Alternative Approaches to the Study of Sexual Behavior

By Donn Byrne; Kathryn Kelley | Go to book overview

3
Models and Measures of Sexual Response: Psychophysiological Assessment of Male and Female Arousal

Raymond C. Rosen
Rutgers Medical School U.M.D.N.J.

J. Gayle Beck
University of Houston

It cannot be that the axioms established by argumentation can suffice for the discovery of new works, since the subtlety of nature is greater many times over than the subtlety of argument.
--Francis Bacon

Whatever the poetry and romance of sex, and whatever the moral and social significance of human sexual behavior, sexual responses involve real and material changes in the physiologic functioning of the . . . (individual).
--Alfred C. Kinsey


INTRODUCTION

Since the publication of Masters and Johnson's ( 1966) first observational findings on sexual response, laboratory studies of sexual arousal have achieved a degree of respectability and acceptance in the scientific establishment. Considerable impetus has since been given to the empirical study of sexual response by the development of a suitable measurement technology for precise and reliable psychophysiological recording (e.g., Geer, 1980; Hatch, 1979). Along with advances in methodological sophistication, the scope and diversity of laboratory studies has also broadened considerably ( Reinisch & Rosen, 1981). This chapter reviews the development of laboratory research methods in this field, focusing particularly on the role of physiological assessment devices in the study of sexual responding. Emphasis is given to the integration of conceptual and meth-

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