Automatic Sexual Chemistry

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Sexual motivation theoretical framework

Tail Withdrawal Rat

As was pointed out in Chapter 1, sexual motivation is not activated by endogenous events but by an external stimulus. This is not the whole story, though. The external stimulus must initiate some processes within the central nervous system and these internal processes must sooner or later translate themselves into observable behavior, which means activity in skeletal muscles. This overt activity may or may not be associated with responses in the autonomous nervous system. In order to understand the mechanisms of motivation, it is essential to have some basic knowledge of the interactions between certain kinds of stimuli, central nervous activities and behavior. To that end, the incentive motivation theory elaborated by Dalbir Bindra (Bindra, 1969, 1974, 1976, 1978) is most useful. I will start this chapter with an introduction to that theory. In addition to producing the behavioral responses of approach and withdrawal, incentive stimuli may activate visceral responses mediated by the...

Physical characteristics

Flycatchers and thrushes) rictal bristles at the base of the bill (a widespread adaptation for insectivory) thin, pointed bill hatchlings naked or only partially downy ten primaries scutellate tarsi and lack of strong sexual dimorphism (Sylvia is a notable exception). Most genera have twelve tail feathers, but there are a few exceptions. Wing shape and length ranges from short and rounded in sedentary species, to longer and more pointed in long-distance migrants. Moult timing and pattern are highly variable.

Assessment of Sexual Behavior

Since the 1980s, research in sexual health has escalated due to the sexual revolution, advent of the HIV pandemic, and the pharmacological treatment of sexual problems. Advances in data collection methods and the assessment of sexual behavior have furthered our understanding of sexual behavior patterns and functioning. Although biological markers (e.g., incidence of sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy) provide useful information about an individual's

Female copulatory behavior

A sexually receptive female rat will quietly approach a male and within a rather short distance of him (about one body length) she will turn away and make a short, fast run and then suddenly stop with her hind quarters raised. This behavior pattern is called solicitation (McClintock et al., 1982 McClintock and Anisko, 1982). It is a very important part of the female's copulatory behavior in seminatural conditions, like those used by Martha McClintock in her very elegant studies. A most interesting observation is that more than 90 of sexual interactions are initiated by a female solicitation (McClintock and Adler, 1978). The male initiated only 3 of the interactions. In the remaining 7 it was unclear who the initiator was. This is true not only for the initial mounting episode, but also for the entire sequence of mounts with and without intromissions leading to ejaculation. It appears, then, that the female is in control of the pace of copulatory interactions from the first mount until...

Ultrasonic vocalizations in rats

FIGURE 3.1 Ultrasonic vocalizations recorded from a sexually receptive female rat in response to exposure to an inaccessible male. FIGURE 3.1 Ultrasonic vocalizations recorded from a sexually receptive female rat in response to exposure to an inaccessible male. mentioned above (Thomas et al., 1981). The fact that the female returns faster to a vocalizing male than to a devocalized male could actually suggest that the vocalizing male is more attractive. This is in line with other data showing that sexually receptive females display solicitations in response to castrated males when exposed to the 22 kHz vocalizations (Mcintosh et al., 1978). The results of this study as well as those of the Thomas et al. (1981, 1982a) studies suggest that these vocalizations enhance rather than inhibit female sexual behavior. We are now faced with a rather significant amount of contradictory data, making it impossible to arrive at a reasonably well-founded conclusion. However, a nicely designed study in...

Conclusions concerning auditory sexual incentive stimuli ultrasonic vocalizations in rodents

Environment to which the rat has been thoroughly familiarized, as is the case with standard testing environments. Thus, there are two likely explanations for the rat's approach. One is a search for social contact and the other is search for sexual contact. In order to show that the approach is determined by sexual motivation rather than purely social motivation, we need to perform a couple of experiments. The most straightforward is probably to determine the effects of removal of the gonads from the subject. Neither males nor females show any sexual motivation in the absence of gonadal hormones. At the same time, it is known that the presence or absence of gonadal hormones do not affect social motivation, at least in some procedures (discussed in gmo et al., 2004). If a subject without adequate amounts of gonadal hormones, for example a castrated male or an ovariectomized female, approach the vocalizing subject as much as an animal with gonadal hormones, for example an intact male or...

Electrophysiological responses to chemicals in vomeronasal and accessory olfactory tract neurons

Other available data may perhaps help us solve the problem. For example, male hamsters were implanted with an electrode into the vomeronasal organ and electrical stimulation was applied to one side for 45 min. The animals were killed after another 45 min, and expression of the immediate early gene fos was quantified in several brain areas. A significant difference in fos expression between the stimulated and unstimulated side was obtained only in the accessory olfactory bulb and in the medial amygdala, that is in the primary and secondary projection areas (Meredith and Fewell, 2001). Perhaps these data are sufficient for asserting that stimulation of the vomeronasal organ can lead to changes in nervous activity in the medial amygdala. What is somewhat disturbing is that tertiary projection areas, that is areas receiving the axons of the amygdaloid cells innervated by axons from the mitral cells in the accessory olfactory bulb, such as the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis and medial...

The main olfactory system

The rather low frequency of spontaneous erection can be enhanced by exposing a male rat to airborne chemicals from a sexually receptive female. If the female is located downwind, no effect of her presence is observed, but as soon as she is located upwind the male starts to display erections (Sachs, 1997). These erections have been termed non-contact erections, but I would prefer to call them female enhanced spontaneous erections. Since airborne chemicals are involved, it is reasonable to suppose that the main olfactory system is responsible for their detection and the ensuing physiological effects. This supposition has been substantiated. Olfactory bulbectomy eliminated female enhanced spontaneous erections and destruction of the nasal mucosa with ZnSO4 produced a marked reduction. Removal of the vomeronasal organ had no effect (Kondo et al., 1999). The authors then proceeded to test the efficiency of devocalized females in activating female enhanced spontaneous erections. No...

