n t i r e l y a c c u r a t e and may be o v e r s t a t e d . V a s o c o n g e s t i o n i n th e fem a l e , w h i c h i s c o n s i d e r e d analogous t o e r e c t i o n i n t h e male, i s thou g h t t o be r e g u l a t e d by t h e s y m p a t h e t i c nervous system (Geer e t a l . , 1984). By c o n t r a s t , e r e c t i o n i n t h e male i s c o n t r o l l e d p r i m a r i l y by t h e p a r a s y m p a t h e t i c nervous system. W i t h r e s p e c t t o orgasm, more d i r e c t comparisons may be made between men and women. S y m p a t h e t i c n e r v e s l o c a t e d i n t h e lumbar s e c t i o n o f t h e s p i n a l c o r d p r o v i d e i n p u t t o t h e b u l b o c a v e r n o s u s and i s c h i o c a v e r n o s u s muscles which a re r e s p o n s i b l e f o r b o t h e j a c u l a t i o n i n males and c o n t r i b u t e t o t h e r h y t h m i c p e r i n e a l c o n t r a c t i o n s d u r i n g orgasm i n women (deGroat & S t e e r s , 1990). O v e r a l l , t h e d i r e c t i n f l u e n c e o f autonomic pathways on s e x u a l a r o u s a l remains u n c l e a r . I t seems however t h a t i n males, e r e c t i o n i s under p a r a s y m p a t h e t i c c o n t r o l and e j a c u l a t i o n i s under s y m p a t h e t i c c o n t r o l . I n fe m a l e s , b o t h v a s o c o n g e s t i o n and orgasm appear t o be under s y m p a t h e t i c c o n t r o l . S y m p a t h e t i c A c t i v a t i o n Enhances S e x u a l A r o u s a l Support f o r a f a c i l i t a t o r y e f f e c t o f s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v i t y on s e x u a l a r o u s a l comes from t h e f a c t t h a t s e v e r a l p h y s i o l o g i c a l changes a s s o c i a t e d w i t h i n c r e a s e d s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v i t y accompany t h e s e x u a l r e s p o n s e . F o r example, s e x u a l a r o u s a l has been r e p o r t e d t o i n c r e a s e h e a r t r a t e , p e r s p i r a t i o n , and muscle t e n s i o n ; a l t e r g a l v a n i c s k i n conductance; i n c r e a s e s y s t o l i c and d i a s t o l i c b l o o d p r e s s u r e ; and cause n i p p l e e r e c t i o n (e.g. Hoon e t a l . , 197 6; Masters & Johnson, 1966; Wenger e t a l . , 1968). These responses are known t o be under t h e i n f l u e n c e o f t h e s y m p a t h e t i c nervous system. I t s h o u l d be n o t e d , however, t h a t changes i n h e a r t r a t e and s k i n c onductance do not always accompany t h e s e x u a l r e s p o n s e . F o r example, Hoon and a s s o c i a t e s (1976) r e p o r t e d t h a t i n c r e a s e s i n s e x u a l a r o u s a l , measured by i n c r e a s e s i n v a g i n a l b l o o d volume, were accompanied by i n c r e a s e s i n s y s t o l i c and d i a s t o l i c b l o o d p r e s s u r e but not by changes i n h e a r t r a t e o r s k i n c o n d u c t a n c e . S i m i l a r l y , i n a s t u d y o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n men, Wenger and a s s o c i a t e s (1968) r e p o r t e d s i g n i f i c a n t i n c r e a s e s i n s y s t o l i c b l o o d p r e s s u r e , d i a s t o l i c b l o o d p r e s s u r e , and s k i n conductance w i t h exposure t o e r o t i c s t i m u l i , b u t no change i n h e a r t r a t e . The f i n d i n g t h a t s e x u a l a r o u s a l i s sometimes, but not a l w a y s , accompanied by changes i n h e a r t r a t e and s k i n conductance may be a t t r i b u t a b l e t o t h e f a c t t h a t t h e s t u d i e s which r e p o r t e d such f i n d i n g s were c o n d u c t e d i n a l a b o r a t o r y s e t t i n g and used e r o t i c f i l m s as s e x u a l s t i m u l i . I n c o n t r a s t , s t u d i e s w h i c h r e p o r t e d t h e s e measures t o accompany s e x u a l a r o u s a l , such as t h a t c o n d u c t e d by M a s t e r s and Johnson (1966), used more n a t u r a l s e x u a l i n t e r a c t i o n s and a t t a i n e d h i g h e r l e v e l s o f s e x u a l r e s p o n d i n g . More i n d i r e c t e v i d e n c e t h a t s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v i t y may enhance s e x u a l a r o u s a l i s d e r i v e d from a n i m a l s t u d i e s . Beach (1947) was one o f t h e f i r s t a n i m a l r e s e a r c h e r s t o r e p o r t t h a t g e n e r a l a c t i v a t i o n i n d u c e d by " b a t t i n g t h e a n i m a l s s h a r p l y about t h e cage" c o u l d i n c r e a s e s e x u a l e x c i t a b i l i t y i n r a t s . S i n c e t h e n , a number o f s t u d i e s have d e m o n s t r a t e d t h a t e l e c t r i c shock o r t a i l p i n c h can i n c r e a s e t h e number o f p r e p u b e r t a l male r a t s c o p u l a t i n g , i n c r e a s e t h e r a t e o f c o p u l a t i o n i n e x p e r i e n c e d males, d e c r e a s e t h e l e n g t h o f t h e p o s t e j a c u l a t o r y p e r i o d o f s e x u a l i n a c t i v i t y , i n c r e a s e t h e r a t e o f mounting b e h a v i o r i n a g i n g males, and t e m p o r a r i l y r e s t o r e c o p u l a t o r y a c t i v i t y s u p p r e s s e d by v a r i o u s forms o f b r a i n damage ( f o r r e v i e w , see Antelman & C a g g i u l a , 1980). Calhoun (1962) a l s o r e p o r t e d i n c r e a s e s i n s e x u a l a c t i v i t y i n male and female r a t s f o l l o w i n g a s u c c e s s i o n o f a g g r e s s i v e e n c o u n t e r s . G e n e r a l l y a r o u s i n g e v e n t s , such as f e a r , have a l s o been r e p o r t e d t o f a c i l i t a t e e r e c t i o n and e j a c u l a t i o n i n male dogs and chimpanzees (Beach, 1947). A n x i e t y and A v e r s i v e S t i m u l i Enhance S e x u a l A r o u s a l F u r t h e r s u p p o r t f o r a f a c i l i t a t o r y e f f e c t o f s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v i t y on s e x u a l a r o u s a l i s p r o v i d e d by c l i n i c a l and e x p e r i m e n t a l e v i d e n c e which i n d i c a t e s t h a t a n x i e t y and v a r i o u s forms o f a v e r s i v e s t i m u l i known t o i n c r e a s e s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v i t y enhance s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n men and women. E a r l y c l i n i c a l r e s e a r c h conducted by Ramsey (1943) r e v e a l e d t h a t a p p r o x i m a t e l y 50% o f a d o l e s c e n t boys have e x p e r i e n c e d e r e c t i o n s i n response t o f e a r f u l s i t u a t i o n s s u ch as b e i n g i n an a c c i d e n t o r b e i n g chased by t h e p o l i c e . S i m i l a r f i n d i n g s were r e p o r t e d by B a n c r o f t (1970). In an i n t e r e s t i n g r e p o r t by S a r r e l and M a s t e r s (1982), men were a b l e t o p e r f o r m s e x u a l i n t e r c o u r s e r e p e a t e d l y d e s p i t e d i r e c t t h r e a t s w i t h k n i v e s and o t h e r weapons i f t h e y f a i l e d . A s i m i l a r phenomenon has been r e p o r t e d amongst e x h i b i t i o n i s t s and v o y e u r s who a r e o f t e n u n a b l e t o become a r o u s e d w i t h o u t f i r s t e x p e r i e n c i n g t h e t h r e a t o f b e i n g a r r e s t e d ( S t o l l e r , 1976). R e l a t e d f i n d i n g s have been r e p o r t e d i n women. In t h e w e l l known K i n s e y r e p o r t , K i n s e y and a s s o c i a t e s (1953) p o i n t out t h a t many women e x p e r i e n c e e r o t i c s e n s a t i o n s t o b e i n g b i t t e n . In. a sample o f 2200 women, 26% r e p o r t e d " d e f i n i t e and/or f r e q u e n t e r o t i c r e s p o n s e s " , 29% r e p o r t e d "some e r o t i c r e s p o n s e s " , and 45% r e p o r t e d "never" e x p e r i e n c i n g e r o t i c r e s p o n s e s t o b e i n g b i t t e n . K i n s e y and a s s o c i a t e s a l s o p o i n t out t h a t b i t i n g i s a p a r t o f s e x u a l a c t i v i t y i n a number o f mammalian s p e c i e s i n c l u d i n g t h e baboon, v a r i o u s monkeys, mink, marten, f e r r e t , skunk, h o r s e , p i g , sheep, l i o n , shrew, e t c . More r e c e n t l y , t h e e f f e c t s o f a n x i e t y on s e x u a l a r o u s a l have been examined d i r e c t l y i n t h e l a b o r a t o r y . Heiman and Rowland (1983) r e p o r t e d i n c r e a s e s i n s u b j e c t i v e s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n males who were g i v e n demand i n s t r u c t i o n s t o m a i n t a i n an e r e c t i o n . I n a s t u d y c o n d u c t e d by B u t t o n and Aron (1974), i n c r e a s e s i n s u b j e c t i v e s e x u a l a r o u s a l were r e p o r t e d i n men who were asked t o c r o s s a f e a r - a r o u s i n g s u s p e n s i o n b r i d g e . W i t h r e s p e c t t o p h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n t h e male, W o l c h i k and a s s o c i a t e s (1980), B a r l o w and a s s o c i a t e s (1983), and Heiman and Rowland (1983) d e m o n s t r a t e d an i n c r e a s e i n p e n i l e tumescence w i t h exposure t o an a n x i e t y a r o u s i n g v i d e o t a p e , a s h o c k - t h r e a t c o n d i t i o n , and p e r f o r m a n c e demand i n s t r u c t i o n s . The few s t u d i e s t h a t have been c o n d u c t e d i n t h e female r e v e a l s i m i l a r i n c r e a s e s i n p h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l a r o u s a l w i t h exposure t o a n x i e t y -e v o k i n g s t i m u l i . F o r example, Hoon, Wincze, and Hoon (1977) exposed s e x u a l l y f u n c t i o n a l women t o e i t h e r an a n x i e t y -e v o k i n g f i l m f o l l o w e d by an e r o t i c f i l m o r a n e u t r a l f i l m f o l l o w e d by an e r o t i c f i l m . H i g h e r l e v e l s o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l , i n d i c a t e d by i n c r e a s e d v a g i n a l b l o o d volume (VBV) l e v e l s , were r e p o r t e d amongst women who viewed an a n x i e t y -e v o k i n g f i l m p r i o r t o t h e e r o t i c s t i m u l i . P a l a c e and G o r z a l k a (1990) r e p l i c a t e d t h e f i n d i n g s o f Hoon and^ a s s o c i a t e s (1977) i n b o t h s e x u a l l y f u n c t i o n a l and s e x u a l l y d y s f u n c t i o n a l women. In c o n t r a s t t o t h e r e p o r t e d i n c r e a s e i n VBV l e v e l s , s u b j e c t i v e measures o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n d i c a t e d t h a t p r e e x p o s u r e t o an a n x i e t y - e v o k i n g f i l m caused a s l i g h t b u t s i g n i f i c a n t d e c r e a s e i n r a t i n g s o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l ( P a l a c e & G o r z a l k a , 1990). Based on t h i s f i n d i n g , t h e a u t h o r s h y p o t h e s i z e d a p o s s i b l e desynchronous r e l a t i o n s h i p between p h y s i o l o g i c a l and s u b j e c t i v e components o f t h e s e x u a l r e s p o n s e i n women. T h i s i s t h e o n l y s t u d y known t o t h e a u t h o r t h a t has measured b o t h s u b j e c t i v e and p h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l r e s p o n s e s t o a n x i e t y s t i m u l i . C o g n i t i v e E x p l a n a t i o n s f o r t h e E n h a n c i n g E f f e c t s o f A n x i e t y on S e x u a l A r o u s a l The r e s u l t s o f t h e above s t u d i e s i n d i c a t e t h a t exposure t o an a n x i e t y - e v o k i n g s i t u a t i o n may enhance s e x u a l a r o u s a l . R e s e a r c h e r s who have a t t e m p t e d t o e x p l a i n t h i s f i n d i n g have f o c u s e d p r i m a r i l y on c o g n i t i v e , as opposed t o p h y s i o l o g i c a l , f a c t o r s . F o r example, Wolpe (1978) c l a i m e d t h a t t h e i n c r e a s e i n s e x u a l a r o u s a l f o l l o w i n g exposure t o an a n x i e t y -e v o k i n g s t i m u l u s may be a t t r i b u t a b l e t o an " a n x i e t y r e l i e f " phenomenon as opposed t o a f a c i l i t a t o r y e f f e c t o f a n x i e t y . T h i s e x p l a n a t i o n was based, i n p a r t , on a s e r i e s o f e x p e r i m e n t s whereby p a t i e n t s r e p o r t e d a f e e l i n g o f r e l i e f a t t h e c e s s a t i o n o f e l e c t r i c shock. O f t e n t h e i r r e p o r t e d sense o f r e l i e f was g r e a t l y out o f p r o p o r t i o n t o t h e d i s c o m f o r t t h e y had e x p e r i e n c e d (Wolpe, 1958). S o c i a l p s y c h o l o g i s t s have d e s c r i b e d t h e e n h a n c i n g e f f e c t s o f a n x i e t y on s e x u a l a r o u s a l as a form o f r e s i d u a l a r o u s a l w h i c h has moved from one e m o t i o n a l e x p e r i e n c e t o a n o t h e r . F o r example. B u t t o n and A r o n (1974) and Beggs and a s s o c i a t e s (1987) e x p l a i n e d t h e i n c r e a s e i n s e x u a l a r o u s a l w i t h i n t h e c o n c e p t u a l framework o f S c h a c t e r ' s e x c i t a t i o n t r a n s f e r t h e o r y ( S c h a c t e r , 1964). T h i s t h e o r y a s s e r t s t h a t when t h e c o n t e x t f o r h e i g h t e n e d a r o u s a l i s not a p p a r e n t , th e i n d i v i d u a l r e l i e s on t h e c u r r e n t c o n t e x t f o r i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . F a ced w i t h a n x i e t y when v i e w i n g t h e e r o t i c f i l m , s u b j e c t s m i s l a b e l e d t h e a n x i e t y a r o u s a l as s e x u a l a r o u s a l . T h i s , i n t u r n , s e r v e d t o h e i g h t e n s e x u a l r e s p o n d i n g . I n c o n t r a s t t o t h e many c o g n i t i v e e x p l a n a t i o n s f o r t h e e n h a n c i n g e f f e c t s o f a n x i e t y on s e x u a l a r o u s a l . P a l a c e and G o r z a l k a (1990) were t h e f i r s t t o propose t h a t a n x i e t y enhances s e x u a l a r o u s a l t h r o u g h t h e d i r e c t i n s t i g a t i o n and f a c i l i t a t i o n o f s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n . They a s s e r t e d t h a t t h e i n c r e a s e i n p h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l a r o u s a l r e p o r t e d i n t h e i r s t u d y c o u l d not be e x p l a i n e d by a n x i e t y r e l i e f (Wolpe, 1978), g i v e n t h a t a n x i e t y was r e p o r t e d t h r o u g h o u t t h e e r o t i c e xposure ( P a l a c e & G o r z a l k a , 1990). I n o r d e r t o s u c c e s s f u l l y d e t e r m i n e whether t h e e n h a n c i n g e f f e c t s o f a n x i e t y a r e a t t r i b u t a b l e t o p h y s i o l o g i c a l , v e r s u s c o g n i t i v e , f a c t o r s , two i s s u e s must be a d d r e s s e d . F i r s t , i n o r d e r t o r u l e out s e v e r a l o f t h e c o g n i t i v e e x p l a n a t i o n s , such as a n x i e t y r e l i e f and r e s i d u a l e x c i t a t i o n t h e o r y , t h e a n x i e t y -i n d u c i n g s i t u a t i o n must be p r e s e n t e d s i m u l t a n e o u s l y w i t h t h e e r o t i c s t i m u l u s . Second, i n o r d e r t o d e t e r m i n e whether th e p h y s i o l o g i c a l components o f a n x i e t y a l o n e enhance s e x u a l a r o u s a l , t h e h e i g h t e n e d a r o u s a l , r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f an a n x i e t y s t a t e , must be p r e s e n t e d w i t h o u t t h e accompanying a n x i e t y c o g n i t i o n s . S y m p a t h e t i c A c t i v a t i o n I n h i b i t s S e x u a l A r o u s a l R e c i p r o c a l I n h i b i t i o n Theory. Joseph Wolpe was t h e f i r s t and most i n f l u e n t i a l r e s e a r c h e r t o a s s e r t t h a t s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v i t y i n h i b i t s s e x u a l a r o u s a l . I n h i s t h e o r y o f r e c i p r o c a l i n h i b i t i o n , Wolpe (1958) p r o p o s e d t h a t e m o t i o n a l s t a t e s such as r e l a x a t i o n , hunger, and s e x u a l a r o u s a l a r e a n t a g o n i s t i c t o an a n x i e t y s t a t e . Furthermore, he p r o p o s e d t h a t t h i s m u tual i n h i b i t i o n was o p e r a t i v e at not o n l y a b e h a v i o r a l and c o g n i t i v e l e v e l , but a t a n e u r a l or autonomie l e v e l as w e l l . He a s s e r t e d t h a t s y m p a t h e t i c a r o u s a l , such as t h a t g e n e r a t e d by an a n x i e t y s t a t e , i n t e r f e r e d o r competed w i t h p a r a s y m p a t h e t i c a r o u s a