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Beautiful women are more easily turned on

The more positive feelings women have about their own body, the more quickly they become sexually turned on. No news here for women and therapists, but now there's a piece of scientific research that confirms the theory. The study was done by psychologists at the University of Texas at Austin and will be published soon in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.

In psychology the relationship between body image and sex drive is certainly not virgin territory. But most studies have been done on women who have had operations that doctors think will result in a decline in their sexual drive. According to these studies, the more attractive women rate themselves, the more easily they become sexually aroused. But although the media and internet are flooded with articles on sex, there has never been a study done on sex drive and 'ordinary' women.

Beautiful women are more easily turned on
The researchers did an experiment on 85 female students, all of whom were sexually active and half of whom had a serious relationship.

Using questionnaires the researchers found out what the students' attitude was about their own body. They asked the women their height and weight and worked out their BMI. Then the researchers got the women to read an erotic story. The story was "developed in our laboratory, written specifically for female readers, and described a man and a woman engaging in consensual foreplay and intercourse". [Wow. "Developed in our laboratory": must have been a really hot story.]

After they'd read the psychoporn story full of steamy consensual sex, the students completed the Heiman and Rowland Subjective Sexual Arousal Scale. This included questions on whether they were "sexually turned on" felt any "genital tenseness or tightness", or "a desire to be close to someone".

According to the researchers, the women were turned on by the story. The students' BMI had no influence on their arousal, but the students who regarded themselves as overweight were less quickly sexually aroused. The most important psychological factor was whether the students regarded themselves as physically and sexually attractive. The more attractive they found themselves, the more turned on they were.

It may sound like a fairly basic piece of research, but the findings are interesting for therapists. Most women who seek sexual therapy do so because they want to increase their sexual drive. But the results of sex therapy are often disappointing. Most women would probably do better by joining a good gym where nutritional advice is also available.

The research is also useful for men who complain that they are not getting enough sex. They should stop complaining and make their women feel beautiful.

Arch Sex Behav. 2009 Mar 12. [Epub ahead of print].