In this invited review, we summarized the current science examining links between attentional processing of sexual stimuli and sexual function in women. The literature suggests that women with and without sexual dysfunction are similar, in that both groups tend to look more at sexual images compared to non-sexual images. Interestingly, women with and without sexual dysfunction do differ in how long they look at the most explicit features within the sexual stimuli—the genitals! Women with sexual dysfunction tend to look less at the genitals compared to women without sexual dysfunction. In sum, differences in how women attend to the most explicit features of sexual stimuli may play a central role in whether or not they experience sexual function difficulties. Clinical implications of this experimental research include the possibility that increasing the time spent viewing and attending to sexual stimuli may be a useful target in the treatment of sexual dysfunctions.
Citation: Milani, S., Dawson, S. J., & Velten, J. (2021). Visual attention and sexual function in women. Current Sexual Health Reports. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11930-021-00312-9