A new McGill study has found that women become sexually aroused as quickly as men, a finding that turns conventional wisdom on its head. Dr. Irv Binik, psychology professor and founder and director of the Sex and Couple Therapy Service of the McGill University Health Centre’s Royal Victoria Hospital, used thermal imaging to calculate the time it took men and women to reach peak arousal. Subjects donned special goggles, designed to minimize distractions, to watch videos ranging from the sexually explicit (courtesy of the Kinsey Institute) to the wholesomely banal (Canadian tourism spots) to the wacky (Mr. Bean). During the experiment, thermographic cameras focused on their genitals gauged arousal. The study marks the first time that the technology—the same found in night vision goggles—has been used to measure arousal rates. Traditionally, sex researchers have measured arousal with instruments that required genital contact and manipulation, an invasive and off-putting technique.
The results showed a statistically negligible difference in the average time it takes men to reach maximal arousal (664.6 seconds) and the time for women (743 seconds). According to one of the researchers, PhD student Tuuli Kukkonen, “This will help diagnose and treat sexual dysfunction in women, such as female sexual arousal disorder, which is poorly understood.”
This research is funded by Pfizer Canada and the Conseil canadien de santé sexuelle pour hommes.