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Sex research in the laboratory: main findings from the Protuguese SexLab

Sex research in the laboratory: main findings from the Protuguese SexLab

The Research Group in Human Sexuality from Porto University is composed of 10 researchers with PhD (plus 3 PhD and 8 Masters Students). The main areas of interest include topics associated with sexual dysfunctions, sexual risk behaviours, compulsivity, and sexual assault, as well as the dimensions associated with the determination of sexual response, sexual satisfaction, and well-being.

The studies conducted by the group not only have implications at the level of understanding, prevention, and treatment of sexual problems but also at the level of promotion of sexual health, in general. The group has established a research laboratory in human sexuality (SexLab) allowing to conduct experimental and psychophysiological investigation on different aspects of human sexuality. The SexLab has equipment that allows evaluating different psychophysiological aspects associated with sexual response in men and women including measures of vaginal arousal (VPA and VBV) and penile tumescence. In addition, the SexLab is also equipped with facilities to assess cardio-respiratory, galvanic, and startle responses (eye blink) as well as an eye tracker with remote control to measure the focus of visual attention during the experiments.

The main studies conducted in the SexLab include topics such as:
1) psychological predictors of genital and subjective sexual response in men and women,
2) sexual response after a bogus negative feedback, and
3) differences in cognitive and emotional responses to erotic material between men with or without erectile dysfunction. The main findings and their implications for sexual health will be discussed.