Gender Difference in Brain Activation to Audio-Visual Sexual Stimulation

Do Women and Men Experience the Same Level of Arousal in Response to the Same Video Clip?

WS Chung; SM Lim; JH Yoo; H Yoon

Disclosures

Int J Impot Res. 2013;25(4):138-142. 

In This Article

Results

The mean ages of male and female patients were 24.7 (20–28) and 23.6 (20––26) years, respectively. All 20 volunteers reported sexual arousal from visual stimulation, but the degree of arousal differed by the type of stimulation and gender. Mean arousal score to mood type (type 1) AVS was 1.86 in men and 2.14 in women (P<0.05), but the mean score to physical type (type 2) AVS was 2.14 in men and 1.86 in women (P<0.05). Men showed a preference and higher self-reported arousal for physical type (type 2) visual stimulation. However, women preferred erotic stimulation with a story line and erotic mood (type 1) (Figure 1).

Figure 1.

Degree of activation in men and women in response to type 1 (mood preferable) and type 2 (direct physical contact preferable) sexual visual stimuli. The two genders show different preferences for two different types of stimulations (P<0.05 by Mann–Whitney U test). A higher score indicates greater sexual arousal.

Activated areas observed by fMRI during viewing of the color bars and non-erotic stimulation were used as control and the associated data were extracted during image analysis. Functional images activated by erotic sexual stimulation and similar areas of the brain cortex in both genders included: the cingulate gyrus, hippocampus, parahippocampus, temporal lobe, frontal lobe, parietal lobe and insula. However, women did not show any significant activation at the amygdala. Type 1 stimulation (mood type) resulted in higher brain activation on fMRI in women compared with men (Figures 2a and b, P<0.001). The signal difference of activated areas between men and women revealed that women exhibited more activation in the right temporal lobe, right parietal lobe, right occipital lobe, right superior and inferior frontal lobe, right cingulate gyrus and right olfactory groove (Figure 2c, P<0.001).

Figure 2.

Serial results of fMR images activated by sexual visual stimulation with mood focused erotic stimuli (type 1) in men (a) and women (b). The activated areas and their intensities were statistically different between men and women (P<0.001 by Mann–Whitney U test). Women were more activated in the right temporal lobe, both parietal lobes, right occipital lobe, right superior and inferior frontal lobe, right cingulate gyrus, caudate nucleus and right olfactory groove than men (c) (P<0.001).

Type 2 stimulation (physical type) resulted in higher brain activation in men compared with women (Figures 3a and b, P<0.001). The areas activated in men by type 2 stimulation were the right frontal lobe, right parietal lobe, right cingulate gyrus, both temporal lobes, both putamens, right occipital lobe and both olfactory grooves (Figure 3c, P<0.001). When comparing the response as the signal intensity of fMRI between the two genders, men showed a much larger difference between type 1 and type 2 stimuli than women (P<0.001).

Figure 3.

Serial results of fMR images activated by sexual visual stimulation with physical contact-focused erotic stimuli (type 2) in men (a) and women (b). The activated areas and their intensities were statistically different between men and women (P<0.001). The areas with higher activation in men were the right frontal lobe, right parietal lobe, right cingulate gyrus, both temporal lobes, both putamens, right occipital lobe and both olfactory grooves (c) (P<0.001).

Comments

3090D553-9492-4563-8681-AD288FA52ACE

processing....