l g e n e r a t e d by a s e x u a l s t a t e . Wolpe's t h e o r y i s b ased on a s e r i e s o f e x p e r i m e n t s w i t h c a t s w h i c h aimed a t d e t e r m i n i n g methods t o d e c r e a s e a n x i e t y and a v o i d a n c e b e h a v i o r . C a t s were f i r s t c o n d i t i o n e d v i a shock t o d i s p l a y i n t e n s e f e a r b e h a v i o r i n a s m a l l cage. They were t h e n f e d w h i l e exposed t o g r a d u a l l y i n c r e a s i n g "doses" o f a n x i e t y - e v o k i n g s t i m u l i . Wolpe n o t e d t h a t when a n x i e t y was i n t e n s e , e a t i n g was i n h i b i t e d and, when a n x i e t y was l o w e r , a l l o w i n g e a t i n g t o t a k e p l a c e , t h e a n x i e t y r e s p o n s e weakened. S i n c e Wolpe's t h e o r y was o r i g i n a l l y p roposed, t h e r e has been o n l y one s t u d y aimed d i r e c t l y a t t e s t i n g t h e a s s e r t i o n t h a t a n x i e t y and s e x u a l a r o u s a l a r e m u t u a l l y i n h i b i t o r y (Hoon e t a l . , 1977). C o n s i s t e n t w i t h Wolpe's t h e o r y , t h i s s t u d y d e m o n s t r a t e d t h a t a n x i e t y exposure f o l l o w i n g an e r o t i c f i l m d e c r e a s e d p h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n women (measured by VBV l e v e l s ) more r a p i d l y t h a n d i d a n e u t r a l f i l m . Presumably, t h e s y m p a t h e t i c i n f l u e n c e o f a n x i e t y e x t i n g u i s h e d t h e p a r a s y m p a t h e t i c i n f l u e n c e o f t h e e r o t i c s t i m u l i . However, c o n t r a r y t o t h e t h e o r y , a n x i e t y s t i m u l i p r i o r t o an e r o t i c f i l m i n c r e a s e d p h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l a r o u s a l . Wolpe (1978), c r i t i c i z e d t h i s s t u d y on t h e grounds t h a t t h e a n x i e t y s t i m u l i d i d not i n c r e a s e h e a r t r a t e measures. As a r e s u l t , t h e r e was no e v i d e n c e o f an a n x i e t y response d u r i n g p r e s e n t a t i o n o f t h e e r o t i c s t i m u l i . A c c o r d i n g t o Wolpe, t h e s t u d y d i d not p r o v i d e an adequate b a s i s f o r t e s t i n g t h e r e c i p r o c a l i n h i b i t i o n h y p o t h e s i s because i n o r d e r f o r two e v e n t s t o be m u t u a l l y i n h i b i t o r y , t h e y must be p r e s e n t e d s i m u l t a n e o u s l y , not s e q u e n t i a l l y . A n x i e t y I n h i b i t s S e x u a l A r o u s a l Support f o r Wolpe's a s s e r t i o n t h a t a n x i e t y i n h i b i t s s e x u a l a r o u s a l i s p r o v i d e d by c l i n i c a l r e p o r t s which l i n k g e n e r a l i z e d a n x i e t y and i m p a i r e d e r e c t i l e a b i l i t y . F o r example, Johnson (1965), i n h i s r e t r o s p e c t i v e s t u d y o f males w i t h e r e c t i l e d y s f u n c t i o n , r e p o r t e d t h a t 48% o f t h e men s t u d i e d s u f f e r e d from an a n x i e t y d i s o r d e r . In a l a t e r s t u d y , Cooper (1969) r e p o r t e d t h a t o n l y 12% o f h i s s e x u a l l y d y s f u n c t i o n a l s u b j e c t s were c l i n i c a l l y n e u r o t i c but 51% had a "marked c o i t a l a n x i e t y . " C o i t a l a n x i e t y was most f r e q u e n t l y r e p o r t e d t o be a consequence o f f e a r o f f a i l u r e ( 7 3 % ) , b e i n g r e g a r d e d as s e x u a l l y i n f e r i o r ( 4 3 .5%), o r b e i n g r i d i c u l e d ( 4 0 % ) . C o n s i s t e n t w i t h Cooper's f i n d i n g s , A n s a r i (1975) r e p o r t e d t h a t 66% o f t h e p a t i e n t s s t u d i e d r e p o r t e d t h a t t h e i r e r e c t i l e d y s f u n c t i o n d e v e l o p e d as a r e a c t i o n t o d i s c r e t e s e x u a l e x p e r i e n c e s . Taken t o g e t h e r , t h e s e f i n d i n g s s u p p o r t t h e c o n n e c t i o n between a n x i e t y and e r e c t i l e d y s f u n c t i o n . However, t h e y a l s o i n d i c a t e t h a t e r e c t i l e d y s f u n c t i o n may be more a consequence o f n e g a t i v e c o g n i t i o n s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h s p e c i f i c s e x u a l a c t i v i t i e s t h a n o f g e n e r a l i z e d a n x i e t y . L a b o r a t o r y s t u d i e s a l s o i n d i c a t e t h a t , g i v e n c e r t a i n s i t u a t i o n s , a n x i e t y may i n h i b i t s e x u a l a r o u s a l . Hale and S t r a s s b e r g (1990) r e p o r t e d d e c r e a s e d p h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n a group o f 54 men i n response t o e i t h e r shock t h r e a t o r f a l s e feedback i n d i c a t i n g a t y p i c a l l y low l e v e l s o f s e x u a l r e s p o n s e . The a u t h o r s s u g g e s t e d t h a t t h e t h r e a t e n i n g c o g n i t i o n s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h t h e s e c o n d i t i o n s became t h e s u b j e c t s ' f o c u s o f a t t e n t i o n . T h i s , i n t u r n , l e f t l e s s a t t e n t i o n a v a i l a b l e f o r e r o t i c s t i m u l i and r e s u l t e d i n lower l e v e l s o f a r o u s a l . T h i s h y p o t h e s i s was p a r t i a l l y s u p p o r t e d by d a t a w h i c h i n d i c a t e d l o w e r l e v e l s o f memory r e c a l l f o r s e x u a l s t i m u l i i n t h e t h r e a t e n i n g v e r s u s c o n t r o l c o n d i t i o n . D i f f e r e n c e s i n memory r e c a l l between c o n d i t i o n s d i d n o t , however, r e a c h s t a t i s t i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e . In a s t u d y c o n d u c t e d by Bozman and Beck (1991), d e c r e a s e s i n s u b j e c t i v e s e x u a l a r o u s a l were r e p o r t e d i n males who were exposed t o an e r o t i c f i l m c o n t a i n i n g s t a t e m e n t s d e s i g n e d t o evoke a n x i e t y . These a n x i e t y s t i m u l i had no s i g n i f i c a n t e f f e c t on p h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l a r o u s a l . U s i n g t h e t h r e a t o f e l e c t r i c shock as t h e s o u r c e o f a n x i e t y . Beck and Ba r l o w (1986) and Beck and a s s o c i a t e s (1987) r e p o r t e d t h a t a n x i e t y d e c r e a s e d p h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n men. The above s t u d i e s c o n t r a d i c t t h o s e r e v i e w e d e a r l i e r w h i c h i n d i c a t e t h a t a n x i e t y enhances s e x u a l a r o u s a l . I n d i v i d u a l d i f f e r e n c e s i n s e x u a l r e s p o n d i n g , d i f f e r e n t o p e r a t i o n a l d e f i n i t i o n s o f a n x i e t y , and/or a number o f m e t h o d o l o g i c a l d i f f e r e n c e s between s t u d i e s c o u l d e x p l a i n t h e s e c o n t r a d i c t o r y r e s u l t s . Treatments f o r S e x u a l D y s f u n c t i o n The m a j o r i t y o f t e c h n i q u e s used i n t h e t r e a t m e n t o f s e x u a l d y s f u n c t i o n f o c u s on r e d u c i n g a n x i e t y . The foremost o f t h e s e , s y s t e m a t i c d e s e n s i t i z a t i o n , was p r oposed by Wolpe i n 1958. T h i s t e c h n i q u e i n v o l v e s f o u r s t a g e s . F i r s t , t h e p a t i e n t i s t r a i n e d t o r e l a x t h e muscles i n h i s / h e r body. Second, a h i e r a r c h y o f a n x i e t y - p r o v o k i n g s t i m u l i o r s i t u a t i o n s i s c o n s t r u c t e d . T h i r d , b e g i n n i n g w i t h t h e l e a s t f e a r f u l s t i m u l i , t h e c l i e n t i m a g i n e s t h e f e a r e d s i t u a t i o n w h i l e r e m a i n i n g r e l a x e d . F i n a l l y , t h e c l i e n t engages i n t h e s e x u a l a c t i v i t i e s i n r e a l l i f e , w h i l e m a i n t a i n i n g a s t a t e o f r e l a x a t i o n . Presumably, t h e e f f e c t i v e n e s s o f t h i s t r e a t m e n t i s a t t r i b u t a b l e t o t h e m u s c u l a r r e l a x a t i o n component which i n d u c e s a s t a t e o f p a r a s y m p a t h e t i c dominance (Wolpe, 1958). A l a r g e number o f outcome s t u d i e s r e p o r t h i g h s u c c e s s r a t e s i n t r e a t i n g s e x u a l d y s f u n c t i o n w i t h s y s t e m a t i c d e s e n s i t i z a t i o n ( f o r r e v i e w , see N o r t o n & Jehu, 1984). T h i s s u c c e s s has been u s e d as s u p p o r t f o r t h e a s s e r t i o n t h a t s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n i n h i b i t s s e x u a l a r o u s a l . However, s t u d i e s c o n d u c t e d i n women seem t o i n d i c a t e t h a t s y s t e m a t i c d e s e n s i t i z a t i o n i s e f f e c t i v e i n t r e a t i n g o n l y s p e c i f i c t y p e s o f s e x u a l d y s f u n c t i o n . F o r example, i n an e l a b o r a t e s t u d y by S o t i l e and K i l m a n n (1978), s y s t e m a t i c d e s e n s i t i z a t i o n was shown t o produce r e d u c t i o n s i n s e v e r a l measures o f c o i t a l a n x i e t y , i mproved p l e a s u r e d u r i n g i n t e r c o u r s e , improved s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h o v e r a l l s e x u a l f u n c t i o n , and i n c r e a s e d e x t r a c o i t a l s t i m u l a t i o n . However, s y s t e m a t i c desensitization was not e f f e c t i v e i n increasing orgasmic a b i l i t y . This finding i s consistent with other research that indicates systematic desensitization i s i n e f f e c t i v e i n tr e a t i n g anorgasmia (e.g., Andersen, 1983; Cooper, 1981; Crown & D'Ardenne, 1982; Kuriansky & Sharpe, 1981). Since the introduction of Wolpe's theory i n 1958, l i t t l e has changed i n the understanding and treatment of sexual dysfunctions. The present study i s the f i r s t examination of the ef f e c t of sympathetic act i v a t i o n , v i a acute exercise, on subjective and p h y s i o l o g i c a l measures of sexual arousal i n women. In experiment I, subjects were exposed to two experimental sessions i n which they were shown a neutral f i l m stimulus followed immediately by an e r o t i c f i l m stimulus. In one of the conditions, the subjects were exposed to 20 minutes of intense exercise p r i o r to viewing the f i l m s . This experiment was designed to test the effects of sympathetic a c t i v a t i o n on subjective and physiological sexual responses to e r o t i c s t i m u l i . In experiment II, subjects were shown two d i f f e r e n t , consecutive neutral f i l m sequences, preceded by 20 minutes of intense exercise. This experiment was designed to test the effects of sympathetic a c t i v a t i o n on subjective and physiological sexual responses to neutral s t i m u l i . The res u l t s of t h i s experiment were necessary to determine whether the physiological responses reported i n experiment I were representative of a sexual as opposed to a cardiovascular or hormonal response to s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n . In b o t h e x p e r i m e n t s , s u b j e c t i v e s e x u a l a r o u s a l was measured u s i n g a q u e s t i o n n a i r e . P h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l a r o u s a l was measured u s i n g b o t h v a g i n a l b l o o d volume and v a g i n a l p u l s e a m p l i t u d e as i n d i c e s . Heart r a t e was used as an i n d i c a t o r o f g e n e r a l autonomic a r o u s a l . The p u rpose o f t h e p r e s e n t i n v e s t i g a t i o n i s t h r e e f o l d . F i r s t , t h e s t u d y i s an attempt t o t e s t t h e d i r e c t e f f e c t s o f s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n on female s e x u a l a r o u s a l . Exposure o f s u b j e c t s t o an i n t e n s e e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n would i n c r e a s e a c t i v i t y o f t h e s y m p a t h e t i c nervous system s i m i l a r t o exposure t o an a n x i e t y - e v o k i n g s t i m u l u s ( O b r i s t e t a l . , 1978). However, u n l i k e a n x i e t y - p r o d u c i n g s t i m u l i , e x e r c i s e would presumably have l e s s o f an e f f e c t on c o g n i t i v e s e t . I f e x e r c i s e and a n x i e t y - e v o k i n g s t i m u l i have s i m i l a r e f f e c t s on s e x u a l a r o u s a l , t h i s would s t r e n g t h e n t h e argument t h a t a n x i e t y may a c t v i a s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n r a t h e r t h a n c o g n i t i v e l y t o i n c r e a s e p h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l a r o u s a l . The second purpose o f t h i s s t u d y i s t o p r o v i d e an i n d i r e c t t e s t o f t h e a s s e r t i o n t h a t s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n and s e x u a l a r o u s a l a r e m u t u a l l y i n h i b i t o r y . P r e v i o u s r e s e a r c h i n t h e female c o n d u c t e d by Hoon and a s s o c i a t e s (1977) and P a l a c e and G o r z a l k a (1990) has been i n a d e q u a t e t o t e s t t h i s t h e o r y because, a c c o r d i n g t o Wolpe (1978), t h e two e v e n t s must o c c u r s i m u l t a n e o u s l y t o be m u t u a l l y i n h i b i t o r y . I n t h e s e s t u d i e s , t h e a n x i e t y and s e x u a l s t i m u l i were p r e s e n t e d s e q u e n t i a l l y . The d e s i g n o f t h e p r e s e n t i n v e s t i g a t i o n e n s u r e d s y m p a t h e t i c i n f l u e n c e s d u r i n g p r e s e n t a t i o n o f t h e e r o t i c s t i m u l i by e v o k i n g i n t e n s e a c t i v a t i o n o f t h e s y m p a t h e t i c nervous system and by e n s u r i n g ( v i a h e a r t r a t e measures) i t s p e r s i s t e n c e t h r o u g h o u t t h e e r o t i c e x p o s u r e . The t h i r d p urpose o f t h i s s t u d y i s t o r e p l i c a t e t h e f i n d i n g s o f P a l a c e and G o r z a l k a (1990) whereby a n x i e t y exposure had an o p p o s i t e e f f e c t on s u b j e c t i v e and p h y s i o l o g i c a l measures o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l . That i s , t h e s t u d y i s d e s i g n e d t o d e t e r m i n e whether s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n has d i s s i m i l a r o r s i m i l a r e f f e c t s on p h y s i o l o g i c a l and s u b j e c t i v e s e x u a l a r o u s a l . In experiment I I , s u b j e c t s v i e w e d o n l y c o n s e c u t i v e n e u t r a l s t i m u l i . T h i s p r o v i d e s b a s e l i n e d a t a and p e r m i t s comparisons between e x p e r i m e n t a l l y m a n i p u l a t e d l e v e l s o f s u b j e c t i v e s e x u a l a r o u s a l and " n o n s e x u a l " b a s e l i n e measures. I t i s t h e f i r s t s t u d y o f i t s k i n d t o i n c l u d e t h i s t y p e o f c o n t r o l group. P r e v i o u s r e s e a r c h has a l l o w e d o n l y comparisons between e x p e r i m e n t a l c o n d i t i o n s and, hence, has been u n a b l e t o d i s c e r n whether s u b j e c t s a r e aware and/or w i l l i n g t o r e p o r t changes i n p h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l a r o u s a l from a " n o n s e x u a l " s t a t e . S p e c i f i c a l l y , t h e f o l l o w i n g q u e s t i o n s a r e a d d r e s s e d : 1. Does s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n enhance s e x u a l a r o u s a l ? 2. A r e s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n and s e x u a l a r o u s a l m u t u a l l y i n h i b i t o r y ? 