Affective and Physiological Dimensions of Mate Sexual Response to Erotica and Fantasy

Julia R. Heiman, John P. Hatch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The neglect of research on affective correlates of male sexual response and the isolation of physiological from self-reported measures of arousal are in sharp contrast to theories and clinical interventions involving male sexuality. The present study examined several hypotheses about the affective and physiological response QE males during erotic and nonerotic auditory tapes and during selfgenerated fantasy. Measures of penile circumference, heart rate, affective states, perceived physical responses, and self-reported sexual arousal were compared, using 16 sexually functional men between 19 and 63 years old. The results showed that positive affective states were correlated with penile maximum circumference and penile latency, although some negative states were also correlated with latency. Aggression was correlated with maximum penile response to the erotic tape. A variety of self-reported genital and nongenital responses were correlated with penile response to the erotic tape and fantasy, but only nongenital self-reported responses correlated with penile latency during the control tape. Self-reported cognitive and physical sexual arousal were correlated with penile circumference. Self-reported cognitive and physical sexual arousal were correlated, although men reported significantly greater cognitive than physical arousal. The results are discussed in terms of the importance of the interaction of affect, self-reported sexual arousal, and genital sexual response in conceptualizing male sexuality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-327
Number of pages13
JournalBasic and Applied Social Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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