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Film Clip Study


Men and women usually differ in the intensity of their self-reported sexual arousal to sexual film clips, with women reporting lower levels. Also, men and women commonly report different emotional reactions to the presentation of sexual stimuli: Men report more positive and women more negative feelings.
This study explores the possibility that these gender differences could be attributed to the specific stimuli used. Men and women are presented with 20 short film clips depicting heterosexual interactions. Half of the clips were previously selected by women; the other half by men.


Although overall, men and women differed in sexual arousal to the sexual films, this difference was most pronounced for the male-selected film clips. Gender differences in arousal were small to absent for the clips selected by women. Also, men and women experienced higher levels of sexual arousal to clips selected for individuals of their own gender. These findings suggest that how films are selected in sex research is an important variable in predicting levels of sexual arousal reported by men and women. [ an image for "gender differences in arousal"]


Investigators: Erick Janssen, Ph.D., Cynthia Graham, Ph.D., Deanna Carpenter, B.A.


Janssen, E., Graham, C., Carpenter, D., & Bancroft, J. (1999). Selecting sexual film clips for psychophysiological studies: Gender differences in arousal ratings. Poster presented at 25th Conference of the International Academy of Sex Research (IASR), Stony Brook, New York, June.

Janssen, E., Carpenter, D., & Graham, C. (2002). Selecting films for sex research: Gender differences in erotic film preference. Submitted for publication.

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