3. Does a desynchronous r e l a t i o n s h i p e x i s t between c o g n i t i v e and p h y s i o l o g i c a l components o f t h e s e x u a l r e s p o n s e i n women? EXPERIMENT I Method S u b j e c t s T w e n t y - f i v e women p a r t i c i p a t e d i n t h e s t u d y (Mean age = 24 y e a r s , range = 18-34 y e a r s ) . The s u b j e c t s were r e c r u i t e d t h r o u g h a p s y c h o l o g y department u n d e r g r a d u a t e r e s e a r c h p a r t i c i p a n t p o o l o r by p e r s o n a l c o n t a c t . Nine s u b j e c t s were g r a d u a t e s t u d e n t s i n p s y c h o l o g y , 11 s u b j e c t s were f i r s t o r second y e a r s t u d e n t s i n p s y c h o l o g y , and f i v e s u b j e c t s were u n d e r g r a d u a t e o r g r a d u a t e s t u d e n t s i n d i s c i p l i n e s o t h e r t h a n p s y c h o l o g y . S u b j e c t s were g i v e n c o u r s e c r e d i t and/or a f i t n e s s assessment p r o f i l e as an i n c e n t i v e f o r t h e i r p a r t i c i p a t i o n . I n c l u s i o n c r i t e r i a were: between t h e ages o f 18-35 y e a r s , no use o f m e d i c a t i o n s known t o a f f e c t v a s c u l a r or s e x u a l f u n c t i o n i n g , no h i s t o r y o f t r e a t m e n t f o r s e x u a l d y s f u n c t i o n , and c u r r e n t i n v o l v e m e n t i n a h e t e r o s e x u a l r e l a t i o n s h i p . P r o f i l e d e s c r i p t i o n s o f a l l s u b j e c t s were o b t a i n e d v i a t h e D e r o g a t i s S e x u a l F u n c t i o n i n g I n v e n t o r y (DSFI; D e r o g a t i s , 1978). The S e x u a l F u n c t i o n i n g Index (SFI) and t h e G l o b a l S e x u a l S a t i s f a c t i o n Index (GSSI) o f t h e DSFI were used t o s c r e e n f o r absence o f s e x u a l d y s f u n c t i o n . A l l s u b j e c t s employed i n t h e s t u d y s c o r e d g r e a t e r t h a n o r e q u a l t o t h e 40th p e r c e n t i l e on b o t h o f t h e s e measures. P r e v i o u s r e s e a r c h c o n d u c t e d by P a l a c e and G o r z a l k a (1992) c o n s i d e r e d s u b j e c t s below t h i s p e r c e n t i l e t o be s e x u a l l y d y s f u n c t i o n a l . In a d d i t i o n , t h e B r i e f Symptom I n v e n t o r y (BSI; D e r o g a t i s , 1975) s u b t e s t o f t h e DSFI was used t o s c r e e n f o r absence o f g e n e r a l p s y c h o p a t h o l o g y , A l l s u b j e c t s employed i n t h e s t u d y s c o r e d g r e a t e r t h a n o r e q u a l t o t h e 3 0 t h p e r c e n t i l e on t h e BSI (see T a b l e I . ) . The 3 0 t h p e r c e n t i l e c u t o f f c r i t e r i o n f o r g e n e r a l p s y c h o p a t h o l o g y was used by P a l a c e and G o r z a l k a (1992) . A p p a r a t u s and M a t e r i a l s F i l m S t i m u l i . P r e e x p o s u r e s t i m u l i c o n s i s t e d o f two f o u r - m i n u t e c o l o r v i d e o t a p e s : a one-minute d i s p l a y o f t h e word relax f o l l o w e d by a t h r e e - m i n u t e n e u t r a l t r a v e l o g u e sequence. The e x p e r i m e n t a l , o r e r o t i c s t i m u l i , c o n s i s t e d o f two t h r e e - m i n u t e c o l o r v i d e o t a p e s o f a nude, h e t e r o s e x u a l c o u p l e e n g a g i n g i n f o r e p l a y and i n t e r c o u r s e . The e r o t i c f i l m s were accompanied by f a s t - p a c e d music and i n c l u d e d e x p l i c i t s e x u a l communication by t h e c o u p l e . The two e r o t i c f i l m s were matched on t h e number, o r d e r , t y p e , and d u r a t i o n o f s e x u a l a c t s , and i n c l u d e d t h e same a c t o r s and s e t t i n g s . The f i l m s have been shown t o r e l i a b l y e l i c i t s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n women ( P a l a c e and G o r z a l k a , 1990; 1992). P h y s i o l o g i c a l Measurement. P h y s i o l o g i c a l measures were o b t a i n e d u s i n g a v a g i n a l p h o t o p l e t h y s m o g r a p h ( S i n t c h a k & Geer, 1975). Changes i n v a g i n a l b l o o d volume (VBV), v a g i n a l p u l s e a m p l i t u d e (VPA), and h e a r t r a t e (HR) were m o n i t o r e d Table I . DEMOGRAPHIC AND PSYCHOMETRIC CHARACTERISTICS OF SUBJECTS Measure M SD Range Age 24 .28 4. 91 18-•34 V02 Max 27 .40 8. 35 16-•45 D u r a t i o n o f s e x u a l e x p e r i e n c e 8 .88 5. 13 1-•17 D e r o g a t i s S e x u a l F u n c t i o n i n g I n v e n t o r y A f f e c t 50 .60 9. 61 33-•68 E x p e r i e n c e s u b t e s t 50 .44 8. 12 31-•63 S e x u a l F u n c t i o n i n g Index 51 .64 10. 94 42-•70 G l o b a l S e x u a l S a t i s f a c t i o n Index 54 . 96 9. 45 41-•70 B r i e f Symptom I n v e n t o r y 46 .72 8. 28 32-•61 Note. D u r a t i o n o f S e x u a l E x p e r i e n c e i s c a l c u l a t e d as t h e d i f f e r e n c e bet-ween age a t f i r s t i n t e r c o u r s e and c u r r e n t age. Means f o r t h e D e r o g a t i s S e x u a l F u n c t i o n i n g I n v e n t o r y a re based on raw s c o r e s t h a t were c o n v e r t e d t o e s t a b l i s h e d p e r c e n t i l e r a n k i n g s (T s c o r e s ) . s i m u l t a n e o u s l y d u r i n g a l l e x p e r i m e n t a l s e s s i o n s . VBV, t h e do s i g n a l , r e f l e c t s s l o w changes i n t h e p o o l i n g o f b l o o d i n t h e v a g i n a l t i s s u e (Hatch, 1979), w h i l e VPA, t h e ac s i g n a l , r e f l e c t s s h o r t - t e r m changes i n engorgement (Rosen and Beck, 1988). C o n t r a d i c t i o n s e x i s t i n t h e l i t e r a t u r e as t o whether VBV o r VPA i s t h e more a p p r o p r i a t e i n d i c a t o r o f female s e x u a l a r o u s a l . S e v e r a l i n v e s t i g a t o r s have found VPA t o be a more s e n s i t i v e measure o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l (Geer e t a l . , 1974; Heiman, 1977: Osborn & P o l l a c k , 1977), t o show a more r a p i d r e t u r n t o b a s e l i n e f o l l o w i n g s t i m u l u s p r e s e n t a t i o n (Henson e t a l . , 1979), t o demonstrate g r e a t e r w i t h i n - s e s s i o n r e l i a b i l i t y (Heiman, 1976; 1977), and t o be u n a f f e c t e d by t e m p e r a t u r e and d r i f t confounds (Beck e t a l . , 1983). In c o n t r a s t , Hoon and a s s o c i a t e s (1976) and P a l a c e and G o r z a l k a (1990;1992) c l a i m t h a t VBV i s t h e more s e n s i t i v e i n d i c a t o r o f g e n i t a l v a s o c o n g e s t i o n as changes i n VPA account f o r o n l y a f r a c t i o n o f t o t a l b l o o d volume d u r i n g engorgement. L i g h t and h e a t i n g e f f e c t s were m i n i m i z e d by a l l o w i n g t h e p h o t o p l e t h y s m o g r a p h a 45-minute warm-up p e r i o d p r i o r t o i n s e r t i o n , f o l l o w e d by a 10-minute r e c o r d e d a d a p t a t i o n p e r i o d b e f o r e t h e e x p e r i m e n t began. The s i g n a l from t h e Geer gauge and module ( F a r r a l I n s t r u m e n t s , Grand I s l a n d , NE) was c h a n n e l e d t h r o u g h an o p t i c a l i s o l a t o r - p o w e r s u p p l y . The VBV s i g n a l was r e c o r d e d a t a s a m p l i n g r a t e o f 5 t i m e s / s e c o n d w i t h a Data T r a n s l a t i o n (Marlborough, MA) a n a l o g - d i g i t a l c o n v e r t e r and L a b t e c h A c q u i r e Program ( L a b o r a t o r y T e c h n o l o g i e s Corp., 1986) i n s t a l l e d on a Samtron SC-386 microcomputer. The VPA and h e a r t r a t e s i g n a l s were c h a n n e l e d and r e c o r d e d on a Beckman model R612 dynagraph ( S c h e l l e r P a r k , I L ) . The s o f t w a r e program t i m e d t h e a d m i n i s t r a t i o n o f t h e s t i m u l i and used an a u d i o t r i g g e r s i g n a l t o mark a l l s t i m u l u s changeovers. S u b j e c t i v e Measurement. A s e l f - r e p o r t r a t i n g s c a l e , adapted from Heiman and Rowland (1983), was used as a s u b j e c t i v e measure. The s c a l e has been used i n p r e v i o u s r e s e a r c h ( P a l a c e & G o r z a l k a 1990; 1992), and has been shown t o be a s e n s i t i v e i n d i c a t o r o f e m o t i o n a l r e a c t i o n s t o e r o t i c s t i m u l i (Heiman 1980; Heiman and Hatch 1980; Heiman & Rowland 1983; M o r o k o f f & Heiman 1980). R e s e a r c h i n d i c a t e s t h a t t h e r e a r e no s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s i n s u b j e c t i v e r e p o r t s o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l o b t a i n e d by methods o f d i s c r e t e v e r s u s c o n t i n u o u s s u b j e c t i v e measurement (Steinman e t a l . , 1981). The s c a l e c o n s i s t s o f 32 i t e m s : s e x u a l a r o u s a l (1 i t e m ) , p e r c e p t i o n s o f p h y s i c a l s e x u a l change (4 i t e m s ) , autonomic a r o u s a l (5 i t e m s ) , p o s i t i v e a f f e c t (11 items) and n e g a t i v e a f f e c t (11 items) (see A p p e n d i x ) . S u b j e c t s r a t e d each o f t h e s e i t e m s , depending on t h e degree t o w h i c h t h e y e x p e r i e n c e d t h e s e n s a t i o n s , on a 7 - p o i n t L i k e r t S c a l e , from (1) not a t a l l t o (7) i n t e n s e l y . S u b j e c t i v e s e x u a l a r o u s a l was d e f i n e d by t h e f o l l o w i n g 5 i t e m s : s e x u a l l y a r o u s e d , warmth i n g e n i t a l s , g e n i t a l wetness o r l u b r i c a t i o n , g e n i t a l p u l s i n g o r t h r o b b i n g , and any g e n i t a l f e e l i n g s . S u b j e c t i v e autonomic a r o u s a l was d e f i n e d by t h e f o l l o w i n g f i v e i t e m s : f a s t e r b r e a t h i n g , f a s t e r h e a r t b e a t , p e r s p i r a t i o n , f e e l i n g s o f warmth, and any p h y s i c a l r e a c t i o n a t a l l . P o s i t i v e a f f e c t was d e f i n e d by t h e f o l l o w i n g 11 i t e m s : sensuous, a d e s i r e t o be c l o s e t o someone, p l e a s u r e , i n t e r e s t e d , a t t r a c t e d , e x c i t e d , sexy, l o v i n g , s e x u a l l y a t t r a c t i v e , easy t o a r o u s e , f e m i n i n e . N e g a t i v e a f f e c t was d e f i n e d by t h e f o l l o w i n g 11 i t e m s : w o r r i e d , angry, d i s g u s t e d , embarrassed, g u i l t y , d i r t y , i n h i b i t e d , i n c o m p e t e n t , s e x u a l l y t u r n e d o f f , o f f e n d e d , b o r e d . D e r o g a t i s S e x u a l F u n c t i o n i n g I n v e n t o r y . The DSFI i s a s t a n d a r d i z e d s e l f - r e p o r t i n v e n t o r y d e s i g n e d t o a s s e s s c u r r e n t l e v e l s o f s e x u a l f u n c t i o n i n g . E i g h t s u b t e s t s ( i n f o r m a t i o n , e x p e r i e n c e , d r i v e , a t t i t u d e s , symptoms, a f f e c t s , gender r o l e , f a n t a s y ) c o n s t i t u t e an o v e r a l l S e x u a l F u n c t i o n i n g I n v e n t o r y s c o r e (SFI) and one i t e m ( s a t i s f a c t i o n r a t i n g o f p r e s e n t s e x u a l r e l a t i o n s h i p ) c o n s t i t u t e s a G l o b a l S e x u a l S a t i s f a c t i o n Index (GSSI). The GSSI i s b e l i e v e d t o r e f l e c t t h e r e s p o n d e n t s ' p e r c e p t i o n o f t h e i r l e v e l o f s e x u a l f u n c t i o n i n g . R e s e a r c h has shown t h e DSFI t o be a v a l i d and r e l i a b l e measure f o r d i f f e r e n t i a t i n g s e x u a l l y f u n c t i o n a l and d y s f u n c t i o n a l women ( D e r o g a t i s & M e l i s a r a t o s , 1979; D e r o g a t i s & Meyer, 1979). The symptomology s u b t e s t o f t h e DSFI, t h e B S I , i s a d i s t i n c t p s y c h o m e t r i c i n s t r u m e n t d e s i g n e d t o a s s e s s p s y c h o p a t h o l o g y . Nine symptom dimensi o n s c o r e s and t h r e e g l o b a l s c o r e s c o n s t i t u t e t h e B S I . F i t n e s s T e s t s . F i t n e s s l e v e l s were a s s e s s e d f o r each s u b j e c t . These assessments p r o v i d e d t h e n e c e s s a r y i n f o r m a t i o n t o s e t c y c l e speed and i n t e n s i t y t o t h e same r e l a t i v e work l o a d f o r a l l s u b j e c t s , d u r i n g t h e e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n s . A c o n t i n u o u s , submaximal, m u l t i - s t a g e b i c y c l e ergometer t e s t was used t o e s t i m a t e each s u b j e c t ' s maximum volume o f oxygen uptake (V02 max). V02 max i s t h e maximal volume o f oxygen t h a t one can consume d u r i n g e x h a u s t i n g work; i t i s t h e p o i n t a t w h i c h i n c r e a s e d w o r k l o a d i s no l o n g e r a s s o c i a t e d w i t h i n c r e a s e d oxygen u p t a k e . Because h e a r t r a t e and oxygen uptake i n c r e a s e l i n e a r l y i n response t o i n c r e a s e d w o r k l o a d , t h i s t e s t a l l o w s t h e p r e d i c t i o n o f V02 max from h e a r t r a t e r e s p o n s e ( P o l l o c k e t a l . , 1978). V02 max i s an e s t a b l i s h e d i n d i c a t o r o f c a r d i o r e s p i r a t o r y endurance and subsequent p h y s i c a l f i t n e s s ( P o l l o c k e t a l . , 1 9 7 8 ) . The submaximal m u l t i - s t a g e ergometer t e s t i n g and s c o r i n g p r o c e d u r e s used i n t h i s i n v e s t i g a t i o n were i d e n t i c a l t o t h o s e s u g g e s t e d f o r women by t h e YMCA ( G o l d i n g e t a l . , 1982). E x p e r i m e n t a l D e s i g n A w i t h i n - s u b j e c t r e p e a t e d measures d e s i g n was used i n wh i c h each s u b j e c t was exposed t o each e x p e r i m e n t a l c o n d i t i o n i n s e p a r a t e s e s s i o n s . The two e x p e r i m e n t a l c o n d i t i o n s , e x e r c i s e and n o - e x e r c i s e , were c o u n t e r b a l a n c e d a c r o s s s u b j e c t s . D u r i n g each o f t h e s e s e s s i o n s , s u b j e c t s v i e w e d a one-minute d i s p l a y o f t h e word r e l a x , f o l l o w e d by a t h r e e - m i n u t e n e u t r a l t r a v e l o g u e f i l m , f o l l o w e d by a t h r e e -minute e r o t i c f i l m . The f i l m s were c o u n t e r b a l a n c e d a c r o s s s e s s i o n s . P r o c e d u r e . The p r o c e d u r e c o n s i s t e d o f f o u r s e s s i o n s : a one-hour o r i e n t a t i o n s c r e e n i n g and q u e s t i o n n a i r e s e s s i o n , a 20-minute b i c y c l e ergometer f i t n e s s t e s t , a 45-minute n o - e x e r c i s e e x p e r i m e n t a l s e s s i o n , and a one-hour e x e r c i s e e x p e r i m e n t a l s e s s i o n . The s e s s i o n s were i d e n t i c a l f o r a l l s u b j e c t s . A l l s u b j e c t s were a s k e d t o a b s t a i n from p s y c h o a c t i v e drugs ( i n c l u d i n g c a f f e i n e and a l c o h o l ) and t o r e f r a i n from engaging i n any s t r e n u o u s p h y s i c a l a c t i v i t y f o r 24 hours p r i o r t o each s e s s i o n . S e s s i o n 1. F o l l o w i n g an i n i t i a l t e l e p h o n e s c r e e n i n g , s u b j e c t s were s c h e d u l e d f o r a f i r s t s e s s i o n w i t h t h e female e x p e r i m e n t e r . D u r i n g t h i s s e s s i o n , s u b j e c t s were shown t h e l a b o r a t o r y f a c i l i t i e s and equipment, were g i v e n v e r b a l i n s t r u c t i o n s on t h e use o f t h e p h o t o p l e t h y s m o g r a p h , and were encouraged t o ask any q u e s t i o n s r e l a t e d t o t h e e x p e r i m e n t . S u b j e c t s were t o l d t h a t t h e y would be p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n an e x p e r i m e n t w h i c h i n v o l v e d t h e e f f e c t s o f e x e r c i s e on female s e x u a l a r o u s a l . They were t o l d t h a t t h e y would be v i e w i n g b r i e f v i s u a l s t i m u l i , some o f w h i c h c o u l d i n c l u d e e r o t i c c o n t e n t . To m i n i m i z e a p o s s i b l e sense o f c o e r c i o n , s u b j e c t s were g i v e n t h e o p t i o n o f t e l e p h o n i n g w i t h i n a week, r e g a r d i n g t h e i r d e c i s i o n t o p a r t i c i p a t e . Two s u b j e c t s t e l e p h o n e d w i t h i n t h e week and i n f o r m e d me o f t h e i r d e c i s i o n not t o p a r t i c i p a t e . S u b j e c t s who chose t o t a k e p a r t i n t h e s t u d y s i g n e d t h e s t a n d a r d c o n s e n t form and completed t h e DSFI i n a p r i v a t e room. To m i n i m i z e p o t e n t i a l e x p e r i m e n t a l demand, s u b j e c t s were i n s t r u c t e d as f o l l o w s : When you f i l l out t h i s q u e s t i o n n a i r e , p l e a s e be as honest as p o s s i b l e . E v e r y p e r s o n i s unique and t h e r e a r e a b s o l u t e l y no r i g h t o r wrong answers. I r e a l i z e t h a t t h i s q u e s t i o n n a i r e asks v e r y p e r s o n a l i n f o r m a t i o n and so I would l i k e t o a s s u r e you a g a i n t h a t a l l i n f o r m a t i o n i s kept s t r i c t l y c o n f i d e n t i a l . A l l o f t h e forms t h a t you w i l l be f i l l i n g out a r e n u m e r i c a l l y coded; t h e r e w i l l be no i d e n t i f y i n g i n f o r m a t i o n on any o f t h e forms. Only m y s e l f and one female r e s e a r c h a s s i s t a n t w i l l have a c c e s s t o t h i s coded i n f o r m a t i o n . S e s s i o n 2. D u r i n g t h e second s e s s i o n , s u b j e c t s r e c e i v e d a submaximal m u l t i - s t a g e b i c y c l e ergometer f i t n e s s t e s t . P r i o r t o t a k i n g t h e t e s t , s u b j e c t s c o mpleted a P h y s i c a l R e a d i n e s s Exam F o r F i t n e s s Test adapted from t h e P h y s i c a l A c t i v i t y R e a d i n e s s Q u e s t i o n n a i r e d e v e l o p e d by t h e B.C. M i n i s t r y o f H e a l t h (see A p p e n d i x ) . S u b j e c t s who r e p o r t e d m e d i c a l c o n d i t i o n s t h a t may have put them a t r i s k when e x e r c i s i n g were e x c l u d e d from t h e s t u d y . One s u b j e c t was e x c l u d e d because o f b r e a t h i n g d i f f i c u l t i e s r e l a t e d t o asthma. A l l f i t n e s s t e s t s were c o n d u c t e d i n accordance w i t h t h e g u i d e l i n e s s e t f o r t h by The American C o l l e g e o f S p o r t s M e d i c i n e ( P o l l o c k e t a l . , 1 9 7 8 ) . A Monarch 814E ergometer was used t o conduct t h e f i t n e s s t e s t s . The b i c y c l e s e a t h e i g h t was a d j u s t e d f o r each i n d i v i d u a l t o ensure a s l i g h t bend i n t h e knee j o i n t when t h e p e d a l was i n i t s l o w e s t p o s i t i o n . The t e s t began w i t h a w o r k l o a d o f 150 kg/minute. The s u b j e c t c y c l e d a t a c o n s t a n t 50 rpm w h i l e t h e w o r k l o a d was i n c r e a s e d 150 kg/minute e v e r y t h r e e m i n u t e s . The t e s t l a s t e d between 9-12 mi n u t e s depending on t h e s u b j e c t s ' h e a r t r a t e r e s p o n s e . H e a r t r a t e was m o n i t o r e d m a n u a l l y from t h e c a r o t i d a r t e r y d u r i n g t h e f i n a l 30 seconds o f each t h i r d m i n u te. The s u b j e c t s ' h e a r t r a t e over t i m e , i n r e l a t i o n t o w o r k l o a d , was used t o p r e d i c t each s u b j e c t ' s maximum volume o f oxygen u p t a k e (V02 max). S e s s i o n s 3 & 4. The t h i r d and f o u r t h s e s s i o n s were t h e two e x p e r i m e n t a l s e s s i o n s : e x e r c i s e and n o - e x e r c i s e . These two s e s s i o n s were c o u n t e r b a l a n c e d a c r o s s s u b j e c t s . I n o r d e r t o m i n i m i z e any p o t e n t i a l w i t h i n - s u b j e c t m e n s t r u a l c y c l e i n f l u e n c e s , t h e two e x p e r i m e n t a l s e s s i o n s were s c h e d u l e d a t a p p r o x i m a t e l y t h r e e day i n t e r v a l s . R e s e a r c h i n d i c a t e s t h a t s e x u a l a r o u s a b i l i t y t o e r o t i c s t i m u l i , measured b o t h s u b j e c t i v e l y and p h y s i o l o g i c a l l y , i s o n l y m i n i m a l l y , i f at a l l , i n f l u e n c e d by m e n s t r u a l c y c l e phases (Hoon e t a l . , 1982; Meuwissen & Over, 1992). A l l e x p e r i m e n t a l s e s s i o n s were co n d u c t e d i n s i d e t h e S e x u a l P s y c h o p h y s i o l o g y L a b o r a t o r y a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a . T h i s l a b o r a t o r y has an a d j o i n i n g , p r i v a t e , i n t e r n a l l y - l o c k e d s u b j e c t room. Communication w i t h s u b j e c t s i s made p o s s i b l e v i a an i n t e r c o m system between s u b j e c t and e x p e r i m e n t e r rooms. The room i s kept a t a c o n s t a n t 21.7 C. A c o l o r t e l e v i s i o n m o n i t o r i s p o s i t i o n e d where s u b j e c t s can s i t c o m f o r t a b l y i n a r e c l i n e r w i t h a f u l l v i e w o f t h e s c r e e n . A b i c y c l e ergometer i s p o s i t i o n e d t o t h e r e a r o f t h e room. D u r i n g t h e n o - e x e r c i s e s e s s i o n , t h e s u b j e c t e n t e r e d t h e p r i v a t e , i n t e r n a l l y l o c k e d room t o g e t h e r w i t h t h e female e x p e r i m e n t e r . W i t h t h e a i d o f diagrammed i n s t r u c t i o n s , s u b j e c t s were t o l d t o i n s e r t t h e p h o t o p l e t h y s m o g r a p h so as t o a l l o w a p p r o x i m a t e l y a 2.5 cm d i s t a n c e between t h e end o f t h e probe and t h e v a g i n a l o p e n i n g . The ph o t o p l e t h y s m o g r a p h was washed w i t h H i b i t a n e and s t e r i l i z e d f o r 10 hours i n C i d e x ( l o n g - l i f e a c t i v a t e d d i a l d e h y d e s o l u t i o n : S u r g i k o s e Canada, P e t e r b o r o u g h , O n t a r i o ) between u s e s . S u b j e c t s were i n f o r m e d o f t h e s e s t e r i l i z a t i o n p r o c e d u r e s , and t h e n i n s t r u c t e d as f o l l o w s : I w i l l be g i v i n g you s t e p by s t e p i n s t r u c t i o n s , v i a t h e i n t e r c o m system as we go a l o n g , but I ' l l a l s o e x p l a i n t o you now what w i l l t a k e p l a c e d u r i n g t h i s s e s s i o n . When I l e a v e t h e room, I'd l i k e you t o s i t i n t h i s c h a i r and i n s e r t t h e p h o t o p l e t h y s m o g r a p h . Once you a r e ready, p l e a s e say " r e a d y " . I w i l l be a b l e t o hear you v i a t h e i n t e r c o m system. At t h a t p o i n t , I'd l i k e you t o j u s t s i t back and r e l a x . You can r e c l i n e t h e c h a i r a l i t t l e and c o v e r y o u r s e l f w i t h t h i s b l a n k e t i f i t makes you f e e l more c o m f o r t a b l e . Once you a r e ready, I w i l l t a k e a 10 minute b a s e l i n e r e c o r d i n g . T h i s t ime p e r i o d i s n e c e s s a r y f o r t h e p h o t o p l e t h y s m o g r a p h t o adapt t o your body t e m p e r a t u r e . A f t e r t h e 10 minute b a s e l i n e p e r i o d , a s e r i e s o f s h o r t f i l m s w i l l b e g i n on t h e t e l e v i s i o n . They w i l l l a s t about 10 m i n u t e s . I t i s v e r y i m p o r t a n t t h a t you remain as s t i l l as p o s s i b l e d u r i n g t h e b a s e l i n e p e r i o d and e s p e c i a l l y d u r i n g t h e f i l m p r e s e n t a t i o n s . The p h o t o p l e t h y s m o g r a p h i s v e r y s e n s i t i v e and any movement makes i t v e r y h a r d t o r e a d t h e i n f o r m a t i o n . I m m e d i a t e l y a f t e r t h e f i l m s have ended, I ' d l i k e you t o f i l l out t h i s s h o r t q u e s t i o n n a i r e . P l e a s e be as honest as p o s s i b l e about how you f e e l about t h e f i l m s . Remember, e v e r y p e r s o n i s u n i q u e i n t h e i r r esponse and t h e r e a r e no r i g h t o r wrong answers. A l s o remember t h a t a l l i n f o r m a t i o n i s k e p t s t r i c t l y c o n f i d e n t i a l . F o l l o w i n g t h e 10 minute a d a p t a t i o n p e r i o d , s u b j e c t s v i e w e d one o f two v i d e o t a p e d sequences (the sequences were c o u n t e r b a l a n c e d a c r o s s s u b j e c t s and e x p e r i m e n t a l c o n d i t i o n s ) . Each sequence c o n s i s t e d o f a one-minute d i s p l a y o f t h e word relax, f o l l o w e d by a t h r e e - m i n u t e n e u t r a l t r a v e l o g u e f i l m , f o l l o w e d by a t h r e e - m i n u t e e r o t i c f i l m . I m m e d i a t e l y f o l l o w i n g t h e e r o t i c f i l m , s u b j e c t s were asked t o f i l l out t h e s u b j e c t i v e r a t i n g s c a l e . D u r i n g t h e e x e r c i s e s e s s i o n , t h e s u b j e c t e n t e r e d t h e p r i v a t e , i n t e r n a l l y l o c k e d room w i t h t h e female e x p e r i m e n t e r and c y c l e d f o r 20 m i n u tes on a Get F i t 200-11 s t a t i o n a r y b i c y c l e . The s u b j e c t s ' h e a r t r a t e was m o n i t o r e d c o n t i n u o u s l y u s i n g a H e a r t Speedometer model 8719 (Computer I n s t r u m e n t s Corp., Westbury N.Y.) and t h e w o r k l o a d was a d j u s t e d by t h e e x p e r i m e n t e r t h r o u g h o u t t h e 20 minutes t o ensure t h a t t h e s u b j e c t s c y c l e d a t a c o n s t a n t 70% o f t h e i r e s t i m a t e d V02 max. The e x e r c i s e p h y s i o l o g y l i t e r a t u r e has shown t h a t e x e r c i s i n g f o r 20 minutes at 70% o f V02 max i s s u f f i c i e n t t o e l i c i t s i g n i f i c a n t changes i n s y m p a t h e t i c nervous system a c t i v i t y (Grossman & M o r e t t i , 1986). In a d d i t i o n , by e n s u r i n g t h a t a l l s u b j e c t s e x e r c i s e d a t a c o n s t a n t 70% o f t h e i r e s t i m a t e d V02 max, confounds r e l a t i n g t o f i t n e s s l e v e l s were e l i m i n a t e d . R e s e a r c h i n d i c a t e s t h a t d i f f e r e n c e s i n p h y s i o l o g i c a l r e s p o n s e s r e s u l t i n g from v a r i a t i o n i n f i t n e s s l e v e l s a r e m i n i m i z e d when s u b j e c t s work a t e q u i v a l e n t l e v e l s o f t h e i r V02 max (Grossman & M o r e t t i , 1986). D u r i n g t h e f i r s t few m i n u tes o f c y c l i n g t i m e , t h e e x p e r i m e n t a l p r o c e d u r e s were r e p e a t e d . When one minute of c y c l i n g t i m e remained, t h e e x p e r i m e n t e r l e f t t h e room. W i t h t h e e x c e p t i o n o f 20 m i n u tes o f c y c l i n g , a l l e x p e r i m e n t a l p r o c e d u r e s were i d e n t i c a l t o t h o s e o f t h e n o - e x e r c i s e s e s s i o n . S u b j e c t s who would not be p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n experiment I I were t h o r o u g h l y d e b r i e f e d , i n f o r m e d about t h e a d d i t i o n a l p u r p o s e s and g o a l s o f t h e s t u d y , and g i v e n an o p p o r t u n i t y t o v i e w t h e r e c o r d s o f t h e i r v a g i n a l r e s p o n s e s . A l l s u b j e c t s were g i v e n p e r s o n a l f i t n e s s p r o f i l e s i n d i c a t i n g t h e i r l e v e l o f c a r d i o v a s c u l a r f i t n e s s as p e r Canadian F i t n e s s S t a n d a r d s . F i r s t y e a r p s y c h o l o g y s t u d e n t s were g i v e n t h r e e c r e d i t p o i n t s f o r t h e i r p a r t i c i p a t i o n . Data S a m p l i n g and R e d u c t i o n V a g i n a l P u l s e A m p l i t u d e . VPA was r e c o r d e d d u r i n g t h e e n t i r e n e u t r a l and e r o t i c f i l m sequences. The d a t a were hand s c o r e d from t h e p o l y g r a p h r e c o r d i n g s . F o r each e x p e r i m e n t a l c o n d i t i o n , an average peak t o peak a m p l i t u d e was computed f o r b o t h t h e n e u t r a l and e r o t i c f i l m s by summing t h e a m p l i t u d e s o f each peak d u r i n g t h e m i d d l e 20 seconds o f t h e n e u t r a l o r e r o t i c f i l m s t i m u l u s and d i v i d i n g by t h e number o f peaks p e r i n t e r v a l . P e r c e n t a g e a m p l i t u d e change was computed f o r each e x p e r i m e n t a l c o n d i t i o n by s u b t r a c t i n g t h e average VPA d u r i n g t h e n e u t r a l f i l m from t h e average VPA d u r i n g t h e e r o t i c f i l m m u l t i p l i e d by 100. Mean VPA s c o r e s were used i n t h e a n a l y s e s o f r e s p o n s e s between s t i m u l u s p r e s e n t a t i o n s w i t h i n c o n d i t i o n s . P e r c e n t a g e a m p l i t u d e change was u s e d f o r a l l o t h e r s t a t i s t i c a l a n a l y s e s . These s t a t i s t i c a l p r o c e d u r e s are comparable w i t h t h o s e o f M o r o k o f f and Heiman (1980). V a g i n a l B l o o d Volume. VBV was sampled a t a r a t e o f 5 t i m e s / s e c o n d d u r i n g t h e l a s t 80 seconds o f n e u t r a l f i l m , and d u r i n g t h e e n t i r e 180 seconds o f e r o t i c s t i m u l i (1,300 d a t a p o i n t s / s u b j e c t / c o n d i t i o n ) . The d a t a were measured as .00001 mV u n i t s o f VBV d e v i a t i o n from a b a s e l i n e r e f e r e n c e l e v e l d e f i n e d as t h e mean o f t h e l a s t 80 seconds o f t h e n e u t r a l s t i m u l u s . S c o r e s +/- 2 s d . o f each 10 second t i m e b l o c k mean were e l i m i n a t e d from t h e a n a l y s e s . T h i s p r o c e d u r e was used i n o r d e r t o c o n t r o l f o r p o t e n t i a l movement a r t i f a c t s . Mean VBV s c o r e s were used i n t h e a n a l y s e s o f responses between s t i m u l u s p r e s e n t a t i o n s w i t h i n c o n d i t i o n s . D e v i a t i o n s c o r e s , a v e r a g e d a c r o s s t h e e n t i r e 180 seconds o f e r o t i c s t i m u l i (900 d a t a p o i n t s / s u b j e c t / c o n d i t i o n ) , were used f o r a l l o t h e r s t a t i s t i c a l a n a l y s e s . H e a r t R a t e . H e a r t r a t e was s c o r e d from t h e VPA p o l y g r a p h r e c o r d by c o u n t i n g t h e number o f b e a t s p e r minute. The e n t i r e 180 seconds o f n e u t r a l and 180 seconds o f e r o t i c f i l m were s c o r e d t o y i e l d 20 measures (bpm) f o r each s u b j e c t p e r e x p e r i m e n t a l c o n d i t i o n . R e s u l t s A n a l y s e s o f t h e V a l i d i t y o f E r o t i c S t i m u l i In o r d e r t o v e r i f y t h a t t h e e r o t i c f i l m s caused a s i g n i f i c a n t i n c r e a s e i n VBV r e s p o n d i n g , VBV re s p o n s e s a v e r a g e d a c r o s s t h e e n t i r e 180 seconds o f e r o t i c s t i m u l i ( n o - e x e r c i s e , Mean=.0 68; e x e r c i s e , Mean=2.98 6) were compared t o b a s e l i n e VBV l e v e l s a v e r a g e d a c r o s s t h e l a s t 80 seconds o f n e u t r a l s t i m u l i ( n o - e x e r c i s e , Mean=-1.39; e x e r c i s e Mean=.043). A n a l y s e s r e v e a l e d t h a t t h e e r o t i c f i l m s caused a s i g n i f i c a n t i n c r e a s e i n VBV i n b o t h t h e n o - e x e r c i s e , t ( 24)=3.78, p=.001, and e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n s , t(24)=4.44, p<.001. S i m i l a r a n a l y s e s were c o n d u c t e d w i t h VPA s c o r e s . Mean VPA s c o r e s , a v e r a g e d a c r o s s t h e mid 20 seconds o f n e u t r a l s t i m u l i ( n o - e x e r c i s e , Mean=10.609; e x e r c i s e . Mean=7.414) were compared w i t h mean VPA s c o r e s averaged a c r o s s t h e mid 20 seconds o f e r o t i c s t i m u l i ( n o - e x e r c i s e , Mean=16.133; e x e r c i s e , Mean=17.536). A n a l y s e s r e v e a l e d t h a t t h e e r o t i c f i l m s caused a s i g n i f i c a n t i n c r e a s e i n p u l s e a m p l i t u d e i n b o t h t h e n o - e x e r c i s e , t(24)=5.89, p<.001, and e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n s , t(24)=6.89, p<.001. These r e s u l t s i n d i c a t e t h a t t h e e x p e r i m e n t a l s t i m u l i were e f f e c t i v e i n m a n i p u l a t i n g s e x u a l a r o u s a l . A n a l y s e s o f Order E f f e c t s A n a l y s e s were c o n d u c t e d on a l l p h y s i o l o g i c a l and s u b j e c t i v e measures r e c o r d e d d u r i n g b o t h t h e e x e r c i s e and n o - e x e r c i s e s e s s i o n s i n o r d e r t o d e t e r m i n e whether t h e o r d e r o f p r e s e n t a t i o n o f e x p e r i m e n t a l c o n d i t i o n s had i n f l u e n c e d t h e r e s u l t s . The d a t a i n d i c a t e t h e r e were no s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s a t t r i b u t a b l e t o t h e o r d e r o f p r e s e n t a t i o n (VPA n o - e x e r c i s e , t ( 2 3 ) = . 3 8 , p=.711; VPA e x e r c i s e , t (23)=.51, p=.613; VBV n o - e x e r c i s e , t ( 2 3 ) = . 6 1 , p=.546; VBV e x e r c i s e , t ( 2 3 ) = . 3 1 , p=.lbl; s u b j e c t i v e s e x u a l a r o u s a l (SSA) no-e x e r c i s e , t ( 2 3 ) = . 3 5 , p=.728; SSA e x e r c i s e , t(23)=.95, p=.352; autonomic a r o u s a l (AA) n o - e x e r c i s e , t(23)=.43, p=.614; AA e x e r c i s e , t ( 2 3 ) = . 1 5 , p=.882; p o s i t i v e a f f e c t (PA) n o - e x e r c i s e , t(23)=1.18, p=.249; PA e x e r c i s e t(23)=.87, p=.394; n e g a t i v e a f f e c t (NA) n o - e x e r c i s e t(23)=2.60, p=.02; NA e x e r c i s e t ( 2 3 ) = . 