Sexual Content Induced Delay: A Reexamination Investigating Relation to Sexual Desire

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This article reports the utility of an information processing approach to examine whether there is a relationship between sexual content induced delay and levels of sexual desire as determined by self-report questionnaires. We tested this idea using a partial replication of the J. H. Geer and H. S. Bellard (1996) protocol demonstrating sexual content induced delay (SCID) in responding to sexual versus neutral words. In addition, the experiment examined whether SCID was different in people with varying levels of sexual desire. It was hypothesized that persons with low levels of sexual desire might respond more slowly to sexual word cues than others. Words with equal frequency of usage and similar word length were chosen from among those used in the Geer and Bellard study. The experiment was conducted with 171 volunteers who completed sexual desire questionnaires, lexical decision making tasks, and word ratings. The SCID effect was demonstrated by both men and women in the study with no significant variation between the sexes. In accordance with prediction, it was found that persons with lower levels of sexual desire responded more slowly to sexual stimuli than other participants, and rated sexual words as less familiar, less acceptable, and less positive emotionally to them. These findings have implications for understanding how emotional content contributes to SCID. They also suggest that further exploration of these ideas, perhaps using other stimulus modalities, may be helpful in advancing understanding of responses to sexual cues, and the potential implications that may have in better understanding sexual desire.

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