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Lust May Dampen Humans' Sense of Disgust, Study Suggests
Date:9/12/2012

eal-seeming bug in it (the insect was actually fake), wiping their hands with what appeared to be a used tissue, eating a cookie that was next to a worm or putting their finger in a tray of used condoms.

"The group of women that were sexually aroused were more willing than the other groups to do the tasks requested and did significantly more tasks than the other groups," Borg said. "Sexual arousal seems to be playing an active role in here, making us do things that we would not necessarily consider otherwise."

Does the same go for men? Other research suggests that it does, Borg said.

So what's going on? Is it purely a case of sexual arousal distracting women? Borg doesn't think so, because the women who watched the high-energy outdoor videos -- which stimulated them in a nonsexual way -- still weren't as willing to tackle the gross tasks as the sexually aroused women.

Clark McCauley, a professor of sciences and mathematics at Bryn Mawr College who has studied disgust, said sexual arousal didn't seem to make a huge difference in creating more tolerance for disgusting things. "It seems likely that the big effect in reducing disgust is for disgust stimuli relating to a physically present and willing partner," he said. "In which case, this study is only preliminary for understanding how sexual arousal reduces disgust."

Unfortunately, McCauley said, the researchers "didn't ask their subjects about their sexual experience and whether they ever felt disgusted before, during or after sex. Or disgusted when thinking about sex at a time when they are not aroused."

More information

For details on sexual health, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Charmaine Borg, graduate student, University of Groningen, the Netherlands; Clark McCauley, Ph.D., professor, sciences and mathematics, Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Ma
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