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The Bigger the Better? Arousal and Attributional Responses to Erotic Stimuli That Depict Different Size Penises

William A. Fisher, Nyla R. Branscombe and Charles R. Lemery
The Journal of Sex Research
Vol. 19, No. 4 (Nov., 1983), pp. 377-396
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3812063
Page Count: 20
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The Bigger the Better? Arousal and Attributional Responses to Erotic Stimuli That Depict Different Size Penises
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Abstract

This research sought to examine psychologically mediated effects of differential penis size. To investigate this issue, we asked male and female undergraduates (N = 284) to read erotic passages that differed only in the length of the penis that was ascribed to the male protagonist--3 in. long (small), 5 in. long (medium), 8 in. long (large), or no mention made of penis size (control condition). Arousal and attributional responses to these portrayals were then assessed. In addition, subjects' erotophobia-erotophilia (their disposition to respond to erotic stimuli with negative to positive emotions) and their level of prior sexual experience were assessed. Results showed that the erotic passages were significantly arousing and that the manipulation of perceptions of penis size was highly effective. Despite the effectiveness of the manipulation, however, subjects did not report differential arousal or (for the most part) attributional responses to depictions of small, medium, or large penises. Correlational analyses revealed that erotophilic (versus erotophobic) persons may be more aroused by depictions of a large penis, and more sexually experienced males seemed to be more aroused by depictions of medium than by small or large penises. In all cases, however, the observed correlations were modest. Overall, the findings suggest that, for most individuals, penis size may be as unimportant on a psychological level as it appears to be on a physical level.

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