5 4 , p=.597). A n a l y s e s o f t h e C o n t r o l f o r F i t n e s s L e v e l s I n o r d e r t o v e r i f y t h a t v a r i a t i o n s i n i n d i v i d u a l f i t n e s s l e v e l s d i d not i n f l u e n c e l e v e l s o f p h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l r e s p o n d i n g d u r i n g t h e e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n s , c o r r e l a t i o n a l a n a l y s e s were c a l c u l a t e d between f i t n e s s l e v e l s (as i n d i c a t e d by V02 max s c o r e s ) and mean VBV d e v i a t i o n s c o r e s , and between f i t n e s s l e v e l s and mean p e r c e n t a g e change i n p u l s e a m p l i t u d e s c o r e s . There were no s i g n i f i c a n t c o r r e l a t i o n s between f i t n e s s l e v e l s and VPA r e s p o n s e s r(25)=.126, p=.274, or between f i t n e s s l e v e l s and VBV r e s p o n s e s r(25)=.025, p=.452. These r e s u l t s i n d i c a t e t h a t i n d i v i d u a l v a r i a t i o n s i n p h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l r e s p o n s e s cannot be a t t r i b u t e d t o v a r i a t i o n s i n f i t n e s s l e v e l s . A n a l y s e s o f P h y s i o l o g i c a l S e x u a l A r o u s a l V a g i n a l P u l s e A m p l i t u d e . P e r c e n t a g e changes i n VPA between e r o t i c s t i m u l i and n e u t r a l s t i m u l i were compared between n o - e x e r c i s e and e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n s . Mean p e r c e n t a g e change s c o r e s a r e p r e s e n t e d i n F i g . 1. A n a l y s e s r e v e a l e d a s i g n i f i c a n t i n c r e a s e i n VPA d u r i n g t h e e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n , t(24)=4.56, p<.001. V a g i n a l B l o o d Volume. D e v i a t i o n s c o r e s i n VBV between e r o t i c s t i m u l i and n e u t r a l s t i m u l i were compared between no-e x e r c i s e and e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n s . Mean d e v i a t i o n s c o r e s a re p r e s e n t e d i n F i g . 2. A n a l y s e s o f t h e s e d a t a showed a s i g n i f i c a n t i n c r e a s e i n VBV d u r i n g t h e e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n , t ( 2 4 ) = 1 . 7 1 , p=.05 ( o n e - t a i l e d ) . A n a l y s e s o f H e a r t Rate A 2x2x10 ( C o n d i t i o n x S t i m u l u s x Time) r e p e a t e d measures ANOVA was computed t o i n v e s t i g a t e t h e e f f e c t s o f e x e r c i s e and e r o t i c s t i m u l i on h e a r t r a t e . R e s u l t s i n d i c a t e < 200 1 • No Exercise (neutral-erotic) ^ Exercise (neutral-erotic) • Exercise Control (neutral-neutral) Figure 1. Mean percentage change in vaginal pulse amplitude (mm of pen deflection) ± S.E.M. between stimulus presentations during the No-Exercise (neutral-erotic) condition in experiment I, the Exercise (neutral-erotic) condition in experiment I, and the Exercise (neutral-neutral) condition in experiment II. 4> C • No Exercise (neutral-erotic) ^ Exercise (neutral-erotic) • Exercise Control (neutral-neutral) Figure 2. Mean vaginal blood volume (mV deviation from baseline averaged across 900 data points/subject) ± S.E.M. during the No-Exercise (neutral-erotic) condition in experiment I, the Exercise (neutral-erotic) condition in experi-ment I, and the Exercise (neutral-neutral) condition in experiment II. a s i g n i f i c a n t i n c r e a s e i n h e a r t r a t e d u r i n g t h e e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n , F ( l , 24)=54.09, p<.001. No d i f f e r e n c e i n h e a r t r a t e was found between n e u t r a l and e r o t i c f i l m s , F ( l , 2 4 ) = 3 . 0 3 , p=.094, o r a c r o s s t i m e , F ( 9 , 216)=.85, p=.567. These r e s u l t s s u ggest t h a t e x e r c i s e , but not t h e e r o t i c f i l m s , c a u s ed a s i g n i f i c a n t change i n s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n . A n a l y s e s o f S u b j e c t i v e Measures S u b j e c t i v e S e x u a l A r o u s a l . R a t i n g s o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l , i n r e s p o n s e t o e r o t i c s t i m u l i , were compared between t h e no-e x e r c i s e and e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n s . Mean s u b j e c t i v e r a t i n g s a r e p r e s e n t e d i n F i g . 3 . A n a l y s e s r e v e a l e d no s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e between t h e n o - e x e r c i s e and e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n s , t ( 24)=1.01, p=.320. These s u b j e c t i v e r a t i n g s a r e not c o n s i s t e n t w i t h p h y s i o l o g i c a l measures o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l w h i c h i n d i c a t e s i g n i f i c a n t l y h i g h e r l e v e l s o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n response t o e r o t i c s t i m u l i d u r i n g t h e e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n . S u b j e c t i v e Autonomic A r o u s a l . S u b j e c t i v e p e r c e p t i o n s o f autonomic a r o u s a l i n response t o e r o t i c s t i m u l i were compared between t h e n o - e x e r c i s e and e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n s . Mean s u b j e c t i v e r a t i n g s a r e p r e s e n t e d i n F i g . 3 . A n a l y s e s r e v e a l e d no s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e i n s u b j e c t i v e r a t i n g s o f autonomic a r o u s a l , i n response t o e r o t i c s t i m u l i , between t h e n o - e x e r c i s e and e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n s , t(24)=.84, p=.412. These s u b j e c t i v e r a t i n g s p a r a l l e l p h y s i o l o g i c a l measures o f h e a r t r a t e w h i c h a l s o i n d i c a t e no change i n autonomic a r o u s a l w i t h t h e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f e r o t i c s t i m u l i . A f f e c t i v e Response. P o s i t i v e and n e g a t i v e a f f e c t i v e r e s p o n s e s t o e r o t i c s t i m u l i were a n a l y z e d s e p a r a t e l y between the n o - e x e r c i s e and e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n s . Mean s u b j e c t i v e r a t i n g s o f p o s i t i v e and n e g a t i v e a f f e c t a re p r e s e n t e d i n F i g . 3. There were no s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s i n p o s i t i v e a f f e c t , t ( 2 4 ) = . 3 3 , p=.741, or n e g a t i v e a f f e c t , t(24)=.42, p=.682 between t h e n o - e x e r c i s e and e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n s . These f i n d i n g s i m p l y t h a t s u b j e c t i v e r a t i n g s o f b o t h p o s i t i v e and n e g a t i v e a f f e c t i n r e s p o n s e t o e r o t i c s t i m u l i were u n a l t e r e d w i t h e x p o sure t o e x e r c i s e . A n a l y s e s o f t h e R e l a t i o n s h i p Between VBV and VPA Responses I n o r d e r t o d e t e r m i n e t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p between VBV and VPA r e s p o n s e s , P e a r s o n product-moment c o r r e l a t i o n c o e f f i c i e n t s were c a l c u l a t e d f o r b o t h t h e e x e r c i s e and no-e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n s . A n a l y s e s r e v e a l e d no s i g n i f i c a n t c o r r e l a t i o n between VBV and VPA d u r i n g t h e n o - e x e r c i s e , r ( 25)=.242, p=.122, o r e x e r c i s e , r(25)=-.063, p=.383, c o n d i t i o n s . A n a l y s e s o f t h e R e l a t i o n s h i p Between P h y s i o l o g i c a l and S u b j e c t i v e Responses P e a r s o n product-moment c o r r e l a t i o n c o e f f i c i e n t s were c a l c u l a t e d s e p a r a t e l y f o r each e x p e r i m e n t a l c o n d i t i o n i n o r d e r t o i n v e s t i g a t e t h e degree o f a s s o c i a t i o n between p h y s i o l o g i c a l and s u b j e c t i v e r a t i n g s o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l . There were no s i g n i f i c a n t c o r r e l a t i o n s between VPA and Sexual Arousal Autonomic Arousal Positive Affect Negative Affect Figure 3. Mean subjective ratings ± S.E.M. of subjective arousal, autonomic arousal, positive affect, and negative affect during No-Exercise (neutral-erotic) condition in experiment I, the Exercise (neutral-erotic) condition in experi-ment I, and the Exercise (neutral-neutral) condition in experiment II. s u b j e c t i v e r a t i n g s d u r i n g t h e n o - e x e r c i s e , r(25)=.018, p=.465, o r e x e r c i s e r(25)=-.033, p=.437, c o n d i t i o n s , or between VBV and s u b j e c t i v e r a t i n g s d u r i n g t h e n o - e x e r c i s e , r (25)=-.09, p=.336, o r e x e r c i s e , r(25)=.19, p=.182, c o n d i t i o n s . D i s c u s s i o n The r e s u l t s r e v e a l i n c r e a s e s i n b o t h VPA and VBV w i t h t h e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f e r o t i c s t i m u l i . T h i s i n d i c a t e s t h a t t h e e x p e r i m e n t a l s t i m u l i were s u c c e s s f u l i n a l t e r i n g p h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l a r o u s a l . A n a l y s e s o f h e a r t r a t e showed s i g n i f i c a n t l y h i g h e r h e a r t r a t e l e v e l s t h r o u g h o u t t h e f i l m p r e s e n t a t i o n s d u r i n g t h e e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n . T h i s i n d i c a t e s t h a t c y c l i n g f o r 20 m i n u t e s a t 70% o f V02 max was s u f f i c i e n t t o e l i c i t s i g n i f i c a n t s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v i t y . The absence of a c o r r e l a t i o n between f i t n e s s l e v e l s and p h y s i o l o g i c a l measures o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n d i c a t e s t h a t e x e r c i s i n g s u b j e c t s a t r e l a t i v e , as opposed t o a b s o l u t e , work l o a d s e l i m i n a t e d any p o t e n t i a l confounds r e l a t i n g t o v a r i a t i o n s i n f i t n e s s l e v e l s . A n a l y s e s o f o r d e r e f f e c t s r e v e a l e d t h a t t h e o r d e r o f p r e s e n t a t i o n o f e x p e r i m e n t a l c o n d i t i o n s d i d not i n f l u e n c e s u b j e c t i v e o r p h y s i o l o g i c a l measures o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l . I n o t h e r words, f a m i l i a r i t y w i t h t h e e x p e r i m e n t a l p r o c e d u r e s and/or w i t h v i e w i n g an e r o t i c f i l m , d i d not i n f l u e n c e s u b j e c t s ' r e s p o n s e s . C l e a r l y , t h e e x p e r i m e n t a l m a n i p u l a t i o n s and c o n t r o l s were e f f e c t i v e . The f i n d i n g t h a t both VPA and VBV responses to e r o t i c s t i m u l i were s i g n i f i c a n t l y higher during the e x e r c i s e versus no-exercise c o n d i t i o n provides strong support t h a t acute e x e r c i s e f a c i l i t a t e s sexual arousal i n women. I n t e r e s t i n g l y , VPA measures revealed a much stronger e f f e c t and l e s s v a r i a b i l i t y than VBV measures. Furthermore, r e s u l t s r e v e a l e d a l a c k of c o r r e l a t i o n between s u b j e c t s ' VPA and VBV responses. This i s the f i r s t study to t e s t the e f f e c t s of acute e x e r c i s e on VBV and VPA measures of sexual arousal hence, d i r e c t comparisons w i t h previous research cannot be made. Comparisons can, however, be made between the r e s u l t s of the no-exercise c o n d i t i o n and research which has examined the e f f e c t s of e r o t i c s t i m u l i on VBV and VPA measures and, i n d i r e c t comparisons can be made between the r e s u l t s of the ex e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n and research which has looked at the e f f e c t s of a n x i e t y on these measures. Data from the present study i n d i c a t e a 62% increase i n VPA w i t h the p r e s e n t a t i o n of e r o t i c s t i m u l i . This f i n d i n g i s c o n s i s t e n t w i t h previous research conducted i n a n o n c l i n i c a l sample (Morokoff & Heiman, 1980) which showed a 63% increase i n VPA wit h exposure t o an e r o t i c f i l m . ^ There have been no s t u d i e s , to my knowledge, which have looked at VPA responses t o anxiety s t i m u l i . With respect to VBV measures, data from t h i s study r e v e a l an average 1.5 m i l l i v o l t s d e v i a t i o n from b a s e l i n e w i t h the p r e s e n t a t i o n of e r o t i c s t i m u l i . This f i n d i n g i s lower than t h a t reported by Palace and Gorzalka (1990), who found an average 2.1 m i l l i v o l t s deviation from baseline using the same e r o t i c s t i m u l i . Data from the exercise condition revealed an average 2.9 m i l l i v o l t s deviation from baseline with the presentation of e r o t i c s t i m u l i . Again, the magnitude of t h i s e f f e c t i s somewhat lower than that reported by Palace and Gorzalka (1990) which indicated an average 3.4 m i l l i v o l t s deviation from baseline with the presentation of an anxiety followed by an e r o t i c f i l m . Based on the above comparisons, subjects used i n the present study appear to be comparable to those used i n previous research i n t h e i r VPA responses to e r o t i c s t i m u l i . With respect to t h e i r VBV responses, i t appears that they may have demonstrated a t y p i c a l l y low leve l s for a n o n c l i n i c a l sample. I f so, t h i s may help to explain why VPA responses during the exercise versus no-exercise condition were s i g n i f i c a n t at p<.001, while VBV responses to acute exercise were s i g n i f i c a n t at p=.05 (one-tailed). However, i t i s also possible that the subjects used i n the Palace and Gorzalka study (1990) demonstrated a t y p i c a l l y high lev e l s of VBV responses i n which case comparisons with t h i s study cannot be made. A second possible reason why VPA measures showed a much stronger e f f e c t than VBV measures relates to methodological issues concerning the photoplethysmograph. Research indicates that the dc signal, used i n the measurement of VBV, i s more l i k e l y affected by temperature confounds than the ac signal used i n the measurement of VPA (Beck e t a l , 1983). I t i s p o s s i b l e t h a t e x e r c i s e caused f l u c t u a t i o n s i n body t e m p e r a t u r e w h i c h i n f l u e n c e d t h e VBV but not t h e VPA r e s p o n s e . Changes i n body t e m p e r a t u r e may a l s o h e l p t o e x p l a i n t h e i n c r e a s e i n VBV v a r i a b i l i t y d u r i n g t h e e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n . The d i s c r e p a n c y between VPA and VBV responses i s c o n s i s t e n t w i t h p r e v i o u s r e s e a r c h t h a t has shown a l a c k o f c o r r e l a t i o n between t h e s e two measures (Zingheim & Sandman, 1978; Rosen & Beck, 1988). The r e a s o n f o r t h i s d i s c r e p a n c y remains open t o s p e c u l a t i o n . One p o s s i b i l i t y i s t h a t VPA i s a more s e n s i t i v e i n d i c a t o r o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n women. T h i s s u g g e s t i o n i s c o n s i s t e n t w i t h a s s e r t i o n s made by Geer e t a l . ( 1 9 7 4 ) , Heiman (1977), and Osborn and P o l l a c k (1977). One must keep i n mind, however, t h a t i t i s q u e s t i o n a b l e whether VPA and VBV r e s p o n s e s can be r e l i a b l y compared, g i v e n t h a t t h e y r e f l e c t d i f f e r e n t a s p e c t s o f t h e v a s o c o n g e s t i v e r e s p o n s e and a r e sampled and a n a l y s e d d i f f e r e n t l y , Data i n d i c a t e h i g h e r l e v e l s o f p h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n r e s p o n s e t o e r o t i c s t i m u l i d u r i n g t h e e x e r c i s e v e r s u s n o - e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n . D e s p i t e t h i s f i n d i n g , t h e r e were no d i f f e r e n c e s i n s e l f - r e p o r t e d l e v e l s o f a r o u s a l between t h e s e c o n d i t i o n s . F u r t h e r m o r e , t h e r e was a l a c k o f c o r r e l a t i o n between s u b j e c t s ' p h y s i o l o g i c a l and s u b j e c t i v e r a t i n g s o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l . I n o t h e r words, s u b j e c t s were e i t h e r u n a b l e t o d e t e c t and/or u n w i l l i n g t o r e p o r t h i g h e r l e v e l s o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n response t o e r o t i c s t i m u l i d u r i n g t h e e x e r c i s e v e r s u s n o - e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n . T h i s i s c o n s i s t e n t w i t h o t h e r r e s e a r c h t h a t has demonstrated desynchrony between s u b j e c t i v e and p h y s i o l o g i c a l components of t h e female s e x u a l r e s p o n s e (Heiman e t a l . , 1991; M o r o k o f f & Heiman, 1980; P a l a c e & G o r z a l k a , 1990;1992; Steinman e t a l . , 1981; Wincze e t a