Male Sexual Arousal Elicited by Film and Fantasy Matched in Content (1997)

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Eric Koukounas1,* and Ray Over2

Article first published online: 2 FEB 2011

DOI: 10.1080/00049539708259843

1997 Australian Psychological Society


Penile tumescence and subjective sexual arousal were measured while 36 men viewed an erotic film segment and soon afterwards reproduced imaginally the sexual events that had been depicted in the film. Film elicited higher levels of physiological and subjective sexual arousal than was found for fantasy involving similar sexual content. Levels of sexual arousal during film and fantasy were more closely associated with the extent the subjects had felt absorbed during erotic stimulation than with imagery scores on the Betts Questionnaire Upon Mental Imagery, the Tellegen Absorption Scale, and the Imaginal Processes Inventory. The subjects reported being more absorbed while watching the film than during imaginal representation of the film content, and film remained more sexually arousing than fantasy even when allowance was made for differences in level of absorption between the two modalities. Further directions for studying the basis for differences in sexual arousal between film and fantasy are outlined.