April 27, 2006

"Important Take Home Messages"

Sifting through morning email. Found the use of "You" in this press release headline from the Journal of Sexual Medicine curious. (But then, I find the term sexual medicine curious too.)

You don't often find press releases that talk, well, right to You in the headline. Mainly because, in writing these things, there is no specific "You" who is being talked to, given that the press release is a tool for disseminating news to a mass audience.

I really don't think this release is talking to Me, because I know what I think about the topic. If I had to release this news nugget, I might also be tempted to use "You," though. Something like: Men Say Leave My Nipples Alone and Aim Lower, Will You?

Queue Marvin Gay and write your own versions.

Breast and Nipple Stimulation Turns Women on More Than You Think
New Research Indicates Women are More Sexually Aroused by Breast and Nipple Manipulation than Men

April 26, 2006 – Women are more aroused by breast and nipple stimulation than men during lovemaking according to the first ever evidence-based research, published in the May 2006 issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine. There are limited studies in the medical literature examining the importance, during lovemaking, of nipple or breast stimulation in enhancing sexual arousal in females and males.  And while older research reported that men employ nipple and breast stimulation to induce sexual arousal as part of foreplay, Kinsey reported that the significance for the female was probably overestimated.

The new research in The Journal of Sexual Medicine entitled, "Nipple/Breast Stimulation and Sexual Arousal in Young Men and Women" by Roy Levin (Sheffield, UK) and Cindy Meston (Austin, TX), reports that in 82% of women studied, nipple/breast stimulation caused or enhanced their sexual arousal, and that when they were sexually aroused nipple/breast stimulation increased their arousal. Only 7% of women reported that such stimulation caused a decrease in their arousal while approximately 25% asked their partner to stop stimulating their nipples/breasts during lovemaking.

In the case of the men, like the women, nipple stimulation was excitatory for their sexual arousal but the percentage was significantly less (52% compared to 82%). Thirty nine percent of men (compared to 78% of women) reported that nipple stimulation increased their arousal when they were sexually aroused. While virtually the same percentage of men as women found that nipple stimulation decreased their arousal when sexually aroused, a smaller proportion of men asked for the stimulation to be stopped (14% versus 25%).

This gender difference could feasibly be due to a number of factors including gender differences in reporting biases or social desirability, or gender roles ascribed to this behavior. One aspect of breast/nipple stimulation is the putative release of central neuropeptide hormones that are strong stimulators of sexual activity.

In this novel research, the authors provided a short questionnaire to 148 males and 153 females who were undergraduates at a major University. Participants varied in age from 17 to 29 years old, and mean age was 19 years for both men and women.  The sample consisted of 56% Caucasian, 7% African American, 22% Hispanic, 14% Asian American and 1% other.  Participants were administered a series of six questions inquiring about their sexual arousal response to breast/nipple stimulation, a demographics questionnaire, and a variety of other sexually relevant measures. 

This study was undertaken in young western men and women,” noted lead author of the study Dr. Roy Levin, Department of Biomedical Science,University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK. To widen the perspective we need to undertake breast and nipple behavior studies in groups of different ages and cultures.”

Dr. Cindy Meston, co-author of the research and Professor of Psychology, University of Texas, Austin, TX, USA stated that “nipple stimulation could be enhancing sexual arousal via numerous different hormonal and/or brain neurotransmitter pathways. The next step in this research is to try to understand the precise underlying mechanisms involved and whether they are the same for men and women. Such information would bring us a tiny bit closer to answering the bigger question of what exactly is sexual desire and arousal.”

"There are important take home messages from this study," said Dr. Irwin Goldstein, Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Sexual Medicine.  "The difference in responses between genders is the obvious take home message.  Just as important, this is one of the first studies to investigate the effect of non-genital stimulation on sexual arousal, written by a psychologist and a physiologist, an example of the broader, multi-disciplinary investigations being performed in contemporary sexual medicine research.  There is a paucity of basic science studies that explain the mechanism of these gender differences.”

The manuscript is published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.  Media who wish to receive a PDF of the article may contact

Drs. Levin, Meston and Goldstein are available for questions and interviews.  To arrange for a telephone interview, please contact medicalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.net or 781-388-8507.

About the Journal
The Journal of Sexual Medicine publishes multidisciplinary basic science and clinical research to define and understand the scientific basis of male and female sexual function and dysfunction.  As the official journal of the International Society for Sexual Medicine, it provides healthcare professionals in sexual medicine with essential educational content and promotes the exchange of scientific information generated from basic science and clinical research.

About The International Society for Sexual Medicine
The International Society for Sexual Medicine (ISSM) was founded in 1982 for the purpose of promoting, throughout the international scientific community, research and knowledge in sexual medicine, considered as the subspeciality area of medicine that embraces the study, diagnosis and treatment of the sexual health concerns of men and women. The society has over 3000 members worldwide, with five regional societies that are affiliated with ISSM: the Africa Gulf Society for Sexual Medicine, Asia Pacific Society for Sexual Medicine, European Society for Sexual Medicine, Latin American Society for Sexual Medicine, and Sexual Medicine Society of North America.

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