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See detailAttentional bias to body- and sexually-relevant stimuli
Czeluscinska-Peczkowska, Agnieszka UL

Doctoral thesis (2019)

Sexual dysfunctions and body image dissatisfaction in women have reached significant levels, with prevalence rates being currently estimated at 50% and 38%, respectively. The potential societal and health ... [more ▼]

Sexual dysfunctions and body image dissatisfaction in women have reached significant levels, with prevalence rates being currently estimated at 50% and 38%, respectively. The potential societal and health costs are considerable, as a negative body image is considered a high risk factor for the development and maintenance of eating disorders, and sexual dysfunctions can negatively impact overall well-being. Previous research has separately examined body image dissatisfaction and sexual functioning but research linking these two areas is missing. Study 1 demonstrated the significance of contextual body image in evaluating visual sexual images. Valence ratings of sexually explicit stimuli were found to be associated with sexual functioning level mediated by contextual body image: women, who rated sexually explicit pictures less positively scored lower on sexual functioning if they reported a more self-conscious focus and avoidance of the body in the context of sexual experiences. In Study 2 we were able to prove the relevance of new sexually-explicit images in evoking sexual arousal, which was reflected by evaluative judgements and psychophysiological indicators of arousal. Study 3 aimed to compare responses to sexual stimuli and stimuli related to body image dissatisfaction (images of own body) in participants with sexual dysfunctions (SD) and a healthy control (HC) group. Contrary to our expectations, women in the SD group looked significantly longer and more frequently at self-defined most satisfying than dissatisfying body parts when compared to HC participants. There were no significant group differences in gaze duration and frequency of sexually explicit images, but the women with SDs rated these stimuli as less positive, less arousing and expressed less motivation to keep looking at them. Furthermore, by inducing a positive or negative attention bias (AB) to own body parts we aimed at changing state body image satisfaction and state sexual arousal in response to sexually explicit video-clip. The proposed AB induction was not sufficient and did not affect body image and sexual experiences. Altogether, the findings from current study suggests that it visual attention and general arousal in response to sexual stimuli in women with SD is not disturbed but rather the process of evaluation. [less ▲]

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