Implicit and Explicit Associations with Erotic Stimuli in Sexually Functional and Dysfunctional Men

Jacques van Lankveld, Ingrid Odekerken, Lydia Kok-Verhoeven, Susan van Hooren, Peter de Vries, Anja van den Hout, Peter Verboon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    INTRODUCTION: Although conceptual models of sexual functioning have suggested a major role for implicit cognitive processing in sexual functioning, this has thus far, only been investigated in women.

    AIM: The aim of this study was to investigate the role of implicit cognition in sexual functioning in men.

    METHODS: Men with (N = 29) and without sexual dysfunction (N = 31) were compared.

    MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Participants performed two single-target implicit association tests (ST-IAT), measuring the implicit association of visual erotic stimuli with attributes representing, respectively, valence ('liking') and motivation ('wanting'). Participants also rated the erotic pictures that were shown in the ST-IAT on the dimensions of valence, attractiveness, and sexual excitement to assess their explicit associations with these erotic stimuli. Participants completed the International Index of Erectile Functioning for a continuous measure of sexual functioning.

    RESULTS: Unexpectedly, compared with sexually functional men, sexually dysfunctional men were found to show stronger implicit associations of erotic stimuli with positive valence than with negative valence. Level of sexual functioning, however, was not predicted by explicit nor implicit associations. Level of sexual distress was predicted by explicit valence ratings, with positive ratings predicting higher levels of sexual distress.

    CONCLUSIONS: Men with and without sexual dysfunction differed significantly with regard to implicit liking. Research recommendations and implications are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1791-1804
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of sexual medicine
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015


    • Adult
    • Cognition/physiology
    • Erotica/psychology
    • Female
    • Heterosexuality
    • Humans
    • Male
    • Motivation
    • Penile Erection/physiology
    • Psychological Tests
    • Reproducibility of Results
    • Sexual Behavior/physiology
    • Young Adult


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