Brain activation and sexual arousal in healthy, heterosexual males

Bruce A. Arnow, John Desmond, Linda L. Banner, Gary H. Glover, Ari Solomon, Mary Lake Polan, Tom F. Lue, Scott W. Atlas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Despite the brain's central role in sexual function, little is known about relationships between brain activation and sexual response. In this study, we employed functional MRI-(fMRI) to examine relationships between brain activation and sexual arousal in a group of young, healthy, heterosexual males. Each subject was exposed to two sequences of video material consisting of explicitly erotic (E), relaxing (R) and sports (S) segments in an unpredictable order. Data on penile turgidity was collected using a custom-built pneumatic pressure cuff. Both traditional block analyses using contrasts between sexually arousing and non-arousing video clips and a regression using penile turgidity as the covariate of interest were performed. In both types of analyses, contrast images were computed for each subject and these images were subsequently used in a random effects analysis. Strong activations specifically associated with penile turgidity were observed in the right subinsular region including the claustrum, left caudate and putamen, right middle occipital/middle temporal gyri, bilateral cingulate gyrus and right sensorimotor and pre-motor regions. Smaller, but significant activation was observed in the right hypothalamus. Few significant activations were found in the block analyses. Implications of the findings are discussed. Our study demonstrates the feasibility of examining brain activation/sexual response relationships in an fMRI environment and reveals a number of brain structures whose activation is time-locked to sexual arousal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1014-1023
Number of pages10
JournalBrain
Volume125
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Heterosexuality
Arousal
Brain
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Putamen
Gyrus Cinguli
Feasibility Studies
Temporal Lobe
Basal Ganglia
Surgical Instruments
Hypothalamus
Sports
Pressure

Keywords

  • Brain activation and sexual response
  • Claustrum
  • Functional MRI
  • Right insula/subinsular region
  • Striatum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Arnow, B. A., Desmond, J., Banner, L. L., Glover, G. H., Solomon, A., Polan, M. L., ... Atlas, S. W. (2002). Brain activation and sexual arousal in healthy, heterosexual males. Brain, 125(5), 1014-1023.

Brain activation and sexual arousal in healthy, heterosexual males. / Arnow, Bruce A.; Desmond, John; Banner, Linda L.; Glover, Gary H.; Solomon, Ari; Polan, Mary Lake; Lue, Tom F.; Atlas, Scott W.

In: Brain, Vol. 125, No. 5, 2002, p. 1014-1023.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Arnow, BA, Desmond, J, Banner, LL, Glover, GH, Solomon, A, Polan, ML, Lue, TF & Atlas, SW 2002, 'Brain activation and sexual arousal in healthy, heterosexual males', Brain, vol. 125, no. 5, pp. 1014-1023.
Arnow BA, Desmond J, Banner LL, Glover GH, Solomon A, Polan ML et al. Brain activation and sexual arousal in healthy, heterosexual males. Brain. 2002;125(5):1014-1023.
Arnow, Bruce A. ; Desmond, John ; Banner, Linda L. ; Glover, Gary H. ; Solomon, Ari ; Polan, Mary Lake ; Lue, Tom F. ; Atlas, Scott W. / Brain activation and sexual arousal in healthy, heterosexual males. In: Brain. 2002 ; Vol. 125, No. 5. pp. 1014-1023.
@article{72002cd66a71458d9b9237e0bdaaed12,
title = "Brain activation and sexual arousal in healthy, heterosexual males",
abstract = "Despite the brain's central role in sexual function, little is known about relationships between brain activation and sexual response. In this study, we employed functional MRI-(fMRI) to examine relationships between brain activation and sexual arousal in a group of young, healthy, heterosexual males. Each subject was exposed to two sequences of video material consisting of explicitly erotic (E), relaxing (R) and sports (S) segments in an unpredictable order. Data on penile turgidity was collected using a custom-built pneumatic pressure cuff. Both traditional block analyses using contrasts between sexually arousing and non-arousing video clips and a regression using penile turgidity as the covariate of interest were performed. In both types of analyses, contrast images were computed for each subject and these images were subsequently used in a random effects analysis. Strong activations specifically associated with penile turgidity were observed in the right subinsular region including the claustrum, left caudate and putamen, right middle occipital/middle temporal gyri, bilateral cingulate gyrus and right sensorimotor and pre-motor regions. Smaller, but significant activation was observed in the right hypothalamus. Few significant activations were found in the block analyses. Implications of the findings are discussed. Our study demonstrates the feasibility of examining brain activation/sexual response relationships in an fMRI environment and reveals a number of brain structures whose activation is time-locked to sexual arousal.",
keywords = "Brain activation and sexual response, Claustrum, Functional MRI, Right insula/subinsular region, Striatum",
author = "Arnow, {Bruce A.} and John Desmond and Banner, {Linda L.} and Glover, {Gary H.} and Ari Solomon and Polan, {Mary Lake} and Lue, {Tom F.} and Atlas, {Scott W.}",
year = "2002",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "125",
pages = "1014--1023",
journal = "Brain",
issn = "0006-8950",
publisher = "Oxford University Press",
number = "5",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Brain activation and sexual arousal in healthy, heterosexual males

