Gender differences in the relationship of sexual functioning with implicit and explicit sex-liking and sex-wanting: A community sample study.

J.J.D.M. van Lankveld*, K.E.M. Wolfs, A. Grauvogl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The present study aimed to investigate associations of automatic and controlled cognition with sexual functioning, and moderation of these associations by working memory capacity in a community sample of heterosexual women (N = 65) and men (N = 51). Participants performed two single-target Implicit Association Tests (ST-IATs) to assess implicit liking and wanting of erotic stimuli. The Sexual Opinion Survey (SOS) was used to assess explicit liking of sex. The International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) and the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) were used to assess sexual function. Working memory capacity was assessed using the Towers of Hanoi task and mood using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). In female participants, higher levels of sexual functioning co-occurred with stronger implicit associations of erotic stimuli with wanting, whereas implicit sex liking was unrelated to level of sexual functioning. In male participants, higher levels of sexual functioning co-occurred with lower implicit liking of erotic stimuli, whereas implicit sex wanting was unrelated to sexual functioning. Higher erotophilia scores were related to higher levels of sexual functioning in both women and men, but anxiety and depression symptoms were unrelated to sexual functioning. Working memory capacity did not moderate the associations between erotophilia and sexual functioning.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Sex Research
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Nov 2018



  • sexual functioning
  • implicit cognition
  • explicit cognition
  • working memory capacity
  • gender differences

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