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Sexually Aroused Women Are Harder to Gross Out

Sexual arousal dampens the disgust response in women, both in the bedroom and outside of it. Ian Chant reports

Sex can be, well, kinda gross. So how do we have sex?

Once we’re turned on, it turns out, it gets harder for icky stuff to turn us off. Women, anyway. Gross things just don’t seem as gross when gals feel amorous. So says a study in the journal PLoS ONE. [Charmaine Borg and Peter J. de Jong, Feelings of Disgust and Disgust-Induced Avoidance Weaken following Induced Sexual Arousal in Women]

Researchers found that sexual arousal dampens the disgust response in women, both in the bedroom and outside of it. In the study, three groups of women—unaroused, generally aroused, and specifically sexually aroused—were assigned a series of tasks associated with a disgust response.

Some tasks were sexual, like lubricating a vibrator. Others were really unsexy, such as drinking from a cup with a big insect in it. Sexually aroused women were the most ready to lubricate sex toys—but they were also less squeamish than the other women about drinking from the bug cup.

The goal is to advance the treatment of sexual dysfunction and the lowered levels of arousal that can underlie it. So that people will say yes to the mess.

—Ian Chant

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

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