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C-Tactile Mediated Erotic Touch Perception Relates to Sexual Desire and Performance in a Gender-Specific Way
Technical University of Dresden, Germany.
University of Medical Centre Groningen, Netherlands.
Technical University of Dresden, Germany.
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
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2017 (English)In: Journal of Sexual Medicine, ISSN 1743-6095, E-ISSN 1743-6109, Vol. 14, no 5, 645-653 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Unmyelinated low-threshold mechanoreceptors-the so-called C-tactile (CT) afferents-play a crucial role in the perception and conduction of caressing and pleasant touch sensations and significantly contribute to the concept of erotic touch perception. Aim: To investigate the relations between sexual desire and sexual performance and the perception of touch mediated by CT afferents. Methods: Seventy healthy participants (28 men, 42 women; mean age+/-SD = 24.84+/-4.08 years, range = 18-36 years) underwent standardized and highly controlled stroking stimulation that varied in the amount of CT fiber stimulation by changing stroking velocity (CT optimal = 1, 3 and 10 cm/s; CT suboptimal = 0.1, 0.3, and 30 cm/s). Participants rated the perceived pleasantness, eroticism, and intensity of the applied tactile stimulation on a visual analog scale, completed the Sexual Desire Inventory, and answered questions about sexual performance. Outcomes: Ratings of perceived eroticism of touch were related to self-report levels of sexual desire and sexual performance. Results: Pleasantness and eroticism ratings showed similar dependence on stroking velocity that aligned with the activity of CT afferents. Erotic touch perception was related to sexual desire and sexual performance in a gender-specific way. In women, differences in eroticism ratings between CT optimal and suboptimal velocities correlated positively with desire for sexual interaction. In contrast, in men, this difference correlated to a decreased frequency and longer duration of partnered sexual activities. Clinical Implications: The present results lay the foundation for future research assessing these relations in patients with specific impairments of sexual functioning (eg, hypoactive sexual desire disorder). Strengths and Limitations: The strength of the study is the combination of standardized neurophysiologic methods and behavioral data. A clear limitation of the study design is the exclusion of exact data on the female menstrual cycle and the recruitment of an inhomogeneous sample concerning sexual orientation. Conclusion: The present results provide further evidence that unmyelinated CT afferents play a role in the complex mechanism of erotic touch perception. The ability to differentiate between CT optimal and suboptimal stimuli relates to sexual desire and performance in a gender-specific way. Copyright (C) 2017, International Society for Sexual Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
WILEY , 2017. Vol. 14, no 5, 645-653 p.
Keyword [en]
Touch; Erotic; Gender; C-Tactile Afferents; Sexual Performance; Sexual Desire
National Category
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-139411DOI: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2017.02.016ISI: 000404595300003PubMedID: 28372939OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-139411DiVA: diva2:1129856
Available from: 2017-08-07 Created: 2017-08-07 Last updated: 2017-08-07

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Olausson, HåkanCroy, Ilona
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Center for Social and Affective NeuroscienceFaculty of Medicine and Health SciencesDivision of Neuro and Inflammation Science
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