Affect and Sexual Responsivity in Men With and Without a History of Sexual Aggression

Despite increased attention to understanding risk factors for sexual aggression, knowledge regarding the emotional and sexual arousal patterns of sexually aggressive men remains limited. The current study examined whether sexually aggressive men exhibit unique profiles of affective responsivity, in particular to negatively-valenced stimuli, as well as sexual arousal patterns that differentiate them from nonaggressive men. We presented 78 young men (38 sexually aggressive and 40 nonaggressive) with a series of videos designed to induce positive, sad, or anxious affect. Affect and subjective sexual arousal were assessed following each film and erectile responses were measured continuously. Sexually aggressive men reported significantly higher levels of sexual arousal following both the positive and negative conditions as compared to nonaggressive men. Erectile responses of sexually aggressive men were significantly greater than nonaggressive men’s following the positive affect induction. Self-reported positive affect, but not negative affect, was a significant predictor of subjective sexual arousal for both groups of men. Compared to nonaggressive men, sexually aggressive men showed significantly weaker correlations between subjective and physiological sexual arousal. Findings suggest that generalized heightened propensity for sexual arousal may be a risk factor for sexually aggressive behavior.

Publication Date:
Apr 07 2017
Date Submitted:
Aug 10 2018
Journal of Sex Research
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 Record created 2018-08-10, last modified 2019-04-03

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