The Perfect Snaps with Sexual Options for You

The recent development of functional imaging techniques (for example, fMRI, PET) makes it possible to propose an initial response regarding the distinction between sexual desire and sexual arousal. As you can check you will find the best examples for it.

The Current Options

In view of current studies in participants (mainly men) without desire disorder or sexual arousal, the visual presentation of erotic stimuli activates a specific cortico-limbic network, in particular, the right lower frontal cortex, orbitofrontal, lower temporal cortex , parietal, left anterior cingulate gyrus, globus pallidus, caudate nucleus, putamen, posterior hypothalamus, amygdala, secondary somatosensory regions and right insula. The diversity of regions involved in this neural network has led the Stoleru team to propose a neurobehavioral model of four-phase sexual arousal: autonomic, emotional, motivational and cognitive.

The Cognitive Phase for You

The cognitive phase is itself composed of various components ranging from the sexual evaluation of the stimuli presented to the mental imagery of the sexual act through the attentional mechanisms. These phases can interact with each other and do not have a predetermined chronological order. The challenge of current research is to detect brain areas that are specifically activated for each of these phases. To do this, ingenious experimental paradigms including presentations of erotic stimuli and experimental blocks of different durations have recently been established.

The Recent Studies

Studies using presentations of erotic stimuli long enough to reveal the genital response usually show the activation of an extensive neural network involving: the limbic and para-limbic system (orbitofrontal, anterior cingulate gyrus, insula, amygdala, medial preoptic area hypothalamus, nucleus accumbens), striatum (nucleus caudatus, putamen), lower temporal, occipital, premotor, inferior frontal, medial prefrontal, somatosensory secondary cortex, thalamus and cerebellum.

  • In contrast, studies focusing more particularly on neural substrates of the early phase (phase where the genital response is weak or absent) of the treatment of sexual information suggest the involvement of parietal cortex (superior parietal, left intraparietal sulcus, bilateral inferior parietal, right post-central gyrus), right parietof occipital, occipital, ventral and dorsolateral prefrontal, temporal inferior, precentral gyrus, fusiform gyrus, amygdala, hippocampus and cerebellum. An activation of the hypothalamus, insula, amygdala, secondary somatosensory cortex and anterior cingulate gyrus is specifically observed in the sexual arousal phase. These results are reinforced by a recent fMRI study which also correlated the BOLD signal with volumetric measurements of the erectile response in humans.
  • During erection, significant activation is observed in the right prefrontal cortex, orbitofrontal cortex, insula, right ventral thalamus, right anterior cingulate, and regions involved in mental imagery and preparation. motor (additional motor area, left ventral premotor area).

Male / female differences have also been observed. During sexual arousal, greater activation is noted in men (compared to women) in the thalamus, hypothalamus, amygdala and also the anterior cingulate gyrus, orbitofrontal, parahippocampus and insula. The comparison between women shows superior brain activity in the mid-luteal phase (relative to their period of menstruation) in the anterior cingulate gyrus, the left insula, and the orbitofrontal cortex.

A more pronounced activation is also observed in the limbic system, the temporal and parietal cortex in women during the pre-menopausal period compared to the post-menopausal period. These results reinforce the hypothesis that women treat erotic stimuli with a different brain organization according to their menstrual cycle.