l . , 1976). EXPERIMENT I I Method S u b j e c t s P r i o r t o t h e d e b r i e f i n g i n experiment I , s u b j e c t s were asked i f t h e y were w i l l i n g t o t a k e p a r t i n a n o t h e r e x p e r i m e n t a l s e s s i o n . Ten o f t h e 25 women who p a r t i c i p a t e d i n e x p e r i m e n t I a g r e e d t o t a k e p a r t (Mean age = 25 y e a r s , range = 19-34 y e a r s ) . F i v e o f t h e s u b j e c t s were gra d u a t e s t u d e n t s i n p s y c h o l o g y , two were f i r s t o r second y e a r p s y c h o l o g y s t u d e n t s , and t h r e e were g r a d u a t e o r u n d e r g r a d u a t e s t u d e n t s i n d i s c i p l i n e s o t h e r t h a n p s y c h o l o g y . P a r t i c i p a t i o n was s t r i c t l y v o l u n t a r y ; no i n c e n t i v e s were o f f e r e d . A p p a r a t u s and M a t e r i a l s The f i l m s t i m u l i c o n s i s t e d o f a one-minute d i s p l a y o f t h e word relax; f o l l o w e d by a t h r e e - m i n u t e n o v e l , n e u t r a l t r a v e l o g u e f i l m ; f o l l o w e d by a second, n o v e l , t h r e e - m i n u t e n e u t r a l t r a v e l o g u e f i l m . A l l s u b j e c t i v e and p h y s i o l o g i c a l measurements were i d e n t i c a l t o t h o s e used i n e x p e r i m e n t I . E x p e r i m e n t a l D e s i g n A w i t h i n s u b j e c t r e p e a t e d measures d e s i g n was used i n which each s u b j e c t v i e w e d two n e u t r a l t r a v e l o g u e sequences. P r o c e d u r e The p r o c e d u r e was i d e n t i c a l t o t h a t used i n t h e e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n i n experiment I w i t h t h e e x c e p t i o n o f t h e f i l m s t i m u l u s w h i c h c o n s i s t e d o f a one-minute d i s p l a y o f t h e word r e l a x , f o l l o w e d by two c o n s e c u t i v e t h r e e - m i n u t e n e u t r a l t r a v e l o g u e sequences. Data S a m p l i n g and R e d u c t i o n Data s a m p l i n g and r e d u c t i o n p r o c e d u r e s were i d e n t i c a l t o t h o s e used i n e x p e r i m e n t I . R e s u l t s A n a l y s e s o f P h y s i o l o g i c a l S e x u a l A r o u s a l V a g i n a l P u l s e A m p l i t u d e . VPA s c o r e s were averaged a c r o s s t h e mid 20 seconds o f each o f t h e two n e u t r a l s t i m u l i . No s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e i n VPA re s p o n s e s between t h e two n e u t r a l s t i m u l i was r e v e a l e d , t ( 9 ) = . 2 2 , p=.829. V a g i n a l B l o o d Volume. VBV r e s p o n s e s were averaged a c r o s s t h e l a s t 80 seconds o f t h e f i r s t n e u t r a l t r a v e l o g u e sequence and compared t o t h e mean VBV response averaged a c r o s s t h e e n t i r e 180 seconds o f t h e second t r a v e l o g u e sequence. A n a l y s e s r e v e a l e d no s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e i n VBV r e s p o n s e s between n e u t r a l s t i m u l i , t ( 9)=.28, p=.788. A n a l y s e s o f H e a r t Rate A one-way r e p e a t e d measures ANOVA was computed t o i n v e s t i g a t e t h e e f f e c t s o f f i l m change and time on h e a r t r a t e . R e s u l t s i n d i c a t e d no d i f f e r e n c e i n h e a r t r a t e w i t h t h e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f a n o v e l s t i m u l u s F ( l , 9 ) = . 0 2 , p=.882, o r a c r o s s t i m e , F(9,81)=.82, p=.598. A n a l y s e s o f t h e V a l i d i t y o f VPA Scores i n Experiment I A n a l y s e s were c o n d u c t e d i n o r d e r t o v e r i f y t h a t t h e h i g h e r l e v e l s o f VPA d u r i n g t h e e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n ( r e p o r t e d i n e x p e r i m e n t I) were not a t t r i b u t a b l e t o d i f f e r e n c e s i n b a s e l i n e l e v e l s between t h e n o - e x e r c i s e and e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n s . A one-way r e p e a t e d measures ANOVA was computed between average VPA s c o r e s d u r i n g t h e n e u t r a l segments o f th e e x e r c i s e and n o - e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n s i n experiment I and t h e f i r s t n e u t r a l sequence i n expe r i m e n t I I (mean VPA s c o r e s : 7.28, 9.36, 8.90, r e s p e c t i v e l y ) . A n a l y s e s r e v e a l e d no s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e i n VPA between n e u t r a l f i l m s , F(2,18)=1.3, p=.296. T h i s s u g g e s t s t h a t e x e r c i s e p e r se had no e f f e c t on VPA d u r i n g p r e s e n t a t i o n o f n e u t r a l f i l m s . A n a l y s e s o f t h e V a l i d i t y o f P h y s i o l o g i c a l Measurements A n a l y s e s o f h e a r t r a t e r e v e a l t h a t e x e r c i s e caused a s i g n i f i c a n t i n c r e a s e i n autonomic a r o u s a l i n b o t h t h e e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n i n ex p e r i m e n t I , F(l , 2 4 ) = 5 4 . 0 9 , p<.001, and t h e e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n i n exp e r i m e n t I I , F ( l , 9 ) = 1 2 . 7 6 , p=.006. A n a l y s e s o f p h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n d i c a t e t h a t b o t h VPA, t(24)=6.89, p<.001, and VBV, t(24)=4.44, p<.001, were i n c r e a s e d w i t h t h e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f e r o t i c s t i m u l i d u r i n g t h e e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n i n experiment I . N e i t h e r VPA, t ( 9 ) = . 2 2 , p=.829, nor VBV, t(9)=.28, p=.788 were i n c r e a s e d w i t h t h e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f t h e second n e u t r a l s t i m u l u s d u r i n g t h e e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n i n experiment I I . In o t h e r words, e x e r c i s e a l o n e , w i t h o u t t h e p r e s e n c e o f e r o t i c s t i m u l i , was s u f f i c i e n t t o i n c r e a s e autonomic a r o u s a l but not s e x u a l a r o u s a l . These d a t a i n d i c a t e t h a t t h e p h o t o p l e t h y s m o g r a p h d i f f e r e n t i a t e d p h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l a r o u s a l from g e n e r a l i z e d autonomic a r o u s a l . A n a l y s e s o f S u b j e c t i v e Measures S u b j e c t i v e S e x u a l A r o u s a l . R a t i n g s o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n r e s p o n s e t o e r o t i c s t i m u l i d u r i n g t h e e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n i n e x p e r i m e n t I were compared t o r a t i n g s o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n r e s p o n s e t o n e u t r a l s t i m u l i d u r i n g t h e e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n i n e x p e r i m e n t I I . Mean s u b j e c t i v e r a t i n g s a r e p r e s e n t e d i n F i g . 3 . A n a l y s e s r e v e a l e d t h a t r e p o r t s o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n res p o n s e t o e r o t i c s t i m u l i were s i g n i f i c a n t l y h i g h e r t h a n i n res p o n s e t o n e u t r a l s t i m u l i , t(9)=4.20, p=.002. These s u b j e c t i v e r e p o r t s a re c o n s i s t e n t w i t h p h y s i o l o g i c a l measures w h i c h i n d i c a t e h i g h e r l e v e l s o f s e x u a l r e s p o n s e d u r i n g t h e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f e r o t i c v e r s u s n e u t r a l s t i m u l i . S u b j e c t i v e Autonomic A r o u s a l . S u b j e c t i v e p e r c e p t i o n s o f autonomic a r o u s a l were compared between t h e two e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n s . Mean s u b j e c t i v e r a t i n g s a r e p r e s e n t e d i n F i g . 3 . S u b j e c t s r e p o r t e d s i g n i f i c a n t l y h i g h e r l e v e l s o f autonomic a r o u s a l i n re s p o n s e t o e r o t i c s t i m u l i i n exp e r i m e n t I t h a n i n r e s p onse t o n e u t r a l s t i m u l i i n ex p e r i m e n t I I , t (9)=3.48, p=.007. These s u b j e c t i v e r a t i n g s do not p a r a l l e l p h y s i o l o g i c a l measures o f h e a r t r a t e w h i c h r e v e a l e d no change i n autonomic a r o u s a l w i t h e i t h e r t h e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f e r o t i c s t i m u l i i n experiment I o r t h e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f n e u t r a l s t i m u l i i n experiment I I . A f f e c t i v e Response. P o s i t i v e and n e g a t i v e a f f e c t i v e r e s p o n s e s t o f i l m s t i m u l i were a n a l y s e d s e p a r a t e l y between t h e two e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n s . Mean s u b j e c t i v e r a t i n g s o f p o s i t i v e and n e g a t i v e a f f e c t a r e p r e s e n t e d i n F i g . 3. S u b j e c t s r e p o r t e d s i g n i f i c a n t l y h i g h e r l e v e l s o f p o s i t i v e a f f e c t i n r e s p o n s e t o t h e e r o t i c s t i m u l i i n experiment I t h a n i n r e s p o n s e t o t h e n e u t r a l s t i m u l i i n experiment I I , t (9)=3.24, p=.01. There were no s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s i n r a t i n g s o f n e g a t i v e a f f e c t w i t h t h e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f e r o t i c v e r s u s n e u t r a l s t i m u l i , t ( 9 ) = . 7 7 , p=.46. These f i n d i n g s i m p l y t h a t s u b j e c t i v e r a t i n g s o f p o s i t i v e a f f e c t were i n c r e a s e d w i t h t h e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f e r o t i c s t i m u l i w h i l e s u b j e c t i v e r a t i n g s o f n e g a t i v e a f f e c t were u n a l t e r e d . D i s c u s s i o n VPA and VBV r e s p o n s e s remained unchanged w i t h t h e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f t h e second n e u t r a l f i l m . T h i s f i n d i n g t e n d s t o c o n f i r m t h a t t h e i n c r e a s e s i n VPA and VBV re s p o n s e s t o e r o t i c s t i m u l i ( r e p o r t e d i n e x p e r i m e n t I) can be a t t r i b u t e d t o t h e s e x u a l c o n t e n t o f t h e f i l m . I f , i n s t e a d , t h e i n c r e a s e s i n VBV and VPA were s i m p l y a r e s u l t o f t h e passage of t i m e or an o r i e n t i n g r e f l e x r e s u l t i n g from t h e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f a n o v e l s t i m u l u s , one would e x p e c t a change i n VBV and VPA d u r i n g p r e s e n t a t i o n o f t h e second n e u t r a l s t i m u l u s . E x e r c i s e d i d not i n f l u e n c e VPA r e s p o n s e s t o t h e n e u t r a l f i l m segments i n e i t h e r e x p e r i m e n t I o r e xperiment I I . T h i s f i n d i n g has s e v e r a l i m p l i c a t i o n s . F i r s t , t h e f a c t t h a t t h e r e were no s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s i n VPA r e s p o n s e s t o n e u t r a l s t i m u l i a c r o s s c o n d i t i o n s r u l e s out t h e p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t t h e h i g h e r l e v e l s o f VPA r e s p o n s e s t o e r o t i c s t i m u l i d u r i n g t h e e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n i n e x p e r i m e n t I were a t t r i b u t a b l e t o d i f f e r e n t b a s e l i n e measurements between e x e r c i s e and n o - e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n s . I n o t h e r words, t h i s f i n d i n g h e l p s t o v e r i f y t h e VPA r e s u l t s r e p o r t e d i n e x periment I . Second, t h e f a c t t h a t e x e r c i s e d i d not i n c r e a s e VPA r e s p o n s e s t o n e u t r a l s t i m u l i i n d i c a t e s t h a t t h e h i g h e r l e v e l s o f VPA i n r e s p o n s e t o e r o t i c s t i m u l i d u r i n g t h e e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n r e p r e s e n t a p u r e l y s e x u a l r e s p o n s e . I f t h e h i g h e r l e v e l s o f VPA were a t t r i b u t a b l e t o o t h e r "non s e x u a l " c a r d i o v a s c u l a r or hormonal r e s p o n s e s t o e x e r c i s e , one would a l s o e x p e c t h i g h e r l e v e l s o f VPA i n response t o n e u t r a l s t i m u l i d u r i n g t h e e x e r c i s e v e r s u s n o - e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n s . L a s t l y , and most i m p o r t a n t l y , t h e f a c t t h a t VPA was not i n c r e a s e d d u r i n g t h e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f n e u t r a l s t i m u l i i n d i c a t e s t h a t i n t h e absence o f e r o t i c s t i m u l i , e x e r c i s e d i d not i n c r e a s e VPA. I n o t h e r words, s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n a l o n e does not enhance p h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l a r o u s a l . T h i s f i n d i n g i l l u s t r a t e s t h e complex i n t e r p l a y between c o g n i t i v e and p h y s i o l o g i c a l components o f t h e s e x u a l r e s p o n s e . The f i n d i n g t h a t s u b j e c t s r e p o r t e d h i g h e r l e v e l s o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l w i t h exposure t o e x e r c i s e i n experiment I t h a n i n e x p e r i m e n t I I i n d i c a t e s t h a t s u b j e c t s were a b l e t o d e t e c t and/or w i l l i n g t o r e p o r t i n c r e a s e s i n s e x u a l a r o u s a l w i t h e x p o sure t o e r o t i c s t i m u l i . In c o n t r a s t t o experiment I, t h e s u b j e c t s ' r e p o r t s o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l were i n synchrony w i t h t h e i r p h y s i o l o g i c a l r e s p o n s e s . GENERAL DISCUSSION The r e s u l t s o f t h i s s t u d y i n d i c a t e t h a t a c t i v a t i o n o f t h e s y m p a t h e t i c nervous system v i a p h y s i c a l a c t i v i t y enhances p h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n women. These e f f e c t s i n c l u d e an i n c r e a s e i n b o t h v a g i n a l p u l s e a m p l i t u d e and v a g i n a l b l o o d volume. D e s p i t e i n c r e a s e d p h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l r e s p o n s e s , e x e r c i s e d i d not a l t e r s u b j e c t i v e r e p o r t s o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l . These f i n d i n g s h o l d b o t h t h e o r e t i c a l and p r a c t i c a l i m p l i c a t i o n s . A n x i e t y Enhances S e x u a l A r o u s a l v i a S y m p a t h e t i c A c t i v a t i o n The f i n d i n g s from t h i s s t u d y p r o v i d e a p o s s i b l e e x p l a n a t i o n f o r t h e e f f e c t s o f a n x i e t y upon female s e x u a l a r o u s a l . S e v e r a l s t u d i e s i n b o t h men and women have d e m o n s t r a t e d t h a t a n x i e t y i n c r e a s e s p h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l a r o u s a l (e.g. Hoon e t a l . , 1977; P a l a c e & G o r z a l k a , 1990). In t h e s e s t u d i e s , a n x i e t y was i n d u c e d by e x p o s i n g s u b j e c t s t o s t i m u l i s uch as shock t h r e a t s o r f i l m s d e p i c t i n g e v e n t s such as t h r e a t e n e d a m p u t a t i o n . I n a d d i t i o n t o enh a n c i n g s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v i t y , t h e s e s t i m u l i u n d o u b t e d l y a l t e r e d c o g n i t i o n s . Thus, i t i s d i f f i c u l t t o det e r m i n e t o what e x t e n t t h e f i n d i n g s were a t t r i b u t a b l e t o p h y s i o l o g i c a l , v e r s u s c o g n i t i v e , f a c t o r s . I n t h e p r e s e n t s t u d y , t h e p h y s i o l o g i c a l component o f a n x i e t y was s i m u l a t e d , u s i n g a c u t e e x e r c i s e , w i t h o u t a l t e r i n g c o g n i t i o n s . The a s s e r t i o n t h a t c o g n i t i o n s were n ot a l t e r e d w i t h exposure t o e x e r c i s e i s s u p p o r t e d by t h e f a c t t h a t no d i f f e r e n c e s were r e p o r t e d between s u b j e c t i v e r a t i n g s o f p o s i t i v e a f f e c t , n e g a t i v e a f f e c t , autonomic a r o u s a l , o r s e x u a l a r o u s a l between t h e e x e r c i s e and n o - e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n s . R e s u l t s i n d i c a t e d t h a t t h e p h y s i o l o g i c a l component o f a n x i e t y a l o n e ( i e . i n c r e a s e d s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v i t y ) i s