When it comes to making love, a new study has turned an age-old theory on its head, that women tend to get aroused more slowly than men.
The study was conducted by researchers at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) who used thermal imaging technology for the first time ever to measure sexual arousal rates.
Dr. Irv Binik, psychology professor and founder and director of the Sex and Couple Therapy Service of Royal Victoria Hospital, said that the findings showed that there is no difference in the time it takes for men and women to get aroused.
"Comparing sexual arousal between men and women, we see that there is no difference in the amount of time it takes healthy young men and women to reach peak arousal," Dr Binik said.
As a part of the study, the researchers had male and female subjects watched separate sexually explicit films procured from the Kinsey Institute and determined to be sexually arousing to specific genders.
They watched the images through special video goggles to minimize distractions.
Binik and his team then monitored the body-temperature changes of the male and female subjects to within a 100th of a degree from a computer in another room.
The researchers found that both men and the women began showing arousal within 30 seconds. While men reached maximal arousal in 664.6 seconds (roughly ten minutes), women, on the other hand, took 743 seconds – a statistically negligible difference.
Binik said that the results of this study provided more accurate information because unlike previous researches no instruments that require genital contact and manipulation were required, and that the procedure had been minimally invasive with the same measurements used for men and women.
"In any experiment on sexual arousal done in a laboratory, there is some distraction. But compared to previous techniques involving invasive measures or electrodes, this is minimally invasive and the same measurements are used for men and women, which makes it very interesting that the data ended up being the same," Dr Binik said.
PhD student, Tuuli Kukkonen, said, that the study would help diagnose and treat sexual dysfunctions in women, that have till now been poorly understood.
"This will help diagnose and treat sexual dysfunction in women, such as female sexual arousal disorder, which is poorly understood," Kukkonen said.
The study is to be presented on September 30 at the Canadian Sex Research Forum conference in Ottawa.
It will be published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine in January 2007.