The Kinsey Institute, for research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction
About the Institute Services and Events Library and Special Collections Research Program Graduate Education Publications Related Resources

[click to enlarge]
Research Program
Research Publications
Kinsey Report Selections
KI Data & Code Books

KI Home

Women's Well-Being & Sexuality Study: Factors Affecting Sexual Arousal in Women

This project uses a women-centered approach to explore sexual arousal and the concepts of sexual excitation/inhibition in women. Data from nine focus groups held with women from diverse backgrounds were used to develop a questionnaire to assess a woman's tendency to
respond with sexual inhibition and sexual excitation in a variety of situations.

Women’s Survey - 700 women of varying ages and backgrounds have completed the questionnaire, developed from what we learned from the focus groups, and a number of other standardized questionnaires. Data analysis is looking at the relationship between scores on this questionnaire and measures of sexual risk-taking and sexual problems.

Findings from our qualitative focus group data suggest that the nature of "cues" to sexual arousal and the factors affecting sexual excitation and sexual inhibition may be different for women and men. Factors such as concern about reputation, unwanted pregnancy, and hormonal changes may be particularly salient for women. Our data also suggest that there may be a different time relationship between inhibition and sexual activity in men and women, with inhibition occurring earlier in women. We are also finding differences between women of different age groups in factors affecting sexual arousal.

Sanders, S.A., Graham, C.A., Milhausen, R.R. (2007). Predicting Sexual Problems in Women: The Relevance of Sexual Excitation and Inhibition. Archives of Sexual Behavior, DOI 10.1007/s10508-007-9235-7. pdf

Graham, C. A., Sanders, S., Millhausen, R. R., McBride, K. R. (2004). Turning On and Turning Off: A Focus Group Study of the Factors That Affect Women's Sexual Arousal. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 33 (6), 527-538. pdf

Stephanie Sanders
, Ph.D., Cynthia Graham, Ph.D, and Erick Janssen, Ph.D.
Co-investigators: Robin Milhausen and Kim McBride.

The Lilly Center for Women's Health.

Read Kinsey Today (2004) newsletter article here

For a description of the broader research agenda and theory, see Sexual Inhibition and Excitation.

BACK to current research


The Kinsey Institute is now on Facebook  Get KI News to your favorite news reader  Follow The Kinsey Institute on Twitter!  Watch Kinsey Institute videos on YouTube  Circle us on Google Plus for the latest news
KI News Library Catalog Support the KI Site Index Search
© 1996- , Kinsey Institute / Indiana University