s u f f i c i e n t t o enhance s e x u a l a r o u s a l . T h i s f i n d i n g s u p p o r t s t h e n o t i o n t h a t r e p o r t e d i n c r e a s e s i n p h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n women f o l l o w i n g e x p o s ure t o a n x i e t y - e v o k i n g s t i m u l i may be a t t r i b u t a b l e t o p h y s i o l o g i c a l as opposed t o c o g n i t i v e f a c t o r s . A n x i e t y s t i m u l i s e r v e t o a c t i v a t e t h e s y m p a t h e t i c nervous system which, i n t u r n , enhances s e x u a l a r o u s a l . S y m p a t h e t i c A c t i v a t i o n and S e x u a l A r o u s a l a r e not M u t u a l l y I n h i b i t o r y The f i n d i n g t h a t s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n enhanced p h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l a r o u s a l c h a l l e n g e s t h e t h e o r y t h a t s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n and s e x u a l a r o u s a l a r e m u t u a l l y i n h i b i t o r y . The p r e s e n t d a t a i n d i c a t e t h a t h e a r t r a t e was s i g n i f i c a n t l y i n c r e a s e d i n t h e e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n and t h a t t h i s i n c r e a s e remained unchanged t h r o u g h o u t t h e e n t i r e 180 seconds o f e r o t i c e x p o s u r e . These d a t a v e r i f y t h a t t h e e f f e c t s o f s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n and e r o t i c s t i m u l i were p r e s e n t e d s i m u l t a n e o u s l y , as opposed t o s e q u e n t i a l l y as i n p r e v i o u s s t u d i e s . Hence, t h i s s t u d y p r o v i d e d an adequate t e s t o f t h e r e c i p r o c a l i n h i b i t i o n h y p o t h e s i s s e t f o r t h by Wolpe (1958). I f s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v i t y and s e x u a l a r o u s a l are m u t u a l l y i n h i b i t o r y , one would e x p e c t e i t h e r a d e c r e a s e i n s e x u a l a r o u s a l d u r i n g t h e e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n o r , a l t e r n a t i v e l y , a d e c r e a s e i n h e a r t r a t e d u r i n g t h e e r o t i c e x p o s u r e . N e i t h e r o f t h e s e outcomes o c c u r r e d . I n c r e a s e d s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v i t y f a c i l i t a t e d p h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l a r o u s a l , and i n c r e a s e d p h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l a r o u s a l d i d not a l t e r s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v i t y . P e r h a p s , t h e n , a n x i e t y and s e x u a l a r o u s a l are m u t u a l l y i n h i b i t o r y a t a c o g n i t i v e l e v e l o n l y o r , a t a p h y s i o l o g i c a l l e v e l but o n l y when accompanied by a n x i e t y c o g n i t i o n s . Perhaps s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n can be c o n s i d e r e d an " e n g i n e " t h a t d r i v e s t h e c o g n i t i o n s t o a b e h a v i o r a l r e s p o n s e . I f a n x i e t y c o g n i t i o n s are i n p l a y , t h e n s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n p r o v i d e s t h e f o r c e t o d e c rease s e x u a l a r o u s a l . I n t h i s r e g a r d , s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n and s e x u a l a r o u s a l a r e m u t u a l l y i n h i b i t o r y . On t h e o t h e r hand, i f s e x u a l c o g n i t i o n s a r e i n p l a y , s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n i s t h e f o r c e b e h i n d i n c r e a s i n g s e x u a l a r o u s a l . In t h i s sense, s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n and s e x u a l a r o u s a l are m u t u a l l y f a c i l i t a t o r y . I n a d d i t i o n , i f Wolpe i s c o r r e c t i n h i s a s s e r t i o n t h a t s y m p a t h e t i c and p a r a s y m p a t h e t i c nervous system f u n c t i o n s a r e m u t u a l l y i n h i b i t o r y , t h e n perhaps female s e x u a l a r o u s a l , a t l e a s t i n t h e i n i t i a l s t a g e , i s l a r g e l y under t h e i n f l u e n c e o f t h e s y m p a t h e t i c r a t h e r t h a n t h e p a r a s y m p a t h e t i c nervous system as has l o n g been assumed. S u b j e c t i v e and P h y s i o l o g i c a l Components o f t h e Female Se x u a l Response a r e i n Synchrony The f i n d i n g t h a t i n c r e a s e d p h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l a r o u s a l d u r i n g t h e e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n was not accompanied by s u b j e c t i v e r e p o r t s o f i n c r e a s e d s e x u a l a r o u s a l i s c o n s i s t e n t w i t h p r e v i o u s r e s e a r c h w h i c h shows a l a c k o f concordance between t h e s e two measures i n women ( P a l a c e & G o r z a l k a , 1990;1992; M o r o k o f f & Heiman, 1980; Steinman e t a l , 1981; Wincze e t a l . , 1976). The m a j o r i t y o f r e s e a r c h done i n t h e male i n d i c a t e s a h i g h c o r r e l a t i o n between p h y s i o l o g i c a l and s u b j e c t i v e components o f t h e s e x u a l r e s ponse (Heiman & Rowland, 1983; Rosen & Beck, 1988; Steinman e t a l . , 1981). However, r e c e n t r e s e a r c h i n d i c a t e s t h a t t h i s c o r r e l a t i o n i s by no means p e r f e c t (Bozman & Beck, 1991). A u t h o r s have e x p l a i n e d t h e l a c k o f concordance between p h y s i o l o g i c a l and c o g n i t i v e components o f t h e female s e x u a l r e s p onse i n terms o f a p o t e n t i a l desynchronous r e l a t i o n s h i p ( P a l a c e & G o r z a l k a , 1990) . Heiman (1977) s u g g e s t e d t h a t t h i s desynchrony may be a t t r i b u t a b l e t o a l e s s d i r e c t feedback system ( e r e c t i o n v s . v a s o c o n g e s t i o n ) i n t h e female, t h u s a l l o w i n g b o d i l y cues t o be more e a s i l y i g n o r e d . Data from t h i s s t u d y do not e n t i r e l y s u p p o r t t h i s e x p l a n a t i o n . S u b j e c t s r e p o r t e d s i g n i f i c a n t l y h i g h e r l e v e l s o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n r e s p o n s e t o e r o t i c v e r s u s n e u t r a l s t i m u l i . P h y s i o l o g i c a l measures a l s o i n d i c a t e d h i g h e r l e v e l s o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n r e s p o n s e t o e r o t i c v e r s u s n e u t r a l s t i m u l i . I n t h i s sense, s u b j e c t i v e measures o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l were i n s ynchrony w i t h p h y s i o l o g i c a l r e s p o n s e s . W i t h r e s p e c t t o t h e f i n d i n g i n e x periment I , whereby h i g h e r l e v e l s o f p h y s i o l o g i c a l a r o u s a l i n t h e e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n were not accompanied by h i g h e r r a t i n g s o f s u b j e c t i v e s e x u a l a r o u s a l , t h r e e p o t e n t i a l e x p l a n a t i o n s are o f f e r e d . F i r s t , i t i s p o s s i b l e t h a t t h e s u b j e c t i v e t e s t s employed were a b l e t o d e t e c t changes from a " n o n - s e x u a l s t a t e " t o a s e x u a l l y a r o u s e d s t a t e but were not s u f f i c i e n t l y s e n s i t i v e t o d e t e c t more s u b t l e d i f f e r e n c e s between a s e x u a l l y a r o u s e d s t a t e and a "more" s e x u a l l y a r o u s e d s t a t e . T h i s e x p l a n a t i o n i s c o n s i s t e n t w i t h r e s e a r c h w h i c h i n d i c a t e s a l o w e r concordance between s u b j e c t i v e and p h y s i o l o g i c a l components o f t h e s e x u a l r e sponse d u r i n g low v e r s u s h i g h l e v e l s o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l (Heiman, 1976). One must a l s o keep i n mind t h a t t h i s i s an analogue l a b o r a t o r y s e t t i n g . Perhaps one would need n a t u r a l s e x u a l i n t e r a c t i o n s t o a c h i e v e much h i g h e r , " d e t e c t a b l e " l e v e l s o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l . Second, i t i s p o s s i b l e t h a t s u b j e c t s were w i l l i n g t o r e p o r t a c e r t a i n l e v e l o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l but were not w i l l i n g t o r e p o r t i n t e n s e l e v e l s o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l . I n o t h e r words, s o c i a l d i c t a t e s a l l o w e d s u b j e c t s t o r e p o r t b e i n g s e x u a l l y a r o u s e d but not "too a r o u s e d " . The f i n d i n g s from t h i s s t u d y p r o v i d e p a r t i a l s u p p o r t f o r t h i s e x p l a n a t i o n . S u b j e c t s r e p o r t e d s i g n i f i c a n t l y h i g h e r l e v e l s o f autonomic a r o u s a l i n r e s p o n s e t o e r o t i c s t i m u l i t h a n i n r e s p o n s e t o n e u t r a l s t i m u l i . T h i s i s s u r p r i s i n g g i v e n t h a t p h y s i o l o g i c a l h e a r t r a t e measures i n d i c a t e d t h e r e were no changes i n autonomic a r o u s a l w i t h t h e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f e i t h e r n e u t r a l o r e r o t i c s t i m u l i . I t i s t e m p t i n g t o s p e c u l a t e t h a t t h e s u b j e c t s r e p o r t e d i n c r e a s e s i n s e x u a l a r o u s a l as i n c r e a s e s i n autonomic a r o u s a l . Perhaps t h e y f e l t more c o m f o r t a b l e d e s c r i b i n g t h e i r s e x u a l l y a r o u s e d s t a t e u s i n g d e s c r i p t i v e s such as "any p h y s i c a l r e a c t i o n a t a l l " and " f a s t e r h e a r t b e a t " v e r s u s d e s c r i p t i v e s such as " g e n i t a l wetness and l u b r i c a t i o n " and " g e n i t a l p u l s i n g and t h r o b b i n g " . T h i s e x p l a n a t i o n cannot, however, f u l l y account f o r t h e f i n d i n g s from t h i s s t u d y . C o n s i s t e n t w i t h t h i s a s s e r t i o n , s u b j e c t s r e p o r t e d h i g h e r l e v e l s o f autonomic a r o u s a l d u r i n g t h e e x e r c i s e v e r s u s n o - e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n ; however, t h e s e r e s u l t s d i d not r e a c h s t a t i s t i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e . A t h i r d p o t e n t i a l e x p l a n a t i o n f o r t h e l a c k o f concordance between p h y s i o l o g i c a l and s u b j e c t i v e measures o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l r e l a t e s t o t h e p o s s i b i l i t y o f a c e i l i n g e f f e c t on s u b j e c t i v e r a t i n g s o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l . Mean r a t i n g s o f s u b j e c t i v e s e x u a l a r o u s a l d u r i n g t h e n o - e x e r c i s e and e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n s were 4.2 and 3.8, r e s p e c t i v e l y . These r e s u l t s a r e comparable t o a s t u d y conducted by P a l a c e and G o r z a l k a (1990) w h i c h used t h e same s u b j e c t i v e r a t i n g s c a l e . P a l a c e and G o r z a l k a (1990) r e p o r t e d mean s u b j e c t i v e r a t i n g s o f 4.5 and 3.8 w i t h exposure t o a n e u t r a l - e r o t i c and an a n x i e t y - e r o t i c f i l m , r e s p e c t i v e l y . Together, t h e s e f i n d i n g s i n d i c a t e t h a t , on a s c a l e o f 1 t o 7, 4 may be t h e h i g h e s t l e v e l o f a r o u s a l t h a t s u b j e c t s can a t t a i n v i e w i n g an e r o t i c f i l m i n a l a b o r a t o r y s e t t i n g . To t e s t t h e p o s s i b i l i t y o f a c e i l i n g e f f e c t on s u b j e c t i v e s e x u a l a r o u s a l , a p o s t - h o c q u e s t i o n n a i r e was d i s t r i b u t e d t o s u b j e c t s (see a p p e n d i x ) . The q u e s t i o n n a i r e a s k e d (on a s c a l e o f 1 t o 7) "What i s t h e h i g h e s t l e v e l o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l you t h i n k t h a t you c o u l d e x p e r i e n c e v i e w i n g an e r o t i c f i l m a l o n e ? " . Ten o f 25 q u e s t i o n n a i r e s were r e t u r n e d . The mean r a t i n g o f e x p e c t e d s e x u a l a r o u s a l was 4.2. The r e p o r t e d l e v e l o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l f o r t h e s e t e n s u b j e c t s d u r i n g t h e e x e r c i s e c o n d i t i o n was 4.0. These f i n d i n g s s u p p o r t t h e n o t i o n t h a t r e p o r t e d l e v e l s o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l were p o s s i b l y as h i g h as c o u l d be e x p e c t e d i n a l a b o r a t o r y s e t t i n g . W i t h r e s p e c t t o s t u d i e s t h a t have shown d i s c o r d a n c e between p h y s i o l o g i c a l and s u b j e c t i v e r e p o r t s o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n women, I p r o p o s e t h a t t h i s i s a t t r i b u t a b l e t o m e t h o d o l o g i c a l and s o c i a l f a c t o r s as opposed t o a desynchrony between c o g n i t i v e and p h y s i o l o g i c a l components o f t h e s e x u a l r e s p o n s e . E x p e r i m e n t a l m a n i p u l a t i o n o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l u s i n g an e r o t i c f i l m i s s u f f i c i e n t t o i n c r e a s e s e x u a l a r o u s a l b o t h p h y s i o l o g i c a l l y and c o g n i t i v e l y . However, t h e degree t o w h i c h e i t h e r o f t h e s e components can be r a i s e d i n a l a b o r a t o r y s e t t i n g d i f f e r s . An e r o t i c f i l m i n c r e a s e s p h y s i o l o g i c a l s e x u a l a r o u s a l and f u r t h e r i n c r e a s e s are i n d u c e d w i t h e x p o sure t o s t i m u l i t h a t i n c r e a s e s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v i t y s u ch as an a n x i e t y - e v o k i n g f i l m o r a c u t e e x e r c i s e . I n o t h e r words, s t i m u l i have been added t o f u r t h e r " b o o s t " t h e p h y s i o l o g i c a l component. F u r t h e r m o r e , g i v e n t h e p r e c i s i o n o f t h e p h y s i o l o g i c a l measurement d e v i c e s , d e t e c t i o n o f even minute changes i n a r o u s a l i s p o s s i b l e . W i t h r e s p e c t t o c o g n i t i o n s however, an e r o t i c f i l m i n a l a b o r a t o r y s e t t i n g can r a i s e s u b j e c t i v e s e x u a l a r o u s a l but a second e r o t i c f i l m i n t h e same l a b o r a t o r y s e t t i n g does not f u r t h e r i n c r e a s e a r o u s a l . In o t h e r words, n o t h i n g has been added t o " b o o s t " t h e c o g n i t i v e component; s u b j e c t s ' " c o g n i t i v e " l e v e l o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l has a l r e a d y been r a i s e d as h i g h as an e r o t i c f i l m w i l l a l l o w . F u r t h e r m o r e , g i v e n t h e c o m p a r a t i v e l y u n s o p h i s t i c a t e d measures used and s o c i a l demands which may l i m i t the subjects' willingness to report being sexually aroused, i t i s l i k e l y that only large changes i n subjective sexual arousal would be detected. Implications The findings from t h i s study have broad implications for deriving an e t i o l o g i c a l theory of sexual arousal. For over 30 years, i t has been assumed that female sexual arousal i s l a r g e l y under the influence of the parasympathetic nervous system and that sympathetic influences play an i n h i b i t o r y r o l e . This study demonstrated that sympathetic a c t i v a t i o n may enhance physiological sexual arousal i n women. The mechanism by which sympathetic a c t i v a t i o n enhances sexual arousal remains undetermined. Basic physiology indicates that signals from the central nervous system are sent along vascular pathways to the p i t u i t a r y gland and along sympathetic pathways to the adrenal medulla. In turn, the p i t u i t a r y gland secretes a variety of hormones, many of which act upon other target glands, and the adrenal medulla signals the secretion of catecholamines (Bunt, 1986). Physical exercise at the i n t e n s i t y induced i n the present study has been documented to increase C o r t i s o l secretion secondary to ACTH release (Carr et a l . , 1981); to increase serum leve l s of p r o l a c t i n and growth hormone (Sutton & Lazurus, 1976); to increase (Guglielmini et a l . , 1984), decrease (Kuusi et