Voluntary control of sexual responding in men and women: Implications for the etiology and treatment of sexual dysfunctions

John P. Hatch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Recent psychophysiological investigations have shown that biofeedback and operant conditioning procedures are associated with changes in genital vasomotor activity in men and women. Although the exact role played by biofeedback or operant contingencies in the establishment of genital vasomotor control has not been conclusively established, some degree of voluntary control has been reliably demonstrated over a response that is traditionally viewed as an involuntary component of the human sexual response cycle. The present article critically reviews the experimental literature pertinent to the issue of voluntary self-control of sexual responding and makes recommendations concerning future research. The implications of this literature for traditional etiological theories and treatment approaches for sexual dysfunctions are discussed. The potential of biofeedback and operant techniques for shaping genital responses, increasing discriminability, enhancing body awareness, and facilitating cognitive labeling of genital sensations are discussed as they relate to the stated goals of sex therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-205
Number of pages15
JournalBiofeedback and Self-Regulation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 1981


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this