COMMENTS: Study demonstrating habituation to the same sexual stimuli (films). This is an example of the Coolidge effect at work – more dopamine when presented with a novel sexual possibility. Novelty is what makes Internet porn different from porn of the past.
Biol Psychol. 2001 Sep;58(1):49-64.
School of Psychology, Deakin University, Burwood Road, Burwood 3125, Victoria, Australia. [email protected]
Three experiments are reported demonstrating that levels of penile tumescence and subjective sexual arousal are greater when men employ participant-oriented rather than spectator-oriented attentional focus while viewing an erotic film segment. Under each instructional set, there was a reduction in sexual arousal during repeated erotic stimulation. As sexual arousal habituated, the men reported feeling less absorbed during erotic stimulation. When these associated changes in attentional focus (absorption) were partialled out through analysis of covariance, sexual arousal remained relatively stable over trials, suggesting that sexual arousal is less likely to habituate if attentional focus remains constant during repeated erotic stimulation. Further directions for studying associations between habituation of sexual arousal and cognitive processing are discussed.