a l . , 1984), or not change (Bunt, 1985) t e s t o s t e r o n e l e v e l s ; t o i n c r e a s e (Bonen e t a l . , 1979), or not change (Loucks & H o r v a t h , 1984) e s t r o g e n and p r o g e s t e r o n e r e s p o n s e s ; t o markedly i n c r e a s e c i r c u l a t i n g l e v e l s o f n o r e p i n e p h r i n e and e p i n e p h r i n e ( H a r t l e y e t a l . , 1972); t o i n c r e a s e c i r c u l a t i n g l e v e l s o f dopamine (Grossman & M o r e t t i , 1986), and t o t r i g g e r a r i s e i n plasma l e v e l s o f b e t a - e n d o r p h i n (Gambert e t a l . , 1981; F a r r e l e t a l . , 1982). C o n c e i v a b l y , any number o f t h e above a l t e r a t i o n s c o u l d be r e s p o n s i b l e f o r i n f l u e n c i n g t h e s e x u a l r e s p o n s e . F o r example, numerous drugs known t o a f f e c t monoaminergic systems have been r e p o r t e d t o i n f l u e n c e t h e s e x u a l response ( f o r r e v i e w see Meston & G o r z a l k a , 1992) . Both a c u t e and c h r o n i c a d m i n i s t r a t i o n o f o p i o i d s have been r e p o r t e d t o i n h i b i t s e x u a l b e h a v i o r i n humans and a n i m a l s ( f o r r e v i e w see P f a u s & G o r z a l k a , 1987). W i t h r e s p e c t t o hormonal r e s p o n s e s t o s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n , r e s e a r c h i n d i c a t e s t h a t changes i n hormones such as l u t e i n i z i n g hormone, t e s t o s t e r o n e , and C o r t i s o l sometimes f a c i l i t a t e t h e s e x u a l r e s p o n s e i n males ( S t e a r n s e t a l . , 1973; P i r k e e t a l . , 1974; L a F e r l a e t a l . , 1978; Rowland e t a l . , 1987). In women, the p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t hormonal r e s p o n s e s f a c i l i t a t e s e x u a l a r o u s a l has been o n l y m i n i m a l l y e x p l o r e d . Hoon and a s s o c i a t e s (1982) and Meuwissen and Over (1992) r e p o r t e d t h a t s e x u a l a r o u s a b i l i t y t o e r o t i c s t i m u l i i s u n a f f e c t e d by m e n s t r u a l c y c l e i n f l u e n c e s . T h i s i s c o n s i s t e n t w i t h e v i d e n c e i n d i c a t i n g t h a t e s t r o g e n and p r o g e s t e r o n e may not be i m p o r t a n t i n a l t e r i n g s e x u a l a r o u s a l (Rosen & Beck, 1988). Heiman and a s s o c i a t e s (1991) r e p o r t e d t h a t exposure t o an e r o t i c f i l m d i d not s i g n i f i c a n t l y a l t e r l e v e l s o f C o r t i s o l , p r o l a c t i n , l u t e i n i z i n g hormone, or t e s t o s t e r o n e . The above s t u d i e s argue a g a i n s t t h e hormonal c o n t r o l o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n women, a t l e a s t i n t h e s h o r t term. I t i s p o s s i b l e , however, t h a t hormonal i n f l u e n c e s on s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n women o c c u r v i a t h e r e l e a s e o f e p i n e p h r i n e and/or n o r e p i n e p h r i n e . I n d i r e c t s u p p o r t f o r t h i s h y p o t h e s i s i s p r o v i d e d by a c l a s s i c s t u d y by S c h a c t e r and S i n g e r (1962). S u b j e c t s were i n j e c t e d w i t h e p i n e p h r i n e and e i t h e r i n f o r m e d o r m i s i n f o r m e d o f t h e s i d e e f f e c t s t h e y would e x p e r i e n c e . S u b j e c t s who were m i s i n f o r m e d o f t h e s i d e e f f e c t s and, hence, d i d not know t h a t t h e i n c r e a s e i n a r o u s a l ( i e . i n c r e a s e d h e a r t r a t e , r a p i d b r e a t h i n g ) was a t t r i b u t a b l e t o t h e d r u g , l o o k e d t o t h e i r environment f o r cues about t h e i r e m o t i o n s . F o r example, s u b j e c t s exposed t o a c o n f e d e r a t e who a c t e d i n an angry manner, s u p p o s e d l y i n response t o t h e drug, a l s o a c t e d i n an angry manner. In c o n t r a s t , s u b j e c t s who knew t h a t t h e d r u g was r e s p o n s i b l e f o r t h e i r a r o u s a l d i d not a c q u i r e t h e mood o f t h e c o n f e d e r a t e . T h i s s t u d y h i g h l i g h t s t h e p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t , g i v e n t h e a p p r o p r i a t e cues f o r i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , e p i n e p h r i n e may a l t e r b o t h c o g n i t i v e and p h y s i o l o g i c a l s t a t e s o f a r o u s a l . Lange and a s s o c i a t e s (1981) d i r e c t l y t e s t e d t h e p o s s i b i l t i y t h a t e p i n e p h r i n e a l t e r s s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n men. E p i n e p h r i n e i n j e c t i o n s , d e s i g n e d t o a r t i f i c i a l l y i n c r e a s e s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v i t y , f a c i l i t a t e d t h e l o s s o f e r e c t i o n , but o n l y a f t e r , and not d u r i n g , t h e s e x u a l s t i m u l u s . The e f f e c t s o f e p i n e p h r i n e on female s e x u a l a r o u s a l have not been e x p l o r e d . In sum, t h e manner i n w h i c h s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n enhances s e x u a l a r o u s a l remains open t o s p e c u l a t i o n . Based on t h e above s t u d i e s , i t seems u n l i k e l y t h a t t h e i n c r e a s e s i n s e x u a l a r o u s a l r e p o r t e d i n t h e p r e s e n t s t u d y are a t t r i b u t a b l e t o hormonal changes. A more l i k e l y p o s s i b i l i t y i s t h a t t h e s y m p a t h e t i c nervous system a c t i v a t e s s e x u a l a r o u s a l t h r o u g h a n e u r a l pathway o r a nonhormonal system. F o r example, an i n c r e a s e i n v a s o c o n g e s t i o n may be t h e d i r e c t r e s u l t o f s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n o f t h e c i r c u l a t o r y system. The f i n d i n g t h a t s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n enhances s e x u a l a r o u s a l by no means i m p l i e s t h a t p a r a s y m p a t h e t i c i n f l u e n c e s a r e not i m p o r t a n t i n s e x u a l a r o u s a l . F u r t h e r m o r e , i t does not mean t h a t s e x u a l a r o u s a l i s dominated by s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v i t y . R a t h e r , t h e f i n d i n g s from t h i s s t u d y p o i n t t o t h e p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t b o t h s y m p a t h e t i c and p a r a s y m p a t h e t i c i n f l u e n c e s a r e i n t e g r a l t o t h e s e x u a l r e s p o n s e , and n e i t h e r s h o u l d be c o n s i d e r e d dominant. I t i s p o s s i b l e t h a t d u r i n g t h e i n i t i a l s t a g e s o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l , an i n c r e a s e i n s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v i t y p r e p a r e s t h e i n d i v i d u a l f o r s e x u a l a r o u s a l or p r o v i d e s a " b o o s t " t o a l r e a d y i n c r e a s i n g l e v e l s o f a r o u s a l . F u t u r e r e s e a r c h i s n e c e s s a r y t o d e t e r m i n e t h e p r e c i s e r o l e o f s y m p a t h e t i c and p a r a s y m p a t h e t i c i n f l u e n c e s on female s e x u a l a r o u s a l . I t would be i n t e r e s t i n g t o compare t h e e f f e c t s o f deep r e l a x a t i o n e x e r c i s e s v e r s u s a c u t e p h y s i c a l e x e r c i s e on s e x u a l a r o u s a l . T h i s would p r o v i d e a more d i r e c t i n d i c a t i o n o f t h e r e l a t i v e e f f e c t s o f p a r a s y m p a t h e t i c v e r s u s s y m p a t h e t i c dominance on s e x u a l a r o u s a l . The f i n d i n g t h a t s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n w i t h o u t t h e p r e s e n c e o f e r o t i c s t i m u l i d i d not i n c r e a s e s e x u a l a r o u s a l , emphasizes t h a t s e x u a l a r o u s a l cannot be v i e w e d as a r i s i n g from a s t a t e o f g e n e r a l i z e d a r o u s a l . In o t h e r words, p h y s i o l o g i c a l changes a l o n e do not s u f f i c i e n t l y d e f i n e t h e s e x u a l r e s p o n s e . The r e s u l t s o f t h i s s t u d y h i g h l i g h t t h e c r i t i c a l r o l e o f c o g n i t i v e l a b e l i n g and s u b j e c t i v e e x p e r i e n c e i n i n t e r p r e t i n g an a r o u s e d s t a t e as s e x u a l . The f i n d i n g s from t h i s s t u d y a l s o have i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r t h e t r e a t m e n t o f s e x u a l d y s f u n c t i o n . S i n c e t h e e a r l y 1960s, l i t t l e has changed i n t h e t r e a t m e n t o f s e x u a l d i s o r d e r s . The m a j o r i t y o f sex t h e r a p y t e c h n i q u e s , such as s y s t e m a t i c d e s e n s i t i z a t i o n , c o n t i n u e t o f o c u s on a n x i e t y r e d u c t i o n t e c h n i q u e s w h i c h d e c r e a s e s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v i t y . The e f f e c t i v e n e s s o f t h e s e t e c h n i q u e s i s mixed. S e v e r a l s t u d i e s r e p o r t t h e e f f e c t i v e n e s s o f s y s t e m a t i c d e s e n s i t i z a t i o n i n r e d u c i n g c o i t a l a n x i e t y and i m p r o v i n g p l e a s u r e d u r i n g i n t e r c o u r s e (see N o r t o n & Jehu, 1984 f o r r e v i e w ) , w h i l e o t h e r s i n d i c a t e t h a t s y s t e m a t i c d e s e n s i t i z a t i o n i s i n e f f e c t i v e i n t r e a t i n g anorgasmia (see N o r t o n & Jehu, 1984 f o r r e v i e w ) . Perhaps s y s t e m a t i c d e s e n s i t i z a t i o n i s e f f e c t i v e i n t r e a t i n g s e x u a l d e s i r e d i s o r d e r s or d i s o r d e r s i n w h i c h c o g n i t i v e f a c t o r s p l a y a p r i m a r y r o l e . Perhaps i t i s i n e f f e c t i v e i n t r e a t i n g s e x u a l d i s o r d e r s i n w h i c h p h y s i o l o g i c a l p r o c e s s e s c o n s t i t u t e t h e p r i m a r y component. Such may be t h e case w i t h anorgasmia. T h i s s t u d y f o c u s e d o n l y on s e x u a l l y f u n c t i o n a l women. F u t u r e r e s e a r c h i s n e c e s s a r y t o d e t e r m i n e whether s y m p a t h e t i c a c t i v a t i o n enhances s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n s e x u a l l y d y s f u n c t i o n a l women. I f t h i s i s t h e case , t h e n t r e a t m e n t s f o r s e x u a l d y s f u n c t i o n need t o be r e - e v a l u a t e d . 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J o u r n a l o f C l i n i c a l E n d o c r i n o l o g y and M e t a b o l i s m , 37, 687-691. Steinman, D.L., Wincze, J.P., Sakheim, D.K., Barlow, D.H., & M a v i s s a k a l i a n , M. (1981). A comparison o f male and female p a t t e r n s o f s e x u a l a r o u s a l . A r c h i v e s o f S e x u a l B e h a v i o r , 10, 529-547. S t o l l e r , R. (1976). S e x u a l e x c i t e m e n t . A r c h i v e s o f G e n e r a l P s y c h i a t r y , 33, 899-909. S u t t o n , J . , & L a z a r u s , L. (1976) . Growth hormone i n e x e r c i s e : Comparison o f p h y s i o l o g i c a l and p h a r m a c o l o g i c a l s t i m u l i . J o u r n a l o f A p p l i e d P h y s i o l o g y , 41, 523-527. Wincze, J.P., Hoon, E.F., & Hoon, P.W. (1976). P h y s i o l o g i c a l r e s p o n s i v i t y o f normal and s e x u a l l y d y s f u n c t i o n a l women d u r i n g e r o t i c s t i m u l u s e x p o s u r e . J o u r n a l o f P s y c h o s o m a t i c R e s e a r c h , 20, 445-451. W o l c h i k , S.A., Beggs, V.E., Wincze, J.P., Sakheim, D.K., Ba r l o w , D.H., & M a v i s s a k a l i a n , M. (1980). The e f f e c t s o f e m o t i o n a l a r o u s a l on subsequent s e x u a l a r o u s a l i n men. J o u r n a l o f Abnormal P s y c h o l o g y , 89, 595-598. Wolpe, J . (1958). P s y c h o t h e r a p y by R e c i p r o c a l I n h i b i t i o n . S t a n f o r d , CA: S t a n f o r d U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s . Wolpe, J . (1978). Comments on "A Test o f R e c i p r o c a l I n h i b i t i o n " by Hoon, Wincze, and Hoon. J o u r n a l o f Abnormal P s y c h o l o g y , 87, 452-454. Zingheim, P., & Sandman, C. (1978). D i s c r i m i n a t i v e c o n t r o l o f t h e v a g i n a l vasomotor r e s p o n s e . B i o f e e d b a c k and Self-Régulâtion, 3, 29-41. APPENDIX Page F i l m S c a l e -73 P h y s i c a l R e a d i n e s s Exam f o r F i t n e s s Test 75 A r o u s a l S c a l e 7 g coae No. 73 FILM SCALE Instructions: Please use the following scale to evaluate how you f e l t during the l a s t f i l m . Please answer honestly and c a r e f u l l y . On the scaler c i r c l e any of the numbers from 1 (not at a l l ) to 7 (intensely). During the fi l m / I f e l t : 1. Faster breathing_ 2. Faster heart beat. 3. Perspiration 4. Feelings of warmth_ 5, Any physical reaction at a l l . 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 5 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 6 6 7 7 7 7 7 Continue on to the next page. FILM SCALE (Continued) Code No. 74 Instructions; Please use the following scale to evaluate how you f e l t during the l a s t f i l m . Please answer honestly and c a r e f u l l y . On the s c a l e , c i r c l e any of the numbers from 1 (not at a l l ) to 7 (intensely). During the f i l m , I f e l t ; 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. Breast sensations Warmth in genitals_ G e n i t a l wetness or lubrication_ G e nital pulsing or throbbing Any ge n i t a l feelings Sexually aroused Wor r i ed Anxious Angry Disgusted Embarrassed, G u i l t y Sensuous A desire to be close to someone. Pleasure Interested, A t t r a c t e d _ Excited Sexy Dirty_ Loving, Sexually a t t r a c t i v e . Inhibited Easy to arouse. Incompetent Sexually turned off. Offended Bored Feminine 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 Stop and wait f o r f u r t h e r i n s t n i r i - i n r . c PHYSICAL READINESS EXAM FOR FITNESS TEST For most of us, physical a c t i v i t y poses no problem or hazard. This t e s t has been designed to identify that small number of in d i v i d u a l s who should seek medical advice p r i o r to p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n a f i t n e s s t e s t . YES NO Has your doctor ever said you have heart trouble? Do you often have pains in your heart or chest? Do you often f e e l f a i n t or have s p e l l s of severe dizziness? Has a doctor ever said your blood pressure was too high or too low? Has your doctor ever t o l d you that you have a bone or j o i n t problem that has been aggravated by exercise, or might be made worse with exercise? Do you have any menstrual period problems? Do you have problems with recurrent itching or discharge? Are you currently using any prescription medications? If yes, what are they? Are you using any recreational drugs? Have you ever smoked? If you currently smoke, how many cigarettes per day? If you have quit smoking, when was i t ? Do you drink coffee? If yes, how many cups per day? Are you currently involved in a regular exercise program? Do you regularly walk or run one or more miles continuously? If yes, average no. of miles per day What i s your average time per mile? Do you practice weight l i f t i n g or home cali s t h e n i c s ? Are you involved i n an aerobics program? If yes, how frequently? Do you frequently participate i n competive sports? If yes, how frequently? Have you suffered any serious medical problems that you consider important for us to know? Is there a good physical reason not mentioned here why you should not receive a f i t n e s s test? Signature No. 76 Instructions: Please answer the following questions using the scale provided-Circle any of the numbers from 1 (low^ to 7 (intense'». Please answer honestly and carefully. 1. Given the appropriate situation, what is the highest level of sexual arousal you think that you could experience? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 2. What is the highest level of sexiial arousal you have ever experienced? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 3. Prior to the films used in this research, had you ever viewed an erotic film? Yes No 4. What is the highest level of sexual arousal you think that you could experience viewing an erotic film alone? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 

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