AU - Arnow, Bruce A.

AU - Desmond, John

AU - Banner, Linda L.

AU - Glover, Gary H.

AU - Solomon, Ari

AU - Polan, Mary Lake

AU - Lue, Tom F.

AU - Atlas, Scott W.

PY - 2002

Y1 - 2002

N2 - Despite the brain's central role in sexual function, little is known about relationships between brain activation and sexual response. In this study, we employed functional MRI-(fMRI) to examine relationships between brain activation and sexual arousal in a group of young, healthy, heterosexual males. Each subject was exposed to two sequences of video material consisting of explicitly erotic (E), relaxing (R) and sports (S) segments in an unpredictable order. Data on penile turgidity was collected using a custom-built pneumatic pressure cuff. Both traditional block analyses using contrasts between sexually arousing and non-arousing video clips and a regression using penile turgidity as the covariate of interest were performed. In both types of analyses, contrast images were computed for each subject and these images were subsequently used in a random effects analysis. Strong activations specifically associated with penile turgidity were observed in the right subinsular region including the claustrum, left caudate and putamen, right middle occipital/middle temporal gyri, bilateral cingulate gyrus and right sensorimotor and pre-motor regions. Smaller, but significant activation was observed in the right hypothalamus. Few significant activations were found in the block analyses. Implications of the findings are discussed. Our study demonstrates the feasibility of examining brain activation/sexual response relationships in an fMRI environment and reveals a number of brain structures whose activation is time-locked to sexual arousal.

AB - Despite the brain's central role in sexual function, little is known about relationships between brain activation and sexual response. In this study, we employed functional MRI-(fMRI) to examine relationships between brain activation and sexual arousal in a group of young, healthy, heterosexual males. Each subject was exposed to two sequences of video material consisting of explicitly erotic (E), relaxing (R) and sports (S) segments in an unpredictable order. Data on penile turgidity was collected using a custom-built pneumatic pressure cuff. Both traditional block analyses using contrasts between sexually arousing and non-arousing video clips and a regression using penile turgidity as the covariate of interest were performed. In both types of analyses, contrast images were computed for each subject and these images were subsequently used in a random effects analysis. Strong activations specifically associated with penile turgidity were observed in the right subinsular region including the claustrum, left caudate and putamen, right middle occipital/middle temporal gyri, bilateral cingulate gyrus and right sensorimotor and pre-motor regions. Smaller, but significant activation was observed in the right hypothalamus. Few significant activations were found in the block analyses. Implications of the findings are discussed. Our study demonstrates the feasibility of examining brain activation/sexual response relationships in an fMRI environment and reveals a number of brain structures whose activation is time-locked to sexual arousal.

KW - Brain activation and sexual response

KW - Claustrum

KW - Functional MRI

KW - Right insula/subinsular region

KW - Striatum

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0036236191&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0036236191&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

C2 - 11960892

AN - SCOPUS:0036236191

VL - 125

SP - 1014

EP - 1023

JO - Brain

JF - Brain

SN - 0006-8950

IS - 5

ER -