Coping and Health Behavioral Pathways

For example, smoking, alcohol and drug use, and casual sex are common ways to self-sooth, or regulate emotions, when under stress (cf. Cohen et al, 1991 Holahan et al, 2003 Horowitz and White, 1991). Such activities may reduce negative feelings over the short term, thereby serving as emotion-focused coping. However, they ultimately can have adverse effects on health.

Sexual incentive properties of odors

Some comments must be made on the choices of olfactory stimuli employed in the studies mentioned and in the many not worth mentioning. We have already seen that the androgenic steroid androstenol and its derivatives are popular. The reason for this is that odors produced by boars are known to enhance the procep-tive behaviors of sows. The abundant saliva excreted by sexually excited boars was suspected to contain the relevant odor and it was soon found out that two steroids, produced in the testes and excreted by the submaxillary glands, androstenol and androstenone, were the critical molecules (Melrose et al., 1971 Signoret, 1976). The capacity of these compounds to stimulate pig sex has been confirmed on many occasions and they are even commercially available in the form of an aerosol spray named Boar Mate (Knight, 1985). So far, neither androstenol nor androstenone has been shown to have similar effects in any other species. The fact that some scientists believe that humans are...

Significance to humans

In Australia, where the return of waders coincides with the first rains of the wet season and is thus associated with good health, one Aborigine tribe carries out sandpiper dances as part of its initiation ceremonies. Other species may be associated with sexual appetite, and in the Russian Far East, the lekking behavior of ruffs has impressed the local people of the Chukchi Peninsula so much that they celebrate it with an imitative dance.

The medial preoptic area motivation or execution

Over the years, there has been some discussion with regard to the exact role of the medial preoptic area. Some have proposed that it is involved in the executional but not the motivational aspects of sexual behavior. The main argument for that point of view comes from studies in which rats had been trained to perform operant responses for access to a receptive female, or where they had been trained to find a female in a specific location. After preoptic lesion, the males soon stopped copulating with the females but they still performed operant responses to get access to them (Everitt and Stacey, 1987 Everitt, 1990). Other studies have found that unconditioned responses, like pursuing a receptive female or approaching an inaccessible female, are abolished by preoptic lesions (Paredes et al., 1993 Hurtazo et al., 2003). Similarly, interest in odors from receptive females disappears after preoptic lesions in rats and ferrets (Paredes and Baum, 1995 Paredes et al., 1998). These data show...

The Sexual Response Cycle

Takes place more slowly in women and is characterized by the production of lubricating fluid in the vagina, an increase in the diameter of the clitoris, and increased congestion of the labia with blood. For both sexes, phase II (plateau) is marked by a rise in the blood congestion of the pelvis and a strong feeling of sexual tension. A sex flush colors the forehead, neck, and chest, sometimes extending to the abdominal area. Phase III (orgasm) occurs in two stages in men a preejaculatory contraction of the muscles involved in ejaculation, and actual ejaculation. The same muscles are involved in the orgasms of women as those of men. During phase IV (resolution), which is usually completed more quickly in men than in women, the congestion of the blood vessels that occurred during the previous phases of the sexual response cycle decreases. After a time, the cycle can be repeated. The duration of this recovery, or refractory period, is generally longer for men than for women some women...

Reproductive Biology

Sexually receptive female releases sexually attractant chemicals (pheromones), leaving trail up to 3.2 ft (1 m) long as she gradually sinks or slowly swims. Males detect chemicals in trail and begin pursuit. Once in close proximity, male detects hydromechanical disturbance caused by female swimming motions. Male grasps female using maxillipeds, then transfers single spermatophore with tip of fifth leg. Spermatophore discharges its sperm contents into copulatory pore, leading to seminal receptacle in female genital region. Using stored sperm, single female can produce numerous batches of eggs over period of 60-80 days. Eggs broadcast into water column, at rate of one about every 30 minutes, typically during afternoon or at night. Eggs hatch after about one day.

The ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus

Additional evidence for a role of this nucleus was obtained in a study where it was electrically stimulated. A reasonable prediction is that electrical stimulation of a brain site should have effects on a particular behavior opposite to those of a lesion, if the site indeed were of importance for that particular behavior. This prediction was confirmed in rats (Pfaff and Sakuma, 1979b). Furthermore, a study in sexually receptive female monkeys found that electrical stimulation of the ventro-medial nucleus produced a presentation posture. This behavior consists of lifting the hip and turning the hindquarters toward the male. The males found the presenting posture most inciting, because they usually responded with touching, mounting and thrusting (Koyama et al., 1988). Interestingly, the stimulation did not activate any presentations in the absence of a male. This fact indicates that the ventromedial nucleus does not control the motor output underlying the posture. If that had been the...

Central nervous control of sexual behavior in the human female

Meaningful data concerning the brain sites involved in sexual behaviors in women are, as we have seen, extremely scarce. In fact, I feel forced to conclude that we do not have enough human data for any conclusion at all. However, this state of affairs can probably be remedied if we make use of data from the rather large number of studies in non-human animals. Among mammals, including nonhuman primates, it appears that the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus and the medial preoptic area are of importance in every species studied. I can see no reason for doubting that this is also the case in women. In addition, structures involved in sensory input and motor output are, as in other animals, necessary. Furthermore, the exceptional flexibility of human sexual behaviors repeatedly mentioned before makes it likely that additional brain regions are involved in some aspect or another of human female sexual behaviors. Despite these undis-putable facts, I do believe that the neural model...

