Why men fail to control arousal

The study found that men, who can regulate their arousal to some degree, are the ones who could control their other emotions as well.

"We suspect that if an individual is good at regulating one type of emotional response, he/she is probably good at regulating other emotional responses. This has never been shown before," A science magazine quoted Jason Winters, the study's research head as saying.

Sex and relationships, Why men fail to control arousal

The study employed 16 randomly ordered video clips-eight were erotic, and eight were funny (specifically, the funny video clips featured the least sexy comedian the researchers could find: Mitch Hedberg).

Participants were instructed to control their response to certain videos, and simply to watch the others.

They then rated their arousal following each clip, and were hooked up to machines that measured their erections.

Researchers wanted to know if men could control sexual arousal, fooling both themselves and others.

And the found that participants were, on average, able to regulate their physiological sexual arousal when told to do so- in fact, they showed a 25 percent reduction in erectile response.

"This is consistent with success rates from previous, well-controlled [measuring-device] faking studies in which success rates range from 26 to 38 percent," said Winters.

Men who were more easily excited were, unsurprisingly, less able to regulate, while guys who tended to be sexually inhibited because of performance issues were better able to stave off an erection.

Furthermore, the study found that the men who were best able to control their response to the pornographic videos were also able to control their response to Mitch Hedberg.

But for those who had difficulty regulating, reverse psychology could be to blame.

"The finding that was most surprising was that some men became more sexually aroused when they tried to regulate their sexual arousal. In other words, they responded more strongly (both physiologically and self-reported) during trials in which they attempted to regulate their arousal than trials during which they merely watched the stimuli. We attributed this increased response to anxiety - in this case, demand anxiety. It's sort of like when you tell someone not to think of a white elephant; those [who] are most anxious during the task have the most trouble not thinking about the white elephant," said Winters.

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