An ultrashort introduction to the principles of learning

The light has replaced the food pellet as the stimulus causing the rat to display the behavior pattern of approach. We already know that any stimulus activating approach behaviors is a positive incentive. The neutral light stimulus has become a positive incentive because of classical conditioning. Instead of a light, any neutral stimulus could have been presented for a few seconds before delivery of the food pellet, like a tone or an odor. Likewise, instead of using food to a hungry rat as the unconditioned stimulus, we could have used water to a thirsty rat or any other stimulus causing approach without previous learning. A sexual example would be to make a light precede the appearance of a sexually receptive female rat to a male. After a sufficient number of pairings of the light and the unconditioned sexual incentive of a female, the light should acquire sexual incentive properties.

Studies in nonhuman mammals

I defined habituation as a decrease in the intensity of a response because of repeated exposure to a constant stimulus caused by processes in the central nervous system and unrelated to sensory adaptation or effector fatigue. In male rats and other male mammals, prolonged exposure to a sexually receptive female and the associated execution of copulatory behavior leads eventually to an end of sexual activity. It is said that the animal is sexually exhausted. The cause of the disappearance of sexual behavior can obviously be that the male is physically exhausted, in other words fatigue in the effector systems. Another cause may be that his sensory organs have adapted and no longer register the stimuli emitted by the female. If we replace the original female partner with a new one, the male will reinitiate copulation. This phenomenon has been termed the Coolidge effect in honor of the 30th president of the USA, Calvin Coolidge. It is not entirely clear how the term was established, but...

Conclusions regarding sexual responses and learning

What is quite evident to anyone with some elementary knowledge of human sexual behavior and human sexual incentives is that the importance of inborn determinants is negligible. The secrets of human sexual functions can never be unraveled through a search for purely biological determinants. An understanding of the behavioral mechanisms, including learning, by which external stimuli exert their control of the activation of sexual motivation and the display of sexual behaviors, is absolutely essential.

The positive affect behavioral data

A natural stimulus event may replace a drug for producing positive affect. We tested the affective consequences of the execution of copulatory behavior in male rats many years ago. The basic idea was that copulation until ejaculation should induce a positive affect outlasting the sexual interaction itself. Conversations with colleagues and friends had convinced me that the pleasure of having an orgasm did not dissipate instantaneously. Supposing this to be true, we could replace the injection of a drug causing positive affect with an opportunity to copulate until ejaculation. This we did. Male rats were allowed to ejaculate once with a sexually receptive female. Immediately after ejaculation, we introduced the male into one of the compartments of a place preference box. On alternate days, the male was taken directly from its home cage and placed in another compartment. We repeated this three times and then we performed the test. It turned out that the males preferred the compartment...

Conclusions And Implications For Future Work

The original suggestions for an MHC odortype connection that were made by Thomas stemmed in part from his interests in how dogs track people. The implication was that each person had a unique body odor that the dogs exploited. Presuming that this is true, then it should be possible to replace the dog with an instrument that can identify individual people much as can be done with fingerprints. Our mouse studies implicating MHC genes and genes at other locations in the genome in odortype specification imply that the odortype of an individual may be extremely complex. This is consistent with the necessity, at least so far, for the sophisticated olfactory apparatus of the dog or the mouse to discriminate such odors. Nevertheless, it seems reasonable to guess that it may not be so long before we can take an odor sample from an individual and determine the identity of the person. It may indeed be that people are already doing this at a subconscious level and that odor plays a role in sexual...

The concept of homosexual behavior a source of much confusion

Some sexual behavior patterns in non-human animals are also similar regardless of the sex of the partner. A sexually receptive female rat will respond with lordosis to a male's mount, to another female's mount or the experimenter's fingers touching the flanks and the perineum. There is no known difference between a lordosis activated by a male, by another female or by an experimenter. Thus, a lordosis is a lordosis regardless of the source of the stimulation activating it. A male rat mounts females with much enthusiasm, but he may also mount other males. In both cases, his behavior, including the thrusting pattern, is the same. Again, mounting is mounting independently of who the mountee is. In fact, it appears that sexual behaviors with individuals of the same sex are identical to those displayed when having sex with individuals of the opposite sex.

Social and Economic Differences

When serving as leaders, women's style tends to be participative and democratic rather than directive or authoritarian. Rather than dispassionately stating their opinions, asking questions, or presenting information, women are more likely than men to smile and gaze at others and to agree or express support. In contrast, men in leadership positions tend to be more directive and even autocratic. Men are less likely to become emotionally close to other people, preferring instead to maintain control by keeping the relationships fairly superficial and letting the facts speak for themselves. Sometimes, however, men misinterpret eye contact or a smile from a woman as a promise, perceiving interpersonal warmth as a sexual come-on and friendliness as sexual interest (Abbey, 1987 Johnson, Stockdale, & Saal, 1991 Kowalski, 1993). In such cases, their responses to such false perceptions may leave men open to charges of sexual harassment.

Another confusing concept sexually dimorphic behaviors

Although only a few sexual behaviors are dimorphic in the sense that they are displayed by one sex but not by the other, we must admit that some behavior patterns are far more frequent in one sex than in the other. This could be considered as a statistical dimorphism. For example, the likelihood that a sexually receptive female rat will display lordosis when mounted is far above the likelihood that a male rat will display lordosis when mounted (Figure 8.1). Similarly, the likelihood of displaying a mount when exposed to a receptive female is higher in a male than in a female exposed to another female. It is certainly this difference in probability of occurrence that makes some scientists consider mounts as male-typical behaviors and lordoses as typical of females. For convenience I will frequently do the same. FIGURE 8.1 Left A male rat mounting a sexually receptive female. Note the female's lordosis posture. Right The male rat seen in the left panel is now mounted by another male....

Intraspecies Effects Of Volatile Pheromones In Mice

In the mid-1950s, a few years before the term pheromone was introduced, several studies demonstrated that odors derived from mice affected the physiological status of conspecifics (Bruce, 1959 Van Der Lee and Boot, 1955 Whitten, 1956). Evidence for pheromone communication in mice has continued to accumulate since then. For example, odors from male mice accelerate the onset of puberty (Vandenbergh, 1969), synchronization of estrous cycles (Whitten, 1956), and pregnancy block in female mice (Bruce, 1959). In contrast, female odors postpone puberty of female mice and lengthen the estrous cycle (Van Der Lee and Boot, 1955). Female odors also influence developmental processes in male mice, for example, affecting the concentration of androgens (Macrides et al., 1975) and the maturation of sperm (Koyama and Kamimura, 2000). The possession of such intraspecies effects satisfies the definition of a primer phero-mone, which is a substance that primes changes in the physiological conditions of...

Studies in intact mammals General

A substantial literature on sexual preference in rats shows that males prefer females over other males, and sexually receptive females prefer males over other females. This was discussed at some length in Chapter 3, and I will neither repeat the experimental data supporting this conclusion nor provide any more references. Rather I will briefly mention some of our own unpublished data that may be of relevance here. We have, during the last decade, observed many hundreds of male rats in a test for sexual incentive motivation, where the male subject can choose between approaching a sexually receptive female and another male. On one particular test, a small proportion of males (

Comparisons Of Longterm Effects Of Diagnosis And Treatment By Cancer Site Breast Cancer And Hodgkins Disease

Social quality of life Female Hodgkin's disease survivors who were unemployed initially, continued to be unemployed while those who were working at least parttime were more likely to report being employed full-time at follow-up (8.4 increase, although not statistically significant). Male survivors, on the other hand, were more likely to report being unemployed at the second interview. Overall, the unemployment rate of Hodgkin's disease survivors who were over age 30 at the time of treatment increased from 18.8 to 34.1 (p 0.03). Survivors reported that the number of friends and relatives to whom they felt close also was reduced. These constrictions in one's social network could be related to illness imposed restrictions, reduced social activity (lack of employment or not being married, loss of friends due to death) or to stigma. Using multivariate analysis, these different explanations were tested. While the model developed explained 48 of the variance, the only significant variable...

Studies in nonprimate female mammals

We have already concluded that the motor patterns underlying human sexual behaviors are neither male nor female. Thus, the analogy suggesting that enhanced mounting in female rats, or enhanced lordosis in male rats, has something to do with human homosexuality is flawed. However, if we could show that perinatal endocrine manipulations affect the preference for one sex over the other, then we could perhaps assume that they somehow may be related to homosexuality. As so elegantly put elsewhere 'The essence of partner preference lies not in what the animal does, but in which individuals it does it with' (Adkins-Regan et al., 1997, p. 497). Experimental data evaluating the effects of early endocrine manipulations on preference for a particular sex are not abundant, and results are, as we will see, not always crystal clear. We begin this short review of relevant data with a discussion of studies in female rats. In the oldest of these, females were either treated with androgen or with...

Studies in male nonprimate mammals

Turning to males, the situation is somewhat clearer. This is probably because we have more data on males than on females, as is so often the case. If a male rat is castrated shortly after birth, on postnatal day 0 to be exact, and treated with estra-diol + progesterone when adult, he will not only display lordosis, ear wiggling and hop-darting with the same frequency as a female, bur he will also approach a sexually active male more than a receptive female. When these males received a testosterone implant in adulthood, they changed their behavior and approached a sexually receptive female more than a male (Matuszczyk et al., 1988). This fascinating result suggests that male rats are similar to females in the way that adult hormonal environment determines the preferred sex, while early hormone exposure or lack of such is of minor importance. Similar results were obtained in a study by Meyerson et al. (1979). Their males, castrated shortly after birth, also approached a male more than a...

Preference versus orientation the role of will and other issues

For the sake of clarity, I will repeat that a preference for something always requires a possibility of choice. Without a choice, there is nothing to prefer. Furthermore, I restated preference in terms of relative incentive value of available alternatives. An individual will approach the incentive with the largest incentive value among those available at the moment. For convenience, I employed the verb 'choose' for the action and the noun 'choice' for the process. These words are simple labels put on an observed behavior and do not imply anything at all with regard to the dynamics of the internal processes determining the behavior. When a male rat chooses to approach a sexually receptive female rather than another male, we say that the male made a choice of the female or that he chose the female. What actually happened was that the incentive stimuli

Acceptability of samesex behaviors and the role of willfulness

It appears that the importance given to the distinction between homosexuality as a condition caused by a willful decision on one hand and as an inevitable consequence of uncontrollable events on the other is great in conservative, religious groups. This is amazing, since people belonging to such groups should be well aware of the fact that Saint Augustine considered sexuality as outside the control of the will. Indeed, that conviction justified the establishment of innumerable rules for sexual behaviors, in the dark ages summarized in publications called the Penitentials (see Hawkes, 2004). Since sexuality was outside the control of the will, the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church felt obliged to help people control their sexuality through a set of rules that, if respected, would prevent people from entering into situations where uncontrollable sexual urges might appear. The Penitentials are now forgotten, but their teachings still have profound influences on the way many...

Sexual differentiation

Successful reproduction requires the appropriate genitalia and endocrine organs, as well as the necessary software, in the form of hypothalamic and pituitary secretions that regulate reproductive function and corticolimbic brain systems that influence sexual motivation and parental care of the offspring. Predictably, gonadal hormones also support the sexual differentiation of hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis. The essential gender difference in mammalian HPG function is the positive surge in hypothalamic gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) in response to estrogen. This GnRH surge supports the pulse of pituitary luteinizing hormone (LH) essential for ovulation. The capacity for such positive feedback effects of estrogen is lost in the male rodent (although not in all male mammals) as a function of perinatal testosterone exposure (Levine, 1997). In genetic females, perinatal testosterone exposure results in the loss of the LH surge and the capacity for ovulation. Similarly,...

Sexual function and dysfunction

In addition to impotence, there is another condition, also considered a sexual dysfunction according to recent editions of the diagnostic manuals, named hypo-active sexual desire disorder. That disorder is not characterized by an inability to obtain sexual reward through genital stimulation. It consists of a lack of interest in obtaining such rewards. A lack of interest for engaging in behaviors leading to an unnecessary reward is usually not considered dysfunctional. In fact, to attribute the notion of dysfunctionality to a lack of interest in the execution of copulatory behaviors is quite recent. Independently of this, the absence of sexual behaviors cannot be considered a dysfunction of these behaviors. They are simply not expressed and that should be the end of it. However, this does not seem to be correct. In order to apply the diagnostic label of 'hypoactive sexual desire disorder' to an individual, that individual must consider that the lack of sexual interest is a problem and...

A short note on nonhuman mammals

Since the definition of dysfunctional found acceptable for human use is inapplicable to non-human mammals, we need another under the condition that something possible to regard as dysfunctional sexual behavior exists in these mammals. Indeed it does. I mentioned somewhere that a small proportion of rats, and certainly also of most other mammals, will not show any sexual behavior in the usual laboratory conditions and some are also unable to sire offspring even when given prolonged opportunity to do so. They seem to suffer from a condition similar to hypoactive sexual desire disorder in the way that sexual incentives are unable to activate sexual motivation. So far as we know, there is no evident disturbance in these animals' endocrine system and no observable peculiarities in their central nervous system. In that way, they are similar to humans suffering from hypoactive sexual desire disorder. It is not impossible that we should consider the sexually inactive, unmanipu-lated mammals...

An incentive motivationlearning account of the origin of hypoactive sexual desire disorder

The incentive motivational explanation of hypoactive sexual desire disorder may account for some clinical facts that are most difficult to explain in other terms. One particularly evident case is the variant of situational hypoactive sexual desire disorder where the patient lacks sexual interest in one person, usually the partner, while being attracted to and performing sexual responses with other persons. The husband who is not attracted to his wife, and even actively avoids sexual approaches from her, while going to a brothel three times per week for having and wanting to have sex with prostitutes is an excellent example. The wife that has no interest whatsoever in having sex with her husband, but happily copulates with an occasional lover in a shabby hotel room is another.

Some rat data supporting the incentive motivationlearning model and a note on the relationship between desire and

In contrast to the proposal that sexual desire and sexual motivation are equivalent concepts, it has been argued that they need to be separated (Hurlbert et al., 2000). Sexual desire was defined as 'a cognitive process to either approach or avoid sexual activity', while sexual motivation is 'a behavioral process to either approach or avoid sexual activity' (Hurlbert et al., 2000, p. 326). Most motivation theorists would disagree with this distinction, though, since motivation is not behavior but a hypothetical factor causing behavior (Bindra, 1974). The same factor may also determine cognitive activities. For this reason, the suggested distinction between motivation and desire seems artificial and unfounded in psychological theory. FIGURE 11.2 Design of the apparatus used for evaluating sexual incentive motivation. The incentive animal cages (marked A) are removable and can easily be exchanged within an experimental session. Outside these cages, a virtual zone is defined (marked B)....

Psychotherapeutic procedures

The basis of the treatment program is a four-step procedure developed, practiced and described by LoPiccolo and Friedman (1988). As almost every treatment program aimed at sexual dysfunctions, the LoPiccolo and Friedman program is heavily influenced by the work of Masters and Johnson (1970). It is also, in one way or another, influenced by a series of speculations as to the cause of low sexual desire. The number of potential causes listed by LoPiccolo and Friedman (1988) is impressive indeed, and goes far beyond my previous discussion of etiology. The potential causes are religious orthodoxy, anhedonic or obsessive-compulsive personality, problems with gender identity or object choice, sexual phobias and aversions, fear of loss of control over sexual urges, masked sexual deviation, fear of pregnancy, depression, side effects of drugs, concerns about aging, lack of attraction to the partner, poor sexual skills in the partner, marital conflict, fear of closeness, couple differences...

Brain Evolution And Behavior A Role For Genomic Imprinting

These important anatomical changes in the evolutionary development of the mammalian brain have been crucial in the reorganization of reproductive strategies involving sex differences in the brain and behavior. Especially important has been the pseudogenization of vomeronasal and olfactory receptor genes and the downregulation of gonadal and placental hormones in determining sexual and maternal care together with the upregulation of social determinants of behavior. Castrate male primates continue to show a sexual interest in females years after gonadectomy (Michael and Wilson, 1973) but lose sexual interest within days of losing dominance and social status (Keverne, 1992). Reproductive strategies are therefore very complex and embedded in social learning and social structure of the group in which primates live. Moreover, delaying the onset of puberty and extending the period of postnatal care has permitted extensive growth and enlargement of the neocortex. In Old World female primates,...

The search for diagnostic criteria

The usefulness of a category of hyperactive sexual desire disorder has been questioned in an amusing Swedish study (Langstrom and Hanson, 2006). After criticizing earlier efforts made in order to justify such a category as well as the criteria proposed for inclusion in it, the researchers suggest that large amounts of impersonal sex might be indicative of something worth calling hypersexuality. Items representing impersonal sex are masturbation, pornography use, the number of sexual partners, sexual activities outside but simultaneous with the current relationship, more than one simultaneous partner, preference for casual sex over a stable partner and the participation in group sex. Based on questionnaire answers from a nationwide sample, the respondents were classified as hypersexual if they belonged to the top 5-10 with regard to frequency of the behaviors on the impersonality list just mentioned. For men, a frequency of masturbation above 15 per month, use of pornography more than...

Diagnostic criteria and general description

Over a period of at least 6 months, recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving the exposure of one's genitals to an unsuspecting stranger B. The fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning (Reprinted with permission from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Copyright 2000. American Psychiatric Association)

Diagnostic criteria epidemiology and general description

Over a period of at least 6 months, recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving the use of nonliving objects (e.g. female undergarments). B. The fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning. 1 Abasiophilia sexual attraction to people who use leg braces or other orthopaedic appliances 3 Acrotomophilia sexual attraction to amputees 4 Agalmatophilia sexual attraction to statues or mannequins or immobility 9 Aretifism sexual attraction to people who are without footwear 11 Urolagnia sexual attraction to urine 12 Vorarephilia sexual attraction to being eaten by, and or eating, another person or creature 13 Xenophilia sexual attraction to foreigners (in science fiction, can also mean sexual attraction to aliens) 14 Zoophilia emotional or sexual attraction to animals

Homosexual Brains Are Different

A comparable size difference was found in sheep (Roselli et al., 2004). Sheep are a unique animal model in which to study sexual partner preference since variations in sexual attraction occur spontaneously in domestic ram populations. Most domestic rams are sexually attracted to and active with estrous ewes but as many as 8-10 of rams exhibit a sexual partner preference for other males. These male oriented rams mount and ejaculate like other males only their choice of sexual partner is different. They are thus ideal animal models in that their coital behavior is masculinized, but not their sexual partner preference. An analogue of the SDN ovine SDN (oSDN) , a hypothalamic nucleus thought to be involved in mate selection, was identified in the sheep brain (Roselli et al., 2004). Furthermore, the oSDN was found to be larger in female-oriented rams than in male-oriented rams (MORs), and similar in size in MORs and ewes. It is hypothesized that the oSDN corresponds with human INAH3...

The Genetics Of Sexual Orientation

We hypothesize that one central neuronal pathway establishes sexual attraction to either males or females, usually toward the opposite sex. However, a variety of genetic and nongenetic biological effects might intersect this pathway. Hence, there might be several subgroups of gay men and women, each with their own specific biological origin.

Copulatory behavior in men and women

Stages Coital

When erection and vaginal lubrication have been obtained, the third stage of sexual interaction, coitus, may begin. This stage starts with the insertion of the penis into the vagina, reaches culmination in the ejaculation of semen and in the orgasm in both partners, and finally ends with penile withdrawal. The 'sexual tension' increases stepwise from the introduction of the penis until orgasm in both the man and the woman. van de Velde illustrates the degree of 'sexual tension' in a series of figures, which 40 years later were employed by Masters and Johnson (1966) in their important book on human sexuality.

The importance of testicular hormones in men

Some effects of the removal of testicular hormones have been implicitly known for thousands of years. Starting at an unknown period of remote antiquity, castrated men, eunuchs, were used as servants in harems and as chamberlains to kings (Humana, 1973). The fact that eunuchs were preferred for employment as guards of and servants to women may suggest that already in these ancient times it was known that castrated men had reduced or no sexual interest. There are many anecdotes about preserved sexual behaviors in some eunuchs, but these anecdotes do not contradict the proposal that most of them showed no or much reduced sexual activity. Although none of the stories concerning sexual exploits of eunuchs is based on actual observation, it is not inconceivable that some men castrated after puberty retained some sexual activity for considerable periods of time. Furthermore, some eunuchs were not castrated in the contemporary sense of the word, extirpation of the testicles, but by...

Saint Augustine and sex the poena reciproca and the role of love

There are two conditions that must be satisfied before a human being can engage in sexual activity without offending God that the aim is procreation and that the participants are united in love between themselves and in love of God. Only through a limitless love of the next (the partner) and of God could the concupiscentia carnis and the associated poena reciproca become compatible with the Christian faith and any hope of a post-mortem eternal life. Needless to say, once a small number of children had been begotten, any decent human should be continent. In fact, Augustine considered the perfect Christian marriage a marriage of continence, for a simple reason. The justification for procreation was to increase the number of inhabitants in the city of God, but that number was sufficient already at the time of Augustine, so he preferred to insist on moderation of procreation under all circumstances and on continence as the ideal. It may be interesting to note that Augustine did not have...

The relationship between sexual desire motivation and excitation arousal

Become receptive to sexual experiences' (Kaplan, 1979, p. 10), sounds rather similar to what I have called sexual incentive motivation in its first phase, approach to a mate. The desire phase as defined above does not, actually, belong to what we have called copulatory behavior. We will return to that phase and its stimulus control in the chapter on human sexual incentives. For the moment it is sufficient to say that the addition of the desire phase, the phase where sexual motivation is activated, solves a fundamental problem that was not addressed at all in the Masters and Johnson model of human copulatory behavior. I think of the problem of the motivational background for enhanced genital blood flow during the arousal phase, the phase we now call excitation. By adding desire (motivation), activated by an external or internal incentive stimulus, we can explain how the enhancement of genital blood flow comes under the control of motivational mechanisms. Without a motivational...

Potential endocrine causes of hypoactive sexual desire disorder

In Chapter 5, I made clear that adequate blood concentrations of androgens are necessary for maintaining a functional central motive state in both men and women. Therefore, it is not startling that several studies have determined blood androgen concentrations in women diagnosed with hypoactive sexual desire disorder. Early studies failed to detect any difference between women reporting an adequate level of desire and those diagnosed with hypoactive desire disorder (Stuart et al., 1987 Schreiner-Engel et al., 1989). In contrast, a group of women with life-long hypoactive sexual desire disorder were found to have a lower free testosterone blood concentration than controls (Riley and Riley, 2000). This is a very interesting observation, suggesting that the life-long variant of desire disorder can be attributed to reduced reactivity of the central motive state because of insufficient androgen stimulation. Later studies have extended these findings. Premenopausal, regularly cycling women...

Functions of the vomeronasal organ in relation to sexual behavior

Effects of ablation of that organ on the intromission rate were similar to those described in the earlier study. Interestingly, if the males without vomeronasal organ were pre-exposed to vaginal fluids from sexually receptive female hamsters, their intromission rate was the same as that of intact animals. Likewise, if the animals were given an intracerebroventricular injection of GnRH, their intromission rate increased to the level of the control animals. This latter finding replicates an earlier study from the same laboratory (Meredith and Howard, 1992). In contrast to the data obtained in hamsters without sexual experience, removal of the vomeronasal organ from sexually experienced male hamsters does not affect copulatory behavior (Meredith, 1986). Needless to say, there was no sign of erectile deficiencies in that study. Finally, there is a rather funny study where sexually experienced males had their vomeronasal organ removed and then tested with an...

Rams sometimes prefer to have sex with other rams

The achievement of ejaculation is less likely when copulating with a ram than when copulating with an ewe. If I abuse the data from the Pinckard et al. (2000) paper to calculate the probability of ejaculation upon mounting, I find that it is about 0.34 for the rams copulating with females. The corresponding value for the rams copulating with other rams is 0.04. From the comment about the difficulty of intromitting the teaser ram in this particular study, it can perhaps be concluded that this is an unusually low figure but, even if we make room for this potential error, we need to accept that the probability of achieving intromission ejaculation is far lower for rams mounting other rams than for those mounting females. The differential likelihood of reinforcement should make the female preferred over the male. This is exactly what happens in about 55 of rams. Only about 10 persists in the less favorable behavior of copulating exclusively with the male. As mentioned long ago, 22...

Like food and drink

It was, again, Frank Beach who first realized that sexual motivation is not activated by an internal process but by an external stimulus, a potential mate (Beach, 1956). In most adult individuals, the sight, smell or sound of a potential mate activates sexual motivation and the motivation then activates approach behaviors and, if the mate is in an appropriate state, copulatory behavior. In the case of a male rat, the sight and smell of a female might activate sexual motivation and approach behavior and, if the female happens to be in estrus, she will be attracted to the male and invite him to initiate copulatory behavior. A potential mate functions as a positive incentive and, since the incentive is necessary for the activation of motivation, the kind of motivation activated by it is called incentive motivation. The important point here is that motivation is dependent on an external stimulus. A few words on an important difference between humans and other animals must be added. Any...


7 Sexual motivation is not built up as a result of deprivation. It is activated by a sexual incentive or the representation of a sexual incentive or of sexual acts. Abstinence from sexual activity has no known deleterious consequences for health and does not threaten the individual's survival. Sex is a luxury. This statement does not, in any way, imply that human sexual activity is without importance for feelings of well-being and satisfaction with life. Likewise, appropriate sexual activity may be essential for the maintenance of certain close interpersonal relationships.

Modes of Assessment

Depending upon the interviewee and context, it may be useful to sequence the inquiry from the least to most threatening questions. Thus, questions about courtship, dating, or relationships might precede questions regarding sexual behavior, hookups, and casual sex. Experience in the assessment of sexual behavior also suggests that it can be helpful to place the burden of denial on the respondent (Kinsey et al, 2003). That is, rather than ask if a respondent has engaged in a particular sexual activity, the interviewer might ask how many times have you engaged in it. Use of this strategy will depend upon the nature of the relationship that has been established with the respondent and needs to be done sensitively.

General comments

In fact, among the many rather exotic hypotheses concerning innate reaction tendencies to stimuli are those suggesting that a human being's sexual motivation can be enhanced by a class of chemicals known as pheromones. In order to appreciate this hypothesis, we need to put it in the appropriate context. As always, we begin with a definition. The original definition of pheromone, 'substances which are secreted to the outside by an individual and received by a second individual of the same species, in which they release a specific reaction' (Karlsson and Luscher, 1959) is probably unsurpassed. More recent definitions have added some vagueness and that is particularly evident in the non-scientific literature. For example, according to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, 'a pheromone is any chemical produced by a living organism that transmits a message to other members of the same species' retrieved March 18, 2006). This definition is seriously lacking in at least one aspect. It is unclear...


What I have presented in the preceding sections is, evidently, a series of studies that were performed in the laboratory or in other situations where actual sexual interaction with the stimulus object or objects was out of the question. This situation is slightly similar to that found in people reading pornographic magazines or watching pornographic movies. Sexual interaction with the individuals described or depicted is impossible. A certain body shape can be judged attractive for many reasons, in the same way as a painting or a piece of furniture may be found attractive for a host of different reasons, and perhaps also for no conceivable reason at all. An important question is if the features of the human body found attractive in the laboratory also are authentic sexual incentives in the way that they activate sexual motivation in a setting where sexual contact would be possible. We know nothing

Sex In Adulthood

Freud was right Preschool children have sexual desires. So do 80- and 90-year-old adults. For most people, sex is a lifelong interest and activity. It does not stop with aging, and it does not kill you. Unfortunately, it does not make you live longer, either, but it may make you wish that you could. Having spent quite a bit of time on a farm, as a boy I knew something about the birds and the bees, or rather the dogs, cats, cows, horses, and pigs. Although much of their information concerning reproduction was grossly inaccurate, my friends talked quite a bit about doing it, making out, and assorted sexual aberrations. A few boys also told dirty stories or jokes and used bathroom vocabulary. Because my slightly puritanical parents and grandparents had warned me about the dangers of precocious sexual thoughts and behavior, I mostly limited myself to merely ogling rather than indulging. The girls my age were even more sexually naive than I. The daughter of our elementary school principal...

Sex Therapy

A. noted for the first time slowed erective attainment. Regardless of his level of sexual interest or the depth of his wife's commitment to the specific sexual experience, it took him progressively longer to attain full erection. With each sexual exposure, his concern for the delay in erective security increased until finally . . . he failed for the first time to achieve an erection quality sufficient for vaginal penetration. viewing of pornographic movies and live strippers to self-stimulation and sex education programs (Butler & Lewis, 1993). Many therapists also recommend masturbation and fantasy for adults who do not have sexual partners and want to reduce their sexual tensions.

Nonhuman studies

Complicated designs continue to be used in experiments on classical conditioning of sexual responses in rats. A series of studies began with an experiment where an odor was added either to a sexually receptive female or to a non-receptive female before sexual interaction with a male. Other females were unscented. After several trials of this kind, the males were given access to one scented and one unscented female. The males trained with a scented, receptive female preferred to ejaculate with the scented female. Males trained with a scented non-receptive female as well as males trained with an unscented receptive female preferred to ejaculate with the unscented female. There was no difference at all with regard to latencies to mount or intromit the scented and unscented females and the number of pre-ejaculatory mounts and intromissions received was similar for both females (Kippin et al., 1998). The interpretation of these data is not easy. The unconditioned stimulus activating sexual...

The same sex

All behavior is caused by activities in the nervous system. When a male rat approaches a sexually receptive female, for example, we know that he does so partly because of olfactory input. The firing of neurons in the main and or olfactory accessory bulbs somehow contributes to activate motor patterns that reduce the distance between the male and the female. Likewise, when a human male chooses to approach a woman for executing sexual responses, he does so because of activities in the central nervous system. If he chose to approach another man instead, that would also be caused by activities within the nervous system. In some way or another, stimuli emitted by the sexual incentive, regardless of whether it is a man or a woman, modify the firing rate of neurons somewhere in the brain, and the result will be approach. We could call the nervous processes underlying the approach behavior its biological cause or biological basis. In the

Redbacked shrike

6.2-7 in (16-18 cm) on average 1.05-1.12 oz (30-32 g). One of the smallest Lanius shrikes strong sexual dimorphism. The brightly colored male is unmistakable with his gray head, reddish brown upperparts, gray rump, black tail fringed white, and pinkish underside. Female is much duller, but her ground color is variable brown and gray are dominant her under-parts are generally heavily vermiculated. Juveniles are very similar to the female but with strong barring, (black crescents), also on up-perparts.


In Western society, conventional wisdom holds that men should be more sexually active than women. In fact, the notion that women engage in sexual activity only for the pleasure of their male companion disappeared quite recently. A lot of questionnaire data support the popular wisdom of lower sexual motivation in women than in men (Baumeister et al., 2001). These data are easily explained by factors unrelated to differences in sexual motivation. In fact, there is no convincing reason, besides social stereotypes, to believe in any sex difference in motivation between men and women. However, the belief is strongly rooted and certainly influences much of our thinking. One result of that belief is that it is socially acceptable for men to express their sexual urges, while women are supposed to show more constraint in such expressions. A woman having no interest in sex should, in several ways, coincide with the ideal of a woman. The lack of desire would, thus, be completely unproblematic....


It would not be particularly useful to analyze all the means by which sexual activity can be reduced. Already, in Chapter 5, we learned that reducing androgen concentrations in blood or blocking androgen receptors were efficient for reducing sexual behaviors, including desire, in men and women. There is no reason at all why this should not also apply to those having an unusually high level of desire. Thus, treatment for the potential disorder of hyperactive sexual desire should be easily accomplished by any means reducing the cellular actions of androgens. If this treatment was not attractive for some, there is a reliable alternative immediately available. A huge amount of data from non-human mammals, as well as an abundant clinical literature, shows that enhanced serotoninergic neurotransmission leads to inhibition of sexual behaviors and sexual motivation (e.g. Ahlenius et al., 1980 Matuszczyk et al, 1998 Vega-Matuszczyk et al, 1998 Montejo et al, 2001 Clayton et al, 2002 Bonierbale...


Among the many other likely and unlikely explanations put forth for exhibitionism is the proposal that exhibitionists actively avoid sexual intercourse, because they confer some aversive quality to it. As a substitute, they take pleasure in exposing their genitals. This notion is based on the unproved supposition that exhibitionists indeed avoid intercourse. A very nice experimental test of this hypothesis consisted of exposing a group of exhibitionists and a control group to audiotapes describing the several aspects of human sexual interaction, starting with the search for a partner, approach behaviors, precopulatory behaviors, and intercourse. The penile response to these descriptions was registered. The largest response was obtained, not surprisingly, when listening to the description of intercourse. Then followed the precopulatory phase, the approach phase and the search phase, in decreasing order. A neutral auditory message had no effect. There was no difference in response...

The homosexual brain

A lesion study performed in male rats showed that the absence of a suprachias-matic nucleus did not affect their preference for a sexually receptive female rat in a test where they could choose between approaching her and approaching another male (Kruijver et al., 1993). Based on the data from the dead AIDS patients, it had been predicted that a lesion would enhance the preference for the female. If an enlarged suprachiasmatic nucleus makes humans like their own sex, a diminished or absent nucleus should have the opposite effect. The fact that the prediction was not confirmed is not surprising in any way. The suprachiasmatic nucleus has never been implicated in the regulation of sexual behaviors. In addition to the lack of replicability, studies discovering differences in sizes of brain structures between homo- and heterosexual men suffer from the problem of translating these differences into causes for sexual preferences. Data from rats showed that the suprachiasmatic